Historical Details Lend Style To A Seattle Home


traditional neutral exterior

After taking their time to decide on the style of their house, a couple assemble a skilled team to build a home that made the wait worthwhile.

traditional foyer with a blue...

Though a side entry is less formal than other spaces in the house, Kleiner furnished it with a custom settee in a John Robshaw fabric and a 19th-century light fixture from Lucca Antiques to tie it stylistically to the rest of the house. The rug is the homeowners' own.

traditional white foyer with cheetah-print...

Builder Tony Giaquinta worked with project superintendent Richard Dilling, Gauge Design Group and a team of carpenters on the home's main staircase; traversing its length is a Stark runner from George Associates. Into the elegant space come traditional elements, including the 19th-century English bench from 1stdibs in a Raoul Textiles linen print and sconces from Kristen Buckingham. The Shiir rug from Jennifer West offers a punch of color.

traditional living room with red...

In the living room, a Schumacher grass cloth provides a backdrop for a 19th-century mirror from Lief in West Hollywood flanked by Chameleon Fine Lighting sconces. Beneath a Jamb light fixture are a table from David Duncan Antiques, a George Smith chaise in velvet from Kravet and an armchair from Lucca Antiques in Los Angeles. The carpet is from C. James Collection.

traditional yellow dining room with...

Bringing a contemporary touch to the formal dining room, Rose Tarlow Melrose House chairs with nailhead trim surround the Georgian-style Dessin Fournir table. Overhead is a 1930s French chandelier from Carlos de la Puente Antiques in New York. The embroidered drapery fabric is by Schumacher.

traditional white marble kitchen with...

McGuire counter stools from Baker face the kitchen island, which is topped with honed marble from Modul Marble & Granite in Sun Valley, California. Sky blue paint on the ceiling contrasts with the white painted cabinets by O.B. Williams Company. Charles Edwards pendants light the space, and Tulu fabric from Nicky Rising in Los Angeles covers the valance. The Wolf range is from Albert Lee.

traditional pantry with brown and...

Cabinets by O.B. Williams Company with P. E. Guerin hardware house the family's dishes and glassware in the butler's pantry, where behind the rolling library ladder is a Farrow & Ball wallcovering from Kravet. The hanging fixtures are by Visual Comfort & Co., and the antique runner is from the homeowners' collection.

traditional neutral outdoor sitting area...

Appointing the sheltered outdoor living room, which is lit by the clients' own antique lantern, are a sofa, chair and ottomans from McKinnon and Harris in Los Angeles. The pieces look to a fireplace by Lambert Stone and gardens by landscape architect Randy Allworth, installed by Ohashi Landscape Services; the French doors are from Northwest Door & Sash Company. Melton Classics fabricated the columns, and O.B. Williams Company made the wood pilasters, casings and trims.

traditional neutral bedroom with gold...

The master bedroom's bed skirt and antique settee sport a Tulu print from Nicky Rising; existing lounge chairs were reupholstered with a Raoul Textiles linen. Above is a chandelier from David Skinner Antiques in Charleston, South Carolina, while grounding the space is a wool Stark floor covering from George Associates. The ottoman is a custom piece.

Pretty much everyone has heard the old adage “Good things come to those who wait.” But few would argue that in our high-tech, gotta-have-it-now world, patience is a diminishing virtue. To hear the story of a Seattle family who took their time determining the style of home they wanted to build on property that had been in their family for generations is downright refreshing. “The owners and their four children lived in an existing circa-1930s bungalow for nearly a decade while deciding what direction they wanted to go,” says their designer, Julie Massucco Kleiner of Massucco Warner Miller. They did make good use of their time, though, Kleiner points out, because they put together an impressive pre-Pinterest inspiration binder that serendipitously included clippings of rooms she had designed.

Working with architects Peter Conard and Suzanne Findley, the family eventually decided on a Shingle-style home (builder Tony Giaquinta and landscape architect Randy Allworth rounded out the team). “They wanted a home that looked like it had been there for many years with additions made over time but suitable for modern living,” says Findley. In conjunction with Conard, who passed away after the project was completed, Findley imbued the structure with classic Shingle-style details such as a prominent main gable, painted wood columns and mullioned windows in varying shapes and sizes. “It’s rich in detail and tradition, but it’s also designed for contemporary, active family life,” she says.

In the entry, for example, the paneled walls, crown moldings and gently curving staircase establish the requisite classical bones, while a separate informal entry features a place for coats and boots. The job of installing the array of custom elements fell to Giaquinta. “Getting everything right required a major coordination effort,” says the builder, pointing to the installation of the graceful main stair, which was built off-site before “our carpenters framed in the curve and then the traditional plaster subcontractor came in with their mesh and plaster finish coat.”

Kleiner had no trouble convincing all concerned that the elaborate woodwork needed to be high-gloss white. “It created the perfect blank slate for the pomegranate red grass-cloth walls in the living room,” says the designer, citing an antique Oushak as the starting point for the home’s bold red, blue and green palette. ‘It was one of the first things the owners bought after they got married, so there was sentimental attachment.”

Other notable floor coverings serve as the introduction to the home–an animal print stair runner and a graphic acid green-and-blue rug–and the unexpected patterns tamp down any notion of stuffiness. Similarly in the living room, a sleek 1970s goatskin-veneer coffee table stands as a glam counterpoint to a velvet-dressed daybed and damask-upholstered armchairs. In the formal dining room, home of the Oushak and some stately family portraits, grass-cloth walls and navy leather chairs with traditional profiles tweaked just a bit for a modern edge keep it fresh.

Throughout the project, Kleiner was mindful of matching the high level of craftsmanship evident in the intricately carved marble replace surround and the reclaimed hardwood floors with soft goods of equal caliber. Saddle-stitched sofa cushions, button tufting on the daybed and knotted embroidery on the draperies–“so beautifully detailed I could stare at them for hours,” she says–are among the thoughtful offsets.

In the husband’s study, the melding of a heavily textured rug with a clean-lined sofa and the juxtaposition of a shiny leather chair with suede on the ottoman prevent the room from being just another ho-hum space. “The contradiction of textures is definitely a signature of mine,” says Kleiner. She took that notion to another level in the wife’s office, combining lacquered blue cabinets with a tufted tangerine leather wall.

When it came to establishing the kitchen layout and getting the lighting just right, the team made three-dimensional models of every fixture and mocked up the kitchen cabinets and island in plywood. “Attention to scale and detail is what made this house super successful,” says Kleiner about the team’s dedication.

That commitment extended to Allworth, as he honored the owners’ request for a somewhat rambunctious entry garden. “They gravitated toward the unbridled and wanted lots of hydrangeas and roses–nothing too manicured,” Allworth says. The landscape architect employed boxwoods and bluestone pavers to establish a sense of order. “It was important that the hardscape balance the informal softscape,” he adds.

In the end, it was the embrace of the need for balance by all team members that ensured a happy result. “We honored the historic style of the architecture, but it’s also a welcoming home where nothing is off-limits or precious,” says Kleiner. “By keeping things fresh and young, we created a place that will grow and evolve with the owners over time.”