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Updated Friday, November 30, 2012 at 02:01 PM

Linda Beaumont and Steve Badanes carve out a home in the woods

By Rebecca Teagarden
Pacific NW associate editor

THE LANE cuts through miles of meadow. A border collie works a wave of sheep in the distance. The road winds into the forest. Ferns and firs; the air crisp, chilled, drinkable. A lawn dart, affixed to a plywood board that reads "parking," points its scrawny metal finger.

We have arrived.

"It's three pole barns. They're cheap to build," Steve Badanes says simply, describing the Whidbey Island homestead he shares with his wife, artist Linda Beaumont.

He would know. Badanes is the Howard S. Wright professor of architecture at the University of Washington. He also teaches at Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont and is a founder of Jersey Devil Design/Build, a roguish group of designer-builders who built their own ecologically oriented designs while living on site.

And not the least, Badanes and friends gave us the Fremont Troll.

"Every summer Steve devotes himself to Camp Beaumont for one month before he goes to Vermont," says Beaumont of their five-acre property. Her résumé is also long. You know her work at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the King County Courthouse, Safeco Field, Bellevue City Hall and more.

When a place is beloved, things are named. Thus, Camp Beaumont. Out back is a shed, Winter Camp. "This is the Spirit Center," Beaumont says in the kitchen, pointing out the liquor cabinet.

Camp Beaumont is a work in progress, evolving as time and money allow; the private delight of two public professionals.

"This is the first one for me," Badanes says of the home. "We built so many for everybody else. It's so amazing to stay in a place 10 years. This is the first time I've seen a garden grow."

Boy, does it. Beaumont is an enthusiastic gardener. Raspberries, blueberries, beets, lettuce, broccoli, plums, apples, chard, peas, Asian pears.

Badanes' greenhouse achieves thermal mass via wine bottles filled with water. Everywhere it is like this: Where there is a her, there is a him. Her mosaic garden table, his benches. His wood bowl, her salad greens.

"The longer you can stay comfortable with unresolved issues, the more appropriate the solution," says Badanes. Behind him is a cement-board wall in the living/dining/kitchen.

"I finish everything with cement board. Every time you see cement board Linda's going to do a mosaic," Badanes says. "She's way behind me." This is a good sign for their continued life here. And Beaumont is in no hurry. Sometimes you have to wait to see what a thing wants to be.

There is, however, a most grand turquoise mosaic shower accented with glass rods and mirrors. Outside, another shower, creamy white with shards of marble, mirrors, dragonflies etched in stone.

The kitchen counter is also a Beaumont: cement terrazzo with jade, carnelian, shells, mother of pearl. The dining table: epoxy terrazzo, grass green and filled with color.

There are more places to make art at Camp Beaumont than to live. But making art is living. In the upstairs studio, under covered porches, within the big black building down the drive: 900 square feet for her, 900 square feet for him.

"I grew up in a big suburban house where I couldn't do anything but in the laundry room," Beaumont says. "I just always wanted a place to work. And here I am like a witch in the woods."

Making magic.

Rebecca Teagarden writes about design and architecture for Pacific NW. Benjamin Benschneider is the magazine's staff photographer.

Art work

See what Steve Badanes has been up to in more than 30 years of designing and building with Jersey Devil Design/Build at www.jerseydevildesignbuild.com.

Check out Linda Beaumont's work at lindabeaumont.com.


BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
The house, 2,200 square feet, is a hybrid pole barn: a box on top of a box with wings. The exterior is Zincalume, recycled steel made mostly from ground-up cars. The massive twisted fir is "like the totem pole in front of the Indian longhouse," owner Linda Beaumont says. An old, $30 TV antenna supports the trellis.




BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Steve Badanes and friends brought Seattle the Fremont Troll. And there's something mighty familiar. "I admit to a similarity in the nose," he says of the icon under the Aurora Bridge. "But I'm a little better looking than that."




BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
The bright, open upstairs design studio in the house is ever-evolving. Beaumont is so busy with public-work projects that her own works await.




BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
A hearty Badanes prefers the striking outdoor shower made by his wife and uses it all year long. Shards of marble, mirrors and dragonflies etched in stone adorn the curved walls. Leftovers from her public work are melded throughout the piece.




BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Twin studios, 900 square feet for her, 900 square feet for him, sit near the road at Camp Beaumont. The house and studios are on a narrow, five-acre lot outside Freeland on Whidbey Island.




BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Beaumont throws open the door in the design studio. She just snagged the carpet and the pouf in Morocco. The glass panels are test pieces made in Germany for "Traveling Light" at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.




BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Badanes heads down the stairs to the ground-floor living spaces as Beaumont works in the main-house design studio. "We collaborate on everything," she says of their home, their work and their lives.




BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Beaumont's studio is full of test pieces, works in progress. The discs that line the room are models for the 6-foot whirling metal discs that make up "Spinning Our Wheels," a 700-foot-long artwork in the new rental-car facility at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.




BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
It took Beaumont five days (and nights) to create this shower, which she had to finish to get the occupancy permit for the home. It is accented with glass rods, mirrors and a seashell sunburst around the water handle.




BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Between his gig as a professor of architecture at the UW and teaching at Yestermarrow Design/Build School in Vermont, Badanes crafts bowls and utensils from wood. "Geezer stuff," he calls it. The etchings, the smaller pieces, are by Briony Morrow-Cribbs. The larger painting is by Sarah Slavick.




BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
No bit of mirror, shard of glass, shell, reflector or fossil is safe from artist Linda Beaumont, because much of her work involves mosaics and terrazzo. "I was in L.A. doing mosaics for movie stars when public work from home called," she says of her delight in heading back north.




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