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Originally published Sunday, September 7, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Northwest Living

Lovin' the Livin'

by Rebecca Teagarden photographed by Benjamin Benschneider EIGHTEEN FLOORS up, Venetian-plaster walls, glass tabletops, granite floors...

Tour 10 homes

The "Spaces for Urban Living: Downtown Home Tour" focuses on the varied lifestyles of downtown Seattle's condo and apartment dwellers, and the unique spaces they have created in the heart of the city. This year's self-guided walking tour, 1-5 p.m. Sept. 21, features 10 homes in buildings from Pike Place Market to Pioneer Square.

Advance tickets are $25, available at www.pikeplacemarket.org or by calling 206-774-5249. Tickets are $30 the day of the tour and are available at the registration tent on First Avenue and Pike Street, and at BOKA Kitchen + Bar, First and Madison Street.

Money raised helps the Market Foundation provide services for downtown low-income residents, including the Pike Market Medical Clinic, Senior Center, Child Care & Preschool and Downtown Food Bank.

by Rebecca Teagarden

photographed by Benjamin Benschneider

EIGHTEEN FLOORS up, Venetian-plaster walls, glass tabletops, granite floors, brushed-steel bathtub, Chihuly on pedestals, Leonetti in the wine fridge, Puget Sound out every window.

This is not your typical grandma-and-grandpa's house.

"We love living downtown. Love it," says Leslie Brotherton. "We walk everywhere; movies, theater, museum. We love to go strolling on the waterfront on nice days. Have you ever been to Maximilien for Sunday brunch? There's nothing like it.

"My car is an '04, and I have 6,000 miles on it."

That's saying something, coming from a Brotherton — of the car-dealing Brotherton family.

Leslie and Biff Brotherton auditioned downtown living by leaving a house in Wedgwood for a new Alaksan Way condominium in 1997. His dealership was downtown; everything they did was downtown. They gave it a try and took to it immediately. ("I'm not a gardener. I plant pots twice a year and they die twice a year," Leslie says.) Only problem was, with five kids and seven grandkids, they weren't looking to downsize and wanted more space to make everybody welcome.

So, now they are even happier about their second downtown condo: 2,700 square feet of warm, contemporary elegance with a 200-square-foot deck, two bedrooms, 2 ½ baths, water and city views from glass walls, designed by Ed Weinstein at Weinstein AU. The project, from build-out to design, was entrusted to David Pollart of Pollart Custom Construction and Design and Associates, much to the couple's delight: "I don't know designers or artists. I just want to come home to a comfortable house," Leslie says.

Biff concurs. He is enthusiastic about not only his home but his entire city.

"Biff is very pro Seattle," Leslie says, admiring her husband admiring the Sound. "We buy everything here; Biff will not shop online. The only thing he'll buy is from FAO Schwarz for the grandkids. And I do about 60 percent of my shopping at the Pike Place Market."

And that is why the Brothertons wanted to share their home as part of this year's "Spaces for Urban Living: Downtown Home Tour" on Sept. 21.

"That was their thing. They said, 'I want to be as comfortable here as I would be at the Sheraton,' " says Pollart, who insists on creating spaces that can be lived in.

"Biff's not a clutter guy. So that's why I designed the drawers on the sides of the mirrors for Leslie's makeup, the 4-foot-deep sweater drawer for Biff, the 36-inch-deep kitchen drawers for Leslie."

Then Pollart elevated the standards of comfort with art glass, lots of stainless steel and sheet bronze, sapele for the kitchen cabinets and madrona in the library.

Pulling himself away from a meditation of working tugs and cruising ships, blue-gray skies and water that waves, Biff says, "People are moving downtown, and other people say, 'Why?' Well, because it's cool. We've had a water view for 10 years now."

"And we never take it for granted," his wife says.

"Hey, if we're watching Jerry Springer, we stop to watch the view," Biff says. "That's how good it is."

Rebecca Teagarden is assistant editor of Pacific Northwest magazine. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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