A Bellevue family transforms a 1954 home while leaving its street face intact

Your Place: Two major remodeling projects add light, space and functionality inside, but the midcentury-modern exterior still fits in with the neighborhood.

FROM HER SUNNY front yard, Ellen Weiss points out two houses that look an awfully lot like hers — classic split-level, midcentury modern — and they are just the tip of the seriously sloped design iceberg.

“This house was replicated numerous times on this block and one street up,” she says. “Now a lot of people are adding on.”

Ellen and her husband, David Weiss, already have — twice, in fact, since they moved to Robinswood in 2006. Over the years, through two major projects designed and driven by Ellen, the Weisses’ home grew from 1,700 to 2,700 square feet, adding a whole lot of modern function, flow and flair in the process.


If you’d like us to consider your inspirational, instructional or just plain enjoyable DIY home project, please submit a brief project summary, along with photos, to sdunham@seattletimes.com. Maybe we’ll come visit your place, for Your Place.

Thing is: It still looks exactly the same from the sunny front yard.

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“Nothing on the front face of the house changed,” Ellen says. “We wanted to make sure that the final product fit into the surrounding neighborhood, which is largely made up of modest midcentury ramblers.”

After moving from another Bellevue neighborhood, which “wasn’t a neighborhood,” Ellen says, the whole family really loves this one: It’s close to a couple of interstates, with great schools; the nearby Lake Hills Greenbelt and Bellevue Demonstration Garden; and bicycle-friendly streets for Jacob, now in sixth grade, and Hannah, in fourth. (Weiss kitties Theo and Ruby wisely steer clear of the local coyotes.)

Ellen has a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Washington, where she also studied…

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