Gus and Lesley's Mercer Island Retreat

Gus and Lesley's Mercer Island Retreat

Andie Powers
Oct 3, 2013

Name: Lesley & Gus Poole
Mercer Island, Washington
Size: 3,400 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years; Owned

Lesley and Gus have one of those homes where you expect to smell freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies upon entering. Just as lovely, I was gifted with a jar of home-pickled dills! Despite its stylish demeanor, the Poole home is a warm and bustling hub for this sweet couple, their three kids, and a hyperactive (yet oh-so-charming) Lab-Poodle mix.

The Pooles have done their best to maintain the vintage aspects of this 1958 home, such as the gorgeous great room fireplace, which they renovated recently with the help of friends. The "kicker" in this home is the array of enormous windows, which look out on the lush greenery that surrounds the house, plus some 1960s throwback luxury, such as the master bathtub jacuzzi!

On a regular day, you'll find the family cooking together, or having fun camping (you can read about these adventures on Lesley's blog, Poole Party of 5). The house is sprawling and gorgeous, yet completely approachable and obviously filled with laughter and fun. I had a great time exploring their beautiful world. Enjoy!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Moving into this home was a great design challenge. The home was built in 1958 in a mid-century modern style. Our style is more "comfortable modern." We tried to stay true to the home’s uniqueness, while incorporating our own style and striving for clean lines and interesting details. We enjoy mixing furniture from different styles and eras, while trying to retain function in the spaces. We’ve been able to mix furniture that belonged to previous generations, pieces we already owned, as well as select some new pieces to fill in the spaces.

Inspiration: Northwest mid-century modern, comfortable spaces that function well for a family of five.

Favorite Element: The plethora of windows. In the living room we overlook a green belt, which changes season to season and the skylights in our kitchen allow for lots of light, which is very important in Seattle. We love that even on rainy days, we feel like we are dining outside.

Biggest Challenge: We created a new nursery for our daughter and were frustrated with fitting in all the relevant baby-related furniture. We spent multiple evenings moving paper furniture models around on paper, trying to make it all fit in this very small bedroom, until we came up with idea of converting the old built-in closet to new drawers with an integrated diaper changing station. We hand-upholstered a wood shelf and use one of the drawers to house all the necessary diapering accessories. We love that this built-in system cuts down on the clutter in our daughter’s room.

What Friends Say: Our large outdoor space allows for creative entertaining and play. We redesigned our patio area with the concept of flexible entertaining in mind. We poured concrete for the patio and welded cold roll steel for the garden beds. The finishing touch was adding semi-permanent carnival lighting above our dining space. We were looking for a rustic yet clean look and love how it turned out.

Biggest Embarrassment: Although we immediately fell in love with the interior of this home, the house completely lacks curb appeal. At some point, we envision adding lush greenery to soften the hard lines of the exterior at the front of the house. But for now, we just plant our tomatoes there.

Proudest DIY: Gus created the mirror and wine storage in our dining room, based on a concept that he was working on with a client. He surprised me with this item for Christmas this year. I love that we now have a smart solution for our wine storage and it is also a beautiful design feature.

Biggest Indulgence: Upon moving into this home, one of the first things we did was have a few custom gates fabricated by the metal shop within Dyna Contracting, the general contracting company where Gus is a project manager. We created a steel gate that we powder-coated for the entry, with hopes of containing dog and children, while also adding a bit of style to our entry.

Best Advice: Remember that you don’t have to do everything at once. We moved into our home two and a half years ago and felt that every little thing had to be worked on immediately. It has been wonderful to live in the house for multiple seasons to really decide where to dive in. Sometimes we can become impatient about the idea of biting off projects a few at a time, but that is what will have to happen. We strive to stay patient and remember that if we have a grand plan in mind and stay true to our design aesthetic, we can take our time making all our dreams for this space come to life.

Resources of Note:

Dyna Contracting (metal shop)

• Banyon Tree Design

• Quercus Landscaping

Thanks, Lesley and Gus!

(Images: Andie Powers)

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