Name: Joni and Eric (with daughters Elsa, 7 and Ava, 4)
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Size: 2,800 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years
As a professional stylist Joni effortlessly blends her love of vintage pieces with her other cherished objects: her family. Homeowners Joni and Eric designed a home where family comes first. It is a place where creativity and style naturally share space to create a warm and welcoming environment. A home where children have room to play and treasured heirlooms have room to sparkle.
The emphasis on family treasures, both people and things, abounds in this warm and sunny home in the heart of Enatai, an established residential development in the city of Bellevue outside of Seattle. From the front driveway with its tiny handprints made in the cement during construction to the backyard tree house that straddles the neighbor's fence, Joni and Eric's home draws you in. As a stylist and visual merchandiser for Nordstrom for nearly a decade and now a stylist for Macrina Bakery, Joni has developed a real eye for putting together curios and vignettes within her home. And as a child of an antiques dealer (Joni swears her first words were "garage sale") she knows that vintage pieces will always be a part of her life. While each room has its own look there is continuous rearrangement to allow for the ever-changing collection of antiques and children's artwork – both tremendously cherished by the homeowners.
Joni and Eric had lived in a 1950's home on this property for seven years when they decided to expand the square footage. Initially they wanted to add on to their single-level home but soon realized that the condition of their structure would require a tear-down. Joni, who felt a real connection to the woman who sold them the home, reached out to the former owner to talk it over with her and have her blessing. That kind of devoted relationship to her home really expresses the emotional decision-making that went on during the building process. Of course when you have a busy family, practical decision-making is also paramount.
Joni and Eric love their neighborhood and designed their home for their current and future lifestyle. The girl's bathroom was plumbed for a stackable washer dryer so that as they get older they can do their own laundry and peg boards help organize the space (now it's bath toys, later it will be laundry supplies). The mirrors above the kids' sinks tilt so the girls can see themselves no matter what their height. The traditionally unused area under the stairs was fitted with pegboard for hanging coats at various heights and was also carpeted – knowing that this is the most coveted spot when you are little and looking for a secret hideout. The mudroom/laundry room is also fitted with rows of pegs of varying diameters to hold house keys, leashes, coats of all sizes and canvas bags for toting everything. The washer and dryer is hidden behind a curtain and an oversized laminate counter is a great spot for all the items that are frequently brought in and out of the house (and is also home to their pet guinea pig, Flopsie, and cat, Whitie). In the kitchen she chose pretty glass cabinet pulls for the "formal" entertaining side and stainless steel pulls for the "working" side of the kitchen. The kitchen boasts a great span of workspace for Joni, who from her seat can view the front yard and the back, and the surface can be easily cleared off to make room for family feasts.
Joni is a fan of pretty packaging and decants ordinary items, like laundry soap, into glass bottles and jars. This attention to detail makes each room, no matter how utilitarian, beautiful. She is inspired by the beach and birds and both of these elements make a special appearance in all the rooms. Joni was very hands-on when it came to building and installing the pieces in her home. For example, she wanted small, flat stones for her bathroom flooring but couldn't find the correct color. So she took white stones, tea-stained and colored them with ink to create the desired shade. Joni and Eric wanted traditional wooden beams in their living room to create a cozier environment and found reclaimed beams that invoked that vintage feel. "We're hard on our home," says Joni, explaining the need to have good solid materials in her home. Durable honed granite counters, the color of concrete, mixes with sturdy subway tile and hand-scraped hardwood floors. Wipeable white-washed bead board compliments laminate counters in the kids' bathroom and laundry room. But all of this sturdiness balances the more feminine, delicate pieces in the home.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My/Our style: Ecelctic. Whatever I can get a good deal on.
Inspiration: My mom, my sister's house, magazines, the beach, Nordstrom (the fashion, my friends in the industry, the artwork, and the visual concepts) and Anthropologie.
Favorite Element: All the light that filters in through the windows. But have to say that I love my built-in vacuum and stereo system.
Biggest Challenge: Not being able to park our cars into our garage. This is where most of my extra stuff is.
What Friends Say: They like my house because it feels lived in, and is something different from the houses they usually see in the neighborhood.
Biggest Embarrassment: My garage. When the garage door is open I usually get some car stopping by wondering if I am having a garage sale.
Proudest DIY: My artwork: taking a bird calender and framing them into 12 easy, pretty pictures.
Biggest Indulgence: The wood clad windows.
Best advice: If you are building a house use a builder that you can trust, even if it might cost you a little more. Don't use a builder just because they gave you the lowest quote. They tend to take longer and cost you (headaches and money) in the long run. I used one from the neighborhood, so I feel like I shopped locally.
Dream source: The Seattle Design Center.
(Thanks, Joni, Eric, Elsa & Ava!)
Images: Anne Reagan