Thomas Isarankura gives old Seattle condo a cool, new life
Dawn Trudeau, one of the owners of the Seattle Storm women's basketball team, found the perfect spot for her downtown life. The place just needed a thoroughly modern update.
Game onThe two-time WNBA champions play their third game of the 2012 season tonight in Minnesota against the Lynx. To see the Storm's full schedule and buy tickets go to www.wnba.com/storm.
FROM ONE side of her Belltown home, a sky-high condo wrapped in glass, Dawn Trudeau can track storms blowing in off Puget Sound. Out another window, she can see KeyArena, where she keeps track of another kind of Storm, the professional women's basketball team she owns with Ginny Gilder and Lisa Brummel.
Together they are known as Force 10 Hoops LLC: Force 10 being the point on the Beaufort wind scale at which bad weather officially becomes a storm.
"I'm a fan," she says simply of the team she helped save for Seattle in 2008. And about the view? "I was just blown away."
Trudeau, who lived in Carnation, bought the condo in 2010, using sort of the Goldilocks method.
"Escala was way over the top. The Gallery at Second and Vine was so tiny," she says. "I don't really care that much about the amenities. I was willing to trade off newness for space."
And that she did, buying 2,000 square feet in one of Seattle's oldest (built in the early 1970s) high-rise condo buildings. It came with wheelchair ruts in the carpet, plastic sheeting on the walls and a broken toilet.
The amenities were to come. Those arrived by way of Thomas Isarankura of Baan Design in the form of a total remodel.
"I started out by saying the wrong thing to say to an architect," Trudeau recalls. "When he asked me my goal I said, 'I saw the condo below this one and I liked what they did, so let's just do that.'
"He came back with three plans. Minimal, moderate and what he'd really like to do."
Trudeau got the combo deal, built by Schultz Miller. The result is one bedroom, 1 ½ baths, an office with a Murphy bed for guests, and two living spaces. Sleek and thoroughly modern, sustainable teak cabinetry and teak-veneer barn sliders, cleverly dropped ceilings hiding wiring and plumbing. And last, but not least, a series of structural concrete posts, finished with Milestone, pacing through the space like an architectural metronome.
"Thomas has a good eye and a strong opinion, but he listens to you so well," Trudeau says. "The concrete beams; he felt strongly those were a strong architectural element. And the barn doors (hiding a powder room, laundry and storage); they were expensive, but he said, 'This is an important one.' "
The shock of violet light in a running ceiling cove, meanwhile, is a cheap trick in the best of ways; a string of LED rope lighting plugged into an unseen outlet. It can be changed out at whim.
Trudeau is so enthusiastic about the shower in her master bathroom she's got to demonstrate. "I found this online. It's a Grohe," she says, flipping the handle. Water spews from the cabled shower head, the rain shower and three side heads, hitting walls of Murano glass in shades of chocolate.
The change from 21 acres to 2,000 square feet was an adjustment, but a pleasant one for the most part. And Trudeau can tell you exactly why.
"Moving from Carnation, the only things I heard were birds and coyotes at night," she says. "The first month here, sirens woke me up. The other night, though, I woke up at 3 a.m., and there was a big full moon right outside my bedroom window. That was a surprise.
"I'm down at Pike Place Market every week, and they know my name. Downtown is so alive. It's full of people. I love the light link to the airport — three blocks away and $3.50.
"And I take my car out maybe twice a week, to the grocery and the Storm office."
Rebecca Teagarden writes about design and architecture for Pacific Northwest magazine. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.