• Publications

  • Head-to-toe remodel with no change in size

  • Seattle Times / AIA Home of the Month
  • By Elizabeth Rhodes

  • The House: A 1934 West Seattle home that the owners decided to cosmetically remodel because it was dated and much of the space was unusable. Since the house had a tiny water view, the owners also considered adding a story to capture more of it. However, that plan changed when they tore out a previous basement remodel and discovered the foundation was cracked and tilted six inches, and 2x3's were all that was holding up the house. So instead, the old structure was raised about two feet on a new foundation. Voila! The cellar-like basement(the ceilings were only 6 1/2 feet) now has nearly 9-foot ceilings, allowing for a family room, library and bathroom, plus ample storage. What's more, that extra two feet greatly enhanced the view.

  • The Architect: Lisa McNelis, who helped the owners nearly gut the entire home. "The biggest challenge was to make somehting out of this house without changing the form of it very much," she says. Thus, the foundation shape and size stayed the same, but the interior space was almost totally reconfigured. The result is a stylishly modern main floor with a new kitchen open to the living room, special recesses for the owner's art and wraparound windows. On the exterior, the owners got a special wish: a cultured stone entry.

  • The Owners: Bill and Jacqueline Duncan. "We had no plan of nuking the house to the extent we did," she confesses, but nevertheless they are thrilled with the electric result. It has Mediterranean, Japanese and modern overtones because "when we found something we liked we'd incorporate it" she says. Much of the finish work, including a custom-made glass front door imprinted with a bamboo pattern and striking terrazzo counters embedded with colored glass, was done by local artisans.

  • The Contractor: MRJ Constructors
  • The Size: 2,644 square feet
  • Construction Cost: $300,000

  • Judges' Comments: "A clean, straightforward reuse of a simple 'prairie-style' box. The new design works for the client, is carefully finished and detailed and exhibits control and restraint in fitting into the neighborhood. This is a good example of what an architect can bring to a simple remodeling."