Slideshow: Decorate Her

It all started pretty innocently. Victoria and Mark Fanning called someone to come to their Kirkland home to mount a flat-screen TV on the wall in their living room. During the small job the guy looked over at their kitchen and casually mentioned that if they were interested in remodeling, they should give him a call.

Its funny how words, uttered during brief encounters, can spark so much change.

The wheels in the Fanning’s heads began turning. They had lived in their saltbox-style house, built in 1995, for 12 years. They considered moving and even looked for another Eastside home. But then they realized the home they were raising three kids in was where they already had planted roots. So they decided it was time for their home to grow to fit their needs – and their wants. During the remodel, which started with the kitchen and grew from there, they lived in the home.

“We will never get the money back we put into it,” Victoria said as she looked around at the home that went from about 3,500 square feet to 5,500 square feet. Sitting at her expansive granite kitchen island, sipping Diet Coke from a crystal goblet, she wasn’t bothered by the statement. They created a dream home – it was an investment in her family, not future profit: “We couldn’t be happier.”

The minute you pull up to this house you realize why. It’s stunning and stately from the moment it greets you with its oversized pathway leading up to the curved stairs past the fountain and to the large front door made of clear windows. Above the garage is a covered balcony off the master bedroom suite. It’s a great place to unwind with a glass of wine and wave to the neighbors taking their evening strolls.

When you enter the home you instantly feel at one with the space, thanks to the foyer that is almost in the center of the home. A sweeping staircase to the left takes you upstairs to the bedrooms, guest room and laundry room. To the right is a living room immaculately decorated with a shiny piano, sitting area and sparkly things. Straight ahead is the dining room with windows that allow you to gaze all the way into the backyard where blue pool water shimmers. The foyer has a table in the center with a large vase that’s always full of fresh flowers, making the space feel welcoming and as stunning as a hotel lobby, but with all the comfort and warmth only a home can convey.

Probably what is most surprising about this five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home is how well it is put together – minus a professionally-trained interior designer. It is apparent Victoria has a natural gift. “I just know what I like,” she said humbly. “I don’t care about brand names – I shop T.J. Maxx and Seattle Design Center.”

For years she dreamt of the house she hoped to have “one day” and unintentionally found inspiration on trips to hotels, where she’d snap pictures of things she thought were beautiful or clever. Those ideas can be seen in her home, like the thick, white shutters that separate her master bedroom with her master bathroom that, when closed, can open to reveal a large soaking tub. She got that idea after staying at the Salish Lodge.

When they were remodeling the house, she thought about things that would make life easier. Such as a laundry room upstairs, complete with a desk that holds a laptop and a printer – her “ultimate multi-tasking” hub. She has a laundry room downstairs, too. The lower one is especially helpful for the laundry that gets generated by the pool activities.

In the kitchen there is a mini fridge at the end of the counter. “Odd placement, you might think,” she said. “But we can grab a drink when we’re sitting in the living room and it’s easy access.”

The next project: a butler’s pantry. After hosting several large parties of 100-plus people, they realized it would be a lot easier to have more prep and storage space.

She loves that her home is a place people want to be – especially her kids. “It’s comfy-cozy and I feel relaxed the minute I walk in,” she said. “I love that the kids’ friends want to hang out here and enjoy our home, too.”

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