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Cover Story Design Notebook NW Gardens Plant Life Taste Now & Then

Spring Home Design 2002Cover Story
WRITTEN BY LAWRENCE KREISMAN
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER
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Seeing the Light
A World in Fine Focus
Cradled by the Land
Solitude in the City
Solitude in the City
WITH ROOM AND A VIEW, AN INNIS ARDEN HOME MAKES PEACE EASY TO FIND

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French doors in the living room open to the pool and greenbelt. Two arrangements by Yakima artist Leo Adams frame the black slate fireplace.
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Mention the name William Boeing and airplanes come to mind. But for Bill Stickland, the name recalls the man who developed the peaceful place Stickland calls home.

Innis Arden, on the western edge of Shoreline adjacent to The Highlands and Richmond Beach neighborhoods, was laid out and developed in the 1940s to cater to affluent, upper-middle-class buyers. Boeing's wife named it for a locale in Scotland she loved. The concept for Innis Arden was modeled after the curving roadways, view lots and shared shoreline that had shaped the Olmsted brothers' plan for the well-established Highlands community. Boeing's development was intended to capture views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. Several streams and the steep slopes at the western boundary helped force the curving road patterns and dead-end streets and encouraged the setting aside of some areas as "reserves" among the private lots.

For a very long time, Stickland says, Innis Arden was a secret village, known mostly by North Enders like himself. Residents are a stable lot, once they find themselves here.

"In this community, people seem to change houses, but they don't move very far — maybe one block away."

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The living areas of the house are oriented around a swimming pool and landscape that front the natural reserve.
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The house Stickland finally found is on one of the largest parcels in the development, big enough to include a sports court and swimming pool, and up against a ravine and stream. He relishes the sense of privacy all that room offers. "It gives you the feeling of being close to the city, but you don't have to take a trip to find solitude."

An interior designer, Stickland recalls the comments of an old instructor who said the real contribution a designer makes to the quality of people's lives is alleviating their need to get into a camper or trailer, or buy a second home. Stickland has learned that lesson. "You really can design an environment to give it those qualities that we live with every day — tranquility, peace of mind, solitude. That's important to my clients, most of whom are in high-stress jobs. When they come home, I want them to feel that they are in a sanctuary, a retreat that reinforces peace of mind." He practices what he preaches in his own home.

spacer Photo The galley kitchen has cherry cabinets, a six-burner cooktop and a sculptural steel hood. The silver cabinet and the striped settee with 1860s Chinese screens are part of the sage-green-painted den.
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Photo A collection of Chinese blue-and- white porcelain is a focal point of the dining room. An antique Chinese umbrella adds whimsy to a 1940s Chinese table and 1840s country French chairs that came from the Guggenheim estate in Hawaii.
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Stickland earned a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts in 1972 and did graduate studies at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris in 1980. He has done interior-design work for many prominent Seattle homes and condominiums, and continues to do projects in Seattle, Los Angeles and Palm Springs.

His 1959 Paul Kirk-designed house has 3,000 square feet of space on one level and includes a studio for his practice. The house represents Kirk's strengths in designing low-scale buildings that were simple in form with equally simple finishes that did not draw attention to themselves. Its model was the Western ranch-style house being popularized in California after World War II. They were easy to live in and to maintain. Stickland's house has a flat roof punctuated with many skylights, slate floors and doors that open onto the rear of the house from every major room. It focuses attention outward to the pool and the arboretum-like setting beyond.

Over the course of 40 years and different owners, it underwent several major remodels. One owner tried to make it Mediterranean in the 1960s, "so we had a great deal of turquoise and orange," and a later owner tried to make it into a Spanish villa. He particularly remembers the wallpapers, Spanish-style light fixtures and rock fireplace that sheathed the entire south wall of the living room. His efforts have been directed toward "undoing a lot of things to take it back to the simple nature it was always intended to be." This meant replacing leaking skylights with new ones in their original positions and replacing the stone fireplace wall with a simple sloped black slate one that would have fit well into a 1950s home.


A pyramidal skylight brings sparkle to a collection of Northwest glass art in the entrance gallery. Slate floors are original to the house.
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In some cases, he has chosen to replace historically appropriate materials with more pleasant ones. Aluminum-framed windows and sliding doors have given way to wood frames and French doors that open the house to the view. Originally, clear windows facing the driveway and street meant that passers-by could look straight through the house to the back, leaving no privacy. Now the front of the house is screened, and sandblasted lattice designs for dining-room windows filter light and give privacy.

Instead of walking directly from the driveway into the living room, visitors pass under a trellis and into a gallery with a pyramidal skylight inspired by I M Pei's pyramid at the Louvre. Stickland also added grids for recessed lighting to better illuminate his art collection and create varied moods. His new kitchen, which shares the same footprint as the original and the same locations for its skylights, has cherry cabinets, granite counters and professional equipment that make easy work of entertaining for large groups, either with formal dinner parties or summer pool parties and barbecues.

The simplicity of Kirk's design suits him. "The house doesn't tell you anything — it's anonymous. I wanted it to be like a letter. You get an envelope in the mail and you really don't know what's in it until you open it and read it. Homes today should have a sense of entry. They should be a happy surprise, a gift you get as you unwrap and discover it."

Seeing the Light
A World in Fine Focus
Cradled by the Land
Solitude in the City
Lawrence Kreisman is program director for Historic Seattle. He serves on the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board and is author of "Made to Last: Historic Preservation in Seattle and King County." Benjamin Benschneider is a Pacific Northwest magazine staff photographer.
 


Cover Story Design Notebook NW Gardens Plant Life Taste Now & Then

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