The homeowners plan to age in place — gracefully and gratefully — in their new ‘Light House on Puget Sound.’
BETH AND TOM SANGER are not going anywhere. Well, except maybe to the Edmonds Arts Festival at the park directly across the street. Or to the handy kayak/paddleboard-launching beach just down the hill. Or — well, OK — also to the salon/spa that Beth owns, a mere two-block commute, on foot.
Otherwise, though: This is it.
“We are not planning to move,” says Beth. “One friend calls this our ‘toe-tag’ house.” As in, clarifies Tom, just in case: “We’re gonna die here.”
But first, there’s a whole lot of living to do for the whole Sanger family (kids Elliott, 21; Cate, 19; Ava, 17; and Emily, 16, and dogs Muffin and Timber) — in a fabulous home filled with life and so much light, architect Carl Colson calls it “The Light House on Puget Sound.”
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Two words. On purpose.
“The house was not inspired by a lighthouse, nor does it look like one,” he says. “The name was inspired by my goal to design a house that captured the available light and views of Puget Sound.”
Things had looked a little dark for a minute there: Squatters had overtaken the site’s previous house, a 1950s “ramshackle,” Colson says. But then the Sangers sat on its back porch and saw that forever view, and their forever place.
“We thought we could create our retirement house, and it’d be great for the kids,” Beth says. “The challenge was that I wanted a Pacific Northwest Craftsman.”
“The desire for a house with traditional rooflines with gable roofs” was just one challenge, Colson says, along with “a steep, sloping site; the city’s 25-foot roof-height limit; and the need to orient the house to the stunning views and the street.”
Then the crucial, creative — geometric — solutions started to fall into place.
“We talked about angles and knew the challenge was to work without awkward corners and such,” he says. “The house sits 9 feet above the sidewalk, and the entry is on a 45-degree angle to the street. Once we angled it, we were able to get those views. The classic design of the home and its landscaping tie into and reinforce the streetscape.”
(The first-level living room and the upstairs master bedroom also are oriented at a 45-degree angle.)
The result: a light, bright, airy, three-story, five-bedroom (counting accountant Tom’s office), five-bathroom home that carefully considers its traditional neighborhood, and the Sangers’ lifestyle.
“They live to entertain,” Colson says. “The whole living space needed to flow, open, with deck access from the kitchen, dining and living room.”
Even the Sangers’ street address played a role in one memorable shindig.
“Our lot was going to be 707, 709 or 711,” Tom says. “The builder said, ‘Obviously, you want 711.’ ”
And so, Colson says, “When the Sangers had their housewarming party, Tom played their address to the max by wearing a 7-Eleven store T-shirt, with a 7-Eleven store banner in the front yard and a 7-Eleven Slurpee machine that made some pretty darn good margaritas.”
Now, the bar in the main-level great room is designed for Champagne, Tom says, with the one downstairs for whiskey. (Other fun in the daylight basement: a temperature-controlled wine cellar and a beloved game room originally — pfft — intended as a crawl space.) Tom and Beth both like to barbecue, so there’s a grill on the covered porch off the kitchen, with a pass-through sliding window. And, Tom says, “Every room in the house has Sonos surround sound; every kid can play their own music.”
No wonder the Sangers are staying put — especially when you realize how easy Colson has made that. “There are several ADA accommodations,” he says: An elevator “is located near the two-car garage, providing easy access to all levels. [It] will allow the owners to age in place, having a home that is totally accessible, both for themselves and guests, should the need arise.”
Says Tom, “At this point, we didn’t want it to look ADA. But when the time comes … ”