The first time Vladimir Zayshlyy drove to Suncadia for a visit about sixteen years ago, the Kirkland, Washington resident was surprised. He remembers thinking: “Why didn’t I know about this place before now?” For the next ten years—come winter, summer, or just a long holiday weekend—Vlad and his wife Era found any excuse to rent houses at the resort with friends and family. With each successive trip, the couple thought for sure that they’d get tired of the area. “But instead, we found that, the more we came to visit, the more we loved it,” says Vlad. “It became our dream to build a house there.”

Since 2002, Vlad has run Stonewood Design in Kirkland, specializing in the fabrication and installation of decorative finishes, like tile, countertops, and flooring. To kick off his personal Suncadia project, he teamed up with architect Rick Jones for the home’s architectural configuration and permitting, and the Bellevue-based Tall Pines Construction on the build-out, with Tall Pines breaking ground, laying the foundation, erecting the home’s structural framework, and installing mechanical systems. “It’s an unusual way of working with a customer, as most contractors just want to take a project from start to finish,” says Tim Pigatto, owner of Tall Pines. “But it was nice to be part of building Vlad’s house this way.”

With the structure in place, Stonewood Design completed installation on all of the interior finishes, working closely with residential designer Tatiana Darnell, the founder of Space Lab Design Services in Newcastle, who is a longtime friend of Vlad and Era. “We go way back,” says Darnell. “We all met in the late 90's when we first came to the US.”

Being in the same industry, Zayshlyy and Darnell have worked together on multiple projects over the years before the Suncadia house. Their friendship made for smooth collaboration here, as Darnell refined the look and function for all of the interior spaces, from the fireplace feature wall in the living room, to the kitchen cabinetry layout, and bathroom faucets. “It was great because Vlad and Era both understand construction,” says Darnell. “And they have a great sense of style and design. They love Suncadia and wanted this house to embrace the feeling that you get when you’re there: of rest and peace.”

On the exterior, the house adheres to the mountain lodge aesthetic of the area, with Western Red Cedar siding, matte black metal roofing, and stone accents. Inside, Darnell continued that palette of earth tones and natural materials, starting with a massive stone feature wall that anchors the entry and great room. The wall visually separates the entry from the living spaces, while the material itself, both its rustic texture and colors, inspired the palette throughout. “The colors of the stone determined the palette for all of the interiors,” says Darnell. “It brings a rustic element that everything else is connected to.” The stone’s colors—a spectrum of grey, blue, cream, and brown—are woven throughout the rest of the home, appearing in things like the sleek furniture picks from Restoration Hardware and Phillip Jeffries wallpaper in a bedroom.

Darnell also repeated the stone on the fireplace wall in the living room, topping it with a towering column of blackened steel paneling. Additional black steel accents across various rooms, like the custom railings, select light fixtures, and the stove hood, offer refined contrast to the stone’s rustic texture.

That refinement continues in the kitchen, with its custom cabinetry, honed quartzite, and handmade tile backsplash. Darnell organized the room for ultimate functionality, adding a concealed pantry and mesh inserts to the upper cabinets so guests can preview their contents. “The worst thing, which I think happens in every vacation rental, is having to open every door when you’re looking for a glass or bowl,” says Darnell.

Vlad and Era have “a lot of family and they like to gather with friends,” adds Darnell, so it was important to balance the 3,934-square-foot layout between private sanctuaries, like the five individual bedroom suites and upstairs kids’ bunk room attached to a bonus game room, with beautiful communal gathering spots. To that end, a wellness retreat was given priority of place on the main floor. It has a dry sauna, steam shower, and its own sitting room, all wrapped in soothing natural finishes, and is complemented by a nearby exterior cold plunge and hot tub.

Such a retreat brings all the threads of the project together, acting as a place where friends and family can unwind side-by-side, or steal away for a solo moment. It’s also a nod to Vlad’s background, and emblematic of the house’s purpose as a whole. “My roots are Eastern European,” says Vlad. “There, it’s a pretty big deal to have a sauna with a cold plunge, a steam room, and an area where you can relax and just sit down and drink tea. And here at Suncadia, the number one goal is to relax and recharge.”


Tall Pines Construction

Space Lab Design Services

Stonewood Design Inc.