A Lake Washington Home Stuck in the ’80s Gets a Classic and Bright Refresh for a Growing Family
It’s a full remodel with plenty of practical, yet stylish touches.
A home’s layout is so important. In fact, you might say it can make or break a space. Because if your home isn’t set up to optimize your day-to-day comings and goings, then that can be a big nuisance. So when it came time to remodel this four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom house east of Lake Washington in Washington state’s King County, updating the layout was a main goal. The 1985 home originally had a good floor plan overall, but there were some specific pain points that required renovating, says interior designer Shannon Adamson , who was brought in to design the full remodel for the family of four.
“The house had recently been sold, so the sellers had painted everything white, mixed with a big dose of ‘80s oak—in the cabinets, window frames, etc,” she explains. “There was a lot of carpet throughout, which is not practical with two young children and a dog. Most of the light fixtures were ornate ‘80s originals (and not in a cool retro way). The powder room even boasted a mauve toilet!” Some of the biggest problem areas were the kitchen with its dated finishes and inefficient layout; the main suite bathroom which had colors the owners didn’t love and a leaky shower drain; and the laundry room with an awkward layout and minimal functional storage.
The owners’ goal was to update and refresh the house and add more personal touches. Their personal aesthetic is very classic and timeless, so they wanted something that felt fresh, classic, bright, and uncluttered. You can also see that they’re not afraid of some pattern, either. “They wanted more functional layouts in the kitchen, laundry room, and main suite bathroom,” Adamson says. “Adding a wet bar, a walk-in pantry off the kitchen, and changing out the never-used front sitting room into a dining space were also on the list.” They decided on a final finish palette that was timeless—white oak, light neutrals, pops of navy blues.
Adamson explains that the heart of the remodel was reconfiguring the kitchen to maximize storage and countertop space. She and her team added a large island which doubles as the family’s everyday eating spot. They also paid particular attention to the lighting design, ensuring that the space was functional and inviting at all times of the day (even at night). There’s also a wet bar off the kitchen that was requested by the owners—Adamson and team borrowed space from an existing powder room to create the space.
“The rest of the remodel radiated off from the kitchen,” Adamson says. “The unused sitting room at the front of the house was transformed into a formal dining room, and the previous dining room was transformed into a walk-in pantry (perfect for Costco runs) and buffet area to store serving dishes, wine, etc.”
The design team also did a lot of work to the bathrooms of the home. The aforementioned powder room is smaller, but is made more interesting with striped navy walls. The kid’s bathroom now has durable and playful finishes like hard-wearing quartz, navy cabinets, and a striped navy-and-white tile in the shower area.
In the primary suite bathroom, finishes and fixtures we replaced. Plus, a dated bathtub platform that took up a lot of floor space was removed and replaced with a freestanding bathtub. “One of my favorite additions to the design is the little dressing table in the main suite bathroom,” Adamson says. “The client requested this area to do her toddler’s hair in the mornings, and I just love designing purpose-built corners like that. It’s one of the most inviting spaces in the house, (with the possible exception of the bathtub)!”
And because Adamson was designing the space for a young family, she made sure there was plenty of functional and practical touches. The finishes chosen were durable and beautiful. The carpet in high-traffic areas was replaced with white oak hardwood. The team also relocated and stacked the washer and dryer in the laundry room, which added more space for cabinets and a boot-wash area. “One of my favorite additions was the boot washing area for muddy paws, boots, and soccer gear—very practical for our rainy climate!” she adds.
The owners, who are actually repeat clients of Adamson, have enjoyed getting to use the space after a lengthy remodel. “The client texted a photo of their dining room getting set up for Thanksgiving dinner , which was really a wonderful way to see the home used as it was intended,” she says.