A Smooth Move
With Mediterranean flair, the best of the old comes to the new
Occasionally, after years of living in an old house, upgrading surfaces, pushing out and pinching in spaces, and reshaping the landscape to make it "perfect," you're tempted to do the unthinkable. It happened for Jay and Pamela Green four years ago.
The Greens loved their Broadmoor house, designed by William Bain Sr. and Lionel Pries. The Spanish Colonial had decorative wrought-iron balconies and gates, a round stair tower and a tiled fountain in a garden enriched by Jay's rhododendron collection and Pamela's show-quality horticulture specimens. Their collecting might easily have overtaken the place, but they were not considering a move until a remarkable piece of nearby view property lured them away.
To begin designing a new home on a steep slope above Lake Washington, they directed architect Stuart Silk to take his clues from the old building.
At 33,000 square feet, compared to the 12,000 of their Broadmoor site, the property extends from one street to another and has ample room for a hillside approach covered with rhododendrons and perennials. On the level east side, they planted a tropical garden. Annuals and perennials cover the slope farther east, and a more formal rose garden surrounds an antique wishing well. The Greens transplanted 200 plants and five trees from their former property.
When they acquired it, the new property was largely overgrown with trees and shrubs. With the advice of landscape architect Kraig Kemper of Kemper Iversen Ltd., they decided to replace 200 truckloads of "bad" soil. In replanting the slope, they left the stumps and root systems of large trees for stability. The house won't slide down the hill, either; it's on 150 concrete pilings.
Crafting the Spanish Colonial RevivalArchitects: Stuart Silk Architects, Stuart Silk, Stan Hanson
Interior Designer: James Marzo Design Inc., James Marzo
Landscape Architect: Kemper Iversen Ltd., Kraig Kemper
Contractor: Joseph McKinstry Construction Co., Joe McKinstry
Plaster Work, Stucco: Nelson Evergreen Plastering Inc., Dave Nelson
Iron Work: Estate Iron Works Inc., Ben Schreiner
Tile and Stone: Wilson Tile and Marble Inc., Jeff Wilson; Norberry Tile
Stone Slabs, Fireplace Surrounds: Architectural Stone Works Inc., Victoria Hanseroth
Exterior Stone: Gardenstone Masonry LLC, Steven Siebert & The Foss Co., Mildred Foss
Precast Stone: Puget Precast, Dan Beeler
Casework: Cornerstone Fine Woodworking, Inc., Larry Lynch
Hardwood Flooring: Hardwood Specialties, Inc., Dan Caufman
When the couple moved in in August 2003 after three years of work, they felt right at home, as they should with spaces that are uncannily like the ones they left behind. The new place has a large foyer leading to a spiral staircase and an arcade that acts as a spine to link the living room with the central dining room and kitchen, the family dining room and den. Window bays in den and dining room open to views of the lake and mountains. French doors off the living room lead onto a generous east-facing terrace. Less public areas, such as Pamela's office, face west to the courtyard.
Much of the old home's character was captured through French terra cotta-roof tiles, stucco finishes, flooring that replicates the Broadmoor home's antique French oak and terra cotta, hand-forged wrought-iron railings and balusters, hand-adzed beams and distressed finishes for doors and flooring.
While the couple loved the Mediterranean feel of the house they left, there were practical reasons for designing the new one in the same style. "We had the furniture, and we weren't going to put it all away and start over," says Pamela. Nevertheless, this house demanded some more appropriate furniture and lighting. The couple hired James Marzo, San Francisco interior designer whose work at the Sunset Club on First Hill had impressed them. "We wanted someone from California who had access to Mediterranean accessories."
While the house retains a distinct Spanish Colonial Revival exterior, the furnishings inside represent a more eclectic Mediterranean focus. New things from France, Spain and Italy are combined with family heirlooms and the pieces from the old house.
Pamela is pleased. "We wanted a home that was cozy, warm and functional. We wanted to enjoy the garden inside and out, and to have a place for antiques. And it's our home, it's not a museum."
Larry Kreisman is program director of Historic Seattle and author of "The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest." Benjamin Benschneider is a Pacific Northwest magazine staff photographer.