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A family’s 2020 vision

By on December 22, 2019 in Featured Homes with 0 Comments
With its bayed windows and stately posture, this traditional brick house on Fancher Heights presents a formal face to the neighborhood, and its position at the edge of the hill gives it wide and stunning views of Wenatchee and the Columbia River.

Clearly it’s a good year for change

By Susan Lagsdin

Photos by Mike Irwin and Shannon Lone

Four years ago, beginning to feel cramped in their East Wenatchee condo, Greg and Shannon Lone and their young daughter Hali searched for a larger family home. 

They looked all over the valley balancing square footage, budget, acreage and ambience, until close friends on Fancher Heights suggested a place across the street from them. Built in 1993 on an almost three-quarter acre lot, it had all the features they’d dreamed of.

The Lones were immediately impressed by the generous width of traditional red brick, formal but not unfriendly, of the Federalist-style house. 

Then they stepped inside and saw mountains looming beyond the foothills from Malaga to the Enchantments and the curving silver expanse of the Columbia River.

The formal dining room, framed by an archway from the entrance hall, is pictured from the second story loft. It’s been the setting for family celebrations and holiday dinners. 

When the family met that big, elegant house, it was love at first sight. That was 2016. 

Now, it’s time to move on from the relationship, with resolve and a little regret. The house stayed the same. What changed?

From the outset, their local business, Paramount Financial Advisors, kept Greg busy most days, and in the new house Shannon had unaccustomed time and space to indulge in her homemaker-mother dream. She relished caring for the all-white kitchen, sleek expanses of shiny wood flooring and established landscaping.

Two big family rooms open to mountain and river views: this sitting area with the fireplace and another that’s been outfitted with game tables that enliven the family’s informal entertaining.

Even for a small family, the 4,134 square foot home seemed at the time like a good choice. The couple appreciated the huge master suite on the main floor, the upstairs Jack ’n’ Jill bedrooms and bath for their young daughter, the guest quarters across the open loft area.

Entertaining their friends was easy, with two big living areas accessing a sunny deck and plenty of room for casual or (less often) formal dining. 

With room, and rooms, to spread out in, the family enjoyed claiming spaces: daughter Hali and Greg did their combined school/business work in their shared office, there was a place to garage a boat, a portable gazebo on the deck for shade. Shannon brought in a full-size upholstered chaise lounge for the master suite, closets filled to fit.

Greg and Shannon Lone and their daughter Hali have enjoyed their years in this luxurious Fancher Heights house with its easily adaptable rooms and wide-open western views. 

Few changes were needed. 

One exception was the deeply coved dining room ceiling, which originally had a busy bucolic scene painted on it; they repainted it a handsome solid copper color. 

They dedicated the center of the cathedral-ceilinged living area to a pool table, and in lieu of a new chandelier to light it, Greg rigged industrial work lamps to shine down from the upper loft. 

A 140-square-foot playhouse on the back lawn was a delight for Hali and her friends, and a full-length, drive-in basement accessed at the lower level offered storage for yard gear, sports gear and other big items.

The Lones didn’t mind the steep road in the winter. The school bus navigates it easily, and, “I’ve never had any trouble on the iciest day getting up and down — they do a great job on these roads,” said Greg. 

Just off the kitchen, with its white cabinetry and spacious prep counters, the sunny street side nook features a bay window and makes a cozy spot for regular family meals.

The neighbors keep in contact on Facebook and are conscientious about maintaining covenants, and the broad sidewalked streets are quiet and safe for Grand Avenue’s young children.

The luxury features in the home’s floor plan were a treat for the family. Two glass block surrounds, one for the shower and one for the toilet, two sinks and two closets offer copious space in the master suite, which also has a sitting area with fireplace and deck access. Hali has a two-room suite with an interconnecting bath; she uses one bedroom as a playroom and one for her sleeping room.

After a year and a half, the house was just what they’d first wanted, with its peaceful neighborhood, graceful exterior, nicely appointed rooms, distant vistas — but the dynamics changed. 

Time grew precious. Greg joined a pair of enterprising friends, fellow deep-sea divers, in starting Hard Hat Winery (its name an allusion to iconic metal diving helmets), and he and Shannon were suddenly immersed in the business of making and selling wine. 

The Lones were at first skeptical about the master bathroom carpeting but soon appreciated its softness. The rest of the well-planned accoutrements they liked immediately. 

Hard Hat buys grapes from the Columbia Valley region, processes and bottles the wine in Poulsbo, and sells it not only on-line but from a tasting room on Wenatchee’s Fifth Street. Greg works both his financial office and the widespread wine business, and Shannon’s job is now planning wine-related events and handling the winery’s marketing and social media.

“We knew nothing when we started the business,” Greg said. “Except how to drink wine.” 

They learned fast; the friend-founded venture won acclaim (an early Sauvignon Blanc won a Sunset magazine International award) but as the business grew, by about a year ago their beautiful house became too much to handle. 

Caring for the long halls and many rooms, including five bathrooms, the white cabinetry and ornate trim work, even the mature but attention-seeking yard, became work, not a pleasure. 

It’s time for a change. “Downsizing” is not just an empty-nester phenomenon — this young, active family now needs less space and less yard. They want to simplify their daily life. 

“It’s just too big for us right now,” Shannon explained. “All this crown molding, all these floors…” 

“If we had ‘staff,’” said Greg, “or even brought in people to do the yard, the cleaning, we could keep up with it, make it look the way it should. Right now, for us, it’s just too much of everything.”

So, they’ve decided to sell their home. Prospective buyers have appreciated just what caught their attention three years ago; Shannon hopes for another family to grow up in the house. “I’d love to see new owners’ kids running up and down the stairs,” she said, “and exploring the yard.”

The next big step for Greg and Shannon will be finding a good home for the three of them that’s more suited to their casual and often hectic current lifestyle. “I’d like to be out in the middle of 1,500 acres,” Greg said. “That’s just a dream — but maybe a few acres with no covenants, where we could keep some animals, that’d be nice…”

Hali and Shannon both agreed. 

The Lones feel good about the upcoming transition, confident they’ll find a home in 2020 that offers open space around them, rather than open space inside. And a view. “We really love looking out at the mountains every day,” Shannon said. “That would be really hard to give up.”

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