Be prepared to wrap yourself in high design. As you arrive at the end of the private road at 1031 NW Elford Drive, the first thing that will catch your breath is the view. That is, if you’re able to look past the awe-inspiring beauty of the home itself. Originally built in 1953, the home has the bones of a classic midcentury modern style house, however, over the years, it slowly inched its way into obscurity due to lack of care or updates. That’s when couple Jenny Beedon Snow and Brett Snow found this gem, or as they called it, “a diamond in the roughest.” The home had all the classic renovation challenges: smoke damage, troublesome electrical, old HVC, and outdated plumbing. It needed earthquake retrofitting, new frames and new finishes. Plus, once inside, you found yourself in small rooms where you would quickly lose sight of the most incredible element of the house—the views.
It was the quiet forested neighborhood, the water and mountain views, and the bones of the home that attracted Brett and Jenny to the renovation project. In additional to the rare find of a secluded neighborhood so close to downtown Seattle, there is also a pool nearby and beach access. It’s like living in a lake house that’s close enough to the city to commute daily.
Still, they knew they were up for a big project, but Jenny, being a designer herself, was ready to take this gem and make it shine. The goal of the project would be to keep the midcentury elements as much as possible, while bringing the home up to code and into the 21st century. Plus, they had to incorporate the views into as many rooms as possible.
Jenny set to work on the design doing all the interior spatial planning, design, and finishes. She partnered with Bubba Smith, her carpenter and tree house builder extraordinaire. She couldn’t have found a better partner for the project, as Jenny recounts “Bubba Smith is a materials magician and basically built the entire house.” They also worked with ZeroPlus architecture to help with the addition of a bath house, permitting, and the structural engineering of new giant doors and skylights.
All the inspiration for the home came from its midcentury roots as well as the environment surrounding the home. Throughout the process, the team would uncover more unique design details about the home that they worked to bring forward and then highlight throughout. One of the main design elements were the peaks and facets in the roofline. Jenny made sure those were expressed as much as possible throughout the ceilings inside the home. They discovered and incorporated so many that they even nicknamed the home the “facet house” during renovation. The true beauty of these details shines when the western light hits all those facets during the evening sunset.
Other midcentury modern details they were sure to keep were the deep beveled, cedar siding and the Roman brick on the exterior of the home. The interior wood fireplace was kept as well. Both the exterior and the fireplace received updates with steel to complement and modernize the look.
Recalling the incredible views just outside the home, Jenny designed the home to feature it in as many rooms as possible. She started by removing walls and increasing window and door sizes. In fact, one of her favorite indoor spaces is a room that previously didn’t have a view at all. Originally, it was a small office, but today, it is a comfortable living space with an expansive view of the entire Puget Sound.
Of course, integration with nature was a must, not just because of the natural beauty surrounding the home, but in keeping with midcentury modern tradition. In that way, Jenny designed surfaces throughout the house that are not only beautiful, but they’re not precious, allowing you to take advantage of outdoor and indoor spaces with ease and calm. With the opening of walls and integration of new windows and doors, the small quartered off spaces of the home were transformed into a balanced mixture of ideal entertaining spaces and intimate spaces for relaxation, studying, or work. Many of the rooms are left a neutral warm white, leaving the coloring of the space up to the natural colors of the sun and landscape.
One of the first things you’ll see as you walk into the home are the low steps leading up to a giant pivot door in the front. This was added by Jenny and her team. Originally, there was no entrance on that level. Never wanting to miss an opportunity to let in the light from the views, Jenny designed a large glass door with a custom steel pull that was fabricated by Brett’s boat yard. As an artist in boatbuilding, Brett was able to add many of the steel details throughout the home.
As you continue to wander through the home, you’ll start to notice some of the small details throughout that really bring the excellence of the design to light. Herringbone floors are meant to reflect the detailing of the facets in the ceiling and the angled nature of the home overall. Spaces are defined by unique finishes and textures rather than bold colors. Unique wallpaper, murals, tiling, cork, and wool all add nice layers of pattern and texture and enhance the giant views, rather than distract from them.
The home sits on 2/3 of an acre, leaving plenty of opportunity for outdoor spaces. Jenny’s personal favorite is the deck, where you can sit, enjoy company, dinner, or just admire the surroundings. There is also a lower field that is perfect size for badminton, croquet, and many other yard games. To top off the fairytale home—a fire pit is positioned to show off the views, offer a great hangout space, and even enjoy a roasted marshmallow or two.
It’s been a long process to bring the home to where it is today, but every moment was dedicated to getting the details just right to create a space ideal for its future homeowners (it’s currently listed for $2,798,000).
If you’re interested in experiencing this home yourself, come by one of the open houses, or contact Heidi Ward for more information or a private tour. While you’re there, take note of the paintings on the wall. Many are done by the home designer herself, Jenny Beedon Snow. A talented artist, her art has been showing at Linda Hodges Gallery for almost 20 years. Her paintings are done in oil and are inspired by the landscape. They are often reminiscent of growing up in the mid-70’s, midcentury homes, toys, pools, as well as moving those palettes into abstraction.
1031 NW Elford Dr Seattle, WA 98177
MLS # 1468823
Lot Size: 0.6 acres
Type: Single-Family Home
Year Built: 195
Style: 2 Story
Views: Territorial, Sound, Mountain
School District: Seattle
Listing Courtesy of: Northwest MLS / Wall Street Group / Heidi Ward