Point of view
By Stacee Sledge
Whatcom Magazine, August 2008

Chuckanut home capitalizes on spectacular bayside site

Mike Bradburn took a modest 1950s home on a spectacular lot along Chuckanut Drive and polished it up to equal its astounding view.

Originally a small cabin overlooking Clark's Pointand Teddy Bear Cove, the two-bedroom home underwent numerous renovations over the years. Bradburn, a 52-year-old developer currently focused on bringing a hospice house to Bellingham, bought it from a friend's grandmother in 2004. She had snagged it in the 1970s for just $15,000.

With help from interior designer Jody Biermann and designer Ingrid Bostrom, both of Biermann Design in Bellingham, plus his girlfriend Patti Monrean, Bradburn dramatically transformed every inch of the now-stunning home. 

'Carried away'
"The house was livable when I bought it, but it was pretty tired," says Bradburn. Dry rot had infiltrated the kitchen, green shag carpet stood thick enough to rake, claustrophobically low ceilings closed in throughout, and there were no anchor bolts or strapping to the foundation for seismic safety.

"It was time for a major remodel to take advantage of its wonderful setting," says Biermann. "Mike assembled his team early and details were worked out collaboratively as challenges" -- inevitable in older buildings -- "presented themselves."

After adding a smidge more square footage and all-new finishes throughout, the original living room is now the master bedroom, connected to a sumptuous spa-like bath that used to be a bedroom. The kitchen was enlarged and altered into a show-stopper, while entirely new spaces were add for an office and great room. The exterior also received a handsome facelift, with a new roof, windows and siding.

"I kind of got carried away," Bradburn says with a laugh, looking around at the completely altered abode. 

'A comfortable place'
The Bellingham businessman attended Sehome High School and Western Washington University before moving to Texas and Seattle, among other areas. "Eventually it got so that Bellingham felt more like home than Seattle," he says about his return in 1999. "I felt like I could breathe easier here." Monrean, 51, who moved in a year ago, has worked in pediatric dentistry in Bellingham for nearly 30 years. Her two children graduated from Western Washington University and now live in Seattle.

Bradburn, who developed Fairhaven's 12th Street Village (cq) and its 28 luxury condominiums, served as general contractor for his remodel. "After doing a project like (12th Street Village) you develop a pool of contacts and friends. I'd pick their brains. It escalated from there and I used almost every one of them."

"I tried to give the house an expansive feel," says Bradburn, who left a large opening between the dining room and master bedroom. "You can still look down the length of the house and see all the way to the very end."

The kitchen is his favorite room. A warm space lined with richly stained alder cabinetry and granite countertops, its centerpiece is a massive center island with a raised counter.

"My buddy Ted Mischaikov has a huge kitchen," says Bradburn. "He calls it a "15-butt" kitchen -- says you can fit 15 butts in there at any time. So I built a 20-butt kitchen. We've had people dancing on the island, it's so big."

The comfortable-meets-incredible decor is an eclectic mix of Pacific Northwest and Asian. "The combination of architecture and interiors create a state of calm in the space," says Biermann. Natural finishes, textures and a warm palette meld to form a relaxing environment.

Yet the stunning water view is always in the spotlight -- from every room in the house save one bathroom and guest bedroom.  "Of course, the view of the bay is the amazing feature of the home," says Biermann. "I like to think we created a comfortable place to view it from."

"Jody did a great job," says Monrean, whose favorite spot in the house is a reading corner in the living room. "Company comes and they never leave the couch because the view is so gorgeous. And we never get tired of it."

Stacee Sledge is a Bellingham freelance writer.

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