Refound Homes: Restoration for Keeps

For Zuleyha Duz and David Tuniman renovating their Green Lake home won’t be their first enterprise into home restoration, in fact it’s what they do as a profession. As founders of Refound Homes they have restored and sold three Seattle homes. For Zuleyha and David the only difference with this project is that it’s for keeps.

The Refound Homes philosophy is simple in idea: find a special old home, restore it’s quintessential charm, work with it’s inherent high level of craftsmanship, and add the modern luxuries that will make the home endure. Zuleyha admits this is not the fastest, easiest, or most profitable approach to renovating homes, but for her it is the most rewarding.

When Zuleyha and David first saw their four square home in Green Lake, they knew it was meant to be theirs. They were so struck by the house that they were inclined to knock on the door to see who lived there. As it turns out, there were many other people that were prone to do the same thing. They had to wait for the house to finally come on market in 2010, and it was no surprise that 400+ people went through the house in the first weekend.

The owners before Zuleyha and David were two sisters, Dorothy and Phyliss Gore, they had lived in the house for 60+ years. The sisters barely altered the home during their ownership and Zuleyha and David appreciated that. Plus they loved the unusually large living room, the box beams and built-ins in the dining room, the expansive space on the second floor for bedrooms and bathrooms, and most importantly, the location. The house sits proudly on a corner lot, a block from the eastern edge of Green Lake.

Even though Zuleyha and David don’t call this house home at the moment, they have already started living in it. Their kids future bedrooms have toys that rest in mid-play and evidence of their birthday parties are scattered amongst paint cans and boxes. Since they bought the house, they have worked on other projects and only ruminated on the Green Lake house.

The last 7 years is time not lost to them, they will take their experiences from other homes and expertly apply them to their home. Some of the things they have learned from past projects that they will implement on this home are as simple as timing the project with the seasons. They learned with their Queen Anne house that a winter project, and an open roof, means a constant battle with water. They also learned, despite their desire, that saving lath and plaster walls are not worth the effort. Instead, they remove all lath and plaster, install new electrical and plumbing, and insulated the walls. They conclude this is the best way to ensure the house is in the best position to last another 100 years.

For trim work, they keep it in place and slide new drywall behind it. Zuleyha strips layers of paint herself using a combination of a heat gun, scrapers, and dental tools; she will resort to chemicals when it’s absolutely necessary. Depending on the space and the condition of the trim, she will either stain or paint it.

For windows, they rely on Lindal because they are the closest match to the windows used in the early 1900’s. Zuleyha maintains there is no replacement for the character and charm that comes from old wavy glass. For fixtures, they can usually find what they need at Earthwise Salvage or Rejuvenation.

For their Green Lake home they plan to kick off construction in 2017. They will do what they have always done: refinish existing hardwood floors, keep or modify the radiant heating system, paint the walls with a variation of neutrals, enlarge/modernize the kitchen, add a master bedroom suite… and the rest is as they say, history.