Spring Home Design: When “before” turns into “after” with all the comforts of home
WE HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED in a constantly changing and inconsistent state of “before and after” for some time now. “Before” occasionally reminds us of alluring and familiar feelings – a solid foundation, a nostalgic touchstone, a feeling of knowledge, comfort and security. Homeport.
Meanwhile, the elusive and ever-fuzzy concept of “after” teases us — and motivates us — to move on. With hope. With the promise of a resolution. And certainty. Oh please: just a tiny slice of certainty.
Well, hallelujah: we found four. Four brilliantly remodeled/updated/restored Seattle area homes with captivating “before” stories and inspiring “after” results, absolute and clear as a happy day.
These dramatic renewals – a light and bright kitchen update in a historic West Seattle home, a second floor addition/whole house redo in Exposition Heights, the ultra-sensitive historic restoration of an architectural treasure on the Queen Anne and an officially pioneering sustainable renovation on Bainbridge Island – not only improved and transformed four structures, but also the lives of the people inside.
Even through our tentative, still technically pandemic present:
- In this West Seattle kitchen, a beautiful custom island became an oasis, says Brandon, who along with his wife, Jill, “ordered and enjoyed great cocktails. We sit there, and we’re like, “Well, we can’t go out to a bar, so I guess our new bar is just sitting there.” ” “
- At Exposition Heights, a new space (and new spaces) has created a fabulous and functional room (and rooms) for work, play and family. So much family friendliness. “I can’t even imagine being in the original house with the kids and the dog, especially the first two months when the kids were home all the time,” says Lily, whose parents also live with her and her husband, James (in their own newly refreshed ADU).
- On Queen Anne, it took Adelaide Blair and husband Darin McAdams ‘a while’ to adjust to working from home in such a newly opened layout, but there’s also another happy and adaptable ‘after’ here too. “I wear a lot of headphones,” she says. “I’m introverted and like to spend all day alone, and now there’s a person in the house who talks all day. I still love him. Our marriage is good; I swear!”
- And on Bainbridge, deep relationships — with the land, the home, and the life-affirming nature all around — forged on the supremely green path to full Living Building Challenge certification helped sustain Todd Vogel and Karen Hust (and the planet itself). “It’s not so much the fact that the house is zero electricity and water that makes us feel healthier or safer,” says Hust. “It’s really the connection to place that allows for a sense of groundedness, health and balance that is a mainstay during a difficult time. It’s a foundation that allows you to live with chaotic circumstances in the world, knowing that you have a place to come home to that is regenerative for your well-being, as well as for the place it is built upon.
Ah. There is this blessed certainty: rooted in connection and in our own relationship to our own sense of belonging. Perhaps it is how we cling and ride on whatever our “after” has in store for us.