A Mid Century Modern home in Washington state with large glass windows
Built on Lake Sammamish, this 1963 glass box house is so far from the street that it’s become a true getaway for the homeowners. The combination of glass and concrete composite that makes up the exterior creates a sleek and modern frame, giving the home its unique Mid Century Modern style.

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.

A Mid Century Modern glass box home with large windows overlooking a lake
While large glass windows provide open views out over the lake, the home’s seclusion provides privacy for it’s owners.

“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.

Bright orange mis century modern doors with a stained glass window at the entry of a glass box lake house
Bright orange doors welcome guests into the home, along with a stained-glass window that inspired the pops of color throughout the interior. “The door is one of four things we saved from the original house,” says Sally. “The stained glass was there, too, but we hated the colors. I took a painting that served as my inspiration for the whole house and picked each one of those colors for the window.”

 

Filled with a mix of reproduction and vintage treasures, the living room is designed with comfort and intrigue. The space holds a Knoll coffee table, a Nelson cigar lamp and the fireplace is an original Wendell Lovett firehood.
Filled with a mix of reproduction and vintage treasures, the living room is designed with comfort and intrigue. The space holds a Knoll coffee table, a Nelson cigar lamp and the fireplace is an original Wendell Lovett firehood.
Mid Century Modern artwork in an entryway with lake views out the window
The entry way features statement art that ties together the home’s bold color scheme of orange, green and blue. The shade of blue is, of course, influenced by the home’s lakeside location.

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.”

A Mid Century Modern kitchen with lake views, a mid century dining set and a World War II test bomb as decoration
Sally added a large window to the kitchen to bring in more natural light and take advantage of the stunning views. You may have noticed what looks like a rocket in the far corner of dining area. “It is a World War II test bomb,”says sally. “They would use them for target practice, drop them and pick them back up again.”

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.

A Midcentury Modern dining set with a live-edge table, blue chairs and a retro print rug in blue and orange.

 

Original Footprint

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.

A Mid Century Modern kitchen with wood cabinetry
The original kitchen was dark and small, so they changed the layout significantly to make it more accessible. “There used to be an office where the refrigerator is, so we opened the wall for light,” says sally. Cherner bar stools and streamlined cabinets give the space its modern edge, and white quartz countertops pay homage to the original look of the kitchen.

 

Mismatched Modern

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.”

A Mid Century Modern staircase and hallway with art and lake views
Some of the details from the existing structure remained, such as the wood ceiling detail throughout the second story. “It used to be called ‘car decking,’” says Sally. The flooring is a pressed bamboo with a light black stain.

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.”

Mid Century Modern lake house bedroom with a soothing gray color scheme.

Simple and sleek, the master bedroom is a haven, filled with mid century reproduction pieces and modern art from an antiques shop.
Simple and sleek, the master bedroom is a haven, filled with mid century reproduction pieces and modern art from an antiques shop.

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.

A Mid Century Modern master bathroom with a gray color palette and walnut cabinets
The master bathroom was an experiment in using darker colors, and sally loves the effect. “I loved the way it looked with the walnut, because the rest of the house is so white and light. It’s dramatic and cozy,” she says.