A Pacific Northwest 1950’s Ranch-Style Home Transformation

Text supplied by Robert Hutchison Architecture

In 2015, lifetime Seattleites Kasey and Nick LeClercq finally found their dream midcentury home. It wasn’t easy, as Kasey notes, “We had a clear vision: we knew we wanted to be part of a mutually supportive community, we wanted ample outdoor space for our kids to create and explore, and we wanted someplace with history.”

This 1950s ranch-style home designed by noted Northwest Modernist Wendell Lovett in the Hilltop Community of Bellevue, just east of downtown Seattle, fit the bill, and then some.

The low-slung, 2,600 SF open-plan home on a 2-acre site with a fruit orchard, lush gardens, and views of Mt. Rainier checked all their boxes, but with a 2-year old son and another baby on the way, the LeClercqs knew they would soon need more space. Enter local Seattle architect Robert Hutchison, principal of Robert Hutchison Architecture.

Hutchison’s respect for Lovett’s original design made him a natural fit. “Rob had a deep artistic appreciation for Lovett and what the house already was,” says Kasey. “It was important that we uphold the legacy of Wendell Lovett and the brilliance of how the Hilltop Community was formed.” Established in 1947, Hilltop is a planned community of 40 homes, all designed in a modern style that thoughtfully integrates with the landscape.

To carefully maintain the architectural language of the original Lovett home, Hutchison created a dexterous renovation and addition plan that transformed the west end of the home from an awkward open room off the dining area into an enclosed live/play area for the children. He also designed a new mudroom and adjacent patio, and made small adjustments to the open kitchen and dining room to improve flow. All told, Hutchison added less than 300 SF, but the sensitive design intervention transformed the existing condition to function much better for the family, with two small kids’ bedrooms, a bathroom, and a large den that doubles as a playroom.

A new roof over the renovated area and addition carries the same profile as the existing roof, making it difficult to tell where the original house ends and the addition begins—which was the point. “We really did not want to change the aesthetic or feel of the home,” says Kasey. “We simply wanted it to accommodate our family a little better.”

The result is a seamless integration between old and new—one that upholds the rhythm of Lovett’s original design, while bringing a new sense of balance. “A lot of people might have come in and demolished this house,” says Hutchison. “Kasey and Nick were the opposite. They wanted to enhance and build on the incredible legacy that already existed.”

Photos by Rafael Soldi