A wide-rang­ing ren­o­va­tion for a clas­sic Seat­tle home

The Modesto Bee (Sunday) - - Real Estate - By Sandy De­neau Dunham

For all the work it with­stood, Jim’s stately Lau­rel­hurst home sure did come through with fly­ing col­ors — some sooth­ing and sub­tle, some deep and rich, all thought­ful and har­mo­nious.

Jim has lived here for 30 years. His home has stood here for al­most 100. It is clas­sic. It is sturdy. But still.

“His 1920s home was in need of a cos­metic face-lift through­out,” says in­te­rior de­signer Paula Devon Raso, who brought an im­proved pal­ette, along with light, co­he­sion, flow, fur­nish­ings and art, to ev­ery sin­gle room — and even added a room in the process.

“It was a whole-house ren­o­va­tion,” says Jim — al­most ev­ery­thing is new, and al­most ev­ery­thing was cus­tom-de­signed by Raso, whose ex­pe­ri­ence with architecture and psy­chi­a­try struck Jim as an es­pe­cially ben­e­fi­cial big-project bonus.

“I saw Paula’s work in some pub­li­ca­tions,” he says. “There was more of a Eu­ro­pean feel in her work — more of a less-is-more con­cept. More in­ti­macy. She’s very in­ter­ested in all things Ital­ian and quasi-French, and an older home lends it­self to that.”

Even bet­ter: The brand-new read­ing room, a gen­tle tran­si­tion through French doors off the liv­ing area, feels both in­te­grated and fresh, as if it’s al­ways been there and it re­ally needed to be there.

“(He) wanted a place sit­u­ated in the gar­den to re­lax and re­flect,” says Raso. “Jim sketched out the read­ing room. He knew the size and win­dow lo­ca­tion.”

All those win­dows fill three of the cus­tom-stained, wood-pan­eled walls, in turn fill­ing the room with nat­u­ral light, and the peace­ful na­ture on the other side.

“The lit­tle pa­tio area out­side is a nice bonus of pop­ping this out,” says Jim. “It’s close to other houses but has pri­vacy; it’s a great place to have a cup of cof­fee or a martini.”

Other great places that in­volved some con­sid­er­able re­struc­tur­ing:

The old kitchen “was more bro­ken up,” says Jim. “We moved one wall north and opened up the con­nec­tion.” Now, says Raso, “New ap­pli­ances, Cala­catta Luc­ci­coso coun­ter­tops and scaled-down cus­tom cab­i­netry pro­vide an open, func­tional space.”

Off the newly open kitchen, “The TV room felt con­fined and sep­a­rated, so a 4-foot open­ing was cre­ated be­tween th­ese two spa­ces, bring­ing more light to each,” says Raso.

And up­stairs, the just-right, ren­o­vated mas­ter bath­room is “to­tally dif­fer­ent,” says Jim. “When I first bought this house 30 years ago, the bath­tub was un­der the win­dows, then where the shower is now. It’s the size for me. I had a condo down­town, and the bath­rooms were gar­gan­tuan. In Eu­rope, the bath­rooms are re­ally small. It’s not nec­es­sary to have a ball­room.”

Else­where: fewer struc­tural shifts, equally pow­er­ful im­pact. The grand, turn­ing en­try stair­case was stripped of its car­pet run­ner, re­fin­ished and re­painted. The pow­der room, which held on to its orig­i­nal blue tile and cab­i­net, got new wall­pa­per and paint.

In the din­ing room, Jim’s de­light­ful col­lec­tion of fish prints an­chors two grass cloth-wall­pa­pered ar­eas (one nes­tled into a nook above the up­graded buf­fet), and his ex­ist­ing ta­ble and chairs are il­lu­mi­nated by new con­tem­po­rary light­ing. And in the liv­ing room, fur­nished with com­fort­able pieces clothed in nat­u­ral fab­rics, an­other new pair of French doors to the left of the fire­place bal­ances the ones to the right, and to the read­ing room.

Ev­ery­where, ev­ery­thing was newly painted. In the en­try, Jim says, “It’s Sher­win-Wil­liams Ur­bane Bronze paint, al­most like black. You can put a piece of art on it and think it’d get con­sumed, but it works.”

In the mas­ter bath­room: Swiss Choco­late.

And through­out the main floor, Raso says, “vari­a­tions of khaki, with sub­tle changes in shades.” Which suits Jim, and his stately, har­mo­nious home, quite beau­ti­fully.

“There’s a lot of lit­tle de­tail,” he says. “It was the de­tail that ul­ti­mately made it res­onate. It’s not a huge house, but it’s got this nice feel­ing of not look­ing like it was ‘dec­o­rated.’ ”

Mike Siegel/The Seat­tle Times/TNS

The mas­ter bath­room, with a Car­rara mar­ble-topped wash­stand/van­ity, a cus­tom-built stor­age tower cab­i­net and a cur­b­less shower, “was ren­o­vated com­pletely, stay­ing within the orig­i­nal foot­print.”

Mike Siegel/The Seat­tle Times/TNS

A sweetly con­cealed laun­dry chute on the sec­ond floor leads to the base­ment.

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