Small Scale, Big Impact
By Stacee Sledge
Whatcom Magazine, Spring 2006
Homeowners prove less
in this age of ever-increasing square footage, many
Whatcom County residents choose to embrace less space.
folks like the simplicity of smaller homes. Others crave
the character that grows with time in older houses,
happily trading walk-in closets for original wood
homeowners have found you can pack a lot of design punch
into a small footprint and still live large.
“You can’t miss it,” says Jeff Wicklund, describing
his and wife Edalyn’s south Bellingham home. “It sticks
out like a sore thumb.”
Perhaps less a sore thumb than a tall, narrow structure
seemingly suspended amid the surrounding trees. “We call
it our hot-rod tree house,” Jeff says.
couple purchased the newly built structure last fall as
a second home. They signed papers the same day they
finalized the lease for their Fairhaven wine shop,
Purple Smile Wines.
runs the shop, while Ed, as she’s nicknamed, works in a
dental office in Everett, where daughter Haley is a
senior in high school.
couple began spending time in Bellingham last summer,
visiting son Brandon, who attends Whatcom Community
College. During one trip, they took in an open house on
love looking at open houses,” admits Ed. “We saw this
one and said, ‘Look at that skinny, weird house. We’ve
got to see that!’”
long, they were the owners of an unusual
1,500-square-foot home designed by Mark Costello of
three-story home starts with a single-car garage, which
opens onto an area suitable for a tiny office or den.
main entry is on the middle level. “You start slowly
climbing up to that second floor area from outside,”
says Costello. “You don’t feel like you’re climbing up a
big flight of stairs to get to the entry.”
original plan called for two bedrooms and baths on the
top floor. “But the view on the third floor is just
awesome,” he says. So the open living, dining and
kitchen area was swapped with the sleeping spaces.
the stairs to the living area and you’re greeted by a
whimsical mural painted by Haley. The wine-themed work —
heavy on the purples — will one day adorn bottles of the
couple’s planned private label.
small office space is tucked efficiently into this
niche, and beyond the colorful wall is the open living
dining and kitchen area.
mere 15 feet wide, this long space could seem closed in.
“But it doesn’t feel like 15 feet at all, because of the
high ceilings, roof lines and big windows,” says Ed.
High-end finishes — bamboo floors, slate tile, granite
countertops — lend an air of luxury, equaled by striking
furnishings and accent pieces.
kitchen is what sold me,” admits Ed.
abundance of custom cabinets in flush cherry lend
elegance understated enough to not compete with the
views. Stainless appliances give a gourmet touch, and an
additional bar and pantry area offers even more storage.
bigger and more user-friendly than our kitchen in
Everett,” says Jeff. “A smaller house, but nicer
plays an enormous part in the airy and spacious feel of
the home. Enormous picture windows open up the front of
the home to water views, while small panes along the
backside give glimpses of moss-covered tree branches in
the back yard. “Everywhere you turn,” says Jeff,
couple has ideas for possible additions to the home,
including a rooftop deck accessed by a spiral staircase,
and a cozy reading loft above the third-floor bath room.
“This house will be fun to play with for a long time,”
says Jeff. “It has so much character.”
knew when we were building it that it was a little
different than most spec houses out there,” says Mark.
“Jeff and Ed were obviously the perfect couple to find
the place; they’re taking the concept to the next
Family history alongside deft decorative touches and
masculine furnishings fills the small Eldridge
neighborhood house owned by Mike Dujmovich.
slightly over 900 square feet, the snug three-bedroom
home was built in 1910. Mike’s great-grandparents,
Michael and Beatrice Dujmovich, were earlier owners.
Passed down over the years, it has been home to Mike for
nearly a decade.
original elements remain throughout the home, from
moldings to base boards. But after living too long with
a design quirk that placed the entry to the lone
bathroom in the kitchen, putting commode and sink too
close for comfort, Dujmovich, a manager at a local
company, decided to remodel.
“Function-wise, it just didn’t work,” he says.
structural alterations made a huge impact. “We didn’t
add anything to it in terms of space,” says Del
Jacobson, president and owner of Advent Construction,
who worked on the project with the design team at 23rd
Street Interiors. “We just reconfigured what was there.”
to the bathroom was re-routed through the only bedroom
with a closet. Dujmovich now uses this as a dressing
area and overflow storage for dining room chairs and
other furnishings. But even this space is thoughtfully
decorated and pleasing to the eye.
kitchen’s entrance was widened and made taller, and a
pass-through was created into the dining room. “By
opening up that wall and eliminating cabinets that used
to be there, it makes the kitchen feel much bigger than
it is,” says Jacobson. “It’s really only about 165
maple custom cabinets are topped with black moldings,
complementing black granite tile countertops. In
contrast to the cabinets, a slab of lighter, mottled
granite tops a large wine cabinet painted black with
distressed areas of red peeking through, picked up by a
red accent wall.
the remodel, Dujmovich had no washer, dryer or a
dishwasher. Now stainless steel appliances sparkle
against the dark backdrop of the cabinets and counters.
A sleek stacked washer and dryer tuck into one corner
with an almond finish that matches the tile backsplash.
café-height table in the same tones as the cabinets
anchors this end of the kitchen, offering comfortable
breakfast seating and a bit of camouflage to the laundry
new kitchen is quite contemporary in contrast to the
rest of the house, yet fits in seamlessly with
Dujmovich’s overall design style.
full of oversized, dark furniture pieces set off against
backdrops of rich wall color, the home feels cozy, not
people are afraid to put rich, dark colors in a house
that small,” says Ginny Rutherford, owner of 23rd Street
Interiors. “But we had five different shades in there
and they look fabulous. Paint adds so much drama. And
it’s a really cheap form of decorating that has a big
Jacobson and Rutherford both welcomed the chance to
re-work Dujmovich’s tiny place. “We loved the challenge
of taking this tiny space and making it fabulous,” says
Jacobson: “It proves you don’t need a huge house to live
Stacee Sledge is a Bellingham
| Resume |
Clients & Projects |