“I felt like I was delivering a house and a baby at the same time…they both turned out great,” jokes Amanda Grace, who was pregnant with daughter Isla while the bulk of renovations were being done to the 1929 Tudor home in Magnolia that she and her husband, Greg, purchased in 2015. The couple, both Pacific Northwest natives (from Vancouver, British Columbia), with their son, Louis, moved to Seattle from Boston three years ago when Grace became a news anchor for KING-TV.
The family settled into its new neighborhood, which Grace says has a quiet, small-town feel—despite being 10 minutes from downtown. They received a warm reception from neighbors, including a woman in her 90s who lives across the street and whose father built the Tudor. Grace and her family are only the third owners of the property.
The family initially was attracted to the romantic, old-fashioned “storybook” appearance of the home, but wanted to align its formal interior with a more casual lifestyle. The couple worked with Blue Sound Construction on a floor-to-ceiling renovation, in the process eliminating some of the home’s original features—including a ballroom and, in the dining room, a button on the floor that buzzed to the kitchen to request meals. Other changes included knocking out walls to open up the space and let in more light; creating arched entryways in passages between rooms that echo original architectural shapes; and integrating natural colors from the outdoors into the interior, such as moss green, indigo, shades of gray and sunset pinks.
From left; The living room provides ample seating, including leather France and Son chairs, where Greg is seated, and a bench by Bainbridge Island-based Grain Design where Louis plays. The dining room mixes reupholstered 1950s Thonet chairs with modern elements like Bill Wilkinson art and Park Studio LA lighting. Photographs by Alex Crook.
When it came to decorating, Grace, who has an extensive knowledge of furnishings because of a lifelong passion for interior design (she’s even started a side business, Amanda Grace Interiors), says her goal was to have the rooms reflect how she and her family live, what’s important to them and their stage of life. For many rooms, Grace selected vintage pieces to build off of—largely found through her self-proclaimed problem of “Craigslist hoarding”—with Greg refinishing or reupholstering her discoveries to make them more durable and kid-proof. Several items, from the 1950s Lawrence Peabody chairs in the breakfast nook to the Tabarka terra-cotta tile around the fireplace in the master bedroom, were sourced from the popular website.
There are also vintage pieces with more personal ties, such as the two-poster bed frames in the guestroom and the burl wood card table in the living room, refashioned into a coffee table—both from the former home of Greg’s grandparents (who founded K2 Ski Corporation) on Vashon Island. “It’s like West Coast modern-eclectic, I guess you could call it,” Grace says of the home’s style scheme.
Art is also a standout element throughout the home. The stark photos of landscapes are by Greg, shot during his travels to Joshua Tree National Park and Iceland. Abstract paintings by Mary Hughes and Meredith Sands are also favorites of Grace. “I’m not into handbags, I’m not into shoes, just get me art,” she says jokingly.
From left; The master bedroom features vintage textiles and dressers; terra-cotta tile decorates the master bedroom fireplace; the original wrought iron banister. Photographs by Alex Crook.
In some rooms, simplicity rules. The bare white plaster living room fireplace is a prime example. Originally envisioning tilework around the opening, once Grace saw the area stripped and painted white, she opted to leave it that way. The clean walls against the raw wood in the fireplace strike a visual chord that complements, rather than competes with, the stunning water view seen through windows on either side of the chimney.
Not everything in the house was changed or updated. Some elements were left in place to retain the home’s character, such as the wrought iron banister of the main stairway and the mosaic umbrella holder in the entryway.
The overall effect is a home that seamlessly blends old with new, and refined taste with everyday living. The family shows no sign of uprooting itself again anytime soon, and that suits Grace just fine, considering all the work they’ve done to their home, and continue to do. “People lived in this house for generations; you almost feel like you’re a caretaker of this house,” says Grace.
“I hope I’ll be 90 years old, sitting here, counting the ferries going back and forth, like generations did before.”
From left; 1960s Michael Arnoult olive leather chairs add green pops to the sunroom; two poster beds in the guestroom came from Greg’s grandparents’ home on Vashon Island. Photographs by Alex Crook.
WEB EXTRA: See more photos from the shoot and take a virtual tour of the home below: