At the Burkes’ request, Batke devoted much of the new living space to pampering their out-of-town friends and family—including a son based in Spokane (their daughter lives in West Linn) and fellow alums from Gonzaga University, with whom they enjoy frequent reunions. Post-remodel, the home contains three separate guest quarters on the upper floor—among them, a two-bedroom suite replete with a private sitting room and a washer-dryer.
Still, the hosts didn’t skimp on their own accommodations. The main floor consists primarily of an open, 58-foot-long great room with a 27-foot-high ceiling. The lower level now contains their 1,520-square-foot master bedroom suite, which is likewise walled in glass. Guests and hosts alike can easily access a new main-floor patio where, should a chill hang in the air, they can gather around an outdoor fireplace.
The Burkes hired Batke’s wife, interior designer Karol Niemi, to handle many of the finish details, including paint colors. A combination of earthy neutrals and bright, contrasting hues—subdued chartreuse, persimmon orange—sheathe the walls and play nicely off of furnishings selected by the residents, such as antique side chairs upholstered in salmon-colored silk.
‘We feel like it’s a piece of art… it just lights up at night.’
Local artisans also contributed their talents: Glass artist Walter Gordiner crafted glowing blue glass treads that form the main staircase, as well as a matching glass “bridge” that provides a sparkling walking surface on the mezzanine corridor above. Cabinetmaker Dan Lester of L&Z Specialties installed the anigre wood kitchen cabinetry; an inlaid checkerboard pattern borders the bottom edges of the doors. Bob jokes that the contractors trucked in an entire quarry of granite for their kitchen and bathroom countertops, but it’s the Art Deco-inspired master bath that tilts the luxury scale with its copious array of limestone tiles accented with mother-of-pearl.
In their global travels the Burkes have collected eclectic objects that enliven their domestic environs—including an array of decorative and ceremonial crafts from Asia and the Middle East. To wit, a colorful bridal headdress from the Sinai Peninsula hangs in the living room, and a Chinese opium bed serves as a coffee table. Some of their treasures have even been ingeniously incorporated into the home’s interior architecture: Two intricately carved wooden panels, featuring standing male and female figures, form the double doors to the master bedroom, for example; and a whimsical iron grille, picked up at a home furnishings emporium in Los Angeles, serves as a railing on the mezzanine-level corridor.
The Burkes are clearly enamored of their new house. “We feel like it’s a piece of art,” says Stevie. “We were out walking and a neighbor said, ‘You live in the jewel box.’ It just lights up at night. The wood floors and the interior paint throw up an amber cast.” They find themselves entertaining at home more often, she adds. “Being able to sit outside by the fireplace after dinner is fabulous.”
But the seclusion they’ve found is equally valuable. “From the lake it’s really a nondescript property,” Bob says. “Inside is our retreat.”