Photographs by John Granen
Written by Amy Elbert
Produced by Linda Humphrey
Sun Chaney’s friends laugh when she describes her 6,000-square-foot Seattle home as cozy. “They say this isn’t cozy! But that’s how it feels to me,” she happily insists. “No matter where you are in the house, it feels very open and inviting.”
Whatever your definition of cozy, Sun and Jeff Chaney’s new Dutch Colonial home on Lake Washington in the Yarrow Point neighborhood does exude a comfortable charm that combines the best of seemingly opposite traits. It’s spacious and cozy; serene and kid-friendly; light-flooded and enveloping.
It all happened because of Sun and Jeff’s efforts, of course, but also thanks to the expertise of (and now friendships with) Seattle architect Paul Moon and interior designer Susan Marinello.
“This is one of my favorite projects,” says Marinello. “The first time I met Sun, she was pregnant, and she walked into my office wearing this body-hugging sundress. A beautiful energy just flowed out of her.”
The two women—both mothers, each fashion-conscious (Marinello is a former model), and equally drawn to sophisticated, clean environments—immediately connected. When Sun told Marinello she loved the Hamptons house depicted in the Diane Keaton movie Something’s Gotta Give, the designer could see the big picture. “That’s all it takes—some reference like that—and we understand the language a client is speaking,” Marinello says.
The two-story, L-shaped house was framed by the time Marinello jumped in on the project. Architect Moon, already onboard with the Something’s Gotta Give vision, designed a shingle-style Dutch Colonial with sloping roof lines and walls of French doors that opened the house to the outdoors.
Seattle’s sky and water inspired Marinello’s neutral interior palette, with walls painted in oyster, flax, and sandy beige. “This home, with its expansive windows and doors, is open to the exteriors. It is very much about the garden and water views,” Marinello says. “We went with a serene palette so the interiors play a complementary and supporting role to what’s going on outside.”
Marinello grounded the light palette with dark-stained oak floors, which stand up to the traffic of the Chaneys’ two boys, Jacoband Luke, and the family’s miniature rat terrier, Jack. The floors do require regular sweeping, Sun says, but nothing more.
Accessories and artwork add occasional blasts of color, but even fabrics lean to the oatmeal and chocolate hues. “I love color in other people’s houses, but I didn’t know if I could live with that,” Sun explains. “I want my home to be a sanctuary, so that’s why we went with this serene palette.”
Sun’s first two purchases for the house were the round Dessin Fournir dining table and the Dennis & Leen chandelier that hangs above it. Splurges, she admits, but well worth it. “We use the dining room a lot because it’s not separated from the rest of the house,” she says. Making the room even more spectacular are French doors that open to a terrace and views of the lake.
The dining room became the launching pad for the whole-house design, in large part because of its central location, Marinello explains. The room is nestled between the living room on one side and the family room and kitchen area on the other. “We started in the dining room, which is very graphic, with the dark floor and table and the white chairs and white drapery panels,” says the designer. “It’s all about the chandelier and that gorgeous table.”
The mood turns warmer in the family and living rooms, where Marinello layered textures, subtle color shifts, and lighting fixtures like sconces and table lamps. Soft seating pieces are upholstered in easy-care, indoor-outdoor fabrics that even two young boys and a dog can’t stain. Furniture lines are simple and gently rounded. “Sun didn’t want fussy,” Marinello says. “Everything is clean, with a nod to the modern. Classically modern.”
Marinello and Moon worked hand-in-hand to add architectural details throughout the house—elements like a built-in buffet in the dining room and shelves and cabinets flanking the living room fireplace. “I think of new construction as more of a renovation. That means thinking about what would have been there if we were renovating an older home,” says Marinello. “It’s asking how we can build in some history so the house doesn’t feel so new.”
Moon designed Shaker-style kitchen cabinets with old-fashioned butt hinges and oil-rubbed bronze latches. Seeded-glass pendants hang above the island, and ceiling fixtures are surface-mounted with glass shades to look appropriate for an early-20th-century house.
On the exterior, Moon focused on finding authentic and high-quality building materials such as specially treated shingles that weather evenly and look aged from day one. A gambrel roof with feminine curves gives the house a Hamptons style and also maximizes living space under the roof line. That was an issue because
ordinances protecting neighboring property owners’ views of the lake restricted the roof height to 25 feet. Moon finished the roof with siding shingles, which—being thinner and smaller than roof shakes—were better suited for following the graceful curves of the roof.
Inside, Moon paneled walls, installed wainscoting and partial- height walls to define rooms, added a graceful, flared staircase, and coffered the 10-foot ceilings to give them an intimate sensibility.
“Those partial walls allow us to define each space without closing rooms off from the rest of the house,” Moon says, “and they allow light to travel through the house to different spaces. That makes it feel comfortable.”
Marinello agrees that these details contribute to the intimacy of this spacious home. “It’s texture, and it’s lighting,” she says. “On sunny days, the rooms are filled with glowing sunshine, and on a winter day, lamps provide soft ambient lighting. I love the dichotomy of a cool palette with warm lighting. It embraces you.”
There’s that cozy feeling again.
Architect: Paul Moon, Paul Moon Design, 4616 25th Ave. N.E., Suite 177, Seattle, WA 98105; 206/985-9420, paulmoondesign.com.
Interior designer: Susan Marinello, Susan Marinello Interiors, 119 S. Main St., Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98104; 206/344-5551,
Table (“Sutcliffe Dining Table”): Dessin Fournir, 785/434-2777, dessinfournir.com.
Chairs (discontinued): Restoration Hardware, 800/910-9836, restorationhardware.com.
Chandelier (“Primitive Chandelier”/Medium): Dennis & Leen, 310/652-0855, dennisandleen.com.
Drapery (linen scrim/Oyster): Carol’s Roman Shades, 800/422-1210, carolsromanshades.com.
Cabinetry hardware: Rejuvenation, 888/401-1900, rejuvenation.com.
Art (by Tracy Rocca): Tracy Rocca, 415/519-5462, tracyrocca.com.
Bowl on cabinet (“China Bowl #PH036, -discontinued): Baker Furniture, 800/592-2537, bakerfurniture.com.