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Mining inspiration from the client's family history, designer Amanda George revamps this inherited 1980s home into an elevated abode with rugged charm.

A modern kitchen with a marble bar and dark hardwood flooring.

In the kitchen of this remodel in Black Diamond, Washington, designer Amanda George used a porcelain slab in a Calacatta pattern to bring visual interest but not steal the show. The cabinetry is custom through Crystal Cabinets and the backsplash is zelliege tile.

When designer Amanda George first saw her client’s home, the striking views through the back windows drew her in. Positioned on Lake Sawyer, the fourth largest lake in Washington State, the house belongs to an avid climber and mountain biker who lives with his dog, Harley. Located in Black Diamond, Washington (about 40 miles southeast of Seattle), the 1980s-era house, inherited by the client from his grandfather, had a solid core but needed updating.

“It was log cabin-esque,” George says of the pre-renovation property. “There was a lot of wood and a cedar-stained parquet floor that I wanted to keep, but it wasn’t quite the right aesthetic. Overall, the space was dated, drab, and dark. The client wanted to lighten and modernize it but not completely depart from the home that his grandfather had built.”

Close-up of a kitchen range with marble backsplash.

A graceful, wall-mounted pot filler from Kohler is positioned above the Monogram gas range. Thin cabinet hardware is an elegant detail that complements the porcelain wall slab.

A living room with marble fireplace surround, beams on the ceiling and a moose head art piece over the fireplace.

In the living room, George chose a modern Ortal fireplace, using the same porcelain material as in the kitchen for the surround. A Norman Rockwell print hangs at the end of the hallway as an homage to the homeowner's great-grandfather, who moved to Washington for its mining.

A modern entryway with black front door and iron stair railings.

In the entryway, the slat wall leads to the utility and dog was area. A pony wall on the other side was ripped out and replaced with metal railing. Below the window sits a collection of vintage mining lamps that the homeowner inherited from his grandfather.

Historically, Black Dimond is a coal mining town, and the client’s great-grandfather came over from Ireland at the turn of the century to do just that, settling in the area—where much of the family still lives. According to George, the homeowner wanted to include nods to his family’s history and connection to the region in the redesign, starting with a set of antique coal mining lamps inherited from his grandfather. Repurposed as decor, the lamps once detected toxic chemicals in the mines. “If the gas they put in it burned blue, they knew they needed to get out,” says George. “A lot of the design aesthetic throughout the house, from color to shape to textures, was inspired by coal."

The utility and dog wash room features ample storage and a dedicated area for Harley to eat and bathe. George used a selection of subway tile in varying shades for the backsplash and Fireclay Tile's Star & Cross tile with a Basalt finish for the floor. Rebel Wall's Misty Fire Forest wallpaper doubles down on the Northwest aesthetic.

Reworking the layout, George, who, in addition to being the designer, acted as the general contractor, created an open concept for the kitchen, dining, and living room, removing the towering brick fireplace and a low bookcase between the living and dining areas that restricted the space and made it feel smaller. “There was also a wall that blocked the view when you entered the home,” George says. “Originally, we thought it was load-bearing, but once we got up into the roof and found out it wasn’t, we were able to take it out. It was a last-minute change, but now you can see the lake from the moment you step in the front door.”

George contemporized the living room by removing the cedar from the ceiling, adding faux wood beams, and introducing a modern rectangular fireplace while keeping allusions to its original details. A custom-crafted moose-head taxidermy art piece by artist Idaho-based artist Chase Halland uses a pair of antlers that had been in the family, combining them with Pendleton fabric for a modern twist on the classic hunting trophy. At her client's request, George used Pendleton as an inspiration throughout the home, picking a “blanket or pattern as the jumping-off point for each room,” she explains. Floor tile in the guest bathroom, for example, is a Swiss Cross pattern, and the shower’s wall tile is laid out in a colorful four-stripe formation reminiscent of Pendleton’s popular Glacier National Park blanket.

A close-up shot of a bed with various gray linens.

The primary bedroom layers together multiple gray tones—and textiles—for a cozy yet refined aesthetic.

A dark and moody bathroom with a black rub and dark cabinetry.

In the primary bathroom, a Wetstyle freestanding tub offers guaranteed relaxation. The Fireclay tiles are arranged in a topographic pattern of Mount Rainier. Large-format porcelain tile covers the walls in the shower.

A short hallway with an open closet door.

The second bedroom on the main level was repurposed into a walk-in closet, accessible through a hidden door made from an acoustic slat walnut panel.

Electing to remove a bedroom upstairs to create a walk-in closet for the primary suite, the designer made a space with built-in shelving and a washer and dryer that are close at hand for easy laundry access. The primary bedroom is done up in gray tones, creating a calming place of respite with lake views and a door with direct access to the back deck. In contrast to the bedroom, the primary bathroom has dark cabinetry and deep-gray, large-format porcelain tile walls that make it feel almost cave-like. The floor tile is laid out in a topographic print of Mount Rainier. “It’s a fun detail that you don’t immediately realize when you see it in person,” says George, “but once you’re told, it makes sense.”

A basement entertainment space with lake views.

A relaxing downstairs family room has stellar views of Lake Sawyer.

A game room and bar with a shuffleboard and records on the wall.

On the other side of the family room is a bar and game area. The Prism bar is pine, and the herringbone floors give an updated nod to the home's original parquet floors.

Close-up of a bed against dark green mushroom patterned wallpaper.

Olive-green Woodland Foliage linen wallpaper from Spoonpaper is a whimsical addition to the guest room.

In the powder room (left), George used the striking Yukiyama wallpaper by Elisa Vendramin and a Sani Canada Nordic rectangular vessel sink that alludes to mountainous terrain. In the guest bathroom (right), the shower's colorful tile stripes are inspired by a classic Pendleton pattern.

The client didn’t want a television upstairs, so George designed a cozy entertainment space on the lower level, with a large L-shaped sofa for lounging and an adjacent area with a bar and shuffleboard table. Here, George used a mountain-inspired wood bar to add a bit of ruggedness, pairing it with a refined marbled wallpaper in a dark, coal-gray to create cocktail hour moodiness. A selection of records is displayed on the wall—the client’s uncle, who lives on the lake as well, was going to get rid of his vinyl collection but ended up passing it along to his nephew, who has a record player near the TV.

Even Harley has a designated space—George designed a utility and mud room just off the entry that includes a built-in dog-washing space and food and water dishes at the perfect height. For a man and his dog, the home is a perfect mix of rugged and refined, elevating the stereotypical bachelor pad to diamond-in-the-rough status.

Images by Anton Benedikt


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