More Than Curb Appeal

Photos by Dane Meyer


By Lisa Patterson and Ethan Chung

The minute you pull up to Robert and Kathy Dick’s 7,277-square-foot home in rural Auburn, it makes a statement — grand, sophisticated, upscale Northwest living with a Mediterranean vibe. From the inviting gardens and burbling art-inspired fountain in the courtyard to the towering arched entryway, you’re in awe before setting foot inside the decorative glass double doors.

The surprises inside the South Sound magazine’s 2008 Idea House built by Signature Custom Homes in Edgewood are plentiful, too. No detail was overlooked. The carefully thought-out, open floor plan gives space to the couple and their two teen girls on a daily basis, and lends itself to entertaining large groups or intimate small gatherings. The home boasts three large bedrooms, an office with a recessed ceiling fitting for a high-level executive, a gourmet kitchen with two islands, a dining room, a game room with a bar and an adjacent temperature-controlled wine and tasting room that spills outside to a sprawling outdoor area in the backyard with a massive grill, seating areas and a fire pit.

There are two distinct wings of the home. To the far left is where the master suite is located, with a fireplace across from the bed, a walk-in closet with laundry station, a private workout area and a big bathroom with soaking tub and separate shower fit to be in a spa. The master suite has sliding glass doors that open to the massive, covered rear patio. To the far right of the house is the teen wing. The girls each have a bedroom and their own bathrooms. There is also a gathering area where they have the latest video and audio systems, a flat-screen TV and study area. They also have their own laundry station — now that’s an idea!

Pam Sturgill and her American Design, Inc. of Tacoma coordinated all the interior and exterior furnishings and decorating needs of the project. She was aiming to create a comfortable, yet classy Northwest-inspired home and she accomplished that goal according to everyone involved. “I think this is a really impressive home. It’s open with all the livability a rambler offers,” said Gary Patterson, sales and marketing manager at Signature Custom Homes. “Pam Sturgill brought it all together.”

Sturgill was involved in the process early, which helped the project be a collaborative effort with all involved. It also gave her time to learn the vision of the homeowners, so she could make decisions they could live with and love. “A crucial step is to hire an interior designer well in advance, even before plans go to permit. This allows the homeowner to really take the time to make sure the floor plan matches the lifestyle,” Sturgill said. She spent a lot of time with the Dick family and selected most of the furniture, including paint and other surfaces. She helped them incorporate items from their previous home to make their new one comfortable, beautiful and personal.

Making Chefs Jealous

• Note the pot filler over the professional Thermador gas range and warming drawer hidden underneath. Above the range is a professional hood that has been personalized by artist Rhonda Canales of Tacoma’s Design Illusions, Inc. She texturized and painted it steel-gun gray and embellished it with metal rivets to give it an industrial “cool” custom look.

• The steam and convection double Gaggenau oven also includes a rotisserie. It turns itself off when meat is done. No more dry roasts. With all that room, they can cook turkey, ham and pies all at the same time.

• The gorgeous cherry cabinets by Kraftmaid have full-extension, soft-close drawers and doors. From Waters and Wood, Inc., Auburn.

High-Tech Home

This idea house is loaded with personalized advanced technologies that satisfy the homeowners’ entertainment needs. There are seven TVs in this home, with eight pairs of 8-inch MTX speakers. The main TV in the living room is an Aquos Sharp special edition TV that can only be ordered through Signature Technologies, or another authorized dealer, or the manufacturer. This 65-inch TV is only 2¾ inches thick.

According to Anthony Hines of Signature Technologies, the company responsible for installing all of the high-tech entertainment hardware, the homeowner’s priority was ease of use. He didn’t want to have to read a manual to set his components. It was because of this that Hines and Signature Technologies chose the Colorado vNet Vibe 7-inch LCD touch screen console to control not only the sound entertainment components throughout the house, but the lighting as well. The console also can be configured to control security (locks throughout the house and video surveillance) and temperature (find out more at Another awesome aspect of Hines’s installation is the sheer cleanliness of all of the household components. All components are hidden in a tech closet, with everything attached to a server that networks the components.

Hines said the best way to get started is for a customer to write down a list of problems they want to solve before contacting Signature Technologies. “Usually this gives us a pretty good idea of priorities,” said Hines.

Meet the Builders

Bill and Becky Hines, owners of Signature Custom Homes in Edgewood, were proud of the results of the 2008 South Sound magazine Idea House. Signature Custom Homes has been building and designing homes in Washington for more than 20 years. It’s recognized as one of the premier custom home builders in the area in part because of the company’s passion to create energy-efficient homes, communicate with their clients, their budget management and attention to detail. “Our involvement in this project has allowed us to utilize new, green-built products and principles, including the use of iLevel engineered studs throughout the home, which ensure straight, plumb walls.”

The Idea House took about 10 months to complete and they believe it came together even better than they imagined because the whole team worked together, Becky Hines said. They both had a tough time choosing their favorite aspects of the home. “I think the kitchen, family room, rec room and wine room,” said Bill Hines. “It’s all just so open. It feels relaxing and comfortable. There’s a very soothing feeling to it.”


See other Northwest Idea House stories.

is the editor in chief at South Sound magazine.
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