Category: Coastal Style

A Seattle Remodel Offers Accessibility

Marsha Donaldson and Bill Ferris remodeled their home to look and function like any other modern home, but the actual beauty of this new design lies in the subtle details. The couple’s space-efficient design options also make the house fully accessible to Ferris, who has lived the last 38 years in a wheelchair.

The couple worked with designer and former rehab nurse Susan Duncan of ABCs of Access, Seattle interior designer Piper Lauri Salogga and Guy DiRe of Chieftain Construction. The team carefully considered space, height and more, and the result is a house layout that works comfortably for both Ferris and Donaldson.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Marsha Donaldson, Bill Ferris and their puppy, Sadie
Location: Hawthorne Hills neighborhood of Seattle
Size: 1,350 square feet; two bedrooms, 2 baths

Louise Lakier

The first change they made was adding a wooden access ramp. They then replaced it with this specific concrete ramp that blends to the landscaping, resembling low terrace walls. The extra width of the top leg allows for a tiny front porch.

Louise Lakier

A subtle detail provides convenience, ease, and efficiency in motion: A doorway pull found right above the mail slot enables Ferris to maintain his sanity as he slides out the doorway, without needing to reach back awkwardly to pull the door shut.

Louise Lakier

The low concrete ramp wall mixes into and is hidden by lush plantings. Mary Kay Swanson and Niko Stoll of Box of Rain Landscape designed the front yard.

Louise Lakier

Both Donaldson and Ferris admire the elegance and simplicity of celebrity Maya Lin’s designs. Working together with Salogga they achieved a house layout and colour scheme with minimal furniture plus a modern, uncluttered feel.

The two like entertaining and are currently brainstorming ideas on the best way best to enlarge their dining room area.

Louise Lakier

The kitchen includes functional pullout cutting boards. While useful, they are also able to get in the way when both of these are cooking and vying for space. The area under the sink is spacious so Ferris can perform dishes facing forward rather than sideways. The windowsill was lowered so that he can enjoy the outside scenery.

Donaldson is the primary chef, so the countertops were kept in standard height. The items usually found under a sink, such as the recycling and garbage bins, live in a pullout cabinet beside the sink. The breakfast corner table is handily cantilevered to get rid of the cumbersome banging of glider and knees on the table legs.

Louise Lakier

The upper cabinets are somewhat lower than usual so Ferris can reach both lower shelves. The toe cries are 9 inches high, allowing for a 60-inch twist clearance so Ferris can move freely round the kitchen with no backing in and out. Standard toe cries are 4-5 inches high. DiRe came up with the innovative gate that slides supporting the cabinetry when the couple’s dog, Sadie, has access to the kitchen. The floors are Marmoleum.

Louise Lakier

The bathrooms are spacious, and the sinks are cantilevered for full wheelchair accessibility. The extra-wide space also includes sliding doors for clearance and space efficiency.

Louise Lakier

The furniture layout is stored open in the living space, leaving plenty of space for Ferris to get around. A sensible decision was made to leave out a coffee table.

Louise Lakier

The first home was under 900 square feet. The few extended the house to the garden, creating a bedroom large enough to enable Ferris to possess turnaround space on both sides of the bed.

“Our-light filled, spacious master bedroom is my favorite place in the home,” Donaldson says. “With easy access to the deck, the landscaping allows us to leave our windows open while still maintaining our solitude.” The expansive windows also them to enjoy a crystal clear view of the backyard.

Louise Lakier

The sink in the master bath is reduced and cantilevered so Ferris could have full access. The toilet cabinets (not shown) pull out for easy accessibility from the sides.

Louise Lakier

The bathtub is curbless and fully accessible. The few considered installing glass partition walls but determined that a curtain and rod would offer the most flexibility.

Louise Lakier

The prior master bedroom is currently the workplace and also serves as the guest space. The couple opted for a Murphy bed (pictured available) for optimized space efficiency. From the cupboard near the bed, a table lamp is stored underneath a pullout table. The cupboard (not shown) is split between workplace storage and cupboard space for visiting guests.

Louise Lakier

Donaldson says, “We both believe in the maxim ‘Less is more’ and combined with that, ‘Less is calming.'” In line with that, the pull-down bed neatly tucks away to the wall cupboard, along with the couple discuss a cantilevered desk.

Louise Lakier

A golden chain tree in full bloom frames the Trex deck. DiRe sloped the deck to get a smooth transition out in the kitchen. The couple decided on steps down to the lawn for better clearance inside the backyard, so Ferris accesses the space from across the side.

Louise Lakier

It was hard for Ferris to use the backyard with its first grass and planter beds. Box of Rain Landscaping installed and designed the stone pavers, sloping them suitably so Ferris could access the lawn. The pavers extend into both sides gates, so that he has full use of the scenic lawn.

Louise Lakier

Ferris, Donaldson and Sadie in their own backyard garden.

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Decorating Around the Planet: British Style Charms Any House

I’m reeling from Downton Abbey withdrawal, therefore I will indulge in a bit of British property spying to alleviate the pain. From sprawling country estates to miniature but stylish mews homes in the city, there are lots of style ideas to eliminate, even if a visit to England isn’t in the cards anytime soon.

Britannia Joinery

Bath with a view. A deep bathtub with a view of a verdant meadow certainly fits together with the British country house fantasy I harbor. You’re able to up the luxury in your own bath by treating it like a real space. For instance:
Hang a real mirror instead of a medicine cabinet.Choose a deep bathtub that inquires relaxation.Use a real rug on the floor (choose a cheap vintage find so you are not worried about damage).Hang art and bring in potted plants or cut flowers.

Britannia Joinery

Stone and greenery. For most of us, a real country estate might need to remain in the world of fantasy. But we could pull a notion or two from those inspirational houses. You may:
Route ivy or a different climbing plant onto your front gate.Flank your front door with a set of potted lemon trees.Place a classic Lutyens-style seat in your porch.Use rocky stones onto your front walk.

Moon Design + Build

Master the mix. Have a cue from this British flat and combine classic pieces with fresh, contemporary accessories. Pale taupe walls, dark flooring along with a tailored window color provide a complex background, while the sexy pink desk lamp and contemporary pendant lighting add a bit of fun. The built-in shelving and desk really create the tight space work to its entire advantage.

Moon Design + Build

Play up the architecture. Tall ceilings and intricate moldings are common in older buildings in the United Kingdom. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a home with great architectural detail, then highlight it by painting the trim a contrasting shade. Tall mirrors and very low furniture further emphasize the deliciously substantial ceilings.

Britannia Joinery

Take it outside. Get the British country look at home with a crisp black and white paint job, a gravel courtyard, and neatly trimmed hedges. Working with a little space or city lot? A couple stately urns planted with fresh herbs, a bit of pea gravel, a simple wooden seat, and dwarf fruit trees in pots would be a fantastic start.

Chris Snook

Resort luxury. Steal the style of fancy London hotels by creating a cushy retreat in your own bedroom. Rich, dark wood furniture and pale, creamy linens come in this quietly luxurious look. A silk-shade lamp, a contemporary pendant lighting and linen shades provide the finishing touch.

Chris Snook

Cozy elegance. Gorgeous plush chairs with nailhead trim exude taste and would still be comfy even after you have been sitting for hours at the table. Soft dove-gray walls, a straightforward parsons-style table and just-floor-length drapes pull together this tasteful look.

Moon Design + Build

Fresh colours and layout. Textiles are a great way to bring a bit of British style home. The United Kingdom is home to a wealth of fabulous textile designers, ranging from traditional to Pop Art and contemporary. This Orla Kiely bedding is an enjoyable alternative.

D Swift

A second life for old furniture. Another tendency popping up a lot in British style is to have a timeless furniture shape, similar to this wingback chair, and have it re-covered in vivid colours or contemporary floral prints. The result is unexpected and totally unique — I wish to try this with my following thrift shop find.

Design-OD

Modern loft. To get that chic London loft look, consider pairing clean-lined modern basics like a white sofa and very low coffee table with an elaborate mirror, sleek arc lamp and eye-catching pottery.

Inform usWhat facets of British style appeal to you? Would you rather live in a sprawling country estate à la Downton Abbey or a townhouse in a trendy London neighborhood? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.

More:
Add a Dash of Downton Abbey Style
Guest Picks: Created by Downtown Abbey
Wedding Fever: Brit Design on the Mind

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