When Susan and husband Dan (also a former model and now a partner in her design business) renovated their Mercer Island home, their story was "all about family." Parents of two youngsters—Daniel, now 13, and Ali, 9—the Marinellos bought a 1940s house on a large private lot in their existing neighborhood, an island community just minutes from Seattle. "We bought this house because of the wonderful lot: There’s a view, privacy, and potential for beautiful gardens."
Although the house had 5,600 square feet of living space, including a main level and a walk-out basement, it felt crowded and dark, Susan says. "The existing floor plan was tight, and there were areas where people would bottleneck when we entertained. We wanted to create a very open entry and have the primary circulation pattern be wide, gallery-like, and comfortable."
Maximizing natural light was a key issue. "Light was the No. 1 requirement," Susan says. "It’s a perpetual overcast gray light here, but we do get a beautiful quality of light."