photography by Ryan Lindberg
A Treehouse Condo
A Treehouse Condo
“It’s kind of an urban oasis,” says Greg Kane, looking around the charming South Hill condo he shares with his wife, Laurie Kane. The home, with a thoughtful layout that keeps everything on one floor, has open concept main living spaces as well as three bedrooms and three baths, and is located in an ideal (and highly walk-able) location just off of Grand Boulevard, near restaurants, parks and shops.
This condo is one in a long line of homes the Kanes have lived in, and loved, in the Inland Northwest. Greg, originally from Chicago, first moved to Spokane when he began law school. There, he met his soon-to-be-wife Laurie (who was his boss), and the two of them stuck around. The major draws of the area were the gorgeous scenery and the outdoor opportunities, particularly the “lakes and mountains,” he says. Laurie, who’s originally from Montana, grew up riding and jumping horses; Greg describes their marriage as “country met city.” They have two children, and when their kids (now grown) were younger, they had a home with acreage between Spokane and Cheney, with lots of space and lots of animals. Their residence just prior to moving into this condo was a South Hill Tudor. Greg and Laurie loved that home, but with its three-story floor plan, it had a less-than-ideal layout for their next phase of life, which will include Greg’s retirement within the next few years.
Enter the condo. Previously, this property was home to an old mansion, which had been divided into rental units and “had seen better days,” says Greg. Its prime location and commanding views made it a highly desirable spot for a new condo building. Construction was done in 2008. Though this was years before the Kanes considered moving from their prior home, they were still well aware of the building.
“We had watched this being built as we’d be eating at Lindaman’s,” says Greg, referring to the restaurant and coffee shop that’s just across the street. A couple of years later, the Kanes were considering a move to a home with a one-level layout, and Laurie thought they should see if there were any units available in that condo they’d observed from its earliest construction. With just four units in the building, they knew that it was unlikely there would be one for sale, but Greg pursued the idea. Fortuitously, a condo was just coming on the market, and that was that.
The building—green with deep red trim and a partial rock exterior—is positioned to offer stellar views in all directions, the most stunning being those toward downtown and Mt. Spokane (the Spokane Fourth of July fireworks are visible from the south-facing side of the home). At just over 2,000 square feet with soaring ceilings and tons of light streaming in through the over six foot windows, the home is at once spacious and cozy, and as well-sized for the couple when it’s just the two of them (and their two adorable small dogs) as it is for entertaining. They and their guests can’t get enough of the views. “I love it here at night. You can see forever,” says Greg. The cathedral across the street—St. John’s—is also lovely in the evening hours. “They light St. John’s up and it’s gorgeous, just gorgeous,” he says.
From the entryway, the home opens onto a great room with cathedral ceilings, generous windows and lots of wood for window trim, ceiling beams and door frames, much of it rich in old-world-style detailing. Wide-plank wood floors run throughout the home, with light-colored low-pile carpet in select areas (specifically, the bedrooms and the living space near the fireplace). A friend described the home’s style as “French Provincial Tuscan.” It’s a comfortable, effortless space full of detailed woodwork, rich floral area rugs and harmoniously mismatched finishes.
Laurie and Greg love the home’s charm and attention to detail, appreciating each of the stylistic choices that were made in the building and design process. Rather than something sleek and minimal, they prefer warm finishes and beautiful woodwork, and that’s exactly what they found here. Though they had done extensive remodeling on each of their previous residences, “this one was completely turn key,” Greg says of the move-in-ready space.
The kitchen, with walls painted an inviting gray-blue, has a granite-topped island lined with barstools on one side. The stainless steel appliances include a Wolf range. The cabinetry is done in a combination of natural wood tones—including a gorgeous wood hood over the range—alongside painted white cabinetry, some of it glass fronted for the display of glassware and other items. Crown molding lines the upper cabinets, and gleaming white tile is used for the backsplash, with subtle shine also coming in through a combination of copper cabinet pulls (on the white cabinetry) and glass pulls (on the wood cabinetry).
Just off the kitchen is a dining area, where the table is surrounded by light-colored leather chairs and king chairs with studded detailing and dark leather seats. The light fixtures hanging here, as well as the pendants that drop down over the kitchen island, came from Revival Lighting. Newer furnishings, purchased from a variety of local stores (like The Tin Roof, Madison and Ennis Fine Furniture), sit alongside pieces that have been collected over the years. The artwork that hangs is primarily family photographs and pieces by local artists. “We didn’t use a decorator,” says Greg. Everything came together “piece by piece, with Laurie collecting anything that caught her eye.”
Double doors just off the kitchen lead to a private balcony with unobstructed views. A 75-year-old tree on the east side of the building—the superstar among a copious amount of surrounding greenery—provides a nice screen in the warmer months; at essentially the fourth story of the building, Greg says it’s easy to forget they’re in the heart of a bustling neighborhood, and they feel, instead, that they’re nestled in a forest. “In the summer we feel like we’re in a tree house!” he says.
Near the corner gas fireplace, a sprawling leather sectional (positioned around a floral area rug that’s layered over the carpeting) makes a perfect spot to rest and relax in the main living area. Before moving into this home, the couple always had leather furnishings. “We tried a white linen couch for a change,” says Laurie of their first purchase for this room. “Within one year it was completely worn out! We just spent so much time on it,” she says about the highly coveted spot.
Every morning, the couple runs the fireplace for a short time—and that’s the only heat they’ve ever needed in the three years they’ve lived in the condo, winter months included. “We do the gas fireplace for a couple of hours every morning and that’s it,” says Greg. The reason they haven’t needed to turn on the heat is simple. “It’s so well-insulated,” he says.
The master suite, another high-ceilinged, sunny room, is painted a soothing blue, which works well as a backdrop for the wrought iron bed frame and the slipper and arm chairs that flank the door leading to the room’s private balcony. An area rug layered on the carpeting adds dimension and texture, as does a beautiful, large standing mirror, which bounces even more light around the already airy room. The master suite has a walk-in closet and a large, gleaming bathroom with a stand alone tub, dual sinks and a spacious, glass-walled shower with two showerheads. The tile and countertops are all done in creamy whites and neutrals, creating a bright and welcoming space that feels both clean and warm.
One of the home’s additional bedrooms serves as Greg’s office—but “mainly he plays music in here,” says Laurie. A Fender and an acoustic guitar sit in the room, which has a desk and bookshelves and is decorated with personal mementos, like family photographs and picture of Greg with his band, Blue Canoe, which plays “rock ‘n’ roll, some country and some blues,” he says—a fun hobby that gives the band mates a creative outlet.
An additional full bathroom with a glass-walled shower is located near a second guest bedroom, this one with a white wrought iron bed that further emphasizes the traditional but informal charm of the home. Windows here look to the east and south. Framed maps of Italy and black and white photographs line the walls.
The home is full of favorite spots and happy conveniences. Laurie loves the home’s master bedroom, as well as sitting at the kitchen island with Greg, sipping hot beverages. “We used to enjoy going out for coffee, but now we just sit right here,” she says, patting the countertop. Greg’s favorite space is the kitchen, where he relishes standing at the counter and chatting with visitors, “cooking with everyone gathered around the island. The open concept of course is perfect for entertaining,” he says. The home’s location means Greg can walk downtown to work in just 15 minutes; the commute by car takes only five. The couple has lots of favorite nearby destinations, all just a short walk away. “One thing we really like about living here is we live on a block that has more restaurants than my brother’s condo in Chicago,” says Greg. A very short stroll takes the Kanes to Ginger, Lindaman’s, Bangkok Thai and Fiesta Mexicana—places that know the couple as regulars. “We love to cook, but we find ourselves going out,” says Greg. At this point, their order preferences are well known. “At the Mexican place we walk in and they bring out a shaker of margaritas!” he says. With two small dogs, the couple takes walks several times a day, sometimes near the grand old mansions overlooking the city skyline, or just a few blocks’ walk south to Manito Park.
The amenities don’t stop with the prime location. Maintenance and landscaping is all taken care of, and they can drive their cars beneath the building into the heated garage, so parking is simple as well. There’s plenty of storage space in separate designated storage areas within the building, and in the oversized garage stall in a detached building on the property (large enough that it’s currently housing six bikes and a drum set, among other things!). Within the condo itself, there are lots of closets—plenty of space to stash items close by but out of sight.
Considering how much they love their home and its location, it’s almost hard to believe that Greg and Laurie have recently put it on the market. The urban location has been wonderful, but they’re looking to move closer to the “lakes and mountains” that Laurie has always loved and that first drew Greg to the Northwest. They’re hoping to break ground on a cabin along the Pend Oreille River, and “that’s where we plan to spend the rest of our days,” Greg says. Laurie jokes that at this point “we’ve had three or four ‘retirement’ homes.” Both of them anticipate that the cabin near Sandpoint will be their last.
In the meantime, they’re savoring all the condo has to offer. Their hope for the home is that it will bring as much pleasure to its future owners as it has to them.
“We’re hoping someone will find this and take over, and enjoy it as much as we have,” says Greg.
“And love it as much as we do,” adds Laurie.
If you’d like to learn more about this home, contact realtor Kathy Bixler of Coldwell Banker Tomlinson: 509-879-4493 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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