The Whidbey Island home of the artist and the architect is a place to nurture and create.
THE LANE cuts through miles of meadow. A border collie works a wave of sheep in the distance. The road winds into the forest. Ferns and firs; the air crisp, chilled, drinkable. A lawn dart, affixed to a plywood board that reads “parking,” points its scrawny metal finger.
We have arrived.
“It’s three pole barns. They’re cheap to build,” Steve Badanes says simply, describing the Whidbey Island homestead he shares with his wife, artist Linda Beaumont.
He would know. Badanes is the Howard S. Wright professor of architecture at the University of Washington. He also teaches at Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont and is a founder of Jersey Devil Design/Build, a roguish group of designer-builders who built their own ecologically oriented designs while living on site.
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And not the least, Badanes and friends gave us the Fremont Troll.
“Every summer Steve devotes himself to Camp Beaumont for one month before he goes to Vermont,” says Beaumont of their five-acre property. Her résumé is also long. You know her work at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the King County Courthouse, Safeco Field, Bellevue City Hall and more.
When a place is beloved, things are named. Thus, Camp Beaumont. Out back is a shed, Winter Camp. “This is the Spirit Center,” Beaumont says in the kitchen, pointing out the liquor cabinet.
Camp Beaumont is a work in progress, evolving as time and money allow; the private delight of two public professionals.
“This is the first one for me,” Badanes says of the home. “We built so many for everybody else. It’s so amazing to stay in a place 10 years. This is the first time I’ve seen a garden grow.”
Boy, does it. Beaumont is an enthusiastic gardener. Raspberries, blueberries, beets, lettuce, broccoli, plums, apples, chard, peas, Asian pears.
Badanes’ greenhouse achieves thermal mass via wine bottles filled with water. Everywhere it is like this: Where there is a her, there is a him. Her mosaic garden table, his benches. His wood bowl, her salad greens.
“The longer you can stay comfortable with unresolved issues, the more appropriate the solution,” says Badanes. Behind him is a cement-board wall in the living/dining/kitchen.
“I finish everything with cement board. Every time you see cement board Linda’s going to do a mosaic,” Badanes says. “She’s way behind me.” This is a good sign for their continued life here. And Beaumont is in no hurry. Sometimes you have to wait to see what a thing wants to be.
There is, however, a most grand turquoise mosaic shower accented with glass rods and mirrors. Outside, another shower, creamy white with shards of marble, mirrors, dragonflies etched in stone.
The kitchen counter is also a Beaumont: cement terrazzo with jade, carnelian, shells, mother of pearl. The dining table: epoxy terrazzo, grass green and filled with color.
There are more places to make art at Camp Beaumont than to live. But making art is living. In the upstairs studio, under covered porches, within the big black building down the drive: 900 square feet for her, 900 square feet for him.
“I grew up in a big suburban house where I couldn’t do anything but in the laundry room,” Beaumont says. “I just always wanted a place to work. And here I am like a witch in the woods.”
Rebecca Teagarden writes about design and architecture for Pacific NW. Benjamin Benschneider is the magazine’s staff photographer.