Surgical demolition was the key to overhauling this century-old house


When a young couple looking to downsize snatched up a dumpy 1921 bungalow in West Seattle, they knew they wanted a full remodel. The transformation, headed up by local firm SHED Architecture & Design, is night and day: the 2,400-square-foot home is dramatically brighter on the inside (and darker on the outside, thanks to new charcoal clapboards).

In the kitchen of this West Seattle remodel, SHED Architecture & Design removed a wall and inserted a new island in its place. Charcoal laminate complements the warm cabinets from Kerf Design and a Smeg fridge.

(Rafaek Soldi)

Ample southern daylight falls through picture windows, and extensive cabinetry imparts warmth in a climate famous for its dreary rainfall. SHED opened up the interiors by removing partitions and inserting leaner substitutes. The architects installed a casework screen between the living and dining areas, which enjoy views of Mount Rainier, and they tore out a wall closing off the kitchen, assigning its load bearing role to a single svelte column. “It was a necessity,” said SHED principal Prentis Hale of the column, which anchors the kitchen island. “It was less of a lightbulb idea than a surgical solution to a structural requirement.”

Before and after: the architects gave the original house a dark coat of paint and reordered the entry staircase, adding a second stair to the basement; the casework continues into the bathroom (Google Earth)

(Rafaek Soldi)

A truly bright idea, however, is the Kerf Design casework throughout the kitchen, in a maple veneer that glows against the charcoal laminate.

Header image: Picture windows and Kerf casework define the new dining area (Rafaek Soldi)