Seattle condo warms up, grows up
Interior designer Amy Baker, architect Daniel Skaggs, lighting designer Carol dePelecyn and contractor Krekow Jennings team up to add intimacy and comfort to 4,000-square-foot condo.
Pacific NW associate editor
THEY REFER TO IT as their vertical neighborhood — the tall, stately condominium Terry and Alan have called home for the past 29 years.
"Our kids are the only lifers in the building," Alan says.
"And the only kids raised here," adds Terry.
"We're pioneers!" Alan again.
The family lived in Laurelhurst once upon a time. But a free-standing house was not for them. "I came home from work and said, 'We're moving,' " Terry says. "I work too much to have a house. I'm not a housewife. I'm just not."
So it was off to live the high-rise life for the four of them. Over the years the family has moved (but only within the building) and remodeled. But this — toasty and rich, comfortable and cozy — is different. Their nest was now empty. And cold. The kids grew up. It was time the condo did, too.
"Amy's assignment was to warm it up and make it for grown-ups," says Terry, speaking of interior designer Amy Baker. "The kids loved the house, but they said it wasn't comfortable: There's no place to hang."
Now there's nothing but. Little gathering spaces everywhere. Sofas and chairs so cozy they just won't let go, including two sink-back-and-take-in-the-city chaises with accent tables to hold the wineglasses that surely must go there. Outside is Puget Sound, Lake Union and all that lies between.
Baker, architect Daniel Skaggs and contractor Krekow Jennings tweaked the layout of the 4,000-square-foot condo (two combined), defining the dining room with casework walls to add intimacy to the space. Here is more come-hither seating, creamy-caramel leather chairs with fat padded seats and backs.
"We can have 100 people in here or we can have three," Terry says.
Black and green terrazzo-tile floors were covered with scrumptious sapele and custom wool rugs. English white sycamore wall paneling, Venetian plaster and warm white paint put a glow to the place. Baker's plan was for the white walls to reflect as much light as possible from indirect fixtures, the lighting in this condo of low ceilings crafted by lighting designer Carol dePelecyn.
"It really was a challenge, because you can't go up," Terry says. "And you don't want to get the glare on the windows," says Alan. "She was very clever."
Baker opened the family room and kitchen to accommodate frequent family parties, eliminating a hallway but not storage. The home office was moved to a new room for Alan and his many guitars, thanks to help from sound-deadening insulation and software that connects the computer, television and amplifiers.
"That's so I don't have to worry about the neighbors banging on the wall about my bad guitar playing," Alan says.
A new remodel for a new time. That's just life, says Terry.
"The kids said to us, 'You're not going to make it comfortable; you have a designer.' But there's not a spot here that isn't, because Amy really is gifted with finishes, fabrics and colors. It's warm and wonderful."
Rebecca Teagarden writes about architecture and design for Pacific NW magazine. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.