Jill Kaufman’s favorite piece of art in her Medina home is a painting of hummingbirds by Carolyn Reynolds that she found at the Bellevue Arts Fair, but the man-made beauty has close competition. Although an eclectic collection of colorful contemporary art graces almost every wall of the house that Jill shares with her partner, Spyro Kourtis, and their three children from past relationships, even walls without paintings offer eye-catching views: Large windows—many starting at floor level—act like giant picture frames, turning the scenes outside into living masterpieces.
The house features clean white walls, high ceilings, and dark floors, creating a gallery feel that complements the art inside and out. The main living space steps gradually down from an open dining area to a two-level living room, then wanders out glass French doors to the patio, which overlooks a shimmering swimming pool. Sunlight streams through skylights and west-facing windows, which offer views of Lake Washington and the Seattle skyline beyond.
The 5,200-square-foot home was originally constructed in 1969, but SkB Architects completed an extensive remodel of the residence in June 2010. They gutted the interior, rearranged the floor plan, and enlarged the picture windows. “We wanted to open the home up to let in more light and forge a stronger connection to the landscape,” says SkB architect Kyle Gaffney.
“As soon as we saw it, we fell in love,” Jill says of the home she and Spyro purchased together. “It marries the organic feel that you’re outside when you’re inside with that sharp edge of modern design. It’s a rare combination.”
She and Spyro also liked the fact that, although the design is new, the bones of the house were older, and so the rooms are what Jill calls “normal size,” instead of being huge, as they are in many modern homes. She says the family feels together when they are all in the same room.
Perfect as it was, the home needed to be personalized to fit the family’s style and lifestyle. “We wanted the house to be really comfortable—not precious or fussy—so people can relax,” Jill says. For help furnishing the house, she and Spyro turned to SkB architect and principal Robert Norwood.
“The family is of a creative disposition with a strong interest in and comfort with color,” Norwood says. The living room’s B&B Italia sofa and ottoman are covered in a bamboo-fiber fabric instead of traditional upholstery or leather, and colorful pillows enliven the daybed in the library and complement the artwork.
The dining room features a long, lacquered white table with a picture window at one end that frames a vibrant green moss garden planted just outside. On the other end of the dining room, a doorway leads to a sleek, modern kitchen with granite countertops, glossy white cabinets, and a steel floor. Here, a picture window frames the outdoor dining patio.
The master suite is accessed via a small corridor off the lower main living space. The bedroom’s floor-to-ceiling corner windows look out over the pool; the bath features a tiled bathing area with teak decking, a walk-in shower, and a freestanding tub below large skylights.
Randy Allworth, of Allworth Landscape Design, crafted the outdoor spaces, adding horizontal fencing, poured-concrete patios, and the moss gardens when the home was remodeled in 2010.
Perhaps the most spectacular picture in the home is the one on its west-facing wall, visible throughout the main living area. There, French doors flanked by tall windows frame a view of the patio, pool, trees, lake, and sky that is ever changing, shifting by season, day, and hour.
Published: September 2013