A common misconception about home remodels is that they are for expansion and grandeur;
in reality, the goal of many of our remodels is to create a better fitting home environment, and sometimes that even means downsizing!
Our clients had purchased this modest rambler in Edmonds a few years earlier and were renting it out until they were ready to simplify their lifestyle and move towards retirement. Once their children were launched, we embarked on a design effort to transform the house into a Japanese-style tea retreat. The result was a full remodel incorporating aging-in-place strategies such as having no steps (only one minimal step at the entry), wide doors for walkers if needed, easy access to the gardens, and a walk-in shower, etc. Although both spouses continue to work, the goal is to have this be the owners last abode; the toughest task was for them to pare down their lifelong accumulation of belongings as required by such a reduction in house size!
Although the house retains its original footprint (besides a window seat bump out in the kitchen) the living, kitchen, and dining rooms have been opened up for a spacious, flowing circulation to other areas of the house. Options for privacy are achieved via sliding doors and translucent screens. Panels of fabric-encased acrylic or wood, along with fir trim running strategically through the home, impart a calm serenity. These architectural devices evoke the feel of a Japanese tea house retreat, yet the end result feels totally contemporary. All spaces look out to newly designed garden “rooms” that take advantage of the lovely wooded site. The four existing bedrooms were modified into a master suite + two bedrooms and a guest bath, anticipating visits from adult children. One of those bedrooms does double duty as a home office until full, final retirement.
The owners have quickly settled into their smaller surroundings, keeping count on the increasing number of birds visiting the new gardens, and are already locking the doors on this low-maintenance house to finally take long-planned travels. The benefits of downsizing are adding up!