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Leavenworth mountain house had a home team advantage

By on October 25, 2020 in Featured Homes with 0 Comments
Sited respectfully away from neighboring properties, this house takes advantage of views from its steep slope. Rock, natural wood and nature-toned paint color help it reflect its surroundings. Photo by Mike Irwin

Story by Susan Lagsdin

Photos by Travis Knoop

Just a few miles off the Chumstick Highway northeast of Leavenworth, this one-year-old Northwest Mountain style beauty directly faces the peaks and folds of Cascade foothills. 

Backed by timber but open to those views, the steep, 1.15-acre lot in an area of other large, well-situated houses fulfilled the need of owners James and Rebecca Grandin for sunlight and privacy. 

They hired Tacoma architect Jill Sousa and then contracted with local Carlisle Classic Homes to create a place to enjoy family vacations now with their young daughters, share with others, and possibly live in after their retirement.

The full length deck is a natural for good-weather meals or hunkering down to enjoy rain and snowfall. The green paint was chosen to blend with growth on the site’s timbered hillsides.

Project Manager Chris Groby took on the building task a year after he’d been asked by his employer, Carlisle, to open this satellite branch of their Seattle-area company. 

He’d vacationed often in Leavenworth from the west side and was edging toward moving here, so the position was a win-win for both parties. 

The Grobys bought a home in town, his wife Emily found work at Sleeping Lady, their sons made an easy school transition, and Chris’s job stayed intact and expanded.

Sky blue island cabinetry adds personality to the sleek, chic contemporary kitchen. Family and guests can easily prepare meals in this uncluttered and very scenic environment.

Chris said, “I spent almost my first year here interviewing sub-contractors, learning who’s who in the business.” There’s a finite pool of good tradespeople in the region, most of whom work for various contractors, and he said the personal contacts served him well. “When we started this house, I didn’t have to suddenly look around for electricians, plumbers and framers…”

East Wenatchee builders A&G Brothers broke ground and started foundation work on the 4,000-square-foot structure in the fall of 2018. 

Because he’d learned his trade on the west side, Chris added a special “footing drain” at the 10-foot-tall, bermed back wall of the house. “It seems like a dry climate,” he said, “but it’s really wet up here in the spring and I wanted to make sure all that snowmelt drained far away from the basement.”

Project manager Chris Groby, framing the mountain view, said working on this home was a pleasure, and that key people placed a lot of trust in each others’ judgement. Photo by Mike Irwin

Another structural need was one that James wisely caught before the next year’s move-in. The north-facing driveway, not long but surprisingly steep, froze hazardously in the first winter; the solution was including heating coils under the asphalt and on drains to prevent ice buildup and deflect resulting runoff far to the side.

The rest of the project, Chris said, went really smoothly. Smoothness is the essence of his job, and he loves it. 

“It’s really good to have 12-18 months working with a family, learning their likes and dislikes, feeling like a part of their lives,” he said. 

Currently he’s fine-tuning four other area new builds, one just up the road, their progress expediently staggered from just-started to wrapping-up. 

Some exceptional features he likes in this house are the great room’s 10-inch by 10-inch laminated fir beams with a slight bow in the center, serving roof-support function and giving the lodge look the owners wanted. 

At first skeptical of the plan for industrial-look gray cement floors in the basement living area, Chris now notes how attractive and easy-care they are. He’s also pleased with the full-size windows and exterior doors as well as the well-matched rockwork inside and out, both designs that open the refined interior to its mountain surroundings. 

The Grandins depended on Diana Hoyt with Deep Water Home & Electronics, a Chelan interior design firm, to make choices on everything from furnishings to paint and art, fixtures and flooring. Though she ordinarily meets with new owners regularly, in this case conflicting schedules meant they did all their work by phone and email, with Chris often acting as intermediary. The results are a combination of refined city chic and warm country lodge.

Dark-grained “Lifeproof” floors — resistant to wear and easy to maintain, are a wood look alternative. Warm white and deep chocolate wall and trim colors soften the height of the main room. Custom-painted cabinets in blue tones add a pop of personality to the white kitchen and gray toned bathrooms. 

The home’s multiple levels give the family and their guests several options. 

A large master suite on the entrance floor offers convenience; another bed-bath combo up in the loft level offers views. 

On the lowest level two bedrooms with baths flank a media room plus a wall of built-in bunks for kids (designed by the owner), and there’s easy access to the patio area and a hot tub. 

A wine cellar, mechanical room, mudroom, laundry room and storage all find a convenient place in the three-floor home. One fun feature is a vividly painted kids getaway cubby with Dutch door that’s tucked under the lower staircase.

The Grandins enjoy their new house now, with 2020’s more mobile school and work possibilities allowing them all to occupy it a generous few weeks on and a few weeks off. 

The dreams and the drawings started in May 2018 and took a good team just over a year to build. 

Whether it remains a multigenerational vacation getaway or serves as their future fulltime home, the house set solidly into its rocky hillside is bound to be there quite a while, ready and waiting for them. 

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