In the Suncadia recreational-home development, a family with special needs makes a second home that offers beauty and comfort to all.
TIMBER COLUMNS and steel beams wrap their sturdy arms around Mark and Linda and their daughters Alison and Lindsey, kicking back on a Saturday morning in their expansive and exquisite great room.
One might think their new vacation home in Suncadia is a luxury. It certainly looks luxurious: massive Montana ledgestone fireplace, dark walnut floors, long slabs of black slate on the kitchen counters, four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, studio apartment.
But it’s not. Lindsey, 11, is a child with special needs, and Linda’s mother is also in a wheelchair. That makes this place, a little more than an hour away from their Bellevue home, truly the family’s home away from home.
“Even when we go out to eat there are a lot of details,” Mark says. “So we wanted a place where we could go and Lindsey has the stuff she needs . . . something our friends would go to.
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“And we can get back to Seattle Children’s hospital if we need to.”
The couple hired architect David Clinkston of Clinkston Brunner Architects to build them a beautiful, sturdy, rustic home with a contemporary touch, what the architect calls “a distilled interpretation of local lodge architecture.” But it is accessible in every room and on both floors, crafted so any special accommodations are seemingly invisible.
“There’s a lot more to it than wide doors and low sinks,” says Mark, who has given this getaway home great thought.
There’s an elevator, tucked behind a door at the entrance, and an upper-level bridge for access from the main house to the studio. There’s also ample maneuver room, including a roll-in shower and changing tables on built-in bureaus. All of this slipped in among the high design with a rustic edge, fashioned by interior designer Barbara Hyde Evans of Hyde Evans Design.
“An interior designer was an insurance policy for us, so the house doesn’t look like it was done by two engineers, which we are,” Mark says. He Boeing, she Microsoft.
Mark says, “We knew there would be people here in chairs, but we didn’t want it to look . . .”
“Industrial or medical,” says Linda. “When we moved into Bellevue we spent six months finding an accessible house for Lindsey. So we thought it would be easier to build.”
Also, the paved trails of Suncadia are easy on strollers and wheelchairs.
“We put Lindsey in a golf cart with us, throw in some clubs and we go play golf,” Mark says.
Sure, there’s the golf and the inn and the village and all the rest of what goes with a vacation place in Suncadia, “but you know what else makes it great?” Mark says. “No mail comes to your house.”
Rebecca Teagarden is assistant editor of Pacific Northwest magazine. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.