The right mix: Modern house incorporates the best of its Tudor past
A combination of design by architect Jim Castanes, project manager Alev Seymen, contractor Robert Kruse, interior designers Nancy Burfiend and Devin Fitzpatrick, landscape architect Anita Madtes, the homeowners and early design input from architect Robert Aujla.
Pacific NW associate editor
IT WAS WITH heavy hearts that the owners of a 1927 Tudor on the edge of Lake Washington decided it would be no more. But when stuff starts rolling downhill, and the downhill is in the living room, it's time.
"We tried to save the old house, but the foundation, with the cost, it didn't make sense," says Howard, who had primped and pampered the old girl since the 1970s with architect Robert Aujla. "Plus, if we added onto it, the way it sat on the lot, it would look like old house smashed up against new."
So, out with the old and in with the new. To a point.
"I loved the charm of the old house," says his wife. "The old doorknobs, the arched doorways. We mined the old house, basically."
And that explains this, a thoroughly contemporary waterfront home protected from the weather by the old Tudor's copper shingles overhead. Touches traditional and rustic tucked into contemporary, chosen for its openness. A subtle blend of comfort and timelessness in a modern package sitting up tall and proud to see what it can see from a postcard-perfect view, Mount Rainier to Mount Baker. It was a team effort, this stirring of old into new. The sum total a combination of design by architect Jim Castanes, project manager Alev Seymen, contractor Robert Kruse, interior designers Nancy Burfiend and Devin Fitzpatrick, landscape architect Anita Madtes, the homeowners and early design input from Aujla. The package: 4,700 square feet with four bedrooms, a study, eagle's-nest loft as the fourth floor and 3 ½ baths.
"I love old things. I collected a number of antiques over the years, and when the old house went down it was hard," Howard's wife says.
Fitting collections (Depression glass, Transferware, Frankoma pottery, old cutting boards, silverized ice buckets) into contemporary requires a lot of handshaking: a rustic dining-room table of reclaimed fir surrounded by Donghia chairs most contemporary. Coffee table from Restoration Hardware, worn wood set in a blackened-steel frame. Wine cellar lit with lights from the old kitchen and tucked behind an old vault door. Painted beams high over reclaimed French oak floors. The leaded-glass doors to the old living room built into the new kitchen. Even the paint color, a Benjamin Moore custom that recalls warm sand, lends a modern glow but is the same paint used in the Tudor.
The living, dining and kitchen areas are a flight up from the entrance; a walkout family room, wine cellar and garden kitchen downstairs. An airy package of high ceilings and open spaces make for big walls for art bright and bold (paintings by Joe Max Emminger, Anne Siems, Melinda Hannigan, more).
Out back, a metal trellis defines an outdoor room. One of the "walls" there is a water curtain, a fall of rain channeled from the roof, becoming a small creek along the garden and ending its journey in a 1,500-gallon underground cistern used for irrigation.
"I wanted my old traditional house," Howard's wife says. "I just wasn't sure. But when they started framing, then I got excited, because I could see the possibilities.
"I love waking up to this," she says from the perch of a master bedroom, her gaze riding the lake, navy on a cobalt-blue day, "a new house with an old soul."
Even Cody, the couple's dog, stands transfixed.
Rebecca Teagarden writes about design and architecture for Pacific NW. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.