Although the couple did not enjoy previous remodeling adventures, they were glad they took on this one with Victoria A Holland Construction.
IN 2003, DAVE Hancock bought a view. The house that came with it was built in 1953 and had not been touched since by its one owner. Inside, a warren of tiny rooms, a lot of carpet and a bathroom complete with pink tile, pink tub, pink sink and pink toilet.
Before moving in, Hancock removed all the walls between the entrance and the view to create a great room that includes the entry, living, dining and kitchen areas. He gutted the kitchen and added built-ins to either side of the quintessential 1950s wall-of-rock fireplace.
Hancock lived there comfortably until 2010, when he married Lynn Thorburn. That’s when he realized he didn’t have enough closet space. Although Hancock was still recovering from his 2003 remodel, and Thorburn had sworn she’d never remodel again after a project in 2000, they called Victoria A Holland Construction for help. Holland’s husband and Hancock are dive buddies; he’d watched the design/build process in their home, and he liked her “contemporary rustic” style.
Holland designed a master suite that not only gave the couple the closets they were looking for, but also made the most of the view, added a private outdoor element and created a master-bath sanctuary. The footprint of the house remained the same, but Holland doubled the upstairs space, increasing the home’s square footage from 2,000 to 2,600.
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Both Hancock and Thorburn gave Holland wish lists, but much of the work was unanticipated. The previous owner had hand-dug the basement, so the second-story addition had to be built on pin pilings to lessen the load on the first floor. When the old master bathroom was taken down to the studs, Holland found so much rot that the studs had all but disappeared. Even the location was a challenge: high off the road and up a steep, narrow, shared driveway. Holland raves about the truck driver from Plywood Supply who backed up the driveway with just inches to spare so they could lift beams to the second floor. In fact, she credits her team (Sheldon Nelson, with whom she’s worked since 1984, and Steve Zimmerland, another contractor) for making the project a pleasure.
Although it’s a remodel, the house looks new. It’s contemporary in style and remarkably efficient: The powder room measures just 6 by 3 feet, but a slightly smaller toilet and a narrow hand-sink make it work; a stacked washer-dryer and built-in ironing board are tucked into the three-quarter guest bath on the second floor, creating a convenient laundry room next to the master suite; and a barn door built from the old deck separates the master from the guest bed and bath, which means that most of the second floor is wide open unless there are overnight guests.
But the view that first drew Hancock to the house is still the star. Holland designed the upstairs addition with a sloped roof that allows for a soaring wall of windows that adds “even more drama than I had anticipated,” Hancock says, pointing out his view from Magnolia north past Shilshole Marina and west all the way to Kingston. Boats congregate just in front of the house as they wait to go under the bridge and then through the locks toward Lake Union. “There’s a lot of action, and it always entertains.”
Could Hancock look at that view forever? “That’s the theory!”
Leora Y. Bloom writes about beautiful homes in and around Seattle. Benjamin Benschneider is a Pacific NW magazine staff photographer.