This in-city waterfront home feels like a vacation home however this is a year-round primary residence. And happiness is a collection of shells from the beach just outside… Their back door opens to the sands of the Puget Sound in West Seattle which is a mere fifteen minute drive (yes, admittedly on a good traffic day) to the metropolis of the bustling fastest growing city in the US. Here is a family who has collected prize-worthy shells and composed them in various unique containers and has incorporated whimsical beach-y artifacts through out the home. And it feels like we are on holiday 24/7!
Recently the interior was in need of a refreshing update. An attraction to the linear style fireplace was intriguing and we moved forward to incorporate this feature.
Redesigning the fireplace was a perfect opportunity to update the entire wall. The original casework was built to accommodate a TV. Now that there is a dedicated media room as the preferred venue, we designed shelves to prominently display the shell collection.
Before and After Photo
What a happy project to be working on! The carpenters were always whistling or singing along with the jovial homeowner who was jumping in to help as work progressed. Once the homeowners fell in love with a slab of Antartide quartzite for the hearth the rest of the materials were selected. The stacked stone for the wall complements the hearthstone beautifully. LED lights were incorporated to the display shelves and add drama to this now sophisticated focal wall. A new sectional creates a very comfortable conversational area. The sublime view of the Puget Sound and the Vashon Ferry makes the contractors’ work much more enjoyable!
Next the Kitchen
We had half a slab of Antartide left. The existing island in the kitchen was three awkward levels. We changed the layout to make a longer bar top for more comfortable seating and easier access for the chef. The remnant was perfect for the new bar top. The West wall of the kitchen prep area was cramped so we created more counter space. An under counter microwave drawer and a revised upper cabinet design allowed for a more spacious and functional work area. The sink and faucet were also replaced. A new color scheme and painting the cabinets brightened the space.
Next the Dysfunctional Desk
Enough said for many existing desk areas in today’s kitchens. Tearing it out and retrofitting the area with a wine cooler made perfect sense.
Integrating classic and natural materials such as linen, natural fir, and soapstone create textural interest achieving a relaxed and whimsical ambience. Capturing the spirit of the client, the sea shells are the heart of this home lending to its beach-y aesthetic. The abstract artwork lends a polished contemporary vibe. As the homeowner wrote to me: “All the shells were handpicked on the beach in front by my Mom. She washed each shell and carefully arranged them in glass vases. She did this over a period of 15+ years. We spent a huge amount of that time together on the beach. Thank you so much for suggesting I fill the shelves with them! Not only does it look fantastic but it warms my heart with memories of my Mom every time I look at them.”
One feels a sense of happiness and joy in this home. Last but not least Henry ties it all together!
Last night I was watching one of the longest tennis matches in Wimbledon history. I was rooting for the American John Isner
and was more engaged this year because of my visit to my new best friend, Tracey, in Wimbledon last October. No I didn’t see any tennis but I did run about 8 miles in the village with my destination to the stadium. Stopped to take in the scenery along the way. Calling it my Tour de Wimbledon Run!
Celebrating 132 Years of the World’s Oldest Tennis Tournament. No pictures on the tour. Onward to the Village and to Explore the charms of Wimbledon, I stopped by the local tile boutique, Topps Tiles, and chatted with the proprietors. Interestingly they really wanted to talk politics. The United States economy affects every country in the world. I just wanted to view their tile trends! We promised to keep in touch and to mention their store in my post. Such a friendly encounter.
Also in the Village was an interesting and elegant radiator store beautifully decorated.
The lighting store with both vintage and modern items was equally intriguing.
On the run to Cannizaro Park I stopped to take pictures of the beautiful October flowers.
Through the Alley of my namesake to see Hotel du Vin Cannizaro which has the most beautiful lush setting on the park.
The aviary, which is a very popular attraction in the park, especially with children, was built in 1976.
Running back to my friend’s flat I stopped to capture this photo of Sacred Heart. The Cathedral, of course, is where the Wimbledon Grand Slam is held every year and every year it comes with a set of traditions that are worthy of the place. No, not the church…the stadium!
I visited one of the preserved windmills at the end of the commons but unfortunately did not take any photos. Someday I hope to go back and also see a tennis match! Thanks to my friend Tracey for inviting me to visit and providing the most memorable experience. More »
We are moving my Mother again today. At 92 years old she needs more care. I am sad as her current one bedroom apartment in a Senior Living Community was just so perfect for her when we moved her two years ago. After a stroke last month she requires more care and attention so has to move to a much smaller studio which is closer to the nurse’s station. I am feeling sentimental and want to share some of the highlights of my Mother’s wonderful long life.
A Love for Traditional Design
Since I was a little girl, my Mother and I toured all the mansions up and down the East Coast. Visiting Williamsburg many times, Sturbridge Village, Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village outside of Detroit, Designer Show homes, open houses and museums all contributed to my love of furniture and decor. Growing up in Philadelphia there was a plethora of historic homes to visit. We would often take a Saturday and drive to Delaware to see the DuPont home of Winterthur. We toured the White House in Washington DC when I was only 9 years old. Our mutual love of home decor is the reason I am an Interior Designer today. I excelled in my history classes whenever there was mention of interior furnishings and I love studying sets of TV shows and period movies especially. She gave me my love for traditional design and antiques.
More about my Mother
She has always lived in the prettiest of homes. We have had a few painted for keepsakes and these will definitely hang on her walls in the new apartment. Unfortunately we did not take many interior photos. Mother grew up in Center City Philadelphia in a two bedroom apartment home which today has been renovated and is even more beautiful. We lived about 7 miles away and would visit my grandparents several times a week.
My father died suddenly at age 58 and when my Mother was 62 she sold their “Gentleman’s Farm” in the Poconos where they moved when I was in college. It was too much maintenance although she loved driving the tractor to cut the grass.
Attending my wedding in Seattle in ’86, she bought a house the following week. She bought a home large enough for my sister and her two young children to live with her. Mother worked at Sears (now the Starbucks headquarters) and my sister attended the Art Institute.
We have always been amazed that she never even had a coffee with another man even though we encouraged her to date. She worked part time until she was 80 at the YMCA. We will definitely be hanging these paintings of the homes in the new apartment.
Too Much Stuff!
I’m sad because all her lovely traditional furniture will no longer fit.
I think my sister can fit the curio in her home. There are not enough walls for her large botanical prints or the Robert Furber monthly botanical prints that have graced a room in every one of her homes over the years.
Three Moves in Three Years
I know many of my readers have experienced similar “trauma” in downsizing their parents’ homes. And it is quite stressful. During the move two years ago I tried to fit a few small chests of drawers and tables into my home so I would not have to give them away. For sentimental reasons, I kept the Hekman glass and brass coffee table that is not really my style, but does fit in my Family room. I stripped and refinished the old dining table and reupholstered the chairs for my breakfast area. I actually love them!
Today I think the 18th Century High Boy will fit in my guest bedroom and there is a small marble dining table that I may use for a vanity in my Master Bedroom.
Down Sizing is a Good Thing…Keep Believing
She is not truly aware of what the move means, but she will not have a kitchen anymore. No need as she isn’t capable of making a pot of coffee and the toast keeps burning so it is not safe. All her meals will be served to her in a communal dining room. We already gave away 2 sets of China and now there is no need for the sterling flatware or the Limoges that we enjoyed at the family dinners for so long.
She had a love of travel and traveled to Europe several times becoming a Francophile and collecting and loving all things French. My takeaway is to realize that the treasured items have provided much joy over the years.
And now it is time to let them go and appreciate our memories. I vow not to collect too much stuff. This cartoon I saw recently about sums up the state of our possessions!
Her most important possession by far is Daisy.
It is with deep sadness that these cherished accumulations cannot be kept forever. The grandchildren do not care for the “old-fashioned” style or are too transient or live in small apartments too.
But now I am so happy my niece wants to take the dainty pink flowered china!
Slowly I will unpack the framed pictures knowing they will not all fit.
As I am writing this I realize my Mother’s little studio is much more organized than my own house which is now bursting with her stuff!
Things don’t Matter…except to Me!
And it is bittersweet that I don’t even think my Mom realizes that she has left so much behind in her move. The four poster bed she has had since marrying 72 years ago has a new home with a neighbor who happily appreciates it. We were able to keep the large stained glass window which adds a little color and style to the plain windows in her new “Living Room”.
I don’t think she cares all that much. She just wants to spend time with those of us she knows. Or at least recognizes…most of the time.
Reminiscing with Photos
Her favorite pastime is to look through old photographs. Many of them are not in albums or organized but those are the ones she seems to enjoy the most because she can read the notes on the reverse side. The following photograph is with her dog Pudgy and all her wedding gifts displayed.
I’m writing this as a cathartic way to document some of my memories. I am cherishing each day and am grateful for the time I still have with my Mother. Most important to me is that she still knows who I am and is happy to see me. Occasionally she calls me Elizabeth! And as I was leaving today, not for the first time, she asked ” Who is your Mother?”
You can see from the photos that she has a light-hearted spirit and is mostly happy with her new surroundings! She has always been a diehard sports fan rooting for her beloved Phillies and Mariners, and Seahawks and Eagles and the Villanova Wildcats (my father’s alma mater). Sadly, it is difficult for her to concentrate on the games just these past few months.
Always ready to dress up for a special occasion, she can be the life of a party especially if there is an opportunity to dance. Oh how she loves to dance!
She can call me any name she wants and as long as she is smiling that is just fine with me! Thanks for reading.
Do you enjoy viewing Interior Designers’ Before and After Makeover photos? I love to study them. Enjoy some of the following Before and After Makeovers.
It’s been a while. A professional blogger I am not. I am too interested and busy in helping my clients renovate/or build their new kitchens, baths and homes. How there is time to blog twice a week and keep up with all the fun projects I am involved in is a mystery to me. However, as the New Year begins, I do want to reflect on some of the transformations that have happened and have yet to be documented.
Many projects are smaller and do not justify the cost of a professional photo shoot. And my photography skills are limited to the iPhone. But the results are thrilling for both my clients and me. Enjoy some of the following Before and After Makeovers.
West Seattle Bathroom
This West Seattle Bathroom was entirely sweet but overdue for a refreshing update.
A new pedestal sink, glass tub surround, tile and custom niches make this an attractive and more functional bathroom. An Antique Mirror becomes the focal point of this charming bathroom.
The unique niche design took advantage of some space from an adjoining closet.
Blue Ridge Powder Room
The next photo shows an auxiliary powder room off the kitchen and laundry area that might have been considered creative at one time. It needed to be gutted and redesigned to become current with the style of the home. A funky mirror and teeny sink was replaced.
With an expansive mirror and marble counter with an under mounted sink, the tiny space is much prettier and useful.
Wedgewood Kitchen Renovation
Recently this kitchen in North East Seattle was updated with new cabinets, finishes, tile and a larger more functional island design. This picture was taken the day of the demo.
Here is another photo of the range wall before the redesign.
Look at the magnificent transformation the finishes, color scheme, lighting and backsplash tile contribute to this gorgeous kitchen.
Removing the wall ovens and replacing with an Advantium under counter Speed Oven allows more counter space next to the new Wolf range. Additional lighting enhances the sparkle of the slendid update.
Still a work in progress as we choose the artwork and accessories for this condo renovation, the Dekton counter tops and backsplash make a sophisticated statement. New white glossy uppers with dark wood-grain lower cabinets, stainless appliances and new lighting complete this now svelte kitchen.
In the same condo we converted the tub to a shower only with new tile and a frameless glass enclosure. New custom vanity and all new surfaces and lighting create an elegant minimalist ambience.
Blue Ridge Family Room
We redesigned the fireplace surround. Removing the wood enclosure and pushing the wall back about a foot widens the fireplace wall. Now the design for the custom shelves to accommodate the new larger TV blends smoothly. New furnishings, color scheme and and a large area rug make a dramatic change.
West Seattle Mid-Century Kitchen
This kitchen was painted dark. Enlarging the window and improving the lighting provided the option to choose darker cabinets and still brighten the kitchen. The custom walnut cabinets keep the interior true to its Mid Century roots.
This picture is taken in the evening during the dark winter at the holiday season so one can see it is truly exquisite night or day.
Not all of my happy makeovers are represented here, but I hope you enjoyed some of the stellar transformations! Seeing Before and After Makeovers are always interesting to me. Please feel free to comment or share some of yours! Are you ready for your Makeover?
View my next post to see a terrific Before and After Makeover of a Master Bathroom.