Real EstateThe House Was in Bad Shape. But It Was...

The House Was in Bad Shape. But It Was on a Lake in Seattle.


Discovering a house that feels proper isn’t simple. Generally, as Jeremy and Jen Lewis found whereas trying to find a spot in Seattle, it could take years.

The couple, who had been working in finance in New York, moved to the West Coast in 2006 with their youngsters — Ben, now 24, Sarah, 22, and Margaret, 19 — after Ms. Lewis left her job and Mr. Lewis accepted a suggestion to assist construct a Seattle-based video-game firm.

“We wished to go and discover a brand new a part of the world with our household,” Mr. Lewis, 53, mentioned.

At first, they moved to Bainbridge Island, drawn by its lush magnificence and quick ferry trip to Seattle. The surroundings was breathtaking, however Mr. Lewis rapidly found that commuting to work was extra time-consuming than anticipated. After a few years, they started renting houses within the metropolis and on the lookout for a spot there to purchase.

It was simpler mentioned than achieved. After 4 years of renting, “we have been nonetheless looking out for a particular house and property that may be extra everlasting and provides us a way of place,” Ms. Lewis, 53, mentioned.

When their lease was about to run out, the couple determined to purchase a home in close by Bellevue as a stopgap. “It was your best option on the time,” Ms. Lewis mentioned.

It wasn’t till 2016 that they discovered a spot that captured their creativeness: a 5,400-square-foot home on an extra-wide lot within the Laurelhurst neighborhood of Seattle. The home, which confronted Lake Washington, had been in-built 1950 and partially up to date through the years, nevertheless it nonetheless wanted an entire overhaul.

“It hadn’t been renovated for a few years. It had knob-and-tube electrical; it had a chopped-up ground plan,” Ms. Lewis mentioned.

But it surely additionally had good bones value preserving and options they hadn’t discovered elsewhere. “The view is expansive,” she mentioned. “You possibly can see Mount Rainier.”

The property additionally had direct entry to the water, and the Lewises weren’t the one ones who noticed the enchantment of that. With a list value of $4.75 million, the property drew a number of presents. The couple finally gained the bidding struggle with a bid of $5.8 million, and closed in July 2016.

Then they referred to as Prentis Hale, a highschool pal of Mr. Lewis’s and the principal architect of the Seattle-based agency Shed Structure and Design, who shared their enthusiasm for the positioning. “It’s a gorgeous piece of property that’s onerous to not like,” Mr. Hale mentioned. “However the home had a variety of deferred upkeep. It wanted a lot work.”

Many individuals would have torn it down and constructed one thing larger, however the Lewises wished to work with what was already there. Mr. Hale developed a plan to rework the home inside and outside whereas leaving the unique construction principally intact.

To get the household into the home as rapidly as attainable, he cut up the work into two phases: The primary could be a intestine renovation of the inside; the second could be a metamorphosis of the outside, with a brand new outbuilding and landscaping to tie the whole lot collectively.

Within the first part, partitions have been eliminated between the kitchen, lounge, eating room and solarium to create one free-flowing house with the informal sense of togetherness the Lewises envisioned. Upstairs, six awkward bedrooms have been reconfigured into 4 beneficiant ones. Downstairs, the media room within the walkout basement was reworked.

All through, the Lewises selected supplies they wouldn’t have to fret about, whereas aiming so as to add slightly Japanese wabi-sabi, which they’d admired throughout a visit to Kyoto years earlier. “We wished it to be sensible,” Ms. Lewis mentioned. “You could be coming in off the lake dripping moist, so we wished to embrace that concept of utilizing the home in a snug approach, the place nothing was overly treasured.”

That line of considering is widespread within the space, famous the couple’s inside designer, Jennie Gruss. “Within the Northwest, individuals need their areas to be stunning however tremendous practical and sturdy,” she mentioned. “However on prime of that, they wished this layer of serenity.”

The furnishings she used included a pair of lounge sofas upholstered in indoor-outdoor cloth that appears and appears like white linen however resists moisture and stains, and a pair of classic chairs by Jindrich Halabala that already had timeworn wooden arms.

The household moved into the home after the primary part was accomplished in September 2017, in time to get pleasure from it earlier than their oldest little one left for school. They moved again out once more in June 2018, and the second part started. This time, their contractor, Whelbilt Houses, up to date the outside look of the home, changing previous home windows with new high-performance ones and recladding the construction with shou-sugi-ban charred wooden siding on the highest ground and slender white bricks on the decrease ground.

Beside the home, they constructed a 1,100-square-foot outbuilding with a storage and visitor suite at road stage, and an outside bathe and space for storing for paddleboards beneath. (Mr. Lewis is a paddling fanatic who has competed in long-distance races.)

The brand new landscaping, designed by the panorama structure agency Alchemie and carried out by Ohashi Panorama Providers, stitches the 2 buildings along with Huckleberry basalt boulders, forest grasses and Japanese black pine timber (together with some that have been 70 years previous), to create a right away sense of maturity. The landscaping additionally consists of areas for a sizzling tub from J & Okay Cedarworks, a fireplace pit and an space of garden the place the household canine, Luigi, can run.

Development was full a yr later, in June 2019. Altogether, the undertaking value about $500 a sq. foot.

When their youngest little one left for school earlier this yr, Mr. and Ms. Lewis turned empty nesters. However the house they constructed nonetheless serves because the household’s major gathering spot. “It’s a extremely pretty place to be,” Mr. Lewis mentioned. “We dwell outdoors as a lot as inside, getting train or simply sitting by the fireplace pit and telling a very good story.”

“Or,” Ms. Lewis added, “sitting within the sizzling tub on a wet day.”

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