The story of his life, through a su­per-cus­tom home

The Hamilton Spectator - - STYLE - SANDY DENEAU DUN­HAM

Meet Lon Fisher. He is a tech­ni­cal pro­fes­sional/en­gi­neer from the Mid­west who loves trav­el­ling, en­ter­tain­ment and en­ter­tain­ing.

Cer­tainly that’s not his en­tire story — but it is the foun­da­tion of ours, be­cause we can hardly process just how exquisitely each of those char­ac­ter com­po­nents (and all of them to­gether) is ex­pressed in one ul­tra­cus­tom, ul­tra-Lon Fisher home.

Chap­ter one: The show me yard

“I grew up in Mis­souri, where most of the lots are acreage,” Fisher says. “I al­ways played in yards as a child. Com­ing here to Belle­vue, I still al­ways had that idea of acreage, and Bri­dle Trails was one of two or three places with suit­able prop­erty.”

Here, on a slightly slop­ing cor­ner, he found a supremely suit­able, al­most-acre lot — roomy enough for its pre­vi­ous sin­gle-storey home, horse pas­ture and four-stall barn — but, you might have no­ticed, “eques­trian” is not among Fisher’s defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics.

En­ter Stephen Bobbitt, the ar­chi­tect of re­fined def­i­ni­tions.

“(Fisher) en­vi­sioned a home that would ... pro­vide a strong link to what he con­sid­ers a quin­tes­sen­tial el­e­ment of his im­age of home: a spa­cious, lush, green lawn,” Bobbitt says.

Home, then, is where the yard is. And now, from ev­ery an­gle, Fisher’s new North­west con­tem­po­rary home strikes a long, low pro­file on am­ple waves of green.

“The pro­gram started it­self out this way: Take ad­van­tage of the lawn,” Bobbitt says.

“So it’s stretch­ing on a north­south axis, giv­ing ev­ery ma­jor room a view of the lawn, pub­lic and pri­vate.”

Chap­ter two: Hi, tech

Walls of glass blur the bound­aries be­tween inside and out, but the pub­lic/pri­vate dis­tinc­tion is de­lib­er­ately more de­fined. There are three sep­a­rate but clearly con­nected pavil­ions: the wide-open great room; the bed­room pav­il­ion, with a mas­ter suite, two guest suites and home of­fice; and sup­port spa­ces such as the laun­dry, mud room — and one room that is es­pe­cially piv­otal, and pri­vate.

“Early on, he stated that the computer-server room was the most im­por­tant space,” Bobbitt says. “It’s the heart of the house.”

Vinyl sheet­ing drapes Fisher’s tech­ni­cal equip­ment, all highly or­ga­nized and in­ten­tion­ally cen­tral­ized.

“I don’t like a jun­gle of ca­bles,” he says. “Rather than spread it through the house, I put it all in one place. It’s very easy.” It’s also very, very chill. “It’s meant to be this cold,” Fisher says. “The room also has a sec­ond pur­pose: it was built for a wine cel­lar, nor­mally about 65 de­grees.”

Chap­ter three: A host of op­tions

Fisher turns into a server him­self in the gor­geous, open kitchen, one of two pur­pose­ful, pub­lic en­ter­tain­ing spa­ces where work meets play.

“When I look at the kitchen de­sign, my en­gi­neer side kicks in,” Fisher says. “Thirty peo­ple here; how are things mov­ing?”

The 22-foot-long kitchen is­land of su­per­durable, an­tique heart pine takes cen­tre stage as the main buf­fet area, for both prep­ping and dish­ing up. Bonus buf­fet line: the 60-inch round­table, stretch­able with lovely leaves.

Two dish­wash­ers flank the sink, bring­ing bal­ance but no rude in­ter­rup­tions. (“They’re quiet enough to run while peo­ple are talk­ing,” Fisher says.) All the ap­pli­ances are waist-level or be­low, with plates and bowls hang­ing in nearby draw­ers and wine­glasses dan­gling there up­side-down.

“The dish­wash­ers are at the same level as where the dishes go,” he says. “It’s won­der­ful for en­ter­tain­ing.”

Also con­ve­niently close: a film buff’s home the­atre, just off the great room, iso­lated but con­nected.

“It’s a very im­por­tant room,” Bobbitt says.

“It looks very sim­ple, but it’s so com­pli­cated,” Fisher says. “Ev­ery­thing here was put in a par­tic­u­lar way.”

Cus­tom­ized, mo­tor­ized, plush re­clin­ers op­ti­mize the the­atre ex­pe­ri­ence. Acous­tic fab­ric forms a false wall; speak­ers hide inside, with two back chan­nels in the ceil­ing. Equip­ment is tucked out of sight, and a cus­tom table (which dou­bles as another buf­fet) of­fers a sight­line over other guests’ heads. Kids can lie on, and roll away, a bench in front. And care­fully cu­rated posters of Amer­i­can movies with Ja­panese text “tie into the Asian theme in the house but com­mu­ni­cate, ‘This is a the­atre,’” Fisher says.

Chap­ter four: Bring­ing the world home

Con­tin­u­ing the theme, in­te­rior de­signer Jen­nifer Ran­dall “brought in blues and indigo as ac­cents” in a nod to “Lon’s love and pas­sion for Ja­panese things,” she says.

In the kitchen, mod­u­lar cab­i­netry re­peats “de­tailed, sub­tle rhythms,” Bobbitt says, and the only two up­per cab­i­nets dis­play eight sake bot­tles that Fisher dis­cov­ered at Glenn Richards & Hon­ey­church An­tiques.

“That ended up a for­tu­itous find, given the Asian theme,” Fisher says.

Out­side, frosted-glass garage doors “sub­tly re­in­force the Asian theme,” Bobbitt says — and then, like ev­ery­thing, it all comes back to the yard.

On its north­ern edge, a small grove of Ja­panese cherry trees was planted as “a re­minder of and re­flec­tion on (Fisher’s) trav­els in the Far East,” Bobbitt says.

Out here, from the lush lawn that says home, Fisher says, “I still look up at this and think, ‘Wow; that’s cool.’”


In the great room, says ar­chi­tect Stephen Bobbitt, “A care­fully crafted ex­posed-beam roof struc­ture adds vis­ual de­light and struc­tural ex­pres­sive­ness …”

The tub deck be­comes a bench for the walk-in shower in the mas­ter bath­room, with the wall-mounted, mo­tion-sen­sor Toto toi­let tucked away separately.

Lon Fisher’s pho­to­graphs hang above his bed in the mas­ter suite of the bed­room pav­il­ion. The bed­rooms face east for nat­u­ral light.

“Ev­ery­thing is on view in the kitchen, with stone-look, stain-re­sis­tant Cae­sar­stone coun­ter­tops; a tile back­splash; and cus­tom-crafted cab­i­netry …”

“The landscaping re­in­forces the cir­cu­la­tion path­ways and the spa­tial di­a­gram of the res­i­dence,” says Stephen Bobbitt.

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