This 1980s house got a serious makeover, with no surface untouched, according to the homeowner. The finished result is serene and airy.

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PAT AND HIS WIFE are family people. They’ve got four grown boys and a big dog. Both have lots of kin. And what they wanted to include in the Lake Washington view home they had just purchased was a room for just that purpose: A family room. A big family room for a big family. A place to play guitars, piano, games, entertain, watch TV, hang.

And so, work began. An addition over the kitchen.

Then so did the uh-ohs.

“The history on the house, long story short,” reports designer Theresa Freeman of SHKS Architects, “is that somewhere in its construction, I believe, there was a relationship change, so it became a spec project and was value-engineered.”

Freeman is too kind. The 1980s pinkish-orange, stucco-coated Italianate suffered from a divorce and was, thus, poorly built.

Down to the studs it went.

“There’s no surface untouched,” is how Pat puts it of their place that has bridge-to-bridge views. Riley, the family labradoodle the color of a rusty nail, is taking some sun in a light-soaked window seat.

Designer Freeman’s work here was a balancing act: Pat was tied to “old fashioned.” His wife, after the family had lived in an early 1900s home on Capitol Hill, was ready for contemporary.

Freeman met the couple in the middle with restrained architectural detailing that renders the new place elegant, open and elevated. (So open and elevated that Pat says, “My first feeling, when I walked into the master bedroom, was like I was living in a tree fort.”) Materials are mixed but blended: In the master bathroom, for instance, it’s honed marble counters over distressed walnut cabinets.

Then there’s the winding staircase just inside the front door. There had been another version in the old house, but grand it was not. The new and improved model is paneled, light-filled and painted the softest of green (technically, C2 calls it Potato Leek). It is grounded by a blackened-steel stair railing of oval pickets, a pattern repeated throughout the home (even on the front gate).

The kitchen, meanwhile, is directly off this newly grand entry. And, so, it too had to muster up (there’s still a spot for Riley’s tennis-ball basket, however).


The enlarged room is now easily accessed from two sides (off the entrance and via a wet bar/butler’s pantry near the living room). The room also was reconfigured to face the large limestone terrace that, when the weather cooperates, is its own series of irresistible living/gathering spaces: rooms for music, living and dining. The music garden was designed by architect Alison Walker Brems of Art/Architecture Brems. Nearby is a large wall of water that cascades over a sculptural stone wall, installed by Turnstone Construction.

Freeman’s work, meanwhile, didn’t stop when construction was complete. She called out furnishings, finishings, window coverings, paint, lighting “and so on, right down to the pillows on the sofas,” including wool/silk rugs from Driscoll Robbins and tile from Ann Sacks. The whole ball of wax.

She says, “The outcome is very serene and airy, but not so precious they can’t all hang out and make music in the living room. They use all the rooms — there aren’t any just for company.”

Pat was intimately involved in the rebirth of this house, a remaking to welcome lots of family, lots of the time. And he praises the results of the work, 5,300 square feet, like so: “We have only three bedrooms (there had been six), but we have lots of common areas.”