Project: Duchess Mansion
Architects: Stuart Silk Architects
Interior Design: Garrett Cord Warner
Landscape Architecture: AHBL, Richard Hartlage
Construction: Charter Construction
Location: Harvard-Belmont, Seattle, Washington, US
Photography: Andrew Giammarco
Duchess Mansion is a great example of how to transform a historic architectural home into a very livable and modern aesthetic. The home was completely gutted and reworked. Historic preservation on this project was completed by Stuart Silk. The interior architecture was designed by Garret Cord Werner to create interesting balance between old and new. Duchess Mansion is located within the Harvard-Belmont Historical District.
This landmark residence was built in 1906 for Samuel Hill, a leading industrialist of the time, and at one point was the home of a European Duchess. Its exterior is a landmark in Seattle and is part of the legacy of historic homes. The walls are constructed entirely of cast-in-place concrete which was unique for its time; the walls exceed three feet in depth at their base. While the exterior of this five-story home was historically noteworthy, its interior had suffered from a series of botched interior reincarnations.
The client desired a home that would suit their contemporary lifestyle while reinforcing the grandeur of the original mansion. While the exterior of this five-story home was historically significant its interior was not and needed a powerful reorganization. In that process, every interior partition was demolished and every stud removed on all five floors of this 12,000 square foot home. By reorganizing room locations, we were able to create a fresh design that is open and light-filled and responds to our client’s contemporary lifestyle. For instance, on the main floor in our re-envisioned kitchen, a dramatic twenty-four foot long island made of stone and burnished nickel is a focal point for the home and the main gathering area for family and friends.
The interiors are a carefully planned mix of tradition, contemporary interior architecture, and industrial highlights all coming together in a surprisingly cohesive manner. Glamorous custom pendants & chandeliers we designed specifically for the home and create a sense of luxury and unique character. Juxtaposition of materials such as blackened steel behind the original carved marble mantle merge yesterday with timeless modernism.
The interior finishes and furnishings are fresh and warm. Our goal was to combine both traditional and contemporary influences and be respectful of the home’s historic pedigree. The four original steel trestle-shaped columns were left exposed where possible as reminders of the home’s history.
On the top floor we redesigned the entire rooftop garden to take advantage of the views of the Seattle skyline, Lake Union, and the Olympic Mountains. The terrace includes two fire pits and a glass covered trellis for use in less-than-perfect conditions.