When first walking into the stunning mid-century modern home that Artist Tyson Grumm shares with his family, I couldn’t tell that anything, aside from backsplash and countertops in the kitchen had been altered in any way. The Grumms were careful to be intentional with their changes and redesigns to keep with the original flow of the space. Tyson explains, ‘this isn’t your typical remodel. We didn’t want just to come in and start tearing stuff up. We wanted to restore the home. There is a difference ideology.’
Typically, when you find a custom home like this one, it was designed specifically for an individual with very specific needs and ideas about how things should be. Instead of wanting to live in a home that was designed with someone else in mind, the Grumms knew they’d found a home that would work for their family with a few minor adjustments.
As much as we all romanticize the idea of residing in a perfectly preserved mid-century modern home, the truth is that families today have different needs than the needs of families from 50-60 years ago. With the degree of thoughtfulness the Grumms have implored in updating this space you get the best of both worlds. A home that is functional for modern living, with so much attention given to the aesthetic, that at first glance, one would find it hard to notice any alterations to the homes original design have even transpired.
They started some of their ‘gentle renovations’ with the kitchen; a space that wasn’t completely functional, as the suspended cabinets cut off the view to the dining and living area, and didn’t create much of an open configuration. ‘It was a conversion to make this area more social,’ Tyson explains. ‘The project was all a learning process.’ In addition to opening the space, they also edited the bar areas, refinished the cabinets, and added new countertops to make the kitchen shine again.
From there, the Grumms moved on to the master bathroom. Like many bathrooms built in the mid century era, the space was cut off into small compartmentalized spaces and didn’t serve a practical purpose. Tyson explains, ‘the room was broken up in such a way that it just didn’t work for us. This was probably the most hardcore remodel in the house. We tore out walls, and changed out the shower/tub system to add a full shower and detached floating tub.’
Another space that needed a great deal of work was the unfinished basement that now includes a large family room area where Tyson’s son can play video games, a bathroom, Tyson’s home studio, in addition to a few other bonus rooms. Tyson gets a lot of enjoyment out of working to improve his home. He does most of the work himself and is always learning new things about renovation methods, and his home in the process.
The landscape of the property was another area that was in desperate need of attention. Tyson notes, ‘the original owners hadn’t lived in the house for over two years when we took ownership. Things had become quite overgrown, and the yard was pretty far gone.’ This is one of the biggest ongoing projects for the Grumm’s who feel that careful consideration must be given to the grounds. We have the original blueprints for the landscape and didn’t want to take away too much from the intended design. The Grumms are lucky enough to have found a home where the landscape that was designed by Richard Haag, a prominent Seattle landscape architect whose other projects include Gasworks Park, and the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island.
When I ask Tyson what it’s like to live in such a unique space, he explains that ‘when you look at how houses are typically structured today they are usually just built as boxes. But this house is three sided. It has its own little boxes. Although heating wise, it isn’t totally logical, functionally having separate wings is great when you have kids or guests over.’
When it comes to working from home, this space is great for creating the privacy he needs to work on his paintings no matter the time of day. ‘This is the first time I’ve ever had a studio in my house. I like that I can have my music blaring when I am working late at night. The way this house is designed, they can’t hear me upstairs. And when Hawkeye is down here playing videos, we can’t hear him upstairs. It’s a win-win.’
As an artist, Tyson finds living in a home with so much unique character rewarding. He has a deep appreciation for the architecture and is inspired by the distinct features of his home. ‘My art is heavily architectural based, and perspective is huge for me.’ The thing that Tyson likes most about his home is how each room is so thought out. Every window is placed in just such a way. Tyson explains, ‘Everything is intentional. That isn’t just a cool shaped window. It was designed and placed to be looked through at a specific vista. I think what I find the most profound is seeing how the architect saw how you are supposed to live. So much thought went into even the most minute details of planning the home.’
Tyson goes on further to explain how he sees living in this remarkable home, ‘I see it as not just living with a piece of art, but actually living in a piece of art. I cannot stop coming up with new ideas to manipulate the environment. I try to think like the architect did when he built the home. I think to myself, there should be a shelf here, or what can we do to change the lighting? What if we change the plantings as you approach the door?’
I asked him how he felt about living in a home with so many natural materials. ‘The wood is a huge factor. I’ve never lived anywhere with so much wood. But I’m all about it. I especially love the lack of drywall. As an artist, it has been one of the most special things. It makes me dream of building a house one day.’
With so many unique architectural features, a modernist could get lost in this home. There is so much detail and so much thoughtfulness that went into the planning of this home. It is truly a blessing that the home found owners who appreciate and are inspired by their home’s exceptional character. The Grumms have breathed new life into the space, and have honored it in such a tasteful and deliberate way.
Thank you so much for opening your home to us. If you would like to find out more about Tyson’s art, please visit his website.
Part I can be found here.