Name: Joe Gast and Willow the Weimaraner
Location: Leschi — Seattle, Washington
Size: 1,690 square feet
Years lived in: 25 years, owned
My 1908 Leschi cottage was a victim of several ill-conceived remodels and plenty of deferred maintenance. A transplant from Ohio, with an Ohioan’s modest budget, I purchased the house because it was in my price range and it was located on a magical stairway, steps above Lake Washington.
The first time an architect friend saw my house, he said “Joe, you bought a tear down.” With three layers of siding, three layers of roofing, a wide variety of windows from different time periods—many painted shut—the house looked more like a dilapidated shed than someone’s home.
I removed all of the siding, replaced all the windows, and learned how to shingle. I added a wraparound deck, pretty window boxes, and a welcoming pergola over the front door. Anything to up the visual interest of an exterior that had been stripped of all its charm.
I live in a house that played a minuscule part in Seattle’s musical history. No, Jimi Hendrix did not write “Purple Haze” out on the veranda. But during the 1970s a record company executive named Jack made this little house his home.
The house had wall-to-wall white shag carpet and a grand piano. When recording artists affiliated with Jack’s label arrived in town, Jack would entertain them—and entertaining often involved lavish cocktail parties at the house. Opera luminaries Maria Callas and Beverly Sills were among the many guests.
Although no one was murdered while singing an aria at the grand piano, it’s intriguing to know famous people have been in my house and quite possibly used the bathroom. When I purchased this house my realtor shared its story with me. I was skeptical. Weeks later at a neighborhood function I met Jack, where he verified the story and mentioned many jazz greats that had also been to the house.
The white shag carpet and grand piano are long gone and I recently heard that Jack had passed away. I wish I’d written down the names of those jazz artists and I wish I’d spent more time talking to Jack about our house. I’ll share the story with the next owners and hope they too will pass it on.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Curated minimalism.
Inspiration: I love cottage style, but I want mine sans kitsch.
Favorite Element: Though a cottage, it lives big. The home has a generous entry and a spacious living room. And on a sunny day you open the French doors in the living room and the home expands exponentially.
Biggest Challenge: My house is a hundred and ten years old. The biggest challenge is the constant upkeep.
PAINT & COLORS
Exterior — Cedar shingles dipped in a 50/50 combination of Cabot Bleaching Oil and Cabot Silver Gray Stain
Entry — Benjamin Moore Westminster Gold and Fields of Gold
Living room — Benjamin Moore Westminster Gold
Dining room — Benjamin Moore Yellowstone
Kitchen — Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue
Office — Benjamin Moore Yellowstone
Bathroom — Valspar Pawnee
Bedroom — Benjamin Moore Artichoke Hearts
Eadweard Muybridge art — 1000museums
Stone Cottage Fresno quilt set — Target
T.J.Maxx nightstands — no longer available
Vintage Dutch school chart — Etsy
White nylon lanterns — Paper Lantern Store
*This submissions responses have been edited for the length and clarity.
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