Seattle WA 98117
You will be the 4th family to call this house home. When we walked in we were greeted to seven different kinds of shag carpet, wall after wall covered with wood paneling and enough holes in the walls to be a sieve. Did I mention the gold foil wallpaper in the little bathroom, the 12 layers on the dining room wall or the green and white daisies in the upstairs bedroom? My personal favorite was the upholstery fabric stapled between the rafters’ downstairs as a ceiling. Imagine a middle eastern tent ceiling.
Some asked why I bought the house in Dumpy Ballard but then they had never been inside or felt the great energy emanating from the strong bones that lived under all the carpet. Slowly we did the necessary and much-needed house archeology.
We started with windows. I wanted wood windows. I wanted them to open. I wanted them to be the original size. During my walks I realized there had been more than transom windows in the main floor bedrooms, large wooden windows have made those rooms light sun filled and moonlight filled sanctuaries. I had walked the neighborhood enough to know there was a window on the west side of the bedroom and we made a guess where it would and replaced it. All the windows have been replaced with wood clad double pane Milgard and Anderson windows. I left the windows in the living room.
I never did more than paint the cove ceiling. They are the original Paper Mache ceilings. A gent from England visited my house and was so amazed to see them. They still do this in England. As you walk this neighborhood some of the houses still have this original feature. No one has the cut-crystal and brass ceiling fixture in the dining room My family salvaged it from a 1901 home we owned in Idaho. It has lived all over the world. California, Canada, Switzerland, Michigan, and Oregon. We made the decision to leave it in Ballard.
As we went through the house we found little treasures. Tile on the upstairs bathroom floor, a deep cast-iron tub that you can luxuriate in for hours, hardwood floors in the dining room and living room. Fir floors in the sleeping areas. Whenever we could, we kept the original materials. We replaced hollow core doors with real period doors, found solid brass door knobs. Several of the doors had sheets of wood put over them to make them look like hollow-core doors. We uncovered those doors, re-painted and re-installed.
The kitchen has served us well. The appliances are less than three years old. The oven was chosen because it fit my grandmother’s turkey roaster. We have never cooked less than a 24-pound turkey in the house. It takes a special oven to fit such a beast. The oven also splits into two separate and independent ovens which have come in handy. After searching for several months, I realized tile selections were limited in the commercial world. We painted the tiles. Little bits were then also used by our designer in the basement bathroom.
In the basement, we replaced the shower with bits of art. The shower has two great shelves, a place to put your legs to shave. The large tile was designed and made by our neighborhood artist Steve when he was doing concrete art. He has a place across from the park and his work is prominently featured in the Pocket Park. The fixtures in the downstairs bathroom are from Waterworks. The marble sink top is from an old house on Capitol Hill. It is a special place.
The siding. I was not sure about the Marble Crete. It was put on by the prior owners who were from Saskatoon Canada. It is used on houses all over Canada. They call them Pebble Houses. I have come to realize this stuff is amazing. When the wind blows in the winter the house stays snug. When it’s hot in the summer outside the house does not heat up. If the color offends, it can be painted. It is totally maintenance free. The only people that ever complained were the window guys who had to use multiple diamond blade saws to make the openings bigger for the new windows.