Seawesterly: Welcome Home
My first own home in West Seattle. It is 772 sq ft with two bedrooms and one bath with a great amount of natural light and a greater amount of stucco. Previous renovations included the removal of a partition, opening up the once closed off dining area, to create an open concept perfect for the smaller size.
My intent has been to create a space that feels restful yet invigorating and invokes a feeling of nostalgia and comfort. Home is a place of respite from the demands of life and to really feel at home I have found I need three things; color, artwork and books. So the journey began 7 months ago to find what works well in the space and fits my lifestyle. There were challenges in working with the open concept because I initially wanted to create distinct spaces without too much overlap, but in small parameters that is difficult to achieve.
I soon learned in a small open concept plan, fluidity is lovely. When in one social setting my humble leather chair works better in the living area, in another it's a fitting fifth seat at the dining table. By allowing that flexibility the space feels more lived in and functional.
Some before shots....
Some after shots...
I knew that some items such as the couch are limited to certain orientations and take up a lot of physical space so I tried to choose other furniture with smaller profiles or that had more negative space, to help continue the line of site.
There is so much that I've worked on and I could go into great detail (and likely too much detail) but here are some highlights of the journey most enlightening and fun:
Such a critical element of design, lighting provides both the functional and aesthetic support of the entire design. A beautifully designed space can lose so much character and appeal with poor lighting.
The previous renovation provided great ambient lighting, the general type of lighting designed to fill the space, so my goal was to support it with task and accent lighting. There were few places to install hardwired fixtures, really just two junction boxes in the ceiling, so to provide the accent lighting I wanted I used wall sconces, all converted into plug ins.
That was a really enjoyable challenge to rewire these fixtures. I gained the knowledge and experience from my former employer Harold's Lighting whose staff includes amazingly adept and supportive technicians. For many of the fixtures I had their kind assistance, but it was rewarding to achieve it on my own, after learning the core elements (a story on that soon to come).
My home is something akin to a museum or a stylized antique shop, with arguably too much stuff, and I have scoured dozens of shops and many a Value Village to discover that unique frame or vintage suitcase. It is those discoveries I love to display. Before I came across this home on the market, I knew if I was fortunate to find a home with two bedrooms, the second would be a library. No question about it, this dream has been a strong one ever since I watched beauty and the beast in my young years (which I still watch at age 25 on the original VHS...yeah still love me that VHS player).
The key to a complete library is naturally shelving to hold all of the books and there are a myriad of ways to achieve it. I decided to use a mix of styles and lengths to accommodate the various sized novels and to also create visual interest. I used tall bookcases offset by small vintage boxes, installed a piece of reclaimed wood to hover just above the window, and attempted to use height and length to showcase the books in different orientations. I wanted my love of reading, travels, and life to be expressed and be accessible. It's about getting lost among the collections and stories that engage someone to look a little closer.
Displaying my Story
So speaking of collections and stories, a good friend of mine told me after I held a housewarming party that my place seemed as though I had lived in it for years. In that moment I realized that is my goal. If I could create a sense of lived in experience, a familiarity of cozy corners, and dusty shelves filled with emblems from travels, I would feel satisfied. Every façade holding a piece of history, of mine, my family members, friends, fills me with joy.
My mother Terri on the left and my brother Justin on the right. Both natural and artistic models in their high school days.
Homes are a wonderful place to express your personality. Whether you have a more minimalist style, traditional aesthetic or maybe an eclectic no-easily-definable-name-for-it tastes, it is enlivening to create a space reflective of you. The beautiful thing is it can be a continual process, it can morph and develop on any scale, from small details to big renovations. And you never have to stick with one layout or one design. As your tastes change so can your design and that is an exciting journey.
Welcome to my home.