Historic Detailing in a Craftsman Home
Craftsman Bungalow Restoration
A detail-by-detail restoration of a classic Seattle Craftsman bungalow with Arts & Crafts accents.
This project came to us many years ago as a whole house remodel. But, rather than tackle it all at once, through the years, we’ve moved methodically from room to room with attention and care while the homeowners continued to enjoy their home. In each space, we addressed specific concerns to maintain and restore this home’s Craftsman charm with period and style-appropriate details.
The homeowners’ goal was to bring back the vintage detailing lost through decades of previous remodels. From hardware, to lighting, to built-ins, they looked to the smallest details to make the biggest impacts, with a keen eye on the balance of historical appropriateness and the reality of it being a home in modern times. We passionately researched historical elements — ensuring the alterations would not only fit into the historical context of the home, but also into how the family lives and uses the space now. The result is a one-of-a-kind home with custom and period details throughout.
The kitchen was to remain classically appropriate to the rest of the house while creating space for modern appliances like a Sub-Zero fridge, built-in island microwave, and gas range. The white cabinets are specifically designed to subtly blend into the walls while contrasting with the house-wide stained fir trim.
Original to the home, the vertical grain fir trim was re-stained to their present coffee-rich brown to add depth and mystique, and to better offset the lighter walls. Behind the stove, a cream-toned Arts & Crafts-style tile backsplash adds period detail in a more modern, lighter palette suited to the brighter feel of the kitchen. The kitchen island is topped with a locally-sourced Madrona butcherblock top.
The exposed brick flue running through the kitchen was consciously preserved by the homeowners. However, an exposed 8” duct on its side was decidedly unwanted. To cover the hole left behind by the duct, we sourced a vintage iron grate that perfectly fits over the opening, adding to the collection of unique historic and vintage elements that imbue the home with the eclectic and authentic feel that comes with methodic, dedicated care to sourcing each element, over years, incrementally building on the character of the home.
Not-uncommon for an old home, the lath and plaster walls are no longer flat, and the house itself isn’t square. To accommodate the variations in a home of this age, much of the new trim and built-ins were custom-fit during installation. The extra work means a perfect fit that augments the home’s charm without highlighting its imperfections as if the new trim and built-ins were part of the home all along.
In the living room stands the crown jewel of the home’s historical updates: salvaged Arts & Crafts fireplace surround, accented with individually-selected and laid, handmade art tile. The bold, golden oil finish of the wood surround inspired the selection of complementary tiles, in particular, the golden brown accent, which provides a nice pop of color among the traditional green Arts & Crafts tiling.
To avoid unnecessary demolition, the existing brick hearth was tiled over to create a dramatic cascade of hand-crafted, fireclay tiles into the room rather than demolishing the hearth to inset them into the floor. Alongside the fireplace stands a stout built-in bench, custom upholstered in attractive forest green leather. The front grate reveals wood storage for the working fireplace, with a small niche alongside for kindling.
A delightful surprise, each room has its own driving element focusing attention. In the powder room, it’s distinctive wallpaper and paneled doors. In the office, full-height bookcases add grandeur and sophistication while a custom, built-in dog door adds a distinctly whimsical character to the otherwise traditional architecture.
Special features such as these are at the heart of this home’s charmingly intricate updates. Carefully updated and restored over time, the result is a home that feels authentic — staying true to its historical context, while reflecting the beauty of a home well-loved and lived-in.
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