Tatiana Darnell would drive by the home construction site in Bellevue’s Clyde Hill neighborhood often — she was so jazzed to see the home she envisioned for her clients come to life. It was being built for a family of six — parents with two teens and two preschoolers and a wife who wasn’t going to see any of it until it was finished (more on that later.)
“I would drive by the project site to check on the progress, the way you would walk by a playground during recess to check on your firstborn. This was the second house I designed for the family,” said Darnell, owner of Space Lab Design Services, a full-service residential design firm in Kirkland.
Darnell met the family in late 2016. They had bought a “pizza slice” shaped property in a prominent Bellevue community and they had a long list of wants the home would feature.
“Designing that house was something like solving a jigsaw puzzle,” Darnell explained. “It was a tight squeeze on a sloping, pie-shaped lot. Unfortunately, the project crumbled during first design review due to rather subjective implementation of view protection corridors. It was devastating,” Darnell remembered.
“There was no room to compromise on the design, the house was already so tight. We could have fought the DRC, but my clients would have to start their life in that neighborhood with ticked off neighbors as a result if we pursued that route … so, the search for new property began.”
A few months later, Lochwood-Lozier Custom Homes in Redmond was hired to build their home and the builders helped secure the perfect piece of land. The 20,000-square-foot property was flat and located at the end of a quiet one-way street in a nice neighborhood in Clyde Hill. Eddie Putrya was the project manager and said it took just over a year to complete.
“We started the design from scratch,” Darnell said. “Now, I knew the client’s preferences by heart.” In fact, they were on vacation when Darnell was doing the work. They communicated via email in Russian. It was the tight-knit Eastern European design community on the Eastside which brought Darnell and the Russian-speaking family together thanks to a referral — in fact, about three-quarters of her business comes from referrals.
And if you think Darnell is bold for designing a home while the family is on vacation, it doesn’t compare to the confidence the husband in this project had in himself and the team. “He is a brave man! He didn’t allow his wife to set foot in the house during last few months of construction and surprised her with a finished home on the day of the move in,” Darnell said.
In addition to the six bedrooms, the 5,100-square-foot home features six bathrooms and a ton of custom touches that fit the family perfectly. In the kitchen, there is a huge eating counter with a waterfall edge. The kitchen completely opens to the outdoor patio and deck thanks to pocket doors and windows that vanish like magic. There are dramatic touches like the see-through vertical fireplaces, a cascading staircase that looks like a ribbon, and even a paneled wall with a “secret” door to the master bedroom. Speaking of the master bedroom — the design requirements were to have a complete separation from the rest of the bedrooms and have no shared partitions.
But what did the wife think when she finally saw the home for the first time, you ask? Lucky for everyone involved — it was love at first sight. And they lived happily ever after.
The exterior is a massing of cubes with pronounced awnings, clad in a simple palette of pure white stucco and dark stained cedar siding.
Designed to Last
The main floor (minus bedrooms) is made of porcelain tiles that look like gray patina wood planks.
The kitchen and dining room has plenty of space for the large family and guests.
The couple spent 10 years living in Japan before moving to the Eastside. “They despise clutter, love minimalist design with clean and clear forms, and are influenced by Eastern-European roots and their time spent in Japan,” Darnell said.
Chocolate that Pops
The oak doors and cabinets stand out with a dark chocolate stain against the warm grays throughout the rest of the home.
This window seat in the master bedroom is a perfect nook to curl up with a good book.
Home Design: Space Lab Design Services, spacelabdesign.net
Builder: Lochwood-Lozier Custom Homes, lochwoodlozier.com
Interior Designer: Inna Garkavi, Inna Garkavi Design, LLC.
Landscape: Scott Holsapple Design LA + Tri-Scape Landscaping
Stairs: Brookfield Stairs
Doors and Windows: Windows Doors & More + Southeast Glass + Trustile
Outdoor Cabinets: Werever
Fireplaces: Fireside Home Solutions
Welding: Bulletproof Welding
Masonry: Andrey’s Stucco and Masonry
Audio: Audio Plus