Simply Tudor

When Mark and Keiley Ostrow took ownership of their Seattle home in early 2002 it was a post 9/11 world. Seattle was feeling the effects of 9/11 in the form of Boeing layoffs; nearly 30,000 people were expected to lose their jobs.

The field of aviation was also making headline news when the Ostrows’ home was originally built in 1925. In April of 1924 a team of aviators left Seattle in an attempt to make the United States the first country to circumnavigate the world. The Douglas World Cruiser circumnavigation took 175 days. The Douglas Aircraft Company created a commemorative logo for the successful circumnavigation; Boeing later adapted the logo for their use in 1997.

In the 1920’s Tudor Revival styles were recognizable by their simple, rustic, and medieval cottage characteristics. After World War I the United States saw a surge of revivalist styles. In Seattle, real estate speculators built revivalist style homes to give neighborhoods an instant nostalgic spirit.

Tudor Revival homes commonly featured a clean-cut asymmetrical cement stucco façade with bands of small leaded casement windows and a steeply sloped roof with a cat-slide to one side.

When the Ostrows purchased their home in 2002, it was ready for a restoration that could make the home survive another century. Even though Mark felt his home had some Craftsman attributes and wasn’t a prime example of the Tudor style, he wanted to emphasize the 1920’s era and the Tudor features.

In 2011, the Ostrows got their remodeling feet wet by working on their media room first. The room located on the southwestern side of the home had 80+ years of harsh exposure to overcome.

The Ostrows also wanted to test out how to replicate a historic plaster pattern on their media room walls. They found Steve Irish (aka Cementitious Man) from Lux Interiors Inc. to be a master plasterer. He was able to replicate the historic plaster pattern such that the patches were indistinguishable from the original sections. Unfortunately, for Phase II and III of the restoration, Eddie Vedder claimed all of Steve Irish’s time for his home in West Seattle, so the Ostrows abandoned all hope of continuing the plaster walls that they had perfected in their media room.

It was during the media room restoration that Mark started digging into the history of 1920’s Tudors. At this time, when Mark was focused on trim details, he decided to add an Art Deco streamlined look to the window trim.

For Phase II, they worked on the exterior of the house, the living, and the dining room. They hadn’t planned on replacing the stucco on the front of the house, but when they started work they realized the front façade was essentially being held in place by the original stucco and the structure had failed due to dry rot.

In 2014, the Ostrows started Phase III, this phase would be the most transformative of all the phases. They renovated a half bath and added onto their existing kitchen footprint. They also renovated their second floor by updating a bathroom and creating a master suite and a roof deck.

For the kitchen, the gas stovetop is central and allows Mark to face (and feed!) guests sitting at the island counter. They chose painted inset cabinets by Contour Woodworks and oil rubbed bronze pulls and knobs from Crown City Hardware. An existing breakfast nook from the dining room was reclaimed for a pantry, which meant they didn’t need to install upper cabinets in the kitchen.

The most challenging piece to Phase III was the stairwell. Mark wanted the stairwell to feel like a piece of furniture. After three different stair craftsmen gave up, Mark and the general contractor (Peter Butler and Kevin Krumdiack of Carlisle Classic Homes) decided they would design it themselves. They relied heavily on Blackstock Lumber Co Inc for stock moulding and a number of custom pieces. The trickiest custom piece of all was the newel post that holds the railing on the second floor and terminates in a bishop’s hat drop finial on the first floor. Site carpentry was complicated enough that Carlisle ordered a spare newel to ensure the project stayed on track. They got it right on the first try and the back-up newel post now rests in Mark’s basement.

Prior to Phase III, Mark created a 41-page Word document with detailed specifications for all of his contractors. Mark is the most thorough and hands-on homeowner you can imagine, when he recommends a contractor – you listen.


Mark recommends the following companies:

General Contractor – Carlisle Classic Homes

Architect – Doug Sharp

Interior Designer – Nell Studio

Structural Engineer – Todd Perhix

Excavation & Concrete – Terrain

Painting – All Pro Painting

Electrical – Wired Seattle

Plumbing – Archie’s Plumbing Service