Making History in Seattle


Seattle Home Mixes European and Homesteader Qualities

A 1940s homestead-style structure with a steep pitched roof respects the family's past in the house while integrating a contemporary design aesthetic.

Tudoresque Front Door on Seattle Home

With a nod to the past, a Seattle home receives a careful renovation balancing contemporary needs and classic details.

Family Heirlooms Mix In Seattle Home With European Country Vibe

In the entry, where the existing wood flooring was refinished, the home’s mix of family heirlooms and newly acquired pieces stands out. A Kenneth Callahan painting that the wife inherited hangs above the CTH Sherrill Occasional console from DFG. The 1940s Shahsavan kilim is from Designs by Ferdod.

Traditional Looking Seattle Home Has Fresh Contemporary Vibe Once You Step Inside

Urban Berlino porcelain tile from Statements Tile covers the foyer of a Seattle home renovated by architect and general contractor Charles C. Mellon. Overhead, illumination comes from a Schoolhouse Electric fixture. Interior designer Kenna Stout reupholstered the antique chair with Highland Court fabric.

Contemporary Furnishing Enhance Family Home in Seattle

A Precedent ottoman and a Thayer Coggin chair, both from DFG, share space by the living room fireplace with an antique chair. On the mantel is a panel of Polynesian tapa cloth. The custom draperies are in a Pindler fabric and were made by Iris Window Coverings.

Warm Wood & Pacific Blues in Seattle Living Room

Schumacher grass cloth complements the existing fir paneling in the living room. The Chinese carpet is another family treasure, custom-made for the room when the wife’s grandfather owned the home. The Thayer Coggin sofa from DFG wears mohair. The side tables, with brushed-brass bases, are from Horchow, and the Robert Abbey sconces are from Lightopia. A Pindler stripe dresses the chaise near a window.

Playful Touches in Dining Room With Family Pieces in Seattle

In another nod to the past, Stout retained the wife’s grandfather’s table and chairs for the dining room. A cast-resin Oly chandelier brings a lively touch and plays off the Designs by Ferdod wool carpet based on an antique Oushak rug.

This Vintage Seattle Home Uses Patterns & Color To Leap Into the 21st Century

Sherwin-Williams’ Lazy Gray paint and a Celerie Kemble patterned grass cloth by Schumacher yield a stylish backdrop for the 1920s mirror from Pacific Galleries as well as the vintage sideboard and lamps.

Seattle Kitchen With Serious Cool Kid Cred

The kitchen cabinetry by Dodges Classic Carpentry & Cabinetry is topped with Caesarstone. Tabarka Studio tiles from Statements Tile accent the backsplash. The range and steam oven are by Wolf, and the hood is by Faber—all from Albert Lee Appliance.

Eclectic, Global Touches in Contemporary Seattle Kitchen

A Moe’s glass pendant lights the breakfast nook. Dodges Classic Carpentry & Cabinetry fabricated the built-in banquette and the breakfast tabletop. The table’s custom metal base is by Argent Fabrication.

Feminine, Vintage Touches in Soothing Blue Seattle Master Bedroom

In the master bedroom, soothing blue walls and a creamy wool carpet from Greenhome Solutions create a calming oasis. The antique desk, lit by a Currey & Company sconce, is a family heirloom. Iris Window Coverings fabricated the custom draperies in a Schumacher fabric.

Contemporary & Traditional Styles Mix in Soothing Seattle Master Bedroom

A pair of Cerno bedside sconces from Light Matters serves as a modern foil for the traditional bed. A recessed section of the wall displays a trio of Japanese woodblock prints from Uchida Art Co. in Kyoto, Japan. Florim USA porcelain flooring leads to the master bathroom.

Graphic Tile Accent Wall in Soothing, Spa-Like Master Bath

Overlooking the Wetstyle tub in the master bathroom, Tabarka Studio tile adds pattern and is framed by Ann Sacks tile trim.

Vintage Exterior Belies a Modern Heart in Eclectic Seattle Home

Outside, the home’s vintage look was retained. The existing siding was preserved, while new windows mimic the feel of the originals. The copper roof was untouched during the renovation.

Unlike most children, three very lucky ones can boast of living in the same home where their grandmother spent her teenage years— thanks to their mother, a woman passionate about preserving a part of her family history. After she and her husband purchased the home from her grandfather’s estate, the wife was determined to renovate the house with respect for the past while integrating her own contemporary design aesthetic. “She wanted to keep the home’s quintessential essence, but make it fun and functional for a young family,” says interior designer Kenna Stout, who was part of the design team that made it happen.

The house in question, a 1940s homestead-style structure with a steep pitched roof and cedar siding in a coveted neighborhood, enjoys enviable views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. In accordance with the owners’ wishes, architect and general contractor Charles C. Mellon retained the look of the exterior as much as possible. “Out of respect for her grandfather, we repaired the siding and custom-matched the grid patterns of the new windows and doors to look like the originals,” says Mellon, who left the copper roof that was added in the 1960s largely untouched. “It has this beautiful green patina and is unbelievable by today’s standards.”

The inside of the home, however, was another matter. “It was here that the wife felt free to express herself,” says Mellon, who gutted the interior before reshaping everything within the confines of the existing envelope. Turning an exterior space into a mudroom by extending the interior walls to capture some of the original sandstone was among the changes. Elsewhere on the main floor, the location of the formal living and dining rooms remained intact, as well as the living room’s fireplace and paneling. “There’s all new wiring and plumbing, but we didn’t touch the original fir paneling,” Mellon says of the latter. The architect then transformed the tight galley kitchen by taking down a wall between the kitchen and an existing bedroom and creating an open kitchen/family room. Furthermore, carving out a master suite and the children’s bedrooms on the upper level required major restructuring. “In the master there was the challenge of the steeply slanting ceiling, and a chimney right in the middle that had to go,” he says. His creative solution involved establishing the bathroom as the core room, while fashioning the sleeping quarters and storage spaces around it.

For her part, Stout worked to incorporate family heirlooms with more contemporary furnishings and accessories. In the living room, for instance, the paneling and an inherited blue-and-yellow rug formed the basis for the palette. “We decided to go bold on the upholstery to bring the room into the 21st century,” says Stout, who covered the sofa with blue mohair. “The owners love blue, and in a house with so many compartmentalized spaces, we used it as a thread to tie things together.” Topping a pair of midcentury-style wood-frame chairs with cushions wearing a strong modern geometric pattern further bridged the gap between old and new, and mocha-hued grass cloth on the walls lightened the woodwork.

In the dining room, a vintage dining set belonging to the wife’s grandfather takes center stage, while a cast-resin light fixture shakes things up. “I pushed for the fixture as a statement piece to break up all the traditional elements,” says Stout. The designer finished the space with iridescent copper grass cloth above a high picture rail to add more oomph to the space as well as tie it back to the texture in the living room.

Along with the blue that also appears in a whispery tone on the master bedroom walls, wood tones provide another connective element. In the living and dining rooms, the existing oak floors were stained dark for a more contemporary look, while the new wide-plank whitewashed oak in the kitchen provides contrast to the walnut cabinetry. “The owners were very specific about using a deeper tone of wood like walnut,” says Stout, who liked the way it would link materially back to the living room and other common areas. A hand-painted tile backsplash further brightens things up. “When I came on the job, the owner had already purchased several kinds of tile and left it to me to figure out the best use and placement,” she adds.

In the master bathroom, Stout employed indigo-and- white-patterned tiles to create a focal point behind the bamboo vanity, where the cabinet pulls perfectly mimic the tile pattern. And the flowing branch-and-leaf accent tile tempers the crisp contemporary lines of the bright white guest bathroom. Both members of the design team concur that it was those special touches that moved the home beyond its era. “We were able to bring it up-to-date with bold colors and patterns that made it their own,” says Stout. To which Mellon adds, “The wife's mark is now part of the history of the house.”

— Mindy Pantiel