The couple had been stewards of historic and older homes in England, Toronto, San Jose and Preston. They understood the pleasures and the challenges.
MARYANNE TAGNEY and David Terry Jones had hopes of upgrading their Craftsman home in Preston because, at this point in their life, it no longer fit their needs. As they compared their wish list with what would be required in a redesign, it became apparent that the charm of the house would be sacrificed.
So, they decided it would be better to search for something that more closely matched their list:
Five bedrooms to accommodate themselves, their children, grandchildren and a regular stream of guests; a great room; three or four bathrooms; a laundry room; exercise room; a nice garden; a view; a garage; and a greenhouse. Not a small order.
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A friend who was a real-estate agent suggested a West Seattle house that had all the requirements and more. The 1922 Tudor-style house designed by Arthur Loveless even had its original Otis elevator in working order. There was only one problem: It wasn’t for sale. Undeterred, Maryanne and David contacted the owners, who said they would sell only to someone who would keep it as a family house with the grounds intact.
It was serendipity. The couple had been stewards of historic and older homes in England, Toronto, San Jose and Preston. They understood the pleasures and the challenges. The couple’s preservationist values would affect their approach as they tackled upgrades to the West Seattle house built for Laurence Colman, son of pioneer Seattle businessman and sawmill supervisor James Colman, whose name is memorialized in the Pier 52 ferry dock and the Colman Building on First Avenue.
Maryanne and David bought the property three years ago and devoted more than a year to renovation. With the advice of architect Michelle Quesada and general contractor Todd Erickson of TL Erickson Construction, they addressed outdated or failing systems. They chose to remodel only those rooms that had already been changed over time, such as the kitchen. Some of the bathrooms were not to code, so they made alterations while saving some fixtures and original tile. The ground-floor rooms were transformed to laundry and exercise rooms, a home theater and wine storage.
The great room is virtually untouched apart from plasterwork repairs and new paint. The couple reinstalled French doors that had been removed between the stair hall and the living room by using doors that had originally led from the living room to the south terrace. The stair hall has a new oak wainscot that closely matches the original stair oak and adds warmth to the walls.
The exterior received much-needed attention. New dual-pane doors were installed. The lower garden, isolated from the house and rarely used, was relandscaped with a patio. Access was improved with French doors from the ground floor and a new set of stairs that descends from a reconstructed south patio off the living room. The new patio looks almost identical to the original, thanks to red tile pavers and similar masonry. At the front of the house, a porch off the library has been enclosed with doors that slide on tracks and discretely disappear behind walls.
The garage, greenhouses and garden shed were repaired so David has more room to work. A kitchen garden has been created, and perennial beds now offer color all year ’round.
At last, they have the home that completes their list.
Lawrence Kreisman is program director of Historic Seattle. Benjamin Benschneider is a Pacific NW staff photographer.