Pacific Northwest

Of Earth and Water and Sky

The Seattle Times Sunday Magazine

May 8, 2011

Seattle’s Garret Cord Werner gives condo its own glow. The one-bedroom 2,700-square-foot home in Belltown has an organic peacefulness about it.
By Rebecca Teagarden
How shall we begin? With the ice-slab of a kitchen-bar counter, lit from below, that looks like it was cut from a glacier? Or the bathroom, ethereal as gauze, that surely must be just like the one they use in up heaven? No, we must begin with the red-leather floor. Red. Leather. Floor Any surface that causes one (on a professional visit no less!) to fall to one’s knees for closer inspection wins. In one of a number of gutsy moves in this Belltown condominium, interior designer Garret Cord Werner has dressed the hallway of the master wing in red-leather tiles. And the owner assures me that it’s easy to care for. Even easier than the big blue limestone tiles at the home’s entrance or the rosewood floors in the living spaces. We didn’t even have to take off our shoes. “We love the open space and how warm and comfortable it is,” says homeowner Ted. “I always said I didn’t want it to look like an executive lounge.” Taken as a whole, the one-bedroom 2,700-square-foot home completed in 2007 has an organic peacefulness about it. Sky and water, appropriate because the couple has a front-seat view of Puget Sound. Although the key word here is beige (or camel or mushroom or whatever you like to call it) there are just the right smidges of brown, green, yellow, blue and red in a subtle blend of rich texture. Earth. And these elements balance Werner’s contemporary spatial geometry, carried out by Shoreview Construction in Shoreline. The fact that both Ted and his wife appreciate their fine home is something of a wonder, and explains the importance of selecting the right interior designer (who in this case also designed and manufactured most of the furniture). “The Republican and the liberal,” is how Mrs. Ted describes their marriage. She, perfectly happy in the city, walking to work, restaurants. He’s a country guy; wide open spaces, lawn, garden. “I didn’t know if I was going to be excited about a condo, but now I really enjoy it,” Ted says. “The light here changes every few minutes.” Cue the fog, which chooses this moment to lift, revealing a ferry off to Bainbridge Island. “We definitely have our own ideas,” he says. “We’re opinionated, and we really care,” she says. “But Garret is amazing. The first table he designed I felt was too masculine. Then I thought it might be OK. But he said, ‘No, no.’ And he worked it out. No matter what our differences were Garret would say, ‘That’s not a problem,’ and he would come back and it would be all worked out.” Now that elegant ebony round dining table with the walnut chairs is the perfect spot for the entire family to gather when the couple’s four grown kids and their families come to visit.
Rebecca Teagarden writes about architecture and design for Pacific Northwest magazine. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.