View From Our Place

This is our ver­sion of small-town life, only 10 min­utes from down­town Seat­tle.

Country - - CONTENTS - BY TARA JOR­GENSEN Lake For­est Park, Wash­ing­ton

Liv­ing in the coun­try is a state of mind for this Wash­ing­ton fam­ily.

For the last 13 years my hus­band, Lance, and I have been restor­ing and ren­o­vat­ing our 1916 home. When we bought our house, both of us had fallen for the view. We saw all the work the house needed as a chal­lenge we could em­brace for the re­ward of wak­ing up here each day.

Sun­rise is peace­ful; the bay win­dow in our liv­ing room faces east, tak­ing in all the morn­ing hues. It feels like small-town liv­ing, yet we’re only 10 min­utes from down­town Seat­tle, within walk­ing dis­tance to cof­fee shops. As for­mer Seat­tleites, we need cof­fee in close prox­im­ity!

There’s no short­age of ma­ture trees, thanks to a lo­cal or­di­nance to pre­vent clear cut­ting. Ea­gles nest­ing nearby, cou­pled with a plethora of self-seed­ing fox­glove, can some­times make us think that we live in the coun­try.

Fre­quently I’m over­taken with grat­i­tude for the beauty of na­ture we get to live around ev­ery day, and I of­ten ex­pe­ri­ence mo­ments I wish I could freeze in time. But with each sea­son, I know there will be a new one to look for­ward to.

In sum­mer our teenage kids, Nora and An­ders, in­vite friends to roast marsh­mal­lows at the fire pit, and I gather bou­quets from the flower gar­den. Our dog, Eve, and cat, Kit, romp by the free-grow­ing nat­u­ral veg­e­ta­tion that over­takes the rolling hill­side.

In the fall we no­tice all of the chang­ing leaves in our yard and across the lake. Win­ter snow brings us our own sled­ding hill. In the spring we wit­ness wild bun­nies and hear the birds, and all is right in the world.

This is our ver­sion of a farm. We’re all en­ter­tained watch­ing the pet chick­ens wad­dle around when they’re out of the coop, usu­ally fol­low­ing Lance be­cause he feeds them the most. Salt, Pep­per and Big Red lay fresh eggs and rel­ish a drink from the pa­tio foun­tain that Lance built.

My hus­band is a ren­o­va­tion car­pen­ter and home builder, and I have an en­thu­si­asm for de­sign. We have ren­o­vated just about ev­ery part of this house. The most re­cent projects in­clude a new de­tached garage and our base­ment.

We try to find ways to re­cy­cle ma­te­ri­als—we like the charm and back­story, and it saves a few trees. We crafted the base­ment stairs out of fir re­claimed from my aunt’s house. And when we de­signed our

kitchen, we used a slab of rus­tic barn wood for the is­land. It gives us more than enough space for bak­ing with the cousins.

I love color and quirky an­tiques. My fa­vorite piece is a vin­tage wool rug that I pur­chased on a shop­ping ex­cur­sion with my mom.

My well-worn green gar­den boots are usu­ally sit­ting by the door, ready for ac­tion. I love to plant—weed­ing is another story. But even weed­ing has a ther­a­peu­tic rhythm. I en­joy hav­ing a rea­son to lis­ten to the birds chirp.

We have a cou­ple of bird­houses. One gets a nest ev­ery year, and some­times we are lucky enough to get another nest in the wis­te­ria vine that grows around our deck.

Oc­ca­sion­ally a vine sprouts from last fall’s pump­kin, and we pick a plethora of ap­ples in the fall from two trees my mom gave grand­son An­ders when he was born.

When I feel over­whelmed by the big lot, I look at the lake, take a deep breath and re­mind my­self few neigh­bors can tell if I miss a weed.

Hard work makes us ap­pre­ci­ate life here all the more. We have our eye on a sec­ond home in Cle Elum, Wash­ing­ton: coun­try liv­ing with moun­tain views. We’ve al­ready pur­chased the lot. And so the work will be­gin again!

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP: Son An­ders and a friend at the fire pit; sun­rise view over Lake Wash­ing­ton; the 1916 Crafts­man-style home; fam­ily dog Eve; pet chick­ens Pep­per and Big Red.

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