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Pacific Northwest | November 14, 2004Pacific Northwest MagazineNovember 14, 2004seattletimes.com home Home delivery

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CONTENTS
COVER STORY
PLANT LIFE
ON FITNESS
TASTE
NORTHWEST
LIVING
LETTERS
NOW & THEN
PORTRAITS
FIRST PERSON
SUNDAY PUNCH
PREVIOUS ISSUES OF PACIFIC NW


WRITTEN BY REBECCA TEAGARDEN
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER

Take in the Magnolia Holiday Tour

The Bridge home is one of six featured in the Magnolia Holiday Tour of Homes, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Dec. 4. The event is sponsored by the Association for Catholic Childhood, and funds raised by the group go to Catholic Community Services. Tickets are $20 pre-sale and $25 the day of the tour.

Pre-sale tickets can be purchased at Around the Block Gifts & Interiors, 3308 W. McGraw St., in Magnolia Village. Requests for tickets by mail must be received by Nov. 27. Send a check for $20 per ticket and a stamped, self-addressed envelope to ACC, 2140 34th Ave. W., Seattle, WA 98199. Day-of-tour tickets will be sold at Our Lady of Fatima Parish Social Center, 3218 W. Barrett St., in Magnolia.

Zen With Dash

With serene spaces
and feasts for the eye,
a house becomes art


Just beyond the reflecting pool sits a Peter Millett reservoir piece that fills with water, resulting in a triangular pool. Looming in the back is the Atlas blue cedar that added an extra challenge to the project. The Bridges wanted the tree saved.

Wow. Just wow. That's the only word for it, even one step into the new home of state Supreme Court Justice Bobbe Bridge and her husband, Jon Bridge of Ben Bridge Jeweler.

In the home of Jon and Bobbe Bridge, the open upstairs glows as lights go on at dusk. The modern painting is by Richard Serra. Pamela Pearce designed the dining-room table as a strong piece to define the space. The chairs are by Christian Liagre. Beyond the table sits the buffet, designed by the architects. Its doors are clad in blackened steel.

Wow is just what Bobbe wanted. And Zen. She wanted both. And while that seems like an impossible combination, like trying to pair peanut butter with mustard, here is Zen-wow in 5,200 square feet designed by Suyama, Peterson, Deguchi with an interior orchestrated by Pamela Pearce of Pamela Pearce Design and landscape design by Terry Welch.

"The plush fabrics, textures and colors, every room has a little dash to bring it out of its restraint," Pearce says of the Magnolia Bluff home.

The result is a piece of art within a piece of art.

"I pushed my furniture makers to do things they hadn't done before," Pearce says. "A lot of those pieces are art or sculpture first, and they happen to function as furniture."

The Bridges have lived in Magnolia for 26 years. They adore their neighborhood. It offers them today everything they wanted in 1977 — water views, convenience, a beautiful neighborhood.

From the pendant lights by Resolute that hang over the kitchen island, the eye travels downstairs to the reading-corner chair and ottoman, a favorite spot for the cat. Just outside is the lower terrace with two reflecting pools to draw in light.

It was their Tudor that got to them. All those little boxes of rooms. Nowhere to go. No flow. They remodeled it four times, but the Tudor's time had come, and the Bridges had to go.

In true pioneer spirit, they packed up and headed west. OK, it was just a few blocks, but now they are perched on the water's edge with breathing room in every room. With their son and daughter grown and gone, they needed something for the two of them, their tail-thumping chocolate Lab, Ben, and black cat, Shoshana.

"We wanted open. We had a lot of rooms in the other house. We have so few rooms here," says Bobbe, gazing contentedly across her one big upstairs space of kitchen, dining and living room. Just below her are more private quarters with the master bedroom, guest wing, media room, offices, downstairs bar and wine cellar. The home also includes two terraces and a west deck.

The fire table makes sitting around an evening fire an elegant and comfortable affair. The concept was Bobbe’s, Pearce says, a nod to hibachis and Native Americans.

To get those wide-open spaces, Bobbe called her contractor, and they set out to find an architect.

"We had the contractor, which I know is bass ackwards," says Bobbe, who was already devoted to Bob Setting of R.A. Setting Construction for his work on the Tudor remodels. They interviewed three architects, including George Suyama. When they went to look at his houses, the decision was easy. "They were works of art," says Bobbe. "I thought, I want a work of art."

What began as a remodel became a tear-down and three-year project. In March, the Bridges moved in. Their new home has all the Suyama trademarks: serenity, quiet water features, clean lines, good flow, modern design and a marriage of people, nature and architecture in stone, wood and metal.

The philanthropic duo have been event-testing their new home with great success.

"They had an open house in July with about 300 people over a four-hour period, and it just flowed perfectly," Pearce says. In fact, the Bridges' home is already an award winner. It won second place in the 2004 Northwest Design Awards through the Seattle Design Center in the "Whole House" category.

The front of the home is low and quiet with abstract Japanese landscaping by Terry Welch. A bridge carries visitors to the front door.

The house and just about everything in it were born through what Pearce calls "The Dream Team." Lines of responsibility zigged and zagged between Setting and Pearce and Chris Haddad, who, working with Suyama, was the project architect. But they were all more like curators of elegance and beauty — from the modern, spacious and gracious house itself to the fine furniture and sculpture, paintings, glass and antiques throughout.

"This was a very deep collaboration," Suyama agrees. "This is kind of unusual, but we work that way a lot. It makes them seem more seamless. We design furnishings that make the transition between architecture and furnishing."

And now the Bridges have it all.

"It is a piece of art. That's what George Suyama designs," says Jon. It's a house "to keep the art in and to be very livable for us and the cat and the dog, and to accommodate the kids when they come to visit."

There's more to this home than meets the eye, and that's because it's all behind the many cabinets and closets.

"I'm kind of a neatnik freak. I like everything hidden," Bobbe says.

The media room features a leather sofa designed by Pearce. The ottoman is by Christian Liagre, but to add comfort Pearce upholstered it and the pillows with an old kilim. The rug is a hand-woven custom Tibetan. Pearce says she was going for warmth and coziness, all made delicate with the Richard Misrach photograph, a new addition to the Bridges’ photography collection, behind the couch.

Just inside the front door, visitors are greeted with a pleasant wall of light-stained oak. It's not a wall, it's closets. Another series of cabinets stretches from the dining room and wraps around the kitchen. Doors open to reveal a china cabinet, bar, food storage, appliance garage, pots and pans, you name it.

Pearce remembers a phrase she heard at an Italian design conference years ago: Your design is only as good as your client. Haddad, Suyama and Pearce agree that the couple were fearless.

"The Bridges were ideal as clients," Haddad says. "One, they were willing to question all the assumptions they had made before . . . There were a few times when she pushed us for more."

The tub sits under a Mark Calderon wall sculpture and is encased in tumbled slate tile interspersed with nickel-colored metallic tile. The look is Japanese, organic but plush. The metallic tiles were included as "a spark for Bobbe. She didn’t want it too Zen. We added a little glamour," Pearce says. The counter is honed limestone. Mirror lights are by Haddad and Suyama.

Among the taupes, browns, charcoals, muted golds and rusts of the house is a collection of museum-worthy art, most of it bought for the home. There's a Who's Who of Northwest art and beyond: Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Dale Chihuly, Imogen Cunningham, Louise McDowell, Peter Millett, Richard Serra, Helmi Juvonen, Jacob Lawrence, Isamu Noguchi, Gerard Tsutakawa.

The hunt took Pearce all over town, and when she'd finished here, she got on a plane and kept looking. The Japanese antiques, many of which line the cabinet tops and the kitchen counter, are a good example.

"It came to a point where there weren't enough things left in this city. So I did some traveling to Santa Fe and Taos," N.M., Pearce says.

"The big jars in the living room, those are 2,000 years old. She has some amazing things in that house. But they're not shown as if they're museum objects. They are there as things they've collected."

Rebecca Teagarden is assistant editor of Pacific Northwest magazine. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.


 

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