Good Bones

A 1908 farmhouse in Sumner gets a facelift

Dutch doors work double-duty as an entrance and occasional extra window.

When Vicky and Sheldon Ireland decided to sell their spacious home on the High Cedars Golf Course in Orting and downsize, they had their hearts set on something smaller in charming Sumner.

That’s when a 1908 farmhouse caught their eye in downtown — a four square with deep porches and character, one of the city’s original homesteads. Imagine the stories this home could tell.

The couple weren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and tackle a remodel in an effort to create the modern farmhouse they wanted. They hired interior designer Juleen Pudists and Christine Kern of Northlight Interiors in Sumner to lead the way. In fact, most everything in the home was sourced locally. And by local, we mean from Sumner’s Main Street and by hiring Sumner people.

“I can’t express how lovely these people are,” Pudists said. “ … (And their) heart to support small business.”

The home was purchased in May 2017. “The house was stiff, formal, and dainty,” Pudists said. “Rooms were small, divided, and closed off. The kitchen was a dark hole of stiff, traditional cherry cabinets and black.”

Now it is light, bright, and airy, thanks to an open floor plan and contemporary, American-made furnishings mixed with the homeowners’ homemade things, like the stunning dining room table. “These people truly have a heart for supporting our local town. Every item in their home is either bought from us or the other stores on old Main Street. They are remarkable,” Pudists said.

Like any remodel of this magnitude, it is hard to know where to begin. “It was a great relief to know we had their knowledge, experience, and support throughout the project,” the Irelands noted. “We love the way the house looks now: warm, open, and more inviting, while retaining its original character. Sometimes it is hard to believe it is our house.”

The home has three bedrooms and two baths and is about half the size of their former 3,000-square-foot home. They tore off the back porch to make way for a new sitting area, bathroom, and laundry room and reused as much of the original wood as possible on the new addition. Modern pieces work together with antique and reclaimed pieces in the design throughout the home.

“We enjoy watching all the remodel and DIY shows, as well as YouTube. These shows helped us with ideas of what we wanted to incorporate into our own home,” the homeowners said. “Juleen and Chris were able to provide guidance and products along the way for decorations, furniture, rugs, lighting, and design.”

If you are thinking of buying and remodeling an old home, they recommend hiring professionals before you “tear down the wrong walls” or do something else that is expensive and stressful.

The sink in the laundry room is the designers’ favorite touch in that space.

“They will do it all or let you tackle as much as you like — but be there in the event you get stuck or need advice. Don’t be afraid to try. It is truly rewarding in the end to see the results of your hard work,” the Irelands said.

The project was rewarding for everyone who was involved — it truly was a labor of love — with neighbors pitching in. In addition to a beautiful refreshed space, friendships were made.

When the home was completed, Sheldon looked at his wife and said, “Vicky, can you believe we live here?” Pudists recalled. “She said, no with tears in her eyes. They were so overwhelmed and happy.”

That saying “Home is where the heart is” makes a lot more sense now, don’t you think?


is the editor in chief at South Sound magazine.
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