A stunning French Norman house gets a conservatory addition in Seattle

French Norman style exterior

This French Norman-style house has undergone a remodel and addition by Chadbourne + Doss Architects, located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. Like many other older homes, this 4,800-square-foot brick manor turned its back on a park-like half-acre lot.

With an appreciation for the historic woodwork, craftsmanship, and materials, the architects wanted to preserve history while transforming the home to connect indoor spaces directly to the expansive backyard. The concept of a “modern conservatory” influenced the addition’s design at the back of the house.

The entire house was remodeled as a study in contrasts. The existing portions of the home celebrate mass, solidity, and historic craftsmanship with warm woodwork, plaster arches, and cozy rooms.

The owners have spent decades living in both the United States and Shanghai. This home is a showcase for their collection of contemporary Chinese art and Asian artifacts. It also provides a beautiful modern setting for frequent gatherings of friends worldwide.

DESIGN DETAILS: ARCHITECT Chadbourne + Doss Architects INTERIOR DESIGN Chadbourne + Doss Architects CONSTRUCTION & CABINETRY Bellan Construction  STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING Swenson Say Faget LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE Alchemie Design

Above: The new addition extends from and expands an existing flat roof dormer. Aluminum plate siding marries with brick, glass, and concrete to tie new to old.

French Norman style exterior at dusk

Above: A modern conservatory was the concept for a new addition that opens the house to the backyard. A new Kitchen and Family Room open to a covered Patio on the Ground Floor. The Upper Floor includes a new Bedroom and a Covered Roof Deck.

modern living room with a fireplace

Above: A faceted blackened steel fireplace mass anchors this room that opens to the patio and garden beyond. Basalt floor tile extends indoors and out. A painted brick wall marks the transition from new to old.

modern home bar

Above: The Kitchen extends outdoors to a custom stainless steel barbecue area and steps lead from the patio up to an outdoor dining pavilion beyond.

modern home bar

Above: Seating at the solid walnut island creates space for informal meals, gatherings, and work. Custom blackened steel and walnut shelving with laser-cut steel glass racks extend in front of a south-facing window. The countertops and backsplash are honed marble.

modern kitchen

Above: The new Kitchen opens to a covered patio and barbecue. The island provides space for work and seating. Blackened steel and Walnut shelving with integral glass racks front a south facing. Basalt tile flooring runs indoors and out to the patio.

modern kitchen

Above: The transition between old and new is evident in the hall. The soft arched opening leads to the existing Dining Room. The angular walnut cabinetry of the Kitchen leads into the new addition.

modern dining room

Above: A new archway was added to connect the existing Dining Room to the new Kitchen behind it. A Christopher Boots lamp hangs over the dining table.

modern living room with a fireplace

Above: Lighting was integrated into a new cove moulding to uplight the arched ceiling. A new faceted blackened steel fireplace surround and gas burner open the fire to the room. Existing wood floors throughout the house were stained darker to match the tone of the existing mahogany door and window trim.

modern living room

Above: The house is personalized with the owner’s collection of modern Chinese art and Asian artifacts. This piece is illuminated with a custom art light. Continuous LED lighting is integrated into a cove moulding to uplight the arched ceiling.

modern staircase

Above: The sculptural soft curves of the existing home contrast with the modern additions. All existing woodwork was restored.

modern hallway

What We Love: This French Norman-style house was completely transformed into a more modern aesthetic, offering ample entertaining spaces indoors and out. New finishes of stone and blackened steel accents add a refined look to this home. We especially love the addition to the back of the home, with its expansive walls of glazing helping to flood the interiors with natural light while inviting nature inside.

Tell Us: What are your thoughts on the design of this home? Let us know in the Comments below!

Note: Have a look at a couple of other fabulous home tours that we have showcased here on One Kindesign in the state of Washington: A Tudor style home in Seattle gets a charming update with a hobbit door and This Shou Sugi Ban house beautifully blends into Washington’s woodlands.

modern bathroom vanity

Above: The Bathroom layout is open and linear. A long vanity with medicine cabinet storage above is opposite full-height Walnut storage cabinets. A new wet room with plaster and marble tile walls has a shower and a custom marble soaking tub.

modern bathroom with a shower

Above: The plaster Wet Room includes a custom-built marble ofuro soaking tub.

modern walk-in closet with a fireplace

Above: The Dressing Room was opened up to provide more space and light. Custom Walnut wardrobes, a dresser, and a shoe bench provide clothes storage. The blackened steel fireplace creates a warm focus for lounging.

modern bedroom with large windows

Above: The new Bedroom and Covered Deck provide expansive views of the backyard. A green roof border extends the room and deck into a dynamic landscape of multicolored succulents.

French Norman style backyard with a patio and outdoor lounge furniture

Above: The backyard of this French Norman style house includes a new carved patio space that extends up into the landscape to new seating areas and converted accessory structures. An existing detached garage becomes a Bathouse with a new hot tub area behind it. A playhouse converted to a guesthouse, a potting shed/party bar, and a covered outdoor dining pavilion.

eclectic shed with a stepping stone pathway

Above: A child’s playhouse has been remodeled into a guesthouse. The cottage includes a bedroom with a built-in wardrobe and a bathroom. Ceilings are vaulted to maximize height.


French Norman style house exterior backyard before the remodel


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25 days ago

The best piece of remodel on this property is the play house into a guest house. It is of course the prerogative of the owners to do what they love but this is a sad change to this historic looking home. I can understand wanting to open up the views but to me it is sad that it wasn’t done in a way to really blend the original style of the architecture to a less modern style. Just my thoughts.

25 days ago

I think these owners should have purchased a modern home rather than trying to mix old charm with modern aspects they obviously prefer. The original architecture and style are so beautiful, it pained me to see it compromised.

24 days ago
Reply to  Ann

Totally agree

26 days ago

This was a beautiful old home. How sad.

Tammy Adams
26 days ago

This is disappointing to me. I would have rather seen the remodel follow the glory of the original structure rather than such a drastic modern addition.

24 days ago
Reply to  Tammy Adams

I agree as well, Very sad changes to this house.