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New home with modern and traditional elements
New Home With Modern And Traditional Elements Traditional Home

New Home With Modern And Traditional Elements Traditional Home New Home With Modern And Traditional Elements Traditional Home

French doors on the back of the house open to the golf course and views of the Cascade mountain peaks beyond. Stuart considered sets of bifold doors to open the back of the house but decided they looked too modern. “We wanted to keep that old-world feel,” he says.

The best way to create a soothing space no matter the design is to create a versatile pallet. Try to stay away from ornate or flashy structures. A custom mural might look amazing in a French café, but it shouldn’t adorn your living room ceiling. Archways are great, but they look better as large, cased openings. Crown molding and wide baseboards add design without being too busy. Open floorplans are very popular, plus they make it easy to keep things simple. There are less walls and weird hallways or walkways to work around. Keep this in mind for remodels also. Knocking down walls can simplify and modernize an outdated home.

A great way to ease the transition of both modern and traditional is to incorporate old material with new flare. Marble counters and subway tile backsplashes can blend well with modern, stainless steel appliances. Paint traditional-styled furniture like desks and tables white for a quick updating. You can also use bold fabrics and patterns on classic chairs or other seating.

Flooring and ceiling: hand-bleached and waxed white oak.Dining table (custom, medium distress/golden walnut); chairs (custom, for similar, #DC1207): Alder & Co., platter: antique.Sofa: custom.Console: owner’s collection.Art with writing: by Dennis Evans, Utopian Heights Studios, with red bird (by Jay Steensma): Davidson Galleries, over mantel: by Betsy Eby, Kohler & Campbell, (integral veneer plaster): custom color.Mirrors flanking mantel: Michael Folks Showroom, Fabricut, Bartlett Blinds,

Most of the time, Stuart and Mary were in design sync, but there were a few surprises, such as when Mary announced she wanted a blue bathroom. “I’d been doing a muted color scheme in my mind,” Stuart says. He initially objected but eventually acquiesced.  

Happily, their seemingly opposite visions blended beautifully when the empty nesters built an environmentally responsible house on a lot overlooking fairways at Seattle’s Broadmoor Golf Club.

A front courtyard features paving stones set on a gravel base that allows small plants to sprout in the joints. The pavers lead to a stone-look archway made with stucco. “It’s more informal, countrified a little bit,” Stuart says. 

Architects are famous for their freshly pressed white shirts, obsessive attention to detail, and “my way or the highway” personalities. But after more than 25 years as an architect-—and nearly as many as a husband—Stuart Silk knows that a successful home design as well as a happy marriage requires good communication and plenty of give and take.

A narrow course of water centered on the living room wing of the house bisects the backyard, adding a stunning lighted water feature at night—and a fun play spot for grandkids during the day.

Chair (“French Country Chair” #1240.11); ottoman (“French Country Ottoman” #2671.28): Minton-Spidell, and ottoman fabric (“Couture Boucle N.4”/Taupe): Glant, table: owner’s collection.Table lamp: Frederick Cooper, Fabricut, Bartlett Blinds, rug (custom): Ramri Rugs,

The interiors reflect Stuart’s contemporary leanings with walls of windows and French doors and a casual open floor plan, where rooms flow one into another. “We wanted contiguous spaces, so the main living space is quite open to the kitchen, and the kitchen opens to the dining room,” Stuart says.

Bed (“Medici Bed”): Kreiss, cover (“Charleston”/Palm Green #10207-04): Donghia, and pillows (“Rayure Marionettes” #34097): Clarence House, and bed drapery: Fabricut, Bartlett Blinds, rug (custom): Ramri Rugs, chair (“French Country Chair” #1240.11): ottoman (“French Country Ottoman” #2671.28): Minton-Spidell, (“Couture Boucle N.4”/Taupe): Glant, beside chair: owner’s collection.Table lamp: Frederick Cooper, chair; bird prints: owner’s collection.Blue chair fabric (“Sutton Stripe”/Blue Spruce #825-68): Perennials,

Stuart limited the number of upper cabinets and eliminated a sink on the island to downplay the utilitarian features of the kitchen because the room is visible from the living and dining areas. The refrigerator, wall ovens, and microwave are partially out of view in a side corridor. In a nice juxtaposition of modern and traditional, the rectilinear stainless-steel hood is flanked by blue and white ginger jars.

You want to make sure that your home’s design is smooth and continuous. For a transitional home, use the same materials throughout the house. Love the granite you used in the kitchen? Carry it over to the bathrooms as well. You can also use the same hardwood or tile flooring throughout the house to ensure a beautiful flow.

Reaching a consensus on the exterior was easy. “We wanted a lot of glass, but we still wanted the house to have a traditional appearance on the outside,” Stuart says. Influenced by rustic farmhouse styles (“something you’d see in southern Europe or more likely Santa Barbara,” the architect says), the three-level stucco home has a tile roof and wood shutters that were wire-brushed and stained—not painted–—“so they feel like they’re 100 years old,” he says.

His wife, Mary, is a “dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist,” Stuart explains, and is drawn to cozy spaces with wood-burning fireplaces, textured fabrics, and richly hued colors. “I know Stuart would love to build a contemporary house, but they don’t seem comfortable, they don’t envelop me,” Mary says.

Other interior walls were finished with wheat-colored Venetian plaster for an aged and handmade look. The inspiration for the oak floors and ceilings came from a book showcasing vintage French homes, Mary recalls. To create the subtle warm effect the Silks wanted, the rift and quartered white oak was bleached to remove its yellow tones, and ceilings were hand-finished with a paste wax.

Art over mantel (by Terry Turrell); sculpture on table (by Terry Turrell): Sue Greenwood Fine Art, owner’s collection.Sofa fabric (“Leopard”): discontinued.Lounge chair: owner’s collection.Lounge-chair fabric (“Madison Velvet”/Espresso #7002-08): Victoria Hagan Home, table; wing chair: antique.Wing-chair fabric (“Hair Calf”/Natural): Randolph & Hein, (“Steel Sconce” #0120): Fourteenth Colony Lighting, (“Arrowroot,” by Lapchi, Ngari weave): Driscoll Robbins Fine Carpets, Fabricut, Bartlett Blinds, custom.

Quartzite slabs were cut into large-scale tiles for the foyer floor. Arched openings at the end of the hall lead to the living room. 

A Seattle architect balances modern and traditional elements for a home where comfort trumps all

Table (custom); side chairs (custom); host chairs (custom): Alder & Co., fabric (Henredon Leather #LE-734-2): Henredon, fabric (“Gustav”/Travertine, discontinued): Pindler & Pindler, antique.Area rug (Ushak): Michaelian and Kohlberg, Fabricut, Bartlett Blinds, (integral veneer plaster): custom color.Art (by Joel Brock): Lisa Harris Gallery, table under art: owner’s collection.

While the exterior design choices were made early, Stuart’s approach from the start was to design “from the inside out,” he says. “We built the house to accommodate the way we live, so we were concerned with spatial relationships, adjacencies, views, and light. Those are the things that informed the exterior of the house.”

“The only room that is separate on the main floor is the library, and we can close that off with pocket doors,” Stuart says. Not surprisingly, that cozy room with a wood-burning fireplace, painted wood-paneled walls, and furnishings upholstered in textured and patterned fabrics is Mary’s favorite.

Outdoor furniture (“Santa Barbara”); cushions (color, Mocha): Restoration Hardware, table (custom, quartzite on metal base); cocktail table (custom limestone table): Stuart Silk Architects, over patio: Fourteenth Colony Lighting, planter: Wells Medina Nursery, and windows: Loewen,

The French Country Chair and Ottoman from Minton-Spidell in a taupe color is in keeping with the bedroom’s calm, restful palette.

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Seattle, Architecture, New Home, West, Washington, October 2014

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Differences were amicably resolved with the help of the Silk’s stash of inspirational photos. “If we got into trouble or didn’t agree on something, we’d go back to the image book,” Stuart says. “We’d look through those images, talk, and find a way to agree.” Give and take, push and pull—that’s what makes for good design and happy marriages.

The most traditional room on the main floor also has French doors that open to the front courtyard. 

From the start, it was a joint effort, with Stuart wearing his professional hat. “He treated me as a client and asked me what I wanted,” Mary says. For inspiration, the couple collected images from books and magazines. They drove through neighborhoods in Seattle and elsewhere, pointing out houses, landscapes, and architectural details that appealed to them.

Tub (“Napoli”): Victoria + Albert, fixture (“Nostromo” #HS-90-50-9350, by Davide Mercatali for Fantini Rubinetti): Fantini, tile (“Blue Celeste” #10045-01): Ann Sacks, shades: Fabricut, Bartlett Blinds,

Stuart had a victory in the kitchen, when he eliminated the sink on the island to create a sleek, non-kitchen look. “Mary still gives me a hard time about that,” he says, laughing.

The overall palette and design sensibility are definitely minimal, Stuart says, with no one feature or colorway demanding attention. “Everything conforms and is harmonious—even though there are stone floors, steel railings, Venetian plaster, waxed wood, and painted cabinets. We have a richness, a mosaic of materials, but we made a conscious decision not to have any one thing shout, be boisterous, or stand out. The palette is muted.” 

There are many options when it comes to materials for your new home. When you want an up-to-date home that also stays true to traditional design, use materials that never go out of style. Natural wood is extremely versatile. It works well with pretty much any other material. Not only that, but it also can be re-stained or refinished to accommodate changing tastes and styles. Plus, wood elements like flooring, ceiling beams, and furniture can help warm up a more modern looking home.

Mary worked with interior designer Danielle Krieg to choose fabrics to re-cover existing furnishings and to find new pieces, such as a custom pine plank table suited to the more casual style of their dining room, which opens to the kitchen. A wall of windows and French doors that lead to the back terrace ensure the room receives ample natural light and provide great golf course views. 

Creating the right balance in your new home is essential for a harmonious look and feel. Houses built now and in the coming years will have to effortlessly blend traditional aspects with changing technology and tastes. Although it sounds tricky, it is possible so long as you keep the following tips in mind. Furthermore, you can build your custom home exactly to your taste. Feel free to take creative liberty as you please.

“I’m very much a transitional kind of guy. I could live in a flat-roof modern quite comfortably,” Stuart says, adding with a chuckle, “That will never happen in this marriage.”

Walls (integral veneer plaster): custom color.Flooring (custom cut): quartzite from Turkey.Table (Scandinavian); chairs: antique.Art on table (by Lauri Chambers): owner’s collection.Art in stairwell; art on landing (portraits of the Silks): by Anne Petty, owner’s collection.Art on right wall, lower (by Brian Kershisnik): Brian Kershisnik Studio, on right wall, over doorway (by William Ivey): Woodside/Braseth Gallery,

Walls (integral veneer plaster): custom color.Sofa: custom.Striped pillow on sofa (“Kilim Stripe”/Nougat #7618-009): Mokum, end table by sofa (“Zoya Table”): Erika Brunson, of lounge chairs (“Dante Chairs”): Patricia Edwards, fabric (“Couture Silk Melange N.8”/Truffle): Glant, (“Cressant Chair” #2490.11): Minton-Spidell, fabric (“Tigre”): discontinued.Coffee table: antique.Area rug (Abaca weave): The Natural Carpet Co., over mantel: by Betsy Eby, Michael Folks Showroom, Fabricut, Bartlett Blinds,

Stools (“Bar Stool Contour”): David Smith & Co., no longer in business.Cabinetry: custom.Hardware: Sun Valley Bronze,, countertops: Cottonwood limestone.Refrigerator (by Sub-Zero); cooktop (by Wolf): Sub-Zero/Wolf, hood: custom.Sink: Blanco America, (“Vir Stil,” by Laura Kirar): Kallista, rug (Ushak): Driscoll Robbins Fine Carpets, Through Michaelian & Kohlberg, still life: by Donald F. Allan, jars, teapot, plates: Glenn Richards,

After the oak vaulted ceiling was installed, Stuart couldn’t bear to cut  holes for down lights. Instead, the Silks rely on table lamps, sconces, and natural light. “People tend to overlight bedrooms. They should be a place to wind down,” Stuart says. The “Medici” bed from Kreiss is skirted with “Rayure Marionettes” fabric from Clarence House. 

An east-facing terrace is a delightful spot to sit in the afternoon. 

Architect: Stuart Silk, Stuart Silk Architects, 2400 N. 45th St., Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98103; 206/728-9500, designers: Mary Silk with Danielle Krieg, senior designer at Stuart Silk Architects, 2400 N. 45th St., Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98103; 206/728-9500, designers: Carolyn Temple Gardner and Cindi Alsop, Carolyn Temple Gardner, 1404 41st Ave. E., Seattle, WA 98112; 206/325-3191.

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