This couple and company find that the sustainable life is for them
By Cory Schachtel | July 25, 2023
Brenton Chung and Brenda Pham have lived in their Pleasantview home for just over a year, but it still looks like they just moved in.
“We don’t like clutter,” Chung understates as we sit at their empty dining table across from their nearly barren kitchen island. Nothing ornamental separates us from the slightly sectioned-off living room, where they “spend most of our time.” The young couple describes their decor taste as “more timeless, not trendy,” which is why they like the look of this renovated 1960s home.
The people at Outline Homes don’t like clutter either, specifically the clutter (and waste) that comes with tearing down and replacing a mature home like this one. Brittany and Brett Finnie flipped their first home as a side project, then eventually teamed up with friends Hayley Lattimore and Garrett Saidman to incorporate their sustainable interior design-build business, which also does renovation work.
When the bones in homes like Chung and Phang’s were built, high-quality materials were cheaper, Brett says, and some foundations were poured twice as thick as they are today. “A lot of the homes that we work on are old growth fir homes, which means that the wood is extremely dense and doesn’t move as much. These homes have already stood the test of time. We’re working on one now that is 100 years old — it’s seen ground movement and settling, and every kind of storm thrown at it, and it’s still standing. So it’s definitely proven itself.”
The company proved itself with this home. By today’s cookie-cutter standards, the home, and the pie-shaped lot it sits on, are uniquely laid out. But people in the ‘60s apparently really liked their separate spaces, so some walls — specifically the one that would have separated us from the kitchen during our pre-tour talk — had to come down. They then raised the roof and added skylights to the newly vaulted ceiling, and replaced the dated backsplash with a large, rectangular window. This ensures it will never go out of style and, along with the large front windows, naturally lights the massive island from three sides (Chung says it’s great for entertaining but can be “a lot” to clean).
The biggest change by far was the main bedroom. For some reason, in the bizzarro ‘60s, it was in the front, where the living room is now, immediately to the right of anyone who walked in the front door. Assuming they didn’t stop and snoop, a visitor would then have to walk through the main floor, down the hall and past the kitchen to reach the dining room. Outline Homes flipped it completely.
“We realized that the priority for the potential buyer of the home was to have a sanctuary as a primary bedroom,” Brittany says. “We were able to keep the en suite relatively close to where it used to be, but then flip the main bedroom over there.”
Now, visitors can remain in the open areas of the house, where they belong, while Chung and Pham enter their sanctuary through the remodeled en suite (“the double waterfall showers are a timesaver,” Pham says), then take two steps down into their sunken bedroom that makes use of the existing skylights and new back patio door. “It’s so nice because in the morning, we just open the door for the dogs and they’re off.”
As we stand on the newly built, wrap-around back patio, watching Toffee and Oreo frolic in the large mature yard, Pham points to a shed in the back, untouched by Outline Homes.
“I think it used to be a kid’s playhouse,” she says.
Chung smiles. “That’s coming next.” And maybe some clutter, too.
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