Seattle real estate has become a topic of conversation for the last several years, citing skyrocketing costs and limited inventory. Even more limited in the Seattle area are modern style homes. While new construction has started to take a modern look in some neighborhoods, the overall look of Seattle real estate is more traditional craftsman style. Still, every once in a while, we come across a home that has taken its craftsman roots and reimagined them with a modern aesthetic.
This is the case of the home renovated by Michele and Denny in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. The couple is familiar with renovations and the many steps that it takes to create a quality redesign of a home. In fact, they are remodelers for clients’ properties full time, Denny as the builder with over 40 years of experience in the Seattle market and Michele in the sales and marketing side of the business.
Together, they purchased 3920 Midvale Ave N and prepared for a renovation to make the home ideal for their wants and needs in a forever home. Plans changed along the way, and the home went up for sale in March 2019 and was pending within two days of being on the market. This quick turnaround is just one indication of what a spectacular job the two did on the home.
This week, we were able to spend some time sitting down with Michele to learn more about the renovation process and some of her favorite features in the home.
The home was originally purchased in May of 2013 and the whole project took them about 2 ½ years to complete, partially due to the intensity of the redesign and partially due to permitting. Later in the conversation, we also learned that the couple was challenged by limited workforces for their project, preferring instead to book labor for their clients’ projects and work on theirs in the evenings and weekends. The home was completed in full in 2016.
Since this was their personal project, they were able to take some liberties with the design and really customize it to what they envisioned for the home. “We loved having the freedom to do what we wanted and fulfill our vision. Overall, it was very much a blast,” says Michele.
Some of their favorite components of the home are reminiscent of the key features of modern homes—connection to nature, flow through the home, and focus on lines in the basement unit of the home. The home originally had very large windows with light coming into the home on two sides. They kept the size of the windows when finishing their remodel. There was also a three-window bay where they converted two of the windows into doors, allowing them to open the home to the outdoors during the summer months. Michele was especially fond of a tree to the south of the home that, when the doors and windows are open, makes it feel like living in a tree house with the sounds of birds and the feel of the wind flowing through the home.
The connection to nature doesn’t end with the design either. Michele and Denny added several features to the home to make it more environmentally friendly including solar panels on the roof providing them with green energy credits annually. Other features include:
- Well insulated throughout
- Electric floor heat in all bathrooms, both kitchens, and lower family room
- Individually controlled Convectaire™ wall heaters
- Heat Ventilation Recovery System (HRV)
- LED lighting throughout
- 96% efficient hot water tank
- Energy efficient Liebherr™, Miele™, True™, GE™ appliances
- Energy efficient doors and Marvin™ windows
They further maximized their connection to the outdoors by adding an upper and lower deck on either side of the home. The front deck is perfect for watching the sun go down. The back deck is ideal for waking up with a cup of coffee and watching the chickens mill about the property.
Speaking of chickens, to the side of the house is an award-winning chicken coop. The coop is designed in the hobbit-style, which means it has a curved roof and circular windows and entryways. But they didn’t stop there. Designers and builders at heart, Michele and Denny went the extra mile for their six urban chickens. As Michele recounts, over the years, it kept getting bigger and bigger.
The coop is comprised of three areas where the chickens live. The first is the main coop, where they roost and have their nesting boxes. The second is the greenhouse-style covered area where they have their food and water. It stays warm in the winter and allows the chickens to be outside while still staying comfortable. The third area is the chicken’s favorite spot, the screened porch with sand. It is ideal for burrowing and basking in the sun in the summer months.
This is definitely a state of the art coop for these six chickens. It is equipped with an automatic solar door that opens and closes on its own, windows designed for ventilation, and is lined on the inside with a special foil to prevent the coop from getting too hot in the summer. If this all sounds majorly impressive, it should. This coop was awarded Innovation Station Award in 2016 by the Seattle Urban Chicken Coop Tour. Since the home went on the market, the chickens have had to move. But they aren’t sad about it. They now live in Poulsbo where they can be truly free range and even have made friends with several very protective donkeys who keep them safe from potential predators.
The outdoor space is not limited to the chicken coop. They also have designed a beautiful garden area, have space for an RV hookup, and even a hot tub. Other features include:
- Funky fun low maintenance urban oasis
- Off-street parking for at least 6 vehicles
- Garden with raised planters, fire pit, patios, decks, & porches to enjoy the outdoors year round
- Room to park an RV with its own water, electricity and sewer connection
- Outdoor potting shed or garden party staging area with sliding barn doors
- Covered patio area with a sliding barn door
- Ipe decking
- Azek™ recycled pavers in the parking and hot tub area
In addition to maintaining the light in the home and building a chicken coop, Michele and Denny added other components that were very important to them. They updated the bathrooms to have a more spa-like feel including adding a stunning Victoria + Albert bathtub that Denny fell in love with the moment he got inside at the showroom (he highly recommends clients climb in the tubs to find their favorite). All the bathrooms in the home are wet bathrooms with floor heat. The shower pan is sloped to collect the water in the drain. This gives the bathrooms a very open concept feel that lends itself to a luxury experience. Little details like a light coming on automatically when you open a closet door are found throughout the house and are a testament to the couple’s combined experience of creating homes that are both functional and beautiful.
It’s not just chickens who are taking up residence on this stunning property. An important part of the original plan for the remodel was to add a separate space that could be ADU permitted for rental, extended family, or visitors. This is where modern design really comes into play. Michele and Denny updated the downstairs with a modern-inspired kitchen design and utilized HardiePanel in a modern way to differentiate between the older and newer parts of the home. The couple rented out the lower unit on Airbnb, bringing in significant additional income to their family. In a Seattle market, being able to offset a mortgage with rental income or find a home that is ideal for multi-generational living is a true dream come true. Additional features of the permitted ADU:
- Can function as a totally private unit or be part of the home
- Just finished a four-year run as an Airbnb and was one of the original 69 units to earn the Airbnb Plus designation in the Seattle market.
- State of the art sound deadening system between the units
The last element of the home that we discussed but one that is often the first thing people notice about the home, is the exterior colors. Seattle is known for its grey and misty weather, but that doesn’t mean that you have to live in that environment. Michele and Denny opted for a noticeably cheery exterior for their home with a combination of yellow, green, and a touch of orange. People often stop by and compliment the home when Michele and Denny are sitting on the front porch. It brings a smile to the couple’s face every time they arrive home and they hope it will bring the new owners as much joy as it has brought them over the years.
3920 Midvale Ave N Seattle, WA 98103
4 Beds | 3.5 Bath | 2,520 Sqft
Listing Courtesy of Windermere RE/Wall St., Group
Contact Heidi Ward for more information.