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Pristine Gene Zema modern carries midcentury aesthetic into 1970s sensibility

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This modern home builds on a midcentury ethos for a timeless design

A living room. Ahead, a wide fireplace has stone and a built-in bench on the bottom half and a white-painted wall above. The ceiling is exposed wood and slopes to the left. The left wall is one long window bank with a railing outside. Matthew Gallant/Clarity Northwest Photography

It’s not uncommon to see midcentury design hallmarks in the 1970s, but it can look a little off—a busy detail upsets the sleek lines or a newer amenity sits awkwardly out of place. But this home by legendary Northwest Modern architect Gene Zema scales up the warm, sleek midcentury design that defined the Boeing Boom into something not only ready for the next decade, but timeless enough for at least five more.

Classic geometry like a gently-sloping, exposed-wood ceiling and a minimalist centerpiece fireplace become slightly more modular to accommodate a large, eat-in kitchen. The second story has an open hallway lofting over formal living area, fitting naturally into the ceiling’s peak with a slight asymmetry for a dynamic roofline above and below.

In classic basement-rambler style, the home tucks into a hillside to defer to the setting and highlight a Puget Sound view. The site is over a steep drop, making most of even the lower level feel like it has a penthouse view.

825 NW Northwood Road, hidden in a cul-de-sac right at the northwest corner city limits, was just on the market for the first time ever for $1.7 million. It has an offer in, but you can still check out the eye candy via Windermere.

An entryway with an open wooden staircase to the right heading up and down. On the far wall, a door with windows on either side, and an area separated by a hanging bamboo divider.
In the foyer, an open staircase gives the feel of a split-level house. A semi-enclosed mudroom adds ornamentation.
A large room with hardwood floors. A wood oval table with red-padded chairs is under a drop ceiling, and a fireplace and sofa are under a cathedral ceiling ahead. The far wall is one big window bank looking over a deck.
In the greatroom, the ceiling delineates the living and dining areas—which share a wide back deck.
A loft with wooden railing below a peaked, vaulted ceiling. Below, there’s an area with hardwood floors and a tall, minimalist fireplace.
A kitchen with a small dining area in the foreground. The room is white with wood accents, including exposed ceiling beams. The dining area and kitchen are separated by a kitchen island.
The large kitchen has a generous informal dining area and plenty of counter space, including a buffet.
A room with a vaulted exposed-wood ceiling and a thin, long window bank along the left wall. Ahead, a built-in desk with storage cabinets above along an exposed-wood wall.
Wood finishes and a vaulted ceiling in the top-floor office give it the air of a remote cabin.
Modern living room furniture is gathered in a square facing a wide, minimalist, brick fireplace. To the left, trees are visible through a long window bank. The room has parquet floors.
In the style of a classic modern basement rambler, the wide fireplace from the living area descends into a den.