A Seattle home begins with the view, finishes with personal touches
Perched above the Interstate 90 Bridge, a remodeled Seattle home takes advantage of the view and makes a personal statement with special things both found and received — including everything from a 1,000-year-old Iranian rug to sconces made of antlers and a giant letter "S."
Making it his ownSteve Hoedemaker's friends include some of the city's best interior designers. But he doesn't listen to them all that much. "I just find cool stuff to let you rest your eye on," he says.
One of those is in the gas firebox in the downstairs media room, the one between the two antler sconces painted white. The box is filled with old nautical chains, rather than stones or fake logs. In the living room a lunky, chipped nautical light found at Marine Hardware in Anacortes rests on the floor. The black chandelier? Part of a 7-foot-by-4-foot Michael Eastman photograph of a gracefully dilapidated mansion in Havana.
"It just seems like you could do something not so obvious," he says of such touches. "That idea of decay, evidenced by the photograph, the light and the coffee table in the living room are things that work, were once perfect and are now in some state of decay."
STEVE HOEDEMAKER bought a great view that came with a house.
The view offered a command performance of Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains from a perch high over the Interstate 90 Bridge.
The house, which had been a rental and scorched by fire, offered nothing but potential.
"My realtor called it 'the 50-yard line of Lake Washington views,' " Hoedemaker says.
"But I really didn't like it. It was, um, different when I got here. The walls were all textured and all Spanish and creepy.
"I just wanted to get it more serene."
This he says while sitting on a comfortable white sofa in his comfortably white living room, a beige sisal rug being one of the creamy, dreamy room's louder statements. Even Oso, a German shorthair/chocolate-Lab mix, matches the dark-stained oak floor. On purpose.
"I'm getting there," is how the Hoedemaker half of Bosworth-Hoedemaker Architecture describes the past three years of work involving three phases and three contractors: "a guy who worked out of the back of his truck; King Construction and Schuchart/Dow."
What Hoedemaker had in mind for his house behind the view was a place for people, a home to welcome his friends and family. A big dining-room table, the history of meals past written in water rings and oil stains. White marble kitchen counters, cuts marking the spot where crusty loaves of bread and tomatoes fell into slices.
"For years I lived with my grandmother's mirrored-finish mahogany; for years I lived with old-lady furniture," he says, explaining his attraction to elegance but rebellion against finished surfaces.
"I'm not a big fan of color, especially at home, because I like the people to come forward," he says. "I love this house now, but it means nothing to me if I don't have people over."
And over they come: Champagne bottles piled in the curbside recycle bin; 42 for a sit-down Christmas dinner in 2007.
Of course, Hoedemaker is wise to the joys of remodeling. "My parents remodeled their house seven times," he says with a yeah-I-know grin. He comes from a family of distinguished architects, including his father, David Hoedemaker, retired managing partner at NBBJ whose name is attached to many of Seattle's most well-known buildings: Two Union Square, KeyArena, Safeco Field, among them. Steve, however, prefers home work, "where architecture meets people's intimate lives."
But the younger Hoedemaker is stubborn. He did not move out during the remodel, as he would recommend to a client. Work on the 2,700-square-foot home with five bedrooms and 2 ½ baths involved some new walls and new oak floors, stripping the lower level down to concrete. At one point Hoedemaker found himself tightroping his way across the living room on floor joists.
"I always liked the idea of an old house in the city and a modern house in the country. I haven't built that yet, though."
Standing on the upstairs porch, a nest of a space, the lake and the traffic are hypnotic.
"I've driven from Boston to here on it," Hoedemaker says of the longest interstate highway in the United States, breaking the silence. "It's a tether across the country.
"And, like a friend said to me after I bought the house, it's like having my own Matchbox set."
Rebecca Teagarden is assistant editor of Pacific Northwest magazine. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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