At the Lumen condominiums near the Seattle Center, two units are combined to make room for both work and life.
From the start, Giorgio Davanzo and Dan Burke were loving the Lumen. They appreciated its unique northern European aesthetic and the purity of its building materials (concrete, steel and glass without ornamentation). Modern but not trendy. And they were excited by its location, close to downtown, to the opera and theater at the Seattle Center, and within walking distance of Dan’s work and numerous sports bars.
And yet they hesitated. Some of the units were too small for them, others too large.
But the project had not yet broken ground, and the innovative design made it easy for them to buy two smaller units, then have them built with only one kitchen and no separating wall.
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At just under 1,300 square feet, the unique layout gives them a surprising amount of space, flexibility and storage. In what would have been one of the units there is a guest bathroom, TV room and kitchen; in the other there is the master bath, bedroom and Davanzo’s office, and between them is a wide-open space they use as the living and dining rooms that open to two small decks. Davanzo and Burke entertain often and appreciate the way their layout allows for easy traffic flow with a crowd, but just as easily lends itself to more intimate gatherings.
Davanzo is a graphic designer, so the simplicity of the Lumen’s plans appealed to him. And because he came to Seattle from Venice, by way of Florence, the European feel was alluring as well. Burke is originally from Michigan, and works at the Port of Seattle as a transportation planner. Possessing what Davanzo refers to as “good Midwestern logic,” he, too, loved the look of the Lumen. In other words, things must be functional as well as beautiful, and the Lumen’s efficient use of space without clutter fit the bill.
Because Davanzo has always worked from home, his office was an important consideration as the couple shopped for a condo. “You need to make sure you make a space for the office that is not intrusive with the rest of the home, and at the same time you don’t want a client to come over and see you stirring a pot,” explains Davanzo. “So there needs to be a design that works well both ways. Not a home that looks like an office, but not an office that looks like your home.” And that’s where Nana wall systems (giant glazed-glass sections that slide on tracks) came in handy. They enclose Davanzo’s office, separating it from the living spaces and giving it privacy without cutting it off.
The real challenge, however, was to design and decorate a small space for work, life and play without overwhelming it with stuff. In this case the result is particularly remarkable because while the whole condominium positively glows with color, warmth and personality (Davanzo designed the look of the board game Cranium, after all), and serves as home to two adults and workplace for one of them, there is nothing extraneous to take away from its sophisticated and surprisingly expansive ambience.
Leora Y. Bloom writes about beautiful homes. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Benjamin Benschneider is a Pacific Northwest magazine staff photographer.