Jun. 14 2023

How To Upgrade your Seattle Home Without Taking Away it's Natural Character

by Bennett Bottorff

When it comes to upgrading your home, preserving its natural character is essential to maintaining its unique charm and personality. Whether you live in a classic craftsman, a cozy Tudor, or an elegant Mid-Century Modern abode, staying true to your Seattle home's style is crucial. In this blog post, we'll explore practical tips for enhancing your home without sacrificing its inherent character. By understanding your home's personality, focusing on the areas you love, assessing the flooring, adding on with caution, and embracing its quirks, you can create a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity that celebrates your home's natural beauty.

Stay True to the Style


Before embarking on any updates, take the time to understand your home's architectural style. In Northeast Seattle, whether it’s Craftsman, Tudor Revival, Mid-Century Modern, and Northwest Modern each style carries its own unique characteristics. Familiarize yourself with the key elements and features that define your home's style. This knowledge will guide your remodeling decisions and ensure that any changes you make remain faithful to the original design. To help you get started, here is a brief description of the five common Seattle Northeast architectural styles.

Seattle, known for its diverse architectural landscape, features a range of architectural styles that have evolved over time. Here are some common architectural styles you can find in Seattle:

  • Craftsman: Craftsman-style houses are prevalent in Seattle, reflecting the city's early 20th-century architectural heritage. These homes emphasize craftsmanship, natural materials, and a harmonious integration with the surrounding environment. Craftsman houses often feature low-pitched roofs, overhanging eaves, exposed rafters, and front porches.

  • Tudor Revival: Popular in the 1920s and 1930s, Tudor Revival architecture is characterized by its medieval European-inspired design elements. In Seattle, you can find Tudor-style homes with steeply pitched roofs, half-timbering, decorative brickwork, and tall, narrow windows. 
  • Mid-Century Modern: Reflecting the post-World War II era, mid-century modern architecture became popular in Seattle. This style emphasizes clean lines, simplicity, and integration with nature. Many mid-century modern homes in Seattle feature large windows, open floor plans, flat or low-pitched roofs, and an emphasis on indoor-outdoor living. 
  • Northwest Modern: Also referred to as Northwest Contemporary or Pacific Northwest Modern, this architectural style takes inspiration from the region's natural beauty and blends it with modern design principles. These homes feature large windows to capture views, exposed wood, open floor plans, and integration with the surrounding landscape.

Pro Tip

 Visit Dunn Lumber’s website to see the unique millwork & moulding specific to your home’s style.


Enhance the Parts You Love!

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Every home has its standout features that caught your eye when you first walked through the door. It could be the intricate crown molding, a beautiful fireplace, or the stunning bay windows. These are the areas where you should focus your efforts. Instead of completely changing them, aim to restore and update them, enhancing their original beauty. Consider refinishing the woodwork, adding a fresh coat of paint, or upgrading the lighting fixtures to bring out their full potential while retaining their authentic character.

Assess the Flooring


Flooring serves as the foundation of your home's style, and outdated floors can undermine its overall aesthetic. If you live in an older home, inspect the flooring carefully. Original hardwood floors may be hidden beneath layers of carpet or linoleum. Uncovering and restoring these floors can instantly elevate the authenticity and value of your home. However, if the original floors are beyond repair, choose materials that closely resemble the original style while offering the durability and functionality required for modern living. Working with an established hardwood flooring company to assist you with this task would be the way to go. Make sure to ask for before and after pictures of projects with homes similar to yours.

Add on with Caution!


When considering additions to your home, be mindful of how they will impact its natural character. Poorly executed additions can disrupt the flow of your home's design and clash with its original style both on the exterior and interior. Consult with a professional designer or architect who specializes in blending old and new seamlessly. They can help you expand your living space while respecting the architectural integrity of your home, ensuring that the addition harmonizes with the existing structure. With every Kitchen remodel we complete, we also recommend that the clients update all the millwork and interior doors at least on that floor to create a cohesive look with minor additional cost.

Embrace the Quirks


The idiosyncrasies of an older home often contribute to its character or what we like to call the “Remodeling Charm”. Uneven floorboards, quirky layouts, or a slightly crooked staircase are all part of its unique character. Instead of trying to eliminate these distinctive features, embrace them. Highlight their individuality by incorporating design elements that complement their quirkiness. For instance, choose furniture or artwork that accentuates the irregularities or use creative lighting to draw attention to these captivating details.


Upgrading your home while preserving its natural character requires a delicate balance between preservation and enhancement. By staying true to your home's style, enhancing the features you love, carefully assessing the flooring, approaching additions with caution, and embracing the quirks, you can create a harmonious blend of old and new. With thoughtful planning and attention to detail, your remodeled home will retain its unique ‘Remodeling Charm”, showcasing the best of both its original character and your personal style.

If you're considering a remodel but unsure of where to begin, allow our team of expert interior designers to guide you through the process. With a keen focus on your home's unique architectural style, we'll help create a space that seamlessly blends modern functionality with enduring charm. Reach out to us for a complimentary introductory call and let's embark on this transformative journey together.

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