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MID-CENTURY MODERN DREAM, RENOVATING A CLASSIC BASSETTI DESIGN


In 1955, Fred Bassetti was a yet unknown Seattle-based Architect. He grew up in Seattle, graduating from Garfield High School. After graduation, he continued his studies at the University of Washington where he received his Bachelors of Architecture and then completed his studies at Harvard receiving a Masters in Architecture. Seattle, however, was where he chose to set up his architectural firm, Bassetti & Morse, in 1947 along with his partner John Morse.


Mr. Bassetti would go on to design such projects as: The Children’s Zoo at Woodland Park; Ridgeway Dormitories at Western Washington University; Bouillion Hall at Central Washington University; The Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in Seattle and the US Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal. However, in 1955 he and his partner were still working to create names for themselves within the Seattle community. It was at this point in his career he met Theo Caldwell, a developer with a vision to build homes on Mercer Island, a burgeoning community in Western Washington. Mr. Caldwell saw the potential for the suburbanization of Mercer Island due to its proximity to both Seattle and Bellevue, its ease of access thanks to a recently constructed floating bridge and the need for residential homes created by the baby boom. Time would prove this to be an insightful and lucrative venture. All Mr. Caldwell needed was an architect who could design the homes. He approached Mr. Bassetti and offered to pay him a mere $25.00 per plan for his Mercer Island lots. Mr. Bassetti agreed, imaging Mr. Caldwell would build hundreds of homes in the area. In reality, he only built 3 or 4, including this home, tucked in the woods on the Northern side if the island.

Original floor plans of the home designed by Fred Bassetti.
Original elevation plans of the home.

The original home was designed in the Mid-Century Pacific Northwest style Mr. Bassetti helped establish and would become known for. The style showcases clean, minimalist lines with an emphasis on bringing the outdoors in. This home with its flat planes, asymmetry, no fuss, functional design and pops of color is a classic example of this aesthetic.


The home, originally built in 1960, was in need of repairs and renovations when it was purchased by its current owners in 2010. Fortunately, the new owners loved the home for both its history and style and wanted to modernize the master bath, bedroom, closet, laundry and deck without detracting from the integrity of the original style and design.

A view of the deck prior to its renovation
The master bathroom before its reconfiguration
Original door leading to the deck before the renovations.

With his passion for both mid-century modern architecture as well as architectural history, Dave Pelletier of Pelletier+Schaar was the ideal architect for this project. His respect for and knowledge of Mid-Century Modern Architecture along with his dedication to maintaining the integrity of the home and fulfilling the client’s vision combined to create a home that embodies the essence of the intent of its original architect, Fred Bassetti, while simultaneously creating spaces for modern life. The home now features a wrap-around deck with a covered outdoor cooking area, a reconfigured and updated master bath, bedroom, closet and laundry along with a completely updated kitchen.


The updated wrap around deck has ample space for outdoor entertaining.
A view of the completed deck, showcasing the clean roof lines of the covered deck portion.
The new master bath is updated with modern amenities while simultaneously maintaining the mid-century modern aesthetic.
This modern shower has muted tones and simple lines in keeping with the home's style.
Though updated for modern living, details such as pocket doors, which were originally used to help open up spaces, are kept to maintain the integrity of the original concept.
Exterior paneling and colors were all chosen to preserve the home as an example of Mid-Century Modern architecture.
The sleek, modern furnishing perfectly compliment the design of this home.

This home is an excellent example of the iconic Mid-Century Architecture Mr. Bassetti helped establish here in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to great clients with a strong vision for their home who found the right architect that saw the value in helping to preserve its history, this home will be able to exemplify the era in which it was built for years to come.



Sources:

https://patch.com/washington/mercerisland/bp--60s-real-estate-sign-says-a-lot-about-mercer-islaf35de3a0e1

https://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/a-mercer-island-classic-is-updated-yet-true-to-its-roots/

https://mymercerisland.com/mercer-islands-legacy-of-mid-century-modern-architecture/

https://www.seattlepi.com/local/connelly/article/Fred-Bassetti-architect-and-shaper-of-Seattle-5041795.php#photo-5563866

https://mymodernmet.com/mid-century-modern-homes/

Pelletier + Schaar, LLC

26911 98th Drive NW, Suite B

Stanwood, Washington 98292

p 360-629-5375

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