While house hunting in Snohomish, Washington, Kerry and Katelyn Day were not looking for a remodel. However, when they discovered a 5-acre property with views of the Cascades and just minutes from the historic downtown area, this renovation project found them. “We wanted a home on acreage that was still located fairly close to shops and activities,” Kerry says. “This one checked too many boxes for us to pass up.”
The house, Kerry recalls, “had been poorly maintained and was definitely not our style.” Though the dwelling possessed the hallmarks of late 1990s decor (think cherrywood cabinetry and green-and-black granite) they could see the potential. “We really liked the general layout and knew that a skilled design eye could bring the home up to date,” he adds. So, the couple reached out to interior designer Kimberlee Gorsline, who they knew from their shared college days at Seattle Pacific University. Working with general contractor Jeff Nevin, Gorsline imbued the residence with a modern style that is cozy yet clean. “Homes like this often have so much potential, but no one is highlighting anything that could be special they are just basic, designed to get the job done,” the designer explains. “On this type of project, what’s fun for us is to come in and infuse character in a way that reflects our client.”
With four young children, the family “needed a lot out of their home,” Gorsline says. She delivered with a number of custom-designed solutions, such as a bathroom on the entry level that was reimagined as two separate spaces: a powder room and a kid-friendly mudroom. “Many of our favorite elements are not items we directly requested but rather features that Kimberlee created based on our expressed needs,” Kerry notes. “We now cannot imagine living without the mudroom.”
On the same floor, the designer removed a wall that separated the kitchen and formal dining room, yielding a larger cooking space with additional cabinetry, a walk-in pantry and thoughtful details like a pull-out coffee station. The new open-plan kitchen, living and dining area takes advantage of the views, thanks to picture windows and doors that lead out to a deck. “Connecting to the natural surroundings was important,” Gorsline says. “We drew from the outdoors for the interior color palette and materials.” Take, for instance, the ceiling beams. While one was structurally necessary, Gorsline included two more to avoid having it stand out. Paired with a shiplap ceiling, the fir beams now add a sense of warmth and texture to the rooms. And for the cabinetry, the designer selected a custom dusty blue-gray hue that is “muted and appropriate for the Pacific Northwest,” she notes, adding, “Anytime we have a client who’s even slightly willing to go with color for cabinetry, we usually jump at it.”
The lower level also saw a major transformation. “The basement was a mess of randomly partitioned walls, dark paint and poor lighting,” Kerry says. “Our minds couldn’t begin to reshape this space, but Kimberlee went to work.” Although the downstairs had its drawbacks, among its virtues was direct access to the backyard by landscape designer Jim Reynolds. Gorsline replaced a small glass slider with a folding door system and installed an oversize swing-up window that acts as a pass- through between the bar and the outdoors. A large sectional, ample enough for the entire family, is now a prime spot from which to watch TV or enjoy the new gas fireplace.
On the top floor, where the family’s bedrooms are situated, a bonus room had, as Gorsline describes, “nothing going on.” She recreated it as a study and playroom—complete with a table for homework or crafting, plenty of storage, a slipcovered sofa for lounging and even a sink. To complement the palette of white and sage green, she introduced a gray striped wallpaper that accentuates the angles of the ceiling.
Across all three levels, the Days now have the right house in the right location. “It has definitely become an oasis for our family, and the design is perfectly polished without being pretentious, allowing us to enjoy the beauty of the space while also feeling free to live in it and let our kids be kids,” Kerry says. “We can’t imagine living anywhere else for a very long time.”