Jane and Ken Friedman have an extensive art collection, not the least of which includes two stone sculptures formerly used as Korean grave guardians during the Joseon dynasty and weighing about one ton each. For five years before the pandemic, Jane, who is also an acclaimed artist working in encaustics, oils, and mixed mediums, ran an art gallery. It was there that she first saw the statues. “I just fell in love with them, and so I became a customer,” says Jane. When the gallery closed, the statues were relocated to the couple’s Bremerton home, but “We didn’t know where to put them,” says Ken. “We just didn’t have the space.”

By then, the Friedmans had lived in their house for twenty years. Originally built in the 1930s, it’s tucked below its neighbors on the street above, and shaped long and linear so as to fit into a strip of a lot between a sloped hillside and a thousand feet of waterfront. That siting gives the home a beach that reveals itself at low tide, close-up views of the Port Orchard waterway, peace and seclusion, and beautiful morning light. But, as the home had been added onto in a piecemeal fashion until the 1970s, it also had a segmented interior plan that made entertaining—and displaying their art—a problem. In 2019, the couple reached out to Rhodes Architecture + Light for a remodel, facilitated by Fairbank Construction Company.

Right away, architects Tim Rhodes and Hugo Carrión could see how the linear shape and interior plan didn’t maximize either the home’s siting, or the couple’s lifestyle. There were too many “dark, broken-up spaces,” says Carrión. “Light was the biggest challenge, but also the biggest opportunity.”

Working within the existing footprint, their new plan inserted a new two-story entry atrium at the center, with a sculptural staircase that connects upper and lower living areas, and a wall of glass that fosters a “beacon of light on the water,” says Carrión. A steel structural framework throughout let them open up the plan and install additional walls of windows to connect to the exterior views. Whereas before the asphalt driveway dominated the site, now, thoughtful outdoor spaces act as filters between inside and out, such as the outdoor dining room covered with a rough-hewn trellis and anchored by a fireplace and more art, including four Mexican columns.

Throughout the design process, such consideration of art placement was a key ingredient, as the architects both created spots for particular pieces, like the Korean stone sculptures that now informally separate the living and dining rooms, as well as more versatile walls where the couple can rotate the display as they like. “Tim and Hugo were very creative in finding ‘art spaces,’ and then designing finish elements to facilitate placement, such as lighting and secure blocking behind the drywall for ease of hanging,” says Ken.

New architectural elements also became an opportunity for creative expression. “Aesthetically, this house has a very conscious juxtaposition of architectural elements that are very refined, like the cabinetry, with other elements that are very rough,” says Rhodes, noting the patina on the exposed steel beams, which is a nod to Jane’s work with found objects.

“Our fear was that they would design a house that they wanted to design,” says Ken. “But they really took the time to design a house that we wanted.” Not only is it a welcoming backdrop for the couple’s everyday lives, but an intimate gallery of the art they’ve collected together over the years. In this way, “The house becomes its own art piece,” says Rhodes. “Art is embedded in the architecture and displayed by the architecture. It works as a gallery on multiple levels.”


Fairbank Construction Company

Rhodes Architecture + Light

Banyon Tree Landscape Design + Architecture

Mutual Materials

Western Interlock Inc.

Northwest Outdoor Lighting