Our very Own MCM Home
(a "tear-down" which we saved from the demolition crew)-

   Alterations and Additions have long been an important part of my practice. While I've done many new home projects starting from the ground up, taking an existing home and improving it is very satisfying.   Our own home as originally designed by UW Architecture classmate Hawley Dudley on the South end of Mercer Island is a case in point. This was a "tear-down" which we saved from the demolition crew. We've completely rebuilt it as well as restored the half acre garden. The picture below shows our Living Room with what we added- Extension B. (noted on the Floor Plan below)

These pictures show the "stopped-in" glass windows mentioned above. There's no need to pay for complicated manufactured windows when local glass dealers can simply install efficient insulated units. 



the Master Bedrm Extension A looking out into the private garden.




                             Below- The Patty and Jerry home when first completed in 1955, then- as it is today. 

                     Before we bought it, there were 8 owners. In terrible shape, it was a tear-down.                                                                                                                                                                                                                

         The mature landscaping was yet another big advantage of our buying a '50s home although we had  to remodel that at the same time we reworked the home- starting with a new "torch-down" roof.    

          March 27th, 2002, the Mercer Island Reporter wrote up our redone home- describing it as:

While the adjacent Mercer Island Reporter article tells the story of the Patty and Jerry Gropp Residence from the outside, here's some more from owners Patty and Jerry about how this 2400 SF "Not So Big House" was created.

First of all, we could see the potential in this very run down '50s home that many others could not. Our real estate agent later told us that many of her prospects wouldn't even get out of her car for an inside look.

Fixing the leaky flat roof was the very first order of business. An unscrupulous roofer had poured hot tar on the old worn-out badly cracked built-up "tar and gravel" roof aggravating the already bad situation. As a result the tongue and groove wood roof decking/exposed ceiling was badly stained. The very first thing we did was to have a reputable roofer put down 3" urethane rigid insulation boards on the old and then apply a modern torch-down welded sheet roof. We also replaced the old plastic "bubble" skylights with double domes (and added yet two more).

After this was done, we enclosed the Carport creating a workshop since the house had no basement or storage area. This also gave us space to store building materials while we redid the now-secure, water-tight interior. Later we added a garden storage shed.

This home was designed by Hawley Dudley, Architect in 1955. Inasmuch as I graduated from the University of Washington architecture school about the same time as he, the design philosophy embodied in this '50s post-and­beam lots of glass home was very compatible with my own. The beautiful well-seasoned 4x1 2 beams were on a 4' module which expedited the later "bug-out" bay window additions (in the Master Bedroom, Bedroom Three and the Living Room) that we extended out under the broad overhangs.

First however, it was necessary to remove layers of old rugs, rough wood trellises as well as the sliding closet doors in the bedrooms and the living room. The flimsy sliding louver doors at the furnace room were replaced with soundproof walls and a solid-core door. All the dark brown stain and paint was done over in what we call "Navaho Beige" through the entire house to bring lightness and unity to the interior. The kitchen cabinets were redwood darkened with age. These we covered with almond laminate set off with oak edging and warm custom tile backsplashes designed by Patty.

While Jerry and his builders were doing the extensive reconstruction including new cedar ceiling overlays covering the badly stained roof decking, new wood flooring and carpeting, Patty was bringing the half-acre garden back from the neglect of the eight previous owners. It's now in beautiful shape and visible from the many floor to ceiling windows making the outside an integral part of the interior and adding visual spaciousness to this "No So Big House".


Decorative Railing by son Steve Gropp Salamander Forge, Orcas Island, Washington  

Click here: Salamander Forge, Inc Home - Exquisite metal and wood artwork 

While I had extensive early experience in a number of big offices doing large projects, I found I preferred working with families doing single-family custom homes. That's why I specialize in modernist residential architecture out in the far NorthWest corner of the United States. I've long been based on Mercer Island which is in Lake Washington just East of Seattle and West of Kirkland, Bellevue, Issaquah and Renton. Having done many projects over the years on this unique island city of 22,000 citizens in the middle of Seattle's three million metropolis, I've become highly experienced in dealing with the City of  Mercer Island's rather stringent building requirements- (See a Client's Letter (click) attesting to this). This is an extremely important consideration in choosing an architect to help you in any building or home remodeling on Mercer Island- or anywhere else. And "Green Building" techniques have long been an important part of my practice. My varied experience specializing in custom home design for individual clients makes me especially effective in helping you achieve the home you and your family need. My well-detailed homes are truly "Craftsman" in spirit- using the best of old ways with all the new tools available to build an efficient "modernist" home. I'm a "hands-on" architect having spent much time in the field as well as at my drawing board. It's essential that any residential designer know how to do any of the jobs that it takes to build his creations. An example of this: a JG-built round deck on one of our MI homes