Fed up with their Midcentury fixer, one Seattle couple moved to the Bryant neighborhood and a contemporary home that works on every level — from the private master suite upstairs to the art studio on the ground floor.
BOB DZIELAK and Jackie Ryall bought a Midcentury fixer on North Capitol Hill. They loved the Midcentury part, but found they had no time for the fixer part.
So their real-estate agent, throwing out possibilities, says, “What about Bryant?”
” ‘What’s that?’ we said. We thought it was the builder,” says Dzielak, amused he had never heard of the neighborhood northeast of the University of Washington.
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What their realtor showed them via e-mail was the best of all here-we-go-moving-again worlds: streamlined, full of glass and light, and, very best of all, already remade from top to bottom by Whitney Architecture and Dyna Contracting.
“I wrote back, ‘You should probably bring a written offer,’ ” Dzielak says. “We knew when we walked in. It just works.”
And by that he means details above and beyond. “There is none of that, aww, why did they do that?” he says. A spit drain in the wine-room floor; Bocci orb lights over the dining-room table; consistent use of marble and dark-stained rift-cut red-oak cabinetry.
Not to mention that the house seems made just for this pair of lawyers; him for Expedia and her for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “I really needed a studio,” says Dzielak, also a painter and photographer. “I can leave everything out and nobody sees it.”
Then he adds, “You’ve really got to see the before.” Just a little box of a house, 1950s variety, horizontal siding, the whole thing tucked into a blanket of ivy.
Now what rises from this piece of earth is tall and majestic, a long vertical window slicing horizontal planes, windows everywhere, decks in all the right places at 2,920 square feet.
On the ground floor an art studio, wine room, one bedroom and bath. The top floor is for private spaces; master bedroom, sitting area, mother-in-law suite. Between them, the main floor, is dining room on one side, living room on the other. Matching fireplaces face off across the house. The tie that binds is a wide-open kitchen. The marble-topped island there so large (4 by 12 feet) the couple call it Guam. “How big is this?” Dzielak says. “It’s huge!”
Dzielak is funny like that. And he appreciates the fun touches that, since Thanksgiving 2007, make this house his home: in a place of white, white and more white, a powder-room wall that shouts out in 2-inch-by-2-inch rust-colored tiles. Over the toilet hangs a chandelier of clear balls containing crystal snowflakes.
Dzielak even shows off a large storage room near the kitchen. “It allows you to live and to have your clutter. They did smart things like this.”
The couple live fearlessly, contemporary in a traditional neighborhood, and without curtains. But, in truth, the house rises over the neighborhood, much of it beyond the view of lookie-loos. Views include mountains and downtown Seattle.
For Dzielak and Ryall’s part, project designer Markus Kolb says, “All of their touches just seem to mesh perfectly.” And by this he means a well-chosen blend of Le Corbusier here mixed with a little Ikea there.
After living on Capitol Hill, in a loft and the Midcentury, there’s only one problem with Bryant: “The birds wake us up in the morning, as opposed to the sirens and firetrucks.”
Rebecca Teagarden is assistant editor of Pacific Northwest magazine. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.