How a bathroom touch-up evolved into a whole-home transformation.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: When the little things come together, everything comes together. Best case in point: Kelsey and Ross Henry’s woodsy Woodinville home, which seamlessly connects architecture and interior design, openness and intimacy — and, ultimately, supreme livability and a whole lot of loveliness.
The collective connective stars started to align over this rural rambler early on, when the Henrys initially figured they might just rework the downstairs bathroom shared by their teenagers, Isabel and Andy. Except they were having trouble finding a reworker.
“We were networking and asking friends. Ross was on the internet,” says Kelsey. “We’d reach out and get vibes that we were not important enough — we were kind of getting beat up and discouraged. I was on Houzz for some reason and landed on Board & Vellum’s profile; they looked interesting. That night, my husband comes home and says a friend knows a design firm, and he throws down a card. Oh my gosh; it’s the same firm! It was an energy/universe connection.”
On first encounter with the Henrys’ 1970s-era home, B&V architect Jeff Pelletier and interior designer Katie Mallory noticed a few missing links beyond the basement bathroom.
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“The rooms were boxes,” Pelletier says. “The square footage was here; what was missing was the soul: built-ins, furnishings, warmth. There was no dining space. From the kitchen, there was no connection to the living area, no room for a dining table.”
“Rework” morphed into “remodel,” as will happen, and the next natural thing to come together was a holistic, bigger-picture plan: a reconfigured entry; new cabinetry, a pantry and a “mail station” for the first-level kitchen; an opened-up, integrated staircase; a new, colorful mudroom; a revitalized master bedroom; lighting updates throughout — and a new, central dining area whose focus hangs on some actual, bigger pictures.
“We didn’t add any space; we just made the home live larger,” says Pelletier. “We did a lot of really small moves that created spaces.”
When he took in the closed-off office space off the vaulted living area, Pelletier says, “The first thing I whispered to Katie was, ‘We have to put the dining room there. It’d be intimate in a big space.’ ”
Kelsey is not a huge fan of the formal dining room, in name or in space, so, “I call it a nook,” she says: a bright, cozy, connected nook with a built-in buffet and storage/seating, a custom table and fabulous framed art. “Whether it’s homework or eating a bowl of cereal, it really reflects who we are.”
Kelsey and Ross “love contemporary art and color,” Pelletier says, so Mallory used three original pieces by local artist Liz Tranhere “as inspiration for color and texture. The first thing you see is the art.”
“Her original artwork is quite expensive, but my husband has been following her and found original pieces that weren’t framed or on canvas,” says Kelsey. “They were considerably less expensive, so he bought them, and — boom — we had them framed, on our budget, in our way.”
Elsewhere, Kelsey says, “We have meaningful pieces from real people.” The substantial Troy Pillow sculpture outdoors was a gift for Ross’ 40th birthday, and a stunning piece by Gerard Tsutakawa, atop the new, double-sided, Milestone-finished concrete fireplace, “is Ross’ pride and joy.” Work by Harold Hollingsworth, now displayed in the totally reconfigured lower level, “also is an inspiration,” she says.
Actually, the entire reconfigured lower level is inspired.
“We transformed the formerly dark and unprogrammed basement. There were big moves downstairs,” Pelletier says. “It’s funny how much that space changed. So much square footage was underutilized. There were two rooms with no purpose; you didn’t know how to use it.”
Now all beautifully usable and united, the kids’ rooms were “slightly reconfigured”; a “long, submarine hallway” resurfaced as a game room; and there’s a new TV room with a low, horizontal fireplace and tons of built-in oak cabinetry, and a new wine cellar and office that sport happy, orange sliding barn doors.
Also downstairs: the original instigator of total togetherness — the kids’ bathroom, now with built-in cabinets, one sink apiece (but just one trough), a pocket door to the toilet and shower, individual storage space behind individual mirrors.
“It’s been fantastic,” Kelsey says. “This is where it all started. We knew we wanted to do the bathroom remodel and tweak, and I love that we did a 360 and just did it all. People say it’s so integrated and ties in to the concept. You either go all in, or you don’t. Jeff and his team came in and opened up a whole new world.”