Michele and Ryan’s New Beginning

published Jun 7, 2013
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(Image credit: Andie Powers)

Name: Michele and Ryan Tansey (plus Jake, Paws and Princess)
Location: Madrona, Seattle, Washington
Size: 2,080 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years; Owned

Michele and Ryan Tansey may look familiar to you — they were featured in an Apartment Therapy House Tour in 2011 and in an editorial post about their wedding at home. Other than simple changes, such as their newly-named business, Homestead Seattle, and their video webseries with HGTV, Michele and Ryan went through a huge, emotional change that transformed their home (and lives) forever.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

About two months after our original house tour, and right after Christmas of 2011 at about 3am, an electrical fire started in the top floor of Michelle and Ryan’s beloved home. The entire top floor was completely destroyed. Although all humans and pets were safe, the home was in ruins, the top floor gone, and the first floor badly damaged by the fire fighters and the rescue crew who were thankfully on site to salvage it. Right after this blow to their home and business — they lost countless pieces of inventory and their showroom — the couple’s two beloved golden retrievers Buster and Lizzie were lost to cancer.

This is no sob story, though! Michele and Ryan picked themselves up by their proverbial boot straps and marched on, renovating the entire home and rewiring for safety. Included in the renovation are a finished basement for storing inventory, brand new fixtures, and a loft and cross beams in the master bedroom. They have a new furry pal, Jake, who adds spunky life to their home, plus they have recreated their entire bottom floor to act as a showroom for clients and potential customers. The changes are astounding and beautiful, and I’m so proud to have been able to photograph them.

You can view more of their story on their HGTV webseries video.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style:
“Modern Traditional”: A fresh/updated approach to a traditional Ralph Lauren-style, using a mix of vintage furniture and decor from every era. Sticking with timeless, classic pieces that aren’t trendy and that won’t go out of style.

Inspiration: Ralph Lauren, Emily Henderson, Amsterdam, Paris.

Favorite Element: The post-fire master bedroom remodel. Exposed beams, dark floors, loft. White everywhere!

Biggest Challenge: Starting over, living in a store, and pet hair.

What Friends Say: I guess most people just say “Wow!” or “I love this house!” or “You have the best stuff!”.

Biggest Embarrassment: All of the bathrooms need new tile in the showers. After all the money we spent refinishing the basement, it still needs work. And I hate the color of the floors on the main floor.

Proudest DIY: Exposed shelving in the kitchen and the pantry/mudroom transformation. The kitchen in general. Our plants.

Biggest Indulgence: New windows, the vintage front door, and our new heating system.

Best Advice: When renovating an old home, start with minor, inexpensive cosmetic changes to keep you loving your house and feeling like you are moving forward. Then save up to do any hidden upgrades (electric, roof, heat/ac, plumbing, structural work) before indulging in a large kitchen or bathroom renovation. The little improvements will tide you over and the seemingly thankless hidden upgrades will add value to your home and keep you and your family safe.

Dream Sources: 1st Dibs

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


    • Front Door: Benjamin Moore, Rainforest Foliage
    • Living & Dining Rooms: Benjamin Moore White Dove Eggshell and Semi Gloss on trim
    • Kitchen: Benjamin Moore White Dove Semi throughout. Low level cabinetry in Benjamin Moore Essex Green High Gloss. Sink, shelf brackets, butcher block counters from Ikea.
    • Master Bedroom & Bath: Benjamin Moore White Dove Eggshell and Semigloss
    • First floor bath: Benjamin Moore Essex Green High Gloss
    • Pantry/Mudroom: Benjamin Moore White Dove Semi Gloss, Essex Green and Balsam


    • All furniture and decor, every single piece is vintage or was purchased second hand.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Michele and Ryan!

(Images: Andie Powers)

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