Downsizing in Style

Sheri and Paul Page downsized from a 5,000-square-foot home to one half its size last year. It made sense for the next exciting chapter in their lives.

This stunning “Soundview Home,” as they call it, in University Place is remodeled and would be described today as mid-century meets Scandinavian. It was first built in 1960 and features two bedrooms, 2½ baths, and a dreamy kitchen. Most of the updated and reconfigured living spaces are on the main floor. Downstairs, there is a small basement that serves as extra storage and a fun bonus room for the grandkids to play and watch movies.

But the main attraction is an absolutely captivating view of the Puget Sound; Fox Island; the Narrows Bridge; and, on clear days, the Olympic Mountains. To say this property is special feels like an understatement when you stand on the huge deck and take in the view, fresh air, and sounds of nature.

“Our previous house was like living in a park, with lots of outdoor landscaped areas,” Sheri said. She loved that home a lot and admits it was tough to say goodbye. “This house has simple courtyard living, so that is a big maintenance change. That gives us outdoor spaces that we do not have to maintain,” she said with a smile.

Remodeling a home on a lot like this one wasn’t easy. “The original house was sitting on a very restricted site, a portion of which had been filled, requiring pin pilings to secure,” said Eric Thaut of Joe’s Bay Custom Homes in Gig Harbor. “With neighbors on three sides and a cliff on the fourth, it was hard to gain access for our equipment and subcontractors.”

However, the challenge was met brilliantly. “Bringing this mid-century contemporary home back to life has been a labor of love for me and our crew of master craftsmen,” Thaut said.

Interesting light fixtures are always a good idea. The dining room light fixture was inspired by some the couple saw in the new Alaska Airlines Lounge at Sea-Tac Airport.


Just look at the craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into the house, including this stunning ceiling featuring wood cut and installed precisely.


Soapstone not only looks fitting for the space, but this fireplace keeps the room toasty warm because the soapstone retains heat long after the fire is out.


Leslie Jensen, Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer and co-owner of the Kitchen & Bath Design Studio in Tacoma, helped make Sheri and Paul’s kitchen dreams come true. The custom Crystal Cabinet Works feature smart storage spaces, soft-close doors, and beauty. There is a built-in coffee maker, refrigerator drawers to keep drinks cool, and a custom stove hood that adds Scandinavian flair to the space. When the dishwasher was on back order, Sheri said she didn’t mind doing dishes in her giant farmhouse-style sink with the amazing sparkling water view.


Architect Brad Brisbane helped the couple reconfigure the spaces of the refreshed home, including bringing stairs that were previously located on the outside to the inside, so the family can access the basement. Another huge change to the space was knocking out a wall so the kitchen could flow seamlessly to the dining room and the living area on the view side of the home.


Small rooms are a great place to have fun with some bold choices: Think fun color, wallpaper, unique lighting, hardware, and more. This powder room delivers the whimsy with a one-two punch.


The carpet looks like raindrops underfoot in the master bedroom.


Why go to a spa when you have a master bathroom like this? This tub gets an A+.


The custom bench that folds is a fine place to sit and take in the view. The couple has spotted eagles, orcas, porpoises, and more.


The home still hosts the family of 20 (when kids and grandkids come to visit) comfortably. “The custom remodel made it perfect for entertaining, and still cozy enough for when there is just the two of them.” — Leslie Jensen, designer and co-owner of Kitchen & Bath Design Studio in Tacoma.


“Just do it!” Paul said. He considered downsizing as a future gift to his children, so they won’t have to deal with excess stuff one day. “The idea of simplifying a bit just felt right to us at the time,” Sheri added. “Not everyone feels that same way, but to us, it was kind of freeing to let go of some things, as well as move to a much easier-to-carefor home.”


Architect: Brad Brisbane

Builder/Remodeler: Eric Thaut, Joe’s Bay Custom Homes, Gig Harbor

Designers: Leslie Jensen, co-owner of the Kitchen & Bath Design Studio in Tacoma, and Mimi Hackleman, owner of Mimi Hackleman Design in Tacoma

Landscaping: Jenny and Jonathan Bossick of Contemporary Landscaping, Landscapes for Life, Rainier

Home Resource List

Architect: Brad Brisbane
Builder/Remodeler: Joe’s Bay Custom Homes
Mosaic Artist: Jennifer Kuhns,
Pin Piles: Steffen’s Construction
Excavation: Kat Trax
Concrete: DBC Concrete
Plumbing: Franich Plumbing
Electric: Modern Electric
Paint: Gessel Painting
Stone: Harbor Stoneworks
Heating: Kohler Heating
Flooring: Elite Floor Coverings
Design: Leslie Jensen, co-owner of the Kitchen and Bath Design Studio
Design: Mimi Hackleman, owner Mimi Hackleman Design
Lighting: Crescent Lighting
Railings: Craig’s Railings
Fireplace: Wallace Stove & Fireplace
Glass: Viking Glass
Sheet Metal: Columbia Sheet Metal
Landscaping: Contemporary Landscape
Wallpaper: Richard Ruff

is the editor in chief at 425 magazine.
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