Grand Opening

  • By Sarah Jackson / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, February 14, 2007 9:00pm
  • Life

W hen it comes to remodeling, entryways aren’t usually at the top of the wish list.

But when John and Marilyn Churchill of Everett decided to completely overhaul and expand a 1949 rambler overlooking Port Gardner Bay, it seemed only right to go for an architectural upgrade.

Their old entry was ho-hum.

Three brick steps led to a single door tucked under a modest porch and flanked with glass-block sidelights. Once inside, visitors faced a wall of storage cabinets under relatively low ceilings. There was no hint of the panorama just around the corner in the living room.

“You couldn’t see the view. All you could see was the hallway,” Marilyn Churchill said. “The entryway was part of our challenge.”

The Churchills hired City Builders of Lynnwood, an upscale design-build remodeling firm that worked with Architectural Design Associates of Everett on parts of the project.

Today the entry is a grand affair, inside and out.

Not only is the red brick facade marked with a new set of mahogany doors, but it also features a stunning center gable over two white columns.

Nearly two stories tall, the gable, trimmed with wide, stately millwork, presides over an archway that continues into the interior of the home. It matches two other new gables over the home’s new dining room and master bedroom additions.

City Builders owner Gordon “Gordy” Gregg said the gables were an ideal way to tie the project together without making the home look obviously remodeled.

“It gave it a lot more drama off the front and more of a centerpiece presence,” he said. “When you change elevation you change, basically, the skyline of the house, so to speak. By having it kind of high in the center and go down to each side, it’s more like looking at an interesting mountain than a bench. It just gave it a lot more of a grand character.”

Inside, the result is a welcoming and open floor plan.

Guests get a peek at the waterfront through the kitchen on the left and the living room on the right.

Honed slate tiles trimmed with river rock create a lasting, nature-inspired rug. It’s a great place to stand and admire one of the Churchill’s favorite pieces of furniture, a French dessert buffet from the 1880s.

Overhead, where a custom-made transom window brings in extra light, a grand lofty space is home to a pendant-bowl chandelier hand painted by a New York artist who made the piece especially for the Churchills.

Now, instead of meeting up with white walls and a stuffy hallway, the Churchills and their guests are greeted by a special warmth and openness.

“It was a totally different house,” John Churchill said. “Everything came out really nice.”

Reporter Sarah Jackson: 425-339-3037 or

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