The debut of Your Place, the new home for your DIY projects

In a historically huge project, Kevin Howard has spent 30 years remodeling an abandoned estate, whose new floors he crafted from pre-Civil War-era wood.

Kevin Howard has spent 30 years remodeling and adding on to his 1907 home. “The design is based on everything being oversized,” he says. “Master suite, large rooms, high ceilings, French doors that connect rooms, open kitchen plans, formal dining areas and the Lake Washington view.” His 3,000 historic jazz albums, alphabetized, fill the music-room shelves to the right. (Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times)

THE AGED, EMPTY ESTATE had seen better days. Like in 1907, for sure, when the formidable home claimed its hilltop foothold in Rainier Beach. But house and hold had gone decidedly downhill by 1986, when Kevin Howard first encountered the tipsy relic.

“The property was particularly troublesome because the house sat on large boulders as part of the foundation,” Howard says. “Over the decades, the boulders had shifted, causing the house to slip onto the ground.”

Where there’s trouble, there’s often potential — and opportunity. The home was listed for $100,000, Howard says; he paid $48,000.


This week, we launch a brand-new, occasional NW Living feature called Your Place, focused on inspirational, instructional or just plain enjoyable home projects created and/or carried out by YOU.

If you’d like us to consider yours, please submit a brief project summary, along with photos, to [email protected], and maybe we’ll come visit your place, for Your Place, soon.

He then spent 30 years making the home his own — but not necessarily on his own.

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His best friend/instigator Leo “was the driving force,” Howard says. “He brought out something in me I didn’t know I could do. He passed away in 1992, but I knew his vision.”

Here’s how it started:…

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