Jane Malone’s Rambler Refresh

How do you make a typical Mercer Island 1965 daylight rambler feel current? Jane Malone can do more than tell you, as an interior designer she can help you with the redesign.

Jane and her husband have owned their Mercer Island home since 1992 and kicked off remodeling it that same year. When life pulled them to Austin they rented the house out for a few years. When they recently returned to Mercer Island they gave their home a second refresh.

For Jane’s first remodel she made major changes to the layout of the home. Jane knew the house would benefit the most from switching the locations of the master bedroom and kitchen. Beyond these switches, she has stayed true the features of the original home.

Like many mid-century homes on Mercer Island, Jane’s has a large quartz veneer fireplace that runs floor to ceiling on the main floor of the home and continues down to the daylight basement.

For Jane’s first remodel and her most recent refresh, she stayed true to her own advice that she gives to her clients. Jane believes if everything is made to be special, the spaces will feel overwhelming.

“Focus a design on a few special elements and let the rest of the design play off of that focus.”

For Jane’s home, her special feature is the fireplace. The only edit she made to the fireplace was to remove the original attached “Brady Bunch” quartz veneer planter box. When she removed the planter box on the main floor, Jane was able to remove some of the fireplace on the lower level and make the basement brighter and more open.

Initially when Jane relocated her kitchen, the intent was to get the kitchen closer to the detached garage. When the kitchen was moved she also decided to enclose the breezeway and add a mudroom, office, and banquette seating. In the second round refresh, she relocated her office the basement, and added in floor heating under new quartz tile in the mudroom.

Jane had Gregory, Dill & Co. paint her maple kitchen cabinets white. Jane loves her new white cabinets so much she wishes she had done it sooner. New kitchen hardware came from Bellevue Builder Supply and the sink and faucet is from the Kohler Signature StoreR.W. Cook Associates was Jane’s contractor.

Jane wanted a farmhouse sink, but had to accommodate her existing cabinets. She found a sink with a deep basin and a short apron. She kept her existing stainless appliances.

For Jane, the most unexpected material choice for the project was the Bedrosians 40” x 118” marble-looking porcelain tile from Oregon Tile & Marble. Jane loves the look of Calcutta marble, but finds it impractical in a kitchen, she is happy with the tile as a counter and backsplash surface.

Jane refinished the hardwood floors and installed new wool carpet by Bellbridge. Benjamin Moore Bone White was painted on the walls and Atrium White on the trim.

For the bathrooms Jane chose an economical white cabinet from Home Depot and upgraded the counter to Quantra Quartz in the master and a remnant marble in the guest bath. She stuck with Kohler for the bathroom fixtures and thinks the Memoirs shower head gives the best shower experience. She used a warm Italian travertine-looking porcelain tile in the bathrooms.

For the master bedroom, Jane outfitted the closets with California Closets and she vaulted the 8’ ceilings to make the master bedroom feel larger. The only thing Jane would reconsider if she could would be her front door in relation to the master bedroom. After a glass entry was installed, Jane realized that anyone standing at the front door could look directly into the master bedroom. Although it is nice to have the light provided from the front entry, Jane now insists that her clients pay attention to sight lines when adding glass or opening up walls.

Another minor learning curve came when upgrading the recessed lights to LED fixtures. Jane had to also replace the dimmer switches for the new LED lights and learned the Uphoria Z bulbs have the best lifespan.

For clients with a limited budget, Jane helps them prioritize updates that will provide the largest return on investment, she speaks from experience when she tells her clients to not be afraid of change… big or small.