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What’s old is… still modern

By on January 28, 2019 in Featured Homes with 1 Comment
The curved glass wall, flat roof, deep eaves and distinctive siding give an iconic “post-war modern” air to the home. With brick and limestone walls and no wooden wall studs, the house is silent and solid.
The Larsons added this shady pergola and extended the existing patio for outdoor living with a view. The big fenced yard boasts a few huge gnarled trees and raised vegetables beds at the west end.
Jake and Shaunna Larson, with their three dogs, have enjoyed a dozen years in the Springwater Street house. They’ll translate several of their favorite architectural points into their planned new home.
Shaunna said this circular nook has been the perfect spot for breakfast and coffee — small and tucked away from the bustle of the kitchen, it catches morning light with diamond-paned windows.
Light and more light fills the sunken front room, with its period vibe and pale elegance. Wrought iron railing and an artful decorative screen help subtly separate it from the flow of household traffic.
An island or work table might please new owners, but the Larsons reveled in the luxury of lots of moving-around space in this clean-lined and updated kitchen.
Small enough for intimate suppers, large enough for holiday events, the sunny dining room feels like outdoors with its easy backyard access down twin steps and a built-in gas barbecue.
One of the home’s four fireplaces warms this big basement’s media center. Some décor is new, but the checkered linoleum floor is circa 1946.

By Susan Lagsdin

Photos by Travis Knoop

 “These are a few of my favorite things…” 

Shaunna Larson’s favorites list as she walks through the many rooms is a long one, and she’s determined to incorporate the best of the Springwater Street house into the new one she and her husband Jake will soon build out of the city. 

They’ve loved this older home — now they’re listing it.

Among the must-haves as they move on are features most other homeowners would value: natural light, lots of storage, open indoor plan, usable outdoor spaces. Toss in a working fireplace, wood floors, gas range, big pantry and you’ve described 2019’s new-builds.

Here’s the kicker: This home was built in 1946. It’s 73 years old. Shaunna and Jake (only the second owners) have enjoyed it for a dozen years, and most revisions by them or the Lambsons — the original builders and owners — have been purely cosmetic. Their “post-war modern” house in many ways is refreshingly contemporary, with some individualized vintage twists. 

North and east light spills in from floor-to-ceiling windows, but a strategic street-side one is a distinctively curved glass block wall. The master bedroom’s square walk-in closet is big — and lined in cedar. The walk from the front door through to the dining area to the back yard skirts a sunken living area with the first of the home’s four fireplaces. Two patios and a pergola edge the quarter-acre fenced lawn; mature landscaping softens the edges.  

Now it gets interesting: A tall L-shaped open wood screen of leaves on branches, carved by Walter Graham, helps delineate the living area (Close call. Shaunna said, “We were going to paint it white, but then we thought… nah.”) 

A waist-high barbecue pit fits comfortably into the luxuriously large dining area, itself a counterpoint to the more intimate breakfast nook, circular with diamond-paned windows. The completely resurfaced kitchen is untypically large, with room enough for, but no need for, a central island, and its walk-in pantry glows from an original stained-glass window.

Not just one but two staircases lead to the lower level with its media/recreation area (with pool table space befitting a community center) adjoining two carpeted guest bedrooms and a bathroom.  

Nearby is a luxurious full-size steam sauna with tiered wooden benches. The laundry room, large and modern, still sports a 1940’s pull-out ceiling-height drying rack that Shaunna happily demonstrated. 

The two levels of 1,800-plus square feet each have allowed the couple room for themselves, three dogs, and lots of company. 

Outside, the flat roof, deep eaves, structural curves and wrought iron fencing (“Kind of Frank Lloyd Wright-ish” we agreed) give the house iconic visual flair, and the solid limestone and brick siding give it security and silence. 

The decorative front fence has an almost unnoticeable abstract flourish in the center that’s actually a capital L. “Lambson, Larson — we liked the idea when we figured it out,” said Shaunna.  

“When we moved in, the whole place was totally immaculate, with lots of original fixtures — the Lambsons took really good care of it for years,” Shaunna said. Some of the changes made in the 1970 and 1990s needed an update, and the Larson’s choices during their stewardship of the house were congruent with the original design.

Green shag carpet became bird’s eye maple flooring and square desert-toned tiles. Pale creamy paint covered the original dark grained wood paneling. “We kept the basement linoleum just for the rec-room look,” said Shaunna, who said the grandkids of the first owners have described how much fun it was to play in the house.

Kitchen changes included quartz counters, a chef’s gas range and mid-century-look tiles. Shaunna said of the ceiling’s single large disc light, “We knew the current fad was lots of drop-down pendants, but this was such a simple solution, and it really fit the period.”  

The two-car garage, Shaunna thinks, was original; then the owners added a 16-by-35 foot shop, deep enough for two more cars, tall enough for boat or RV storage. The Larsons use its space for storage and for Jake’s workshop.  

Shaunna grew up in this neighborhood and clearly remembers passing, and admiring, the house on the way to Lewis and Clark Elementary. As an adult working as a real estate agent, she was able to spring into action when it first came on the market in 2006. “I couldn’t believe it was really available — I’ve always loved the look of it.” 

Now, she’s not only its proud owner but its listing agent (through Laura Mounter Real Estate) and she’s shown it to several interested buyers this season. “I feel so connected that it’s kind of hard listening to people analyze it,” Shaunna admitted, “so sometimes I let them look inside by themselves on this one.” 

Jake’s local roots are near Monitor, and their house-in-waiting will be built on property his family has owned. 

That’s OK with Shaunna; she’s eager to help design and build their next place. But she does have her list of favorite things, so perhaps the ambience and sensibility of the new Larson home will sometimes remind them of the best of times on Springwater Street.

Travis Knoop is a local real estate photographer working in Central Washington. More of his work can be found at 

www.TravisKnoopPhotography.com.

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  1. Eric West says:

    Nice oval coffee table in front of the brown couch!! Where can I get one of those?

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