Old World Home on the Bluff Even More Beautified

A 1924 Edmonds-area estate gets a landscape update worthy of its timeless prospect

By Seattle Mag September 9, 2014

beauty-bluff

This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of Seattle magazine.

Just because you’ve had the good fortune to realize that real estate mantra “location, location, location,” it still doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Such was the case for a 1924 Tudor-style manse in Woodway (an exclusive enclave south of Edmonds harboring a coterie of grand old estates). Situated on a beautiful bluff overlooking Puget Sound, the home came with a glorious 4-plus-acre surrounding of forest, meandering lawns and classic, rhododendron-rich Northwest gardens. What it didn’t have was an outdoor scheme that met the lifestyle needs of its owners (a family with young kids that loves to entertain) and that meshed with their home’s elegant, Old World design pedigree. Enter Eric Drivdahl, AIA, of Gelotte Hommas Architecture (known for its skillful ways with traditional architecture), who collaborated with noted landscape architect Darwin Webb to create a classical but functional outdoor domain for the home’s water-facing backside. The result is 3,200 square feet of handsome new hardscape that includes a stunning stone terrace genteelly extending from a spacious new family room addition; a pool and companion cabana (matching the main house’s old-style Tudor stucco, but fitted with a handy new outdoor kitchenette); an outdoor shower and sunken spa; and a fire pit. (A linchpin of Webb’s master landscape plan was to lower the grading from the house down to the bluff in order to maximize views of Puget Sound from the brand-new terrace.) While respecting the home’s traditional vocabulary, says Webb, “The intent was to create a variety of spaces both covered and uncovered that would feel comfortable for just family, or for parties of 100.” (The homeowners report a recent cigar party for 100 people as an unmitigated success.) In addition to becoming “focal points in the yard and magnets for people to gather around,” says Drivdahl, the light-handed integration of new man-made elements, cabana to fire pit, has better anchored the home to its natural landscape.

 

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