The telling of Record Producer Brandon Ebel’s near 20-year-long-dream of building a spectacularly modern house with a 360-degree view of Seattle might sound as if it were torn from the pages of New York Times bestselling author Sarah Jio’s novels. In her latest book, With Love From London, Sarah credits Brandon for inspiring the book’s location after proposing to her in London. The fact she wasn’t wild about modern architecture initially might have scuttled the whole adventure had it not been for the dynamic team of GO’C and Thomas Fragnoli Construction the couple put together.

Well versed in modern architecture and design, Brandon developed an impressive list of companies that ranged in location from Seattle to Australia to design and build the home of his dreams. It was Sarah, however, with whom he first shared his deep longings. “After Brandon convinced me of the beauty and simplicity of a modern home,” says Sarah, “he told me about Jon Gentry and Aimée O’Carroll of GO’C in Seattle, two architects he regarded as true artists with tons of potential.”

It was the virtual 3D model presented by GO’C that proved Brandon’s instincts about them were correct. “We had a virtual walk through with headsets,” recalls Gentry, “and when Brandon, who is a very expressive person, went into the primary bedroom that has a dramatic cantilever to the south, he laid on the virtual bed and began exclaiming about how amazing it was to be in the space.” For Sarah, it was proof positive that Jon and Aimée had listened to their specific needs for a warm, well used, functioning household that soon would include six very divergent youthful personalities from their respective former marriages.

Chris Thomas’s suggestion to take a seaplane to Lopez Island to tour one of the company’s recently completed homes clinched Brandon’s decision to team Thomas Fragnoli with GO’C whose previous collaborations had helped create a common understanding of how to realize a GO’C design. “We really connected up there,” says Brandon. Sarah, in turn, was bolstered by the realization the company knew how to construct a modern home with warmth.

As owner of Tooth & Nail Records, Solid State Records, and co-owner of Caffe Vita coffee company, Brandon had used his negotiating skills to purchase the perfect hilltop lot for his dream house, then brought Thomas Fragnoli on before construction began to make sure the project was viable from a cost standpoint. “The original home, which we demolished, was a modest late 1920s house,” says Thomas. “The site for the 5,500 sq. ft. house GO’C designed was partially driven by the original location of the old garage on the north street side of the house.”

From the street level, Sound House, named, in part, for Brandon’s love for music and the intertwining audio found throughout the home, features two main living levels. “At the heart of the house,” says Gentry, “is a double height living space with wood burning fireplace and chimney that extends vertically through the space. A lightweight steel bridge connects the upper level’s primary wing with the kids’ wing.” A daylight basement below opens onto the pool terrace, while a rooftop level is home to extensive gardens that supply Sarah with herbs, fruits, and vegetables for the gourmet meals she creates on her beloved Lacanche range for their family of eight. Ironically, on the way to the Lacanche showroom, the couple realized it was in GO’C’s building. “We called Aimée and Jon,” recalls Sarah, “and they popped down to consult on the color. It was Kismet!”

Sarah adores showing visiting friends the many intimate touches found within the home as well. “The library is my favorite room in the house, which blends Brandon’s and my passions: music and books. We shared with Jon and Aimee how when we were falling in love, we sketched out the library/music room on the backs of napkins on the plane to Norway for my second book tour there.” She also describes to visitors how she finds the dark, moody powder room’s plastered dark blue walls and custom brass metal sink so elegant, dark, and whimsical.

Throughout the construction period, Brandon, who was living nearby, would pop over for lunch meetings with the architects and contractors held in the tight quarters of the job trailer stationed on the street. “Chris would bring goodies and we’d all sit around the table talking through the specific details,” says O’Carroll. “It was great to have Brandon so readily available. He brought great energy and optimism to the project. When challenges arose that kind of attitude was key for the project’s success.” Brandon, in turn, appreciates Chris’s desire to make his customers happy. “Chris has this really chill vibe that really helped take the edge off of the stresses of homebuilding,” says Brandon.

“We did things in construction,” admits Thomas, “that hadn’t been done before. One of the biggest challenges was for the structural engineer who had to stack a concrete wall on top of the swimming pool. GO’C had a vision for the pool and a seamless look of the concrete retaining wall diving into the water. The pool installers were brought into the design process to help realize the detail.”

Although Brandon learned a lot from working with various excellent interior designers on previous homes, he wanted this house to be uniquely their own look with a clean, modern mix of inexpensive and ultra-modern furnishings from the likes of B&B Italia. “We opted to do the interior design on our own and selected all the hardware, faucets, and furniture. It helped that we were able to repurpose items from our previous homes, and for new purchases, we went with a simple, high-low mix, but chose less expensive barstools and dining chairs.”

Perhaps the greatest testament to the passion that went into the architectural design and building of this extraordinarily modern home was evidenced the day Jon, Aimée, and Chris were invited to attend Brandon and Sarah’s wedding, which was held during construction.


Thomas Fragnoli Construction