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Originally published Friday, November 1, 2013 at 12:07 PM

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Work and play blend in a wine merchant’s carefree condo

Dan McCarthy, of McCarthy & Schiering Wine Merchants, once had a house on Queen Anne. He thought he loved that house. But ever since he took to condo living many years ago, there’s been no turning back.


Pacific NW associate editor

AS THE FRONT half of McCarthy & Schiering Wine Merchants, Dan McCarthy is in the glass-raising business.

But the toasts he most enjoys making are from behind the carefree glass walls of the condo he shares with Mila Chistoserdova at Olive 8 in downtown Seattle.

“I once had a house on Queen Anne,” he says from behind the counter at the shop, located in the same neighborhood. “I thought I loved that house. But the maintenance!”

McCarthy has been a committed condo dweller ever since. One of Seattle’s more experienced ones at that: Belltown Court, the Ellington, the Cosmopolitan. And now as renters at Olive 8.

“I don’t have any obligations,” he says with enthusiasm. “I was always writing checks, for bills or the plumber.

“If you want, you can order in room service!” he says, cheering again at the thought. The residences are attached at the hip to a Hyatt Hotel, the condos rising from the hotel’s lower floors. Room service is just the beginning. There’s the turf corner on the 18th-floor terrace for canine residents, four gas barbecue grills, communal herb gardens, a huge and well-appointed party room, game room, spa, gym, Jacuzzi, Turkish bath, sauna and yoga room.

“And El Gaucho will come and pick you up and take you home; they’ve got a shuttle.”

McCarthy and Chistoserdova’s sky-high glass home includes two bedrooms, two baths and motorized blinds all around. Straight ahead is Puget Sound, to the right Lake Union. And everywhere major-metropolitan views; from street, as Metro buses snake their way up Olive Way fending off bumblebee-yellow taxis, to skyscraper.

Inside, living spaces are open, doors only for private spaces, and awash in sky and light. The living room features pieces from Ligne Roset, with cheerful hits of color in paintings (by McCarthy) and accessories (“Mila’s got a great sense of style.”)

The couple’s carefree lifestyle is not because they are people of leisure. Far from it. Chistoserdova is a researcher in the chemical engineering department at the University of Washington. McCarthy’s days, as one of Seattle’s longest-running wine merchants (1980), are spent selling and promoting wines from Washington and beyond.

Each summer, for instance, he spends a most intense (but enjoyable) week tasting with Stephen Tanzer , the highly regarded wine critic, editor and publisher of the bimonthly International Wine Cellar. This past July it was a jampacked itinerary, flights to and fro, and 840 wines sampled.

There isn’t much room for wine at home, though. The office holds a small, 28-bottle fridge. But there is more, about 1,000 bottles, held nearby at Seattle Wine Storage. “I have too much wine,” McCarthy admits. “I’m not a collector. I buy the wine to drink; I’m really a wine-and-food pairer.”

Work and play are often one and the same when you’re in the wine biz. And on the first Friday of each month the couple looks forward to hosting “the Usual Suspects,” their wine-tasting group of 10 years. “The concierge always knows where to send people, because they each bring six glasses with them,” McCarthy says.

It’s early November now, and we’re on the cusp of yet another busy season made better by wine. McCarthy is ready.

“Thanksgiving?” he says, raising an eyebrow. “American holiday; American wines. It’s a perfect time to showcase Northwest wines.

“It’s a crazy meal to put a wine with, but a rosé works wonderfully with turkey. It picks up the salty. Rosé bubbles, too, are really taking off. Also, there are more Northwest sparklers now, Scintillation from Syncline, and Treveri.”

Cheers to the holidays.

Rebecca Teagarden writes about architecture and design for Pacific NW magazine. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.



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