breaking news

Price responds to critics on HIV quarantine query

Extreme fixer-upper gets a beautiful makeover


BELLEVUE, Wash. — Based on realty buzzwords alone, loads of hopeful homebuyers likely picked up on the tempting potential of a midcentury fixer-upper in Bellevue’s classic Killarney Circle.

Anne and Rob Tucker certainly did.

“The view, privacy, community pool; it all seemed really special,” Anne says. “The neighborhood really felt authentic.”

In realty reality, though, there are older homes that could use a little refresher — and then there is the local scourge. “The neighborhood called it the crack house,” she says. “It was so bad. It was a rental in really bad disrepair.”

At this point, most hopeful homebuyers likely would have a) run away screaming, or b) ripped down the whole scary mess.

Anne and Rob did neither.

They bought that potential-filled extreme fixer-upper and, with architect Michelle Linden of Atelier Drome, launched into a thoughtfully phased, strategized and realized revitalization.

“So many houses around here are being torn down and rebuilt as builder boxes,” Anne says. “They’re nice, but they have the same floor plan. We thought: ‘Let’s see what we can keep and make new.’”

They kept the basic footprint (except for a new garage) and, after “a complete gut and renovation,” filled it with beautiful newness: a renewed basement, main level and exterior; a new second-story addition; and a whole new aesthetic. The former scourge has cleaned up its act spectacularly as a highly functioning, smoothly flowing modern farmhouse with three distinct zones: upstairs for adults, the main floor for everyone and a downstairs “teenage heaven,” Anne says. (The Tuckers have four children: Jack, 17; Kate, 15; Grant, 12; and Ike, 9.)

“The design is eclectic, incorporating inspiration from a farmhouse structure with a modern twist,” Linden says. “We worked to design a new, open floor plan. Wide-open windows ensure each room is filled with natural light, and that the view is accessible from anywhere in the house.”

This is not Anne’s first renovation rodeo; she’s been “doing” houses for 20 years. This time around, she served as general contractor and interior designer.

“Anne is unique,” says Linden. “She has a lot more experience than the average person.”

Still, there are lessons. There are always lessons.

— Vacate the premises. The first phase of construction tackled the lower level, which had been “all chopped up and weird,” Anne says. Once that was resolved (spacious suites for kids, a study room, a game room and a mudroom), everyone moved downstairs while the work moved up. “That was a really bad idea — especially when it’s raining,” Anne says. “There were nights when we tried to keep the tarp on; nails were popping, boards were being thrown in the wind from the lake. Don’t live in it!”

— Values have value. “Almost 100 percent of the furnishings in this house I got secondhand,” Anne says, including ultra-comfy, swiveling Marge Carson chairs (retail price: $5,000 to $6,000) that she found for $300 (for both!) on Craigslist. “One of my favorite things to do is use reclaimed or salvaged materials. You’re repurposing and reusing character or history. It’s a treasure hunt.”

— Compromise works. Anne and Rob both work from home: He’s co-founder and managing partner of Grey Matter Partners; she recently launched the online social-learning website wisdomsoup.com. Their offices reflect their individual styles (his: streamlined; hers: cozy), but the whole-house palette required a little give and take (his preference: modern white walls; hers: warmer colors). The happy medium: all white walls, all black fixtures and lots of natural color-infusing elements. “It is white, but there’s so much texture and pattern in the wallpaper and artwork, this isn’t an all-white house,” Linden says.

— Some things are not completely complete yet — and that’s a good thing. “A lot of clients think all the furnishings and artwork have to be done right away, but that can give a feeling of sameness; it doesn’t feel lived in,” Linden says. “When you find things you love and you are passionate about them, it’s a lot more personal, and you’re building memories.”

— But some things really should not wait. Amid all the chaotic renovation upheaval, Anne and Rob took on another meaningful joint project — outdoors. “We got married by the pond with the house being a total wreck,” Anne says.

And now, this is a home where all sorts of long-term potential pays off brilliantly.

“Rob and I met when we were 10. We were friends through school but never dated,” Anne says. “We both went off, married other people, had kids and reconnected.”

Adds Linden: “This is their first project together. This house feels like they’ve been together forever — because they have.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

‘Game of Thrones’ actor Peter Dinklage, wife Erica Schmidt celebrate birth of 2nd child
‘Game of Thrones’ actor Peter Dinklage, wife Erica Schmidt celebrate birth of 2nd child

“Game of Thrones” actor Peter Dinklage and his wife, Erica Schmidt, welcomed their second child, Us Weekly reported Friday. It is the second child for the couple. Their daughter was born in 2011, Us Weekly reported. The couple did not publicly confirm the second pregnancy, but Us Weekly confirmed they were spotted with their newborn...
The Eagles review: peaceful, easy feeling at packed Philips Arena for 1st of two shows
The Eagles review: peaceful, easy feeling at packed Philips Arena for 1st of two shows

After a professional, hit-packed two hours and 15 minutes, Vince Gill and Don Henley walk off the stage at Philips Arena October 20, 2017. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com Posted Saturday, October 21, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on Melissa Ruggieri’s AJC Music Scene blog Last year, after Glenn Frey‘s surprise...
Bathroom makeovers show refreshing ways to use marble
Bathroom makeovers show refreshing ways to use marble

Marble bathrooms have long been a staple of elegant homes. But gone are the days of stark white Carrera marble and boring chrome fixtures. Designers are bucking tradition to add a touch of sophistication in a refreshing way. Using marble in a renovation is a fantastic way to take your old space from gross to glam. Knowing what to do with a space&rsquo...
Why do people give blood after disasters, but not during blood drives?
Why do people give blood after disasters, but not during blood drives?

It happens after very disaster, whether natural or human-made. Before the floods recede or the crime tape is removed, hundreds will line up to donate their blood. Less than 24 hours after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, a line of people twisted from a blood center around several city blocks. According to one woman’s tweet, it took seven hours...
How to control and manage your blood pressure
How to control and manage your blood pressure

Lifestyle changes can help you control and prevent high blood pressure, even if you’re taking blood pressure medication. Here’s what you can do: Eat healthy foods. Eat a healthy diet. Try the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy foods. Get...
More Stories