In Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, a stately home with storybook appeal trades a clunky addition for one that’s open and outdoor-oriented.
From the street, this 1927 French Norman–style home looks like something out of a storybook, complete with a brick facade, turret, and leaded glass windows. It sits on a generous lot—over a half-acre in size—in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. However, an ill-conceived addition from the 1990s did more to separate the home from its incredible backyard than meld the two together.
"The first impression of the home is striking—it’s beautiful and stately. The grounds are parklike," says architect Lisa Chadbourne, one half of the firm Chadbourne + Doss, cofounded with architect Daren Doss. "Unfortunately, a previous owner had constructed an addition at the rear of the home that cut the house off from the backyard. It had to go."
Before: Rear Addition
After: Rear Addition
The architects started by keeping the entire front of the home intact and preserving important, historic interior details like the turret stair, leaded glass windows, and mahogany trim and casework. "The primary challenge of this project was to marry a new modern addition to the historic home," says Chadbourne.
To do so, they envisioned the new addition as "a glass-wrapped conservatory." Its materiality takes cues from the original while standing firm in its own era. "The new addition ties into the existing house with brick, concrete, and metal panels that reference the flat-roofed stucco dormers on the existing home," says Chadbourne. "The existing historic craftsmanship was thoroughly refurbished, and the new details represent a modern craftsmanship of our time and place."
After: Hallway, Living, and Dining Rooms
At the rear of the house, the architects streamlined the floor plan— enlarging the kitchen, cleaning up cramped circulation, and instituting walls of glass that allow the owners to gaze into the extensive backyard. In contrast to the inward-focused front of the house, "The new addition offers wide, open views and openings to the backyard and creates informal spaces that allow for seamless activity indoors and out," says Chadbourne.
Special attention was given to thresholds where old meets new, and a limited palette (including walnut, marble, white plaster, and blackened steel) makes the scheme cohesive throughout.
After: Kitchen and Family Room
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Upstairs, the architects relocated the master bedroom so it now overlooks the backyard. The master bathroom was saved from a jarring layout, and the old master bedroom was converted to a cozy dressing room. The enlarged roof deck can now be shared by two bedrooms.
Now, the home offers varied settings for lots of different activities, whether that's a cozy morning in front of the living room fireplace, or a big gathering with friends at the back of the house. "We were excited about creating environments for different moods," says Chadbourne of the renovation.