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