A 1961 Midcentury Home Remodel in Seattle

Text from SHED Architecture

Perched on a hillside in Seattle’s Seward Park neighborhood, a 1961 midcentury home designed by PNW Architect George Lucker had fallen into disrepair and lost its visual connection to Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains.

The architectural challenge was to preserve the home’s original character, while integrating new forms and details in tune with modern living.

The homeowner’s design brief was straightforward: embrace the home’s natural surroundings, open up the floorplan, and transform the dim bathroom into a master suite.

Seattle-based SHED Architecture & Design was selected to tackle the redesign and to create a welcoming and flexible home for an intergenerational family.

Working within the original footprint of the home, SHED sought to creatively re-configure the floor plan to integrate interior spaces – improving access to natural light by reconnecting interior spaces to their surroundings. The central kitchen was relocated to open and unify the living room, dining room and kitchen into one space.

The sun room addition was removed and replaced by a large deck overlooking the lake with views of the mountains. To integrate the deck with the interior – and vice versa – large lift – slide doors were installed to encourage easy flow and social interaction between spaces. SHED also worked innovatively with the main entry and bathroom. 

Lake Washinghton Overlook
Lake Washinghton Overlook
Lake Washinghton Overlook
Lake Washinghton Overlook

An entry wall and closet were removed to open the space and create a visual connection through the house, from the front door to the mountain view beyond. The bathroom was not only enlarged but also made multi-functional by creating a pass-through powder room to master bathroom arrangement that utilized an existing skylight that once brought light into an entry breezeway.

This outdoor space became an extension of the master bath, incorporating a shower, stand-alone tub, and vanity – all while re-using the skylight position to bathe the space in sunlight. 

Strong emphasis was placed on working with the structure and material palette of the home, using them as a guiding principle to resolve spaces and details. The original beams were retained in all spaces and dramatically exposed in the new master bathroom. In the entry, new case work and open shelving replaced structural walls.

Not only did these elements work structurally, but they opened the entry to the view while providing areas for storage and display of the homeowner’s ceramics. To bring light down to the lower level, a glass panel was used between the case work and the landing. Using a palette of vertical grain fir, colored plastic laminate and red oak flooring, SHED blended new with old, working with rather than against George Lucker’s original design. 

SHED’s creative reimagining of this midcentury home stripped away unnecessary additions, strengthened its sound bones and renewed its enduring character.

By re-connecting the home to territorial views and natural light, creating an open and flexible floor plan for modern living, SHED laid the foundation for the house to shelter a new family for another 50 years. Clients noted: “We love the new space, indoor and out. We have a hard time remembering the way it was before, because the new is so seamless with the old.”

Photos by Rafael Soldi