THE VIEWS FROM BETSY HURTT AND DOUG BRANSON’S rooftop deck in Madison Park are just what you’d expect from a rooftop deck in Madison Park. From the 900-square-foot perch, it’s one postcard-worthy glimpse after another. To the east, Lake Washington sprawls out in all its shimmering blue glory. Lush hills roll before a Cascadian backdrop. Even Mount Rainier deigns to make an appearance, showing her glacier-clad face on the southern horizon.
In essence, it’s the perfect clincher, especially for these homeowners, who were planning a part-time home in Seattle in 2009. “We looked around at a lot of places but didn’t really feel comfortable with anything,” Hurtt recalls. “When we saw this condo with the deck, we just said, ‘That’s it.’ ”
Getting the outdoor space in lounge-ready form, however, wasn’t quite as instantaneous. Save a few “well-meaning but not great” planters, the roof was a blank slate. And in the months leading up to the move, the couple would be packing their belongings some 2,500 miles east, in Pittsburgh.
That’s when Seattle-based interior designer Faith Sheridan stepped in to channel the homeowners’ vision from afar. “She didn’t necessarily know us for very long,” Hurtt says of their instant connection to the designer, “but she picked up on what we wanted immediately.”
What they wanted was an easy-care deck that required minimal maintenance, comfortable living areas to accommodate everything from a dinner party to a cozy evening for two, and colorful touches to combat the infamous Pacific Northwest gray.
Sheridan and contractor Prestige Residential Construction tackled the essentials first. They ripped up the existing composite decking, which was warping, and swapped in squares of durable ipe wood. Fashioned in a parquet pattern, each square can be lifted to allow access to the roof structure below. On the northwest side, the design team also installed a privacy fence, which keeps the building’s air-conditioning units discretely hidden from view.
Next came a tricked-out kitchen corner, with a Wolf grill, small refrigerator, granite counters, and all. Built-in drawers house place mats, plates, and utensils so the homeowners can keep everything they need within easy reach.
From there, Sheridan went to work selecting furnishings and accessories in summery, saturated hues. “We didn’t want shades of squirrel,” Hurtt quips of their aversion to brown and gray. “My husband and I like a lot of color.”
Amid a forest of lime-green planters, Sheridan designed a custom teak storage bench. A weather-resistant cushion in blue and green stripes makes it amenable to lounging, and extra pillows can be stashed by lifting up the seat. Elsewhere, the designer added teak loungers with bright-green cushions and a gracious dining table that seats up to eight beneath a massive orange umbrella.
Furnishings are intentionally flexible to suit various entertaining situations. Ottomans can serve as footrests or spare seats, a freestanding umbrella can be moved and angled any which way to block the sun’s glare, and a rolling bar cart adds extra functionality during get-togethers. “They wanted it to be adaptable to how they like to live: having people over, having a party, and stuffing it all away,” Sheridan says.
Hurtt and Branson have taken full advantage of their dream deck. They’ve hosted rooftop parties with 60 people, had friends and neighbors over for cookouts and alfresco dinners, and enjoyed quiet evenings sipping wine and watching the boats bob by on the lake.
“We go out there and think, ‘This is just so comfortable. This is just so easy,’ ” Hurtt says. “It’s a lot about the choices we made five years ago when we were decorating the place.” And maybe just a little about the views too.
Designer Faith Sheridan Interior Design, 206-973-3743; faithsheridan.com
Contractor Prestige Residential Construction, 206-722-1540; prestigecrafted.com
Plants Plants a la Cart, 425-481-2194