Tour a Historic Seattle Estate With Plenty of Tartan

This layered approach is particularly legible in the dining room, where the designer let his inborn eclecticism run wild. Starting with a sober woven silk wall covering from Phillip Jeffries, he brought in a Brutalist-inspired mahogany sideboard from the 1970s, vintage Fritz Hansen dining chairs, and an aluminum and lacquer wall-hanging sculpture by artist Anna Fasshauer that resembles carefully folded foil. Above it all, he hung an industrial-style custom pendant made of amber and bronze blown glass tubes. And for the centerpiece of the room? “I’ve always wanted to do a robin egg blue lacquer dining table,” he admits. “Probably because of my time at Tiffany.”

When hosting dinner or cocktail parties, Smith and Chesko find themselves drawn to the glassed-in conservatory, an addition that was tacked on to the building in the 1960s. “This was the unexpected gem of the house,” says Chesko of the light-filled room, which features vintage Bergère rattan club chairs, an Edward Wormley game table by Dunbar, and a 1960s Audoux Minet rope floor lamp. “When we have guests over and the light is low and we’re looking out on Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, it feels like you’re in the 1940s.”

In researching the home’s history, Smith and Chesko discovered the previous owners were equally keen entertainers. The family that had lived in the property in the 1960s was active in Seattle’s art scene and often hosted parties that counted celebrities like Bob Hope and the Beatles as guests. “Their son worked on John Wayne’s yacht and would sail around the Pacific Northwest with him,” Chesko recounts. “And apparently the actor once passed out in the spare bedroom.” In fact, when they acquired the house, there were still a few remnants of their fabulous lifestyle, including a completely cedar-lined attic purpose-built for storing furs, which Lonstein transformed into a walk-in closet complete with a baby blue shelving system.

One thing that’s remained consistent over the decades, however, is the views of the sprawling garden. “In the Pacific Northwest the gardens aren’t overly formal,” Chesko says. “Here, it’s a bit wild. The Foxwoods aren’t perfectly cut; it’s a really cool Seattle take on a formal Parterre garden.” In the spring and summertime, the estate is bursting with white hydrangeas and crawling wisteria vines, which wind around the columns of the garden’s central circular pavilion. In fact, the garden will soon become an even more special place for the couple. “We’re planning to get married there in a couple of weeks,” Smith reveals.

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