A Seattle Home’s Remodel Yields Artful Spaces


traditional entry hallway staircase striped...

A collection of dog head walking sticks, assembled over two decades, and another of framed duck prints (reflected in the mirror), discovered at an estate sale, share space in the hallway of a Seattle house extensively renovated by general contractor Ryan McKinney. "I felt like if I did an en masse group of those ducks it would make a statement--which it does--and I love them," says the wife. The mirror was found on 1stdibs.

traditional living room green accents...

McKinney's renovations extended to the extensive millwork around the home, including in the living room, which features a paneled ceiling and walls. Vaughan sconces from The Dixon Group light the space. The shade fabric is a Chelsea Textiles check from Michael Folks Showroom.

traditional living room multi-color multi-pattern

In the living room, pillows in a leopard print accent a sofa and lounge chair, which are dressed in a Lee Jofa linen from Kravet and hail from the clients' previous residence.

traditional patio furniture sitting area

Teak pieces from RH and wicker furniture from Lloyd Flanders offer an array of comfortable seating and overlook a tailored garden by landscape designer Bradley Huson. Avalon NW handled the installation of the bluestone pavers. The roof is by European Roofing & Sheet Metal.

traditional dining room round walnut...

The dining room's Rose Tarlow Melrose House leather Chippendale-style chairs are the perfect partner to an antique English walnut table over which hangs a modern Formations lantern, both from Jennifer West. A collection of pottery hangs on the walls. The draperies are in a hand-embroidered fabric by Chelsea Textiles. The French doors are from Rogue Valley Door.

traditional dining area neutral palette

As part of the renovation, the kitchen gained a cheerful breakfast nook that's flooded with light and complete with handy storage in the banquettes dressed with Baldwin Hardware. Throughout, Northwest Custom Interiors was responsible for the millwork.

traditional library brown palette brown...

"My husband wanted a paneled den, like we had in our previous home," the wife says of the space where their dog, Georgia, lounges. McKinney and his team obliged: Hand-waxed sugar pine paneling covers the walls of the room. The floral cotton Suzanne Tucker Home drapery fabric is from Michael Folks Showroom.

raditional neutral bathroom gray cabinetry

Walker Zanger tiles in a herringbone pattern cover the floor of the master bathroom. On the walls is Benjamin Moore's Linen White. The antique mirrors were sourced on 1stdibs, and the rug is from Knotty Rug Co. in Kansas City, Missouri. Brass Vaughan Designs sconces illuminate the vanity inset with Waterworks sinks and Perrin & Rowe faucets.

traditional bedroom neutral pale blue...

The master bedroom furniture from the clients' previous home slotted perfectly into the new space. There, an antique alabaster lamp with hand-sewn vintage linen shades from Red Ticking rests on an English rosewood table. The fabric for the duvet, shams and the room's draperies is by Chelsea Textiles.

It’s not a trendy style, it’s not a new modern style,” general contractor Ryan McKinney says of a Seattle residence he recently remodeled. Eager to replicate the rich details in their previous abode, his clients approached him to create a warm, meaningful backdrop for the collections of antiques and art they acquired over the years.

The initial scope of the project, which included just a short list of tasks–renovating the kitchen, paneling the master bedroom and redoing the master bathroom– eventually morphed into a much larger endeavor. “The project evolved from their initial intentions,” says McKinney. “It slowly trickled to, ‘Let’s replace all the doors,’ ‘Let’s do a couple more bathrooms,’ ‘Let’s vault some ceilings in a couple rooms,’ ‘Let’s panel those rooms and do box beams.’” McKinney’s extensive design-build experience proved invaluable as the project developed from a simple renovation to a full-scale remodel, amplified by the clients’ ideas and the sketches and tear sheets they presented. “In the end, we touched almost every single room in the house and replaced almost everything,” McKinney says.

Included in the initial brief was a kitchen makeover, since it was closed off from the rest of the house. McKinney opened it up to the adjacent living area, ensuring an easy flow between the two. The space also gained a compact breakfast nook, where an artfully turned leg, one of many small, yet thoughtful details in a house filled with them, supports the tabletop. He also raised ceiling heights throughout the home and swapped in Dutch doors for more traditional openings. “I had them before and I loved them,” the wife shares. Perhaps the most apparent change, though, is the sheer volume of millwork that now defines the home. Tongue-and-groove paneling, crown moldings and beadboard now cover nearly every surface. “I can never live with drywall again,” says the wife. The exterior, too, did not escape McKinney’s Crew; it got a face-lift with narrow siding and new shutters. Masterson Studio provided new elevations for the siding and window trim.

While McKinney overhauled the house and the finishes, landscape designer Bradley Huson transformed the home’s awkward, angular lot. “It’s hard to make something like that feel elegant,” he says. But, relying on minimal color and a controlled plant palette, Huson succeeded. Chippendale- style fencing, bluestone pathways and boxwood hedges, trimmed into cloud shapes, create a cohesive feel that belies the complexities the lot presented. A tall bench, built into the railing outside the home’s side-facing front entryway, confers extra privacy. To accommodate the client’s dog, Georgia, synthetic turf was installed in the backyard.

For the interior decoration, the couple incorporated much of their existing furniture and antiques into the residence and called on designer and family friend Dallene Bracken of Bracken Design Inc. for assistance with some selections. Their former living room furniture, comfortable and barely used, was integrated into the new home’s inviting family room, and some pieces were reupholstered. Fresh finds came in ways both unusual and more ordinary. In a moment of inspiration, Bracken agreed to swap the antique walnut table in her own dining room with the couple’s more formal model. It proved a perfect match for a new set of leather Chippendale side chairs the wife had discovered. Accenting the space is a collection of pottery and linen draperies. Emblazoned with hand-embroidered sunflowers, the state flower of Kansas, the drapery fabric’s design nods to the setting of the early days of the couple’s courtship. “I love a meaning behind things in a house. It makes it home to me,” the wife says.

And here everything tells a story, from the downstairs den dotted with the husband’s baseball memorabilia, to the collection of dog silhouettes in the mudroom to the duck illustrations that cover one wall of the entryway. Even the print at the top of the stairs, of a great blue heron, tells a tale: of a bird that’s common to Seattle, of a children’s kindergarten project, of a long-time admiration for the beloved ornithologist. “I love Audubon, I love birds and I love Audubon prints,” says the wife.

The deeply personal nature of so many pieces in the home, coupled with its timeless architecture, add up to a thoroughly comfortable home. “I feel like my house tells a story of who I am and who my husband is,” says the wife. For his part, McKinney notes, “I think what we’ve done is created a very warm, inviting and cozy home. It allows you to remain calm.”