All those historic touches might be set in stone, but still there were plenty of opportunities for beautiful creativity.
ONE OF MONTLAKE’S original developers, Spanish-American War Capt. John E. Boyer, commissioned himself one magnificently distinctive home to set the tone for his nascent neighborhood. Designed by architect E.W. Sankey and built in 1908, the visionary venture, heavy on local stone, tended toward “lodge” before “lodge” was a trend.
For her part, so the story goes, Mrs. John E. Boyer commissioned herself to supervise the placing of every single one of those heavy local stones.
Eric and Susan, who bought the enduringly impressive Boyer Lambert House in 1999, were considerably less hands-on during its latest transformation.
“We moved from the Bay Area and knew we wanted an older house with good bones,” Susan says. “I’m a big fan of old buildings and protecting them.”
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She’s not alone. The Boyer Lambert House became a legitimate Seattle Landmark in 1983.
“This house is an incredible piece of history,” says architect and project manager Kit Kollmeyer, who worked with the team at Robert Edson Swain Architecture + Design. “The challenges with working with a Landmark — energy-efficiency, sound transmission — it’s a fine balance.”
Over the past 12 years, Kollmeyer says, the firm has completed several modernizing renovations here. Some were a breeze, or at least as breezy as a home project gets: The backyard guesthouse, built in 1960, posed no restrictions at all. Same with the kitchen and landscape.
But try changing history, and … well. There’s a reason “Hot Tub Time Machine” resonated so profoundly.
Even an earlier “little renovation” of the Landmark-protected garage (converting it to a workout space) took “multiple hearings for a little bump-out,” Susan says.
This time, more work led to bigger challenges….