Open spaces, a stunning veranda and expansive terrace bring in light and expand views at this three-story remodel in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood. A splash of crystal lighting inside adds a touch of glamour and femininity to this sleek contemporary home.
CONTEMPORARY AND feminine.
In case you thought the twain shall never meet, as they say, consider this stately Leschi home: Three floors, 5,100 square feet with four bedrooms, 4 ½ baths. Clean lines, high ceilings, open spaces. Steel and birch burl. Swarovski crystals waving above the dining table. A place near Lake Washington that reaches into the trees and out to the lake with just the right mix of warmth and glamour.
“She likes clean, contemporary stuff but she’s a little lacy along the hemline,” is how architect Lisa Kirkendall puts it about the home she designed for a client who loved the views and privacy but not the old house that had a protruding garage like an underbite on a bulldog. Construction began in June 2007, and the home was completed February 2009.
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Kirkendall, of Latini Kirkendall Architecture, pushed back the once-prominent car barn and stacked a stunning veranda and terrace one atop the other. She worked in an elevator that is at once unseen and yet serves everything from the third-floor private master suite to the second-floor kitchen-living-dining rooms to the first-floor workout room and apartment, and even the garage below.
But the veranda and lower-floor terrace do the heavy lifting here. The covered veranda in the main living space sits front and center. Massive glass sliders, 13 feet by 15 feet, from Quantum Windows & Doors allow the entire floor to be reconfigured based on whim and weather. This space can be opened to the home from each of its three interior sides; living room to the south, dining room to the west, kitchen-family room to the north. Or to all of them at once, creating one encompassing space, lake breezes rushing in to say hello.
The lower-floor terrace features a stoical, black fountain that flows into a reflection pool and then down a black-granite waterwall. It greets visitors at the front door and offers a private, peaceful respite for those staying in the apartment (primarily, visiting parents).
Kirkendall credits collaboration for the rich results: with contractor Brent Heath of EH Construction, structural engineers Swenson Say Fagét, metalsmith Tad Turner of T-Tech, landscape designer Daniel Yarger and a very involved homeowner.
And when the home was finished Kirkendall was not, teaming up with her client on the interiors, which she reports was great fun. “There was no interior designer on this. Just the client, and me following her around the Seattle Design Center,” Kirkendall says of their safaris for light fixtures, tile patterns, woods, fabrics and cabinet pulls.
“I don’t like those jobs where after the design the client says, ‘thankyouverymuch,’ because often when I go back I cringe.”
Feminine touches, beyond, of course, a walk-in closet bigger than some New York City apartments, are also contemporary ones. And they surprise.
The wall treatment in the master bathroom appears to be a rich wallpaper accented with crystal chandeliers placed like dangly earrings alongside the vanity mirrors. Hardly fitting for a contemporary home. But look closer: the gold and brown damask is actually tile, 14 by 22 inches. Mini-chandelier sconces by Anthologie Quartett are crystals dancing around bare light bulbs.
Rebecca Teagarden is assistant editor of Pacific Northwest magazine. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.