The serene setting of Lake Sammamish in Issaquah, Washington, provides the ideal location for this 1963 glass box lake house that is a perfect retreat. A glass exterior offers unobstructed views of the water, and it’s tucked away so the owners feel like they’re away from it all.
“It’s so far down from the street that it feels like a secret lair,” says Sally Julien, owner of Modernous and homeowner of this mid century marvel. “We weren’t even looking to buy a house at the time. We went to look at it for fun, and the more we walked through it, the more we saw its potential.” After a major remodel and a new vision, Sally was able to turn this forgotten piece of history into the modern home of her dreams.
Ruins to Restoration
The home was in bad shape when Sally and her partner, Peter Loforte, bought it in 2011. It was marked as a tear down, and while the couple saved it from being destroyed, they ended up having to tear down most of it anyway, as the support posts had begun to rot. “There was no lateral structure, so if you leaned on the front, the whole house would move,” she says. “The posts had rotted in the middle, and we had a sink hole under the foundation. The more we stripped away, the more we had to strip away.”
Sally and Peter are the third owners of the home, and Sally made it her mission to honor the integrity of the original design and bring it up to contemporary standards. She asked herself what the original architect would have done with the materials that are available today. After tearing down the house to its studs and replacing the beams, the couple slowly built the house back up with the original design in mind.
The C-shape of the home gives it the appearance of a small lake house, but this 3,500-square-foot home has five bedrooms, a double-height living room, dining room, garage and kitchen. Sally and Peter even permitted the previously blocked off breezeway, converting it into a couple of guest rooms, which added another 500 square feet to the home. “We made it a tiny bit bigger, but we kept the same footprint the home had,” says Sally.
While layout changes were made, Sally tried to keep the feel of the home by keeping the original entryway door, the same color countertops in the kitchen and the glass and beam exterior.
Sally has always loved modern design, and her company, Modernous, focuses on bringing it to other enthusiasts through home staging, interior design and project management. “I was the weirdo who had a Mid Century Modern living room in 1992 when it wasn’t in style,” she says. “I’ve always loved the lines and design of it.”
To create a mid century look in this home, Sally implemented a 50/50 rule for her furnishings and décor: 50 percent vintage and 50 percent reproduction. “If everything is brand new or vintage or high end, you get a sterile look,” Sally says. “Don’t be afraid to mix up different materials, eras and things you love.”
The color palette has the same idea of balance with its foundation of neutral tones and pops of bright color. “Using the posts and beams as a core concept, we took the window frames and had the paint matched to the color for continuity,” says Sally. “The bright orange started with the fireplace. It was the only existing color we liked, and a custom color would have been too expensive.” They then matched the front door to the fireplace color, and the rest fell into place naturally.