stephmodo: Real Life Home No.9: Living in a Tower

Real Life Home No.9: Living in a Tower

• 07 September 2011

I am thrilled to share this week's "Real Life Home" with you as it's not often one has the chance to peek into such a unique living space.  Ever known anyone who lived in a tower?  One that isn't slated for residences?  Well, this family of four does, and they worked hard for it too!  It was no small feat securing the top few floors of this historical landmark in Seattle (the best opportunities seem to be the most difficult to make happen), but Seattleite Petra Franklin made it happen despite all the headaches and obstacles in her path.  She dealt with a lot of "red tape", extensive renovations, and also hired a local architectural firm to make the tower safe for two small children (did I mention the water tower that was relocated?).  However, the out-of-this-world views make up for it about feeling on the top of the world!

It's been very inspirational for me to have the chance to meet this lovely family--it's one things to do interesting things, but to add children in the mix takes the word "adventure" to a whole new level.  I'm in total awe!  And while it's not the traditional home, Petra makes sure her two little girls still have the chance to participate in typical kiddo activities like playing with sidewalk chalk and swinging on a tire; the only difference is they ride an elevator down 42 floors to the street to put that chalk to use and their tire swing runs through the main living space.  It's all about improvising, right?

Let's start off with Petra's amazing Dale Chihuly sculpture that hangs from the rafters...isn't it incredible?  I love seeing his pieces in dramatic locations (one of my all-time favorites is the fiery cascade in Salt Lake's Abravenel Hall).  I want to present you with a few different angles so its presence is truly captured.  Itty bitty steps lead up past the sculpture to a Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory type globe with 360 degree views of Seattle.  Breathtaking!

The dining nook just off the little kitchen--different styles of chairs share the space around a mid-century table.   

As you can imagine, the tower makes the perfect party location and luckily Petra enjoys entertaining and is an excellent cook.

An interesting art and textile collection is on display, but in a way that encourages use and enjoyment.  Petra also places toys and such within arm's reach so that curious babies (like Gray) can be happy here too.

Placing magnets on the back of the stairs...brilliant!  Also, can you imagine being a toddler learning how to use the "potty" with views like this?

Here is a peek into the girls' room.  It's not large, but it's space enough for two beds, a collection of books and toys and all their clothing too.  It just goes to show that bigger isn't always better.  I love the bright, cheerful colors and the happy mural on one side.

Views of the master suite...aren't those Chinese doors fantastic?

How would you like to curl up here with a good book? 

Not enough?  View more "real life homes" down below...they are all inspirational in their own way!  Also, be sure to peruse this NYT article about Petra's home--what a great story!

Real Life Home No. 8 - Kayce (southern + sweet)
Real Life Home No. 7 - Sara (colorful + eclectic)
Real Life Home No. 6 - Amy (calming neutrals)
Real Life Home No. 5 - Lynne (whimsy + details)
Real Life Home No. 4 - Emily (whites + woods)
Real Life Home No. 3 - Kirsten (clean + textural)
Real Life Home No. 2 - Maria (white kitchen love)
Real Life Home No. 1 - Cherilee (mid-century modern)


  1. Very cool. Really loving this series!

  2. Excellent...thanks soooo much for sharing a washingtonian it was fun to get a pick into that most fabulous building.

  3. I am so in love with this series that you have! Thank you for sharing such wonderful homes.

  4. I am so glad you are enjoying it! Your comments and support encourage me to keep it goin'...thanks guys!

  5. Now, that is an interesting home! So unique. And the light looks unreal. Fantastic,

  6. Wow, I have never seen anything like this! That Chihuly piece...amazing.

  7. Wow, that is absolutely AMAZING! Those windows, those beams, that light -- just to die for. I am so thankful that you shared!

  8. Chihuly at home. That's a dream bordering on a fantasy. What an amazing space. Is it that one of your gift-wrapped pie kits on the reclaimed marble-slab counter? (That NYT article suggests that your host is a fascinating lady).

  9. Wow! This home is amazing! It is incredible. Have I told you lately how much I love this series? I do! You must have had a very good time doing this piece. It is so interesting. The homeowners must have been incredible to spend time with. Oh, I spied a piece of your pie on the table!

  10. Wow. I can't even IMAGINE that. What a gorgeous space!

  11. That is very unique! I love to see how people come up with ideas to make an unusual space work for them. Gorgeous!

  12. So very cool that you got a chance to tour this amazing space! I read the NY Times article a few months back and have been fascinated ever since. Whenever I drive by the Smith tower I now think of the lucky and determined lady that scored that sweet pad and made it hers. It's an inspiring story.

  13. So glad you think it's as inspiring as I do. Really, what this family has done is incredible! Thanks for taking the time to share your two cents!

  14. That is amazing. Um, I want a Chihuly sculpture in MY house!


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