Who: Suzanne Pattison.
Residence: Southside Bellingham in the Samish Highlands, east of Interstate 5, with a bay view and proximity to trails to Lake Padden.
Question: When did you acquire your residence?
Answer: The land was purchased in 1990 and included a quaint 1920s cabin in disrepair, but with a bit of work, livable. It was rented out for a number of years. Eventually I subdivided and sold that smaller piece with the cabin, which is now replaced with a modern home. I held onto the larger portion to eventually build my present home in 2000.
Q: What's an interesting aspect of your home's history?
A: The lot was such that it needed a house plan that was pleasing to the eye, both front and back, as it sits on a corner on a relatively high hill. It also had to have large widows to the back to encompass the view. I found such a home in the Edgemoor area and I asked the owner if he would share his house plan with me. Much to my pleasure, he agreed.
The design features Craftsman elements, a spacious floor plan, and lots of windows throughout taking advantage of the views from most rooms, and the large decks. The entry is dramatic and can serve to hold a baby grand piano or just a great dance floor! The house also includes a separate apartment, which is rented.
Q: How you have you changed your home?
A: I continue to enhance the exterior spaces after unsightly construction carnage. I had a rock wall put in, new planting areas, replaced the rough grass with a feet-friendly lawn for such things as badminton; and patio areas under the decks. The landscape is still a work in progress, as I am no gardener. I hope to plant indigenous plants mostly in the new beds and add an herb garden.
I am currently having the downstairs finished, which will include a media room, tiled bath and a modest bedroom.
Q: What's your favorite room?
A: With its views, the kitchen is where I love being most. I do love to cook and it's great when I can do this looking out to the bay with lots of light. The stove faces the breakfast bar, so I can talk to guests while I prepare food. I never grow tired of the Shaker-style maple cabinets and love the specialty arched cabinet that separates the kitchen from the dining room. I had the cabinets in it stained to a pewter-green, which adds a dramatic touch.
Q: What has been the greatest challenge you've faced with your home?
A: The biggest challenge was taking on the building process. It is a huge commitment, but so worth the end result. I was able to include a certain personal artistry, fitting my lifestyle and sensibilities. I did modify the interior plan quite substantially to have more intimate, separate spaces as the original was much more open than mine. Visualizing the changes in design took a lot of thinking and ideas to make it all work.
Q: What about your home brings you the greatest joy?
A: Sharing it with my loved ones and cadre of fine friends. It is a great place to entertain and has room enough to bring in live musicians to enhance our gatherings. I do feel blessed living in such a great space, surrounded by our Northwest natural beauty, connected with such an amazing community.