Architect Mindy Lehrman Cameron Recasts Her Own Home
When the couple first arrived from San Francisco in 1995 and moved into the 1910 Craftsman house set on a sizable corner of a quiet Greenwood street, they were renters with just one infant babe, Olivia.
Flash forward a decade or so, and not only did Mindy Lehrman Cameron and Max Cameron now own that house, they had since acquired a second child, Justine, and a black Lab, Hudson. What they hadn’t had the time or funds for was to baby along the aged house, let alone undertake any remodeling (aside from one half-hearted attempt that for years left a wall between the kitchen and the dining room in a half-demolished state), and so deterioration had firmly taken hold. “It was a much-loved place, a great place to bring up happy kids, but it was in need of attention,” admits Mindy. “The floors were paper thin, a sprout was growing in the grout of the caving-in kitchen counter and,” she whispers, “we even had occasional furry visitors in the basement.”
Fortunately, as both a fine artist and a commercial architect, Mindy had design know-how on her side, and her sketch pile of the possible only grew and ripened over time. By 2009, her vision for a Seattle Craftsman–meets–a–New York City loft had gelled (with consulting input from local residential architect Cheryl Hughes and designer Evan Bourquard), and the family finally was ready to tackle a whole-house renovation. Mindy had rejected the simpler, cheaper route of razing the house that was recommended by contractors. “I was brought up by historians,” she says, “and I wanted to keep as much of the history of the Craftsman as could reasonably be saved.” So, instead, the house was gutted to make way for a much bigger second story and its three enlarged bedrooms—featuring unusual vaulted ceilings and view windows—as well as an expanded master bathroom, a brand-new second bathroom and a laundry room. A standard-size, second-story dormer window on the house’s north side was transformed into a large dormer featuring a striking striping of two-toned Hardie board paneling, a surprising visual pop-out for those happening upon that corner of the house. It’s a fun mod nod that doesn’t overpower the exterior’s overall Craftsman character, and is a design tweak close to the owner/architect’s heart. “I wanted whimsy,” explains Mindy, “I wanted the house to be colorful, playful, serious, but never somber. I’m not somber.”
To create the bright, open loft look inside, walls separating the living room, kitchen and dining room were removed and a folding glass wall was added next to the dining room, establishing an important indoor-outdoor connection with the backyard patio, which boasts a unique dwelling of its own, a chicken coop. Tying together the natural and man-made environments was a key concept for Mindy (inspired by her love of Japanese design). “So many places in this house, you feel like you are outdoors,” she says with satisfaction. “On every floor there is some outdoor element.” Natural light is so bountiful in the living room (where the original Craftsman windows were prettily preserved), in fact, art works and built-in bookcases were strategically positioned to minimize over-exposure to the sun’s rays. (In one of several sustainable moves, the house’s roof is plumbed for future solar panels.) Ingenuity was also employed below stairs: The basement, which opens onto the front garden, was converted into a fully accessible guest suite, complete with a bathroom and a walk-in shower, which the couple currently uses as office space for their studio specializing in institutional and educational design.
After years spent patiently imagining and penciling out potential results for this renovation, Mindy is completely at home with her finished work, which increased the structure’s size by one-third without diminishing its essential character one bit. She says, “I worked to leave as much of the [original] Craftsman as possible and still get a New York City loft space in the interior.”
Without a doubt, it’s a case of a design dream beautifully realized.
Open House Stats
Edition 8 :: Number 46
Architectural Firm :: Lehrman
Cost :: Approximately $186 per square foot for a 3,000-square-foot house (total project cost may include additional fees for other services that are not reflected)
Find It Resources
Home of the Month: Architect/interior/landscape designer: Mindy Lehrman Cameron, AIA, Lehrman Cameron Studio, Greenwood, 7716 First Ave. NW; 206.784.0555; email@example.com; lehrmancameron.com. Consulting architects/designers: Cheryl Hughes, Hughes Studio Architects (later design); 206.264.1301; firstname.lastname@example.org; hughes-studio.com. Evan Bourquard (schematics), 206.291.7201; email@example.com. General contractor: Ren Chandler (owner), Andy Mroczek (project manager), Chad Briggs (site superintendent), Stacy Permana (assistant project manager), Dyna Contracting; 206.297.6369; dynacontracting.com. Landscape design consultant/installation: Max Schmidt, Quercus Landscapes; 425.427.0713; quercuslandscapedesign.com. Electrical: Alex Georgiu, A & I Electrical. Plumbing: Aaron Herman, Sterling Plumbing and Fire Safety, Seattle, 206.351.3436. HVAC/radiant heat: Stuart Nelson, Nelson Heating, Everett; 425.773.3221. Painting: George Vega, Ericks Drywall & Paint. Paint (interior/exterior): White, Grey, Baby Fawn, Seabreeze, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Raccoon Fur, Cottage Red, Pale Celery, Suntan Yellow, Glouchester Sage, metallic aluminum, Benjamin Moore. Hardwood flooring: Red Oak No. 2 with clear Swedish finish, Hardwood Industries, Woodinville; 425.420.1050; hardwoodind.com. Hardwood install: Sergey Kruitiy, Hardwood Floor Works, Everett; 425.268.4710; hardwoodfloorworks.com. Stone: Chroma Quartz by Pental (kitchen, guest bath counters); Carrera (mudroom, powder room, kid’s bath counters); Sandstone (master bath). Stone supplier/installer: Marmo E Granito, Seattle; 206.368.0990; marmoegranito.net. Tiles: Lunada Bay wall tile, Sumi-e tile in “Sesshu Silk” (kitchen); Royal Mosa, Roman-Terra in “Avalon Beige" (floors/shower walls in master bath); Falling Water slate, natural stone tiles in moss green (shower cabinet/floor in master bath); Crossville glass blocks (kids’ bath); Crossville Retro (guest bath), United Tile; unitedtile.com. Pental Parc tiles in Ash Grey matte (flooring entry, kids' bath), Pental Granite & Marble; pentalonline.com. Dal Modern Dimensions in "Arctic White" (subway tiles in kids' bath), Daltile; daltile.com. Tile installer: Rob Stunden, Select Tile and Stone, Edgewood; 253.891.9760. Carpet (laundry room): “Bow Wow Black,” “Curly Cream” checkerboard, Toy Poodle Collection; flor.com. Carpet supplier/installer: Rich Cook, Cook Interiors Inc. Carpet (laundry room). Custom ash wood cabinetry (kitchen, baths and shelving): John Sheehan, Baywood Cabinet, Kent; 206.575.1240; baywoodcabinet.com. Lighting: Juno (tracks, recessed); Access (secondary entries, sconce in powder room, laundry, closets); ET2 (basement stairway, entry hallway), Kovacs (bathroom sconces); Trend (pendant in powder room); American Lighting (under-cabinet, kitchen); Tech (hallway, coat closet), Lighting Supply (main vendor), Seattle, 206.441.5075; lightingsupply.net. Reinstalled lighting: Kasala (pendant in dining room); George Nelson (pendant over kitchen counter). Doorbell: Sporedoorbells.com. Bedroom fans: Modern Fan Co. Exterior steel (raw steel planters, stainless address characters): Kevin Names, Boiler Room Custom Metal, Seattle; 206.286.9809. Interior/exterior steel hand railings: Dyna Contracting. Bifold door: nanawall.com. Windows: Lindal.com. Window coverings: Budget Blinds, Restoration Hardware. Appliances: Viking range/oven, Sub-Zero refrigerator, Albert Lee Appliance; 206.282.2110; albertleeappliance.com. Plumbing fixtures: Kitchen: Blaco sink, Hansgrohe faucet, Insinkerator disposal, Mountain air switch, flange/stop, basket strainer. Powder room: Toto toilet: Toto (dual flush), Duravit sink, Grohe faucet/valve. Master bath: Toto toilet (dual flush), Duravit sink, Grohe faucets, Hansgrohe shower bar, wall outlet, hand held, Grohe shower valve/trim. Kids' bathroom: Toto toilet (dual flush), Duravit sink, Hansa faucet, Hydro Systems tub, Mountain tub drain, Grohe tub spout, Hansgrohe shower head/arm, Grohe shower trim. Basement bathroom: Toto toilet (dual flush), Ikea sink, Europlus faucet, concrete shower pan, Grohe shower valve/PBV trim. Hardware: Chown Hardware, Bellevue, 12001 NE 12th St.; 425.454.7420; chownhardware.com; Anthropologie (handles kids' bathroom). Furnishings: Lime green sofa, Mitchell Gold; mgbwhome.com. White leather chairs, dining room chairs, white leather ottoman, dining room pendant, red leather sleeper sofa, coily white polymer floor light, three-part adjustable floor light, Kasala; kasala.com. Aeron office chairs, Herman Miller. Custom desk tops with red stain in office, Ikea; ikea-usa.com. Exterior recycled Adirondeck chairs, Loll Designs; lolldesigns.com. Exterior aluminum chairs, Smith & Hawken; smithandhawken.com. Wood/glass cabinet, side table, exterior garden table, David Smith & Company, South Lake Union, 1107 Harrison St.; 206.223.1598; davidsmithco.com. Bathroom cabs, master bedroom closets, Ikea. Pink bedroom closet furniture, Storables; storables.com. Wood flat file, Daniel Smith, SoDo, 4150 First Ave. S; 206.223.9599; danielsmith.com. Office table/chairs, Dania; daniafurniture.com. Artwork: select pieces (including large restaurant scene in living room) by Mindy Lehrman Cameron, contact for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org.