For more than two years, in the owners of this 1904 Seattle home waited while their newborn twins became toddlers before approaching residential designer Mike Troyer of Studio AM Architects about a persistent leak in their attic skylight. What he found was a cramped west-facing guest bedroom with the proverbial bowl of water collecting the drip, drip, drip from the skylight. Thanks to Troyer’s vision, coupled with that of partner interior designer Danielle Krieg, the repair soon blossomed into a full-blown remodel that would address all the shortcomings of previous remuddles. Not only would they restructure the attic into a spacious third story replete with dual offices, a family TV room, and larger guest room with an east facing view of Lake Washington, but they also unified the exterior’s conflicting architectural styles into a single, clean-lined Colonial New England façade that reflects one homeowner’s New England roots. “We found a way to combine the exterior design,” says the New Englander, “without relying on dormers which some neighbors have done.” The result features light gray stained shingles, tall rectangular windows, as well as the new third-floor Juliette balcony, leaded windows, and historic medallion. “We wanted to get as much light into the very dark house as possible,” says Troyer, “so we took everything off the exterior, including a very large front porch that came out of stone walls at the top of the stairs, and added a decorative awning over the door.”

With the removal of a 12' covered swim spa, Troyer was able to extend the once closed off kitchen into a light-filled family gathering place, now easily accessed through a new jewel box style butler’s pantry carved out of a former pantry tucked beneath the entry staircase. “My dream was to have a sit-in island,” says the other homeowner, “but when the space didn’t work out, we created a dining nook that was better than I could ever imagine, without the clutter of island chairs, and friends able to talk to us as we work at the island.” A bank of windows enrobes the room giving the homeowners multiple views out to their children playing in the yard. A custom built-in banquette pairs with a customized Elm tabletop on a Holly Hunt base as an homage to the trees found in the neighborhood. Thos. Moser chairs whose arched backs add a splash of orange red hue to the black and white palette mimic the gooseneck dual Waterworks faucets. Krieg led the homeowners in an exhaustive local search for the perfect marble slab that ended with a two-day trip to San Francisco’s various marble dealers. “At the very last place we visited, in the very last aisle,” they recall, “was the white, tiny veined Calacatta we envisioned, which Danielle went to immediately and announced, ‘Ta Dah! We found it!’”

Bender Wasenmiller was equally as dedicated to delivering its “A” game during the 18-month long project. “Working with any big structure over 100 years old that has gone through multiple remodels,” notes Wasenmiller, “requires going in surgically to deal with the elements that existed initially.” Case in point was the central chimney that went through four floors, which Wasenmiller’s team had to dismantle by hand and rebuild with all new brick, including creating the additional depth necessary to make the fireplace wood burning. “The homeowners were very passionate about the home,” adds Wasenmiller, “wanting to honor its age, and historical neighborhood. To that end, some of the millwork profiles and panel details that are not readily available off the shelf had to be created with custom runs that match profiles from 100 years ago.” The homeowners say the quality of work Bender Wasenmiller does is exceptional. “We recommend them and their high-quality subs all the time.”

Troyer and Krieg designed the smaller-in-scale primary bath with the same attention to detail. “We made one large slot drained Luce Di Luna stone sink with dual Waterworks plumbing fixtures and mirrors, rather than each individual sink having a single fixture,” says Krieg. The mirrors rest on the sink with a customized bracket that holds them in place, while an open-faced cabinet stores towels below. The slab shower features trench drains on either side with its glass door running straight across into the shower.

The homeowners were delighted to find Krieg and Troyer so open to incorporating their ideas into their design. “It was an amazing working relationship,” says the hobbyist photographer homeowner who loves photographing their home’s interiors. “Once the solid wood entry door was replaced with a glass paneled one, light now flows throughout the main floor,” she says. New wide case openings between the living and dining room create a much-needed circular flow. Fears that all the care they put into their home would make it feel like a museum are unfounded. “Instead, it’s a safe place,” they say. “It just feels like home the minute you walk in.”


Bender Wasenmiller Custom Builders

Studio AM Architecture & Interiors

Benjamin Moore

Seattle Design Center