Owners of this Magnolia waterfront house wanted a Craftsman, Japanese, Northwest feel to their home. They got it.

Share story

WE GATHER TODAY in defense of the oft-maligned Craftsman. All that it was and is, and in this case, can be. Behold this carefully crafted and comfortable family home, a blend that takes from the best of that era, along with influences from Northwest and traditional Japanese design.

“I said to Tom, ‘Let’s take a cue from the Gamble House.’ So that’s his take on it,” says homeowner Eric, referring to one of the finest examples of American Arts and Crafts architecture, designed by Charles and Henry Greene in 1908. Specifically, he’s talking about the front door: the architect’s own transomed take on the entry of the Gamble House.

Custom work, by architect Tom Lawrence, beginning right at, well, the beginning of this family home on the Perkins Lane beachfront in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood. By the way, even before opening the door, the view? Mount Rainier impersonating a snow cone, the working waterfront, islands and mountains, blue water as far as the eye can see. The rocky beach is mossy green. The briny smell is intoxicating.

“We’re not formal,” says Eric, now in the kitchen of the home he shares with his wife, Ann, their small son and two large poodles. “That was definitely a commitment we made. We wanted the table in the kitchen, no dining room.”

The original landscape was done by Richard Haag. Kenichi Nakano inherited the project from Haag and worked on it through permitting. But Nakano died around the time construction began. David Ohashi made further refinements to the design. After construction, Richard Hartlage of Land Morphology was tasked with developing the landscape design. (Benjamin Benschneider/The Seattle Times)
The original landscape was done by Richard Haag. Kenichi Nakano inherited the project from Haag and worked on it through permitting. But Nakano died around the time construction began. David Ohashi made further refinements to the design. After construction, Richard Hartlage of Land Morphology was tasked with developing the landscape design. (Benjamin Benschneider/The Seattle Times)

Here we are, and there it is. Waterside and large enough to seat eight. But there are more places to take a meal in this low-slung home of glass walls (which slide away and make house into pavilion when desired) that runs parallel to the shore, across 150 feet of beachfront. On the other side of the home, for instance — the garden side.

A tall ceiling gives the intimate master bedroom, with a gas fireplace, a grand feel. The room is located on the lower floor, but is flooded with light. All the walls in the home are either this shade of Sherwin Williams 7051 (Analytical Gray) or, in a few spots, a shade darker. (Benjamin Benschneider/The Seattle Times)
A tall ceiling gives the intimate master bedroom, with a gas fireplace, a grand feel. The room is located on the lower floor, but is flooded with light. All the walls in the home are either this shade of Sherwin Williams 7051 (Analytical Gray) or, in a few spots, a shade darker. (Benjamin Benschneider/The Seattle Times)

Lawrence worked to maximize connection to the landscape on all sides of the place, 4,500 square feet, four bedrooms, five baths. The deck wraps the home. To keep the profile low, three levels step down toward the water.

Up top is for living: library, living room, kitchen, pantry, playroom, bathroom, office.

One flight down, it’s rooms for wine, working out, laundry, kids, bathing and, at the end of the trail to the south, the master bedroom. Rooms are small, functional, ceilings tall, making spaces more grand. The master also has a toasty fireplace and private terrace.

“A challenge for Tom was to make this level not feel like a basement,” Eric says. No chance. Too much sea and sky in rooms lined in south-facing windows.

The lap pool, 50 feet long, on the home’s lowest level, seems to sit right off the water. (Benjamin Benschneider/The Seattle Times)
The lap pool, 50 feet long, on the home’s lowest level, seems to sit right off the water. (Benjamin Benschneider/The Seattle Times)

Another floor down, off the beach, sits the pool. A serious pool for serious lap swimmers, 10 feet wide and 50 feet long. Doors here also roll open to the Sound.

Eric knows the next question before it’s even asked: “I don’t worry about it (the stability of Perkins Lane),” he says. “This area here has been stable for a long time, and as much money went into the ground as into the home.” Kudos to geotechnical engineer Marc McGinnis of Geotech Consultants and contractor Schultz Miller.

Furnishings are plush and comfortable, good for a flop with the dogs or kids, and the work of Ann and interior designer Nancy Ralston of Ralston Design.

“Nancy showed me greenish grays and brownish grays for the paint color on the walls. I thought, ‘Are you kidding me? We can’t have this, it’s appalling,’ ” says Ann. “But when she showed me how warm it was compared to white, I got it.”

The combined comforts of home, gym, pool and beach would tempt one never to leave. Almost.

“If Amazon Fresh could figure out better produce, we wouldn’t,” says Eric. “I love coming home and smelling the saltwater, feeling relaxed and being in the city.”