LAKE SAMMAMISH, Wash. — Judith’s art studio is new, and skillfully used. Aesthetically, it is colorful, energetic and inspiring, brimming with creativity and creations. Structurally, it is the light-all-around, ground-floor core of a new two-story addition (there’s a cool, contemporary accessory dwelling unit up above), linked by a glassy new breezeway to the striking white, newly remodeled Lake Sammamish home Judith shares with her husband, Frank.
Totally — as in “taken together” and “really, truly” — all that newness adds up to an exquisite, legitimate gallery: of art Judith has made; of art she and Frank have collected; and of elevated, educated, artistic design.
Johan Luchsinger, the second architect from Baylis Architects to work on this home (his colleague Brian Brand designed the original in 1990), has a degree in fine arts. “I did printmaking, etching and metal sculpture,” he says. Judith, a contemporary artist who is creating “mixed-media work on canvas and paper right now,” plus books, has a degree in interior design.
No wonder Baylis calls this “The House of ArtFULL Living.”
Big-picture, the big update “treaded lightly on the existing,” Luchsinger says. “The idea of this was real simple forms. The original home was built on a grid, with a sunken living room and columns. The house was kind of International Style with a Northwest slant.” Retaining that essence, but not necessarily its program, “The remodel included creating an open floor plan ... along with living-space updates 1/8and3/8 ... modern materials and subtle artistic accents,” he says. (Judith and Frank did leave some areas “as is,” though: two “legacy bathrooms,” she says. “They’re really fun. We wanted to keep the flavor.”)
Smaller-picture, there were a lot of paintings, sculptures and art pieces to incorporate.
“Judith did the interior-design work, and we worked with her pretty carefully to make sure all the art would fit,” says Luchsinger.
In the central living area, under a 12-foot-tall ceiling, he says, “We got rid of the columns for fin walls, raised the floor up, added a new fireplace and leveled out the floor. It’s just a great backdrop for art.”
Judith created the meaningful collage above the double-sided fireplace — it’s called “Memories and Dreams” — specifically for this spot. “It’s all photographs of houses we’ve lived in with our family,” she says. “I did it four times to get it right.”
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The artsy glass barn doors to Frank’s new office are “functional as well as a design element,” says Judith. “I had seen this glass artist in Bellevue. He did a drawing, and I wanted abstract. I turned it upside-down. It looked to me like skies and trees and lake. He said, ‘Well, OK.’ “
Judith has an artful way of seeing potential. She and Frank used to live “right up the lake,” she says, in a three-story Bauhaus-style home that was “right on the water with no land.” Meaning: nowhere near enough room for their six grandchildren to romp outside.
“I was walking on the trail, as I do every day, and I said, ‘Frank, there’s a property,’ “ she says. “It was single-story. We could build an art studio and have property for our family. We really wanted a place you could be for sack races and croquet.”
With an enlarged, heated patio with its own fireplace; an outdoor barbecue and kitchen area; and a new beach replacing a tired bulkhead, all in the backyard alone, opportunities for outdoor play are boundless — as is the view. “From inside, it looks like infinity, from the lawn to water,” Judith says.
Also inside: a new bunkroom just for played-out rompers. One wall scooched in to “make this room real long,” she says. “We can put four grandkids in here.”
And they can put even more art in the adjacent hallway, leading to the studio.
“When we got this all going, we thought this could really become a true gallery space,” Judith says. Really, it’s all true gallery space.