Rescued, Renovated and Now Revered: A Loved-Again Home — House Call


Name: Leah, her husband and (occasionally) their college aged children
Location: Woodinville, Washington
The basics: 4 years, owned — 1,700 square feet

Leah and her husband snatched up this home and gave it a much needed facelift. Despite the less than stellar choices of the previous owner, Leah saw that the home had a ton of potential and set about carefully updating it to create a home that not only meets the needs of her family, but is fun and attractive.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My husband and I purchased this poor house that just needed to be rescued. It had been “abused” for many years by an owner/contractor who had no plan in mind and just started tearing it apart. I walked into the light filled great room and immediately knew I could give it some love and make it whole again. Taking down the wall to the great room not only opened up the space, but opened opportunities for interaction between the two spaces. Essentially, this home had no functioning kitchen, only the promise of one. The original three bedrooms were very small and the master bath had a shower so tiny that you wouldn’t be able to pick up a dropped bar of soap without stepping outside of the shower. We needed room for two college aged kids that would be home for summers and vacations.

We expanded the master bedroom by knocking out the closets of the two back bedrooms creating a new master with a dressing room. We also expanded the small master bath, taking some space from a weird bump-out in the kitchen and a couple of feet in the dressing room. In order to keep it a three bedroom home, we added a wall to create a bedroom off the kitchen. It was a whole house renovation, a re-invigoration of the poor neglected house. People still stop when driving by to tell us they love what we have done with the house…and that is without even seeing the inside!

What is your favorite room and why? It’s hard to pick a favorite room in our house, I really do love every room, it has been a labor of love. But if I had to pick one…the great room would be my favorite, it is filled with color and light, even in the gray Pacific Northwest winters. We spend most of our time in the great room which not only houses my work space but the tv and “formal” dining table. In the spring and summer the Nanawall doors open to the outside and give the impression that the house is larger than its 1,700 square feet footprint.

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? We are always making improvements to the house. Just this spring my husband and I built a cantilevered pergola in the back yard. But if I had a magic wand, I would create a fireplace in the great room. I also have ideas for a deck off the master bedroom with french doors and a hot tub…oh and then there are my plans for turning the tree house into a she-shed! I think a house is like a living thing, always evolving!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I do a lot of thrift store/garage sale/estate sale shopping and I just scored an original George Nelson credenza at an estate sale. It was an INCREDIBLE deal!

Which fictional character would be most at home in your place? A grown-up Rainbow Brite, after getting married, having two kids and completing design school!

Leah’s words of wisdom: As I said above, I think of a home as a living thing and it is always evolving. Your home should be an expression of the people that inhabit it. Find things you love and that speak to you. So many people are afraid of making mistakes so they play it safe. Take some risks, it will pay off! I’m also a big fan of DIY…if you can’t find something, make it!

Thanks, Leah!

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