Contemporary on the Coast

Story by Juliana Summers • Photography by Wayde Carroll Photography

  • Wayde Carroll Photography Wayde Carroll Photography
  • Wayde Carroll Photography Wayde Carroll Photography
  • Wayde Carroll Photography Wayde Carroll Photography
  • Wayde Carroll Photography Wayde Carroll Photography
  • Wayde Carroll Photography Wayde Carroll Photography
  • Wayde Carroll Photography Wayde Carroll Photography
  • Wayde Carroll Photography Wayde Carroll Photography
  • Wayde Carroll Photography Wayde Carroll Photography

On a dreary, wet August evening, Gary and Radine Boss requested a second showing of a coastal home on the bluff that caught Radine’s eye. “The home was kind of tucked back off the street with a fairly long driveway and lined with large spruce trees, creating great privacy,” says Gary.


Maximillian Zurek,
Treeline Construction
Rino's Tile & Stone
Plumbing & Mechanical:
Extreme Plumbing & Heating
Kunder Electric
Jon Deal, Jon's Woodworking
Designed and built by Treeline Construction
Railing Interior:
Railing posts built by General Mechanical; Cables from Feeney; Top Cap (Walnut) purchased from Hardware Specialties; all assembly and woodworking by Treeline Construction
Exterior Railing:
Stainless cable rail system by Feeney; all carpentry and design by Maximillian Zurek, Treeline Construction
Custom Metal Work (planter, accessory roof & all welding):
Rock Solid Pile Company
Mosa's Terra Tones for floor tiling; Glass tile by Interstyle; tile purchased from United Tile in Seattle and freight forwarded to Alaska
Glass Doors & Shower Glass:
Aurora Glass
Entertainment Center:
Lower cabinet built by Jon Deal; wall feature with leather tiles and quartzite wall tile installed by Treeline Construction
Drywall, Paint & Stain:
Extreme Drywall

Although he was reluctant at first, the now-homeowners stopped to consider their experience after viewing the home. This was when every inkling of doubt washed away with the calming crash of panoramic ocean views. With that, they were sold. Gary's next words were, "we’ve got to build a deck.”

The process began in 2015 at a local home show, he explains, where the new homeowners inquired about a simple deck build with Treeline Construction. This would soon turn into a complete, custom design overhaul of the coastal home. “We were so pleased with the crew and the quality of the build, we (told them) of our ideas to open up our 1981 vintage home to appreciate the amazing view and give it a contemporary flair,” says Gary. “We were off and running.”

Curbing confusion

The top-to-bottom 2017 remodel breathed new life into the previously bland structure, and it is now hardly recognizable from the dwelling that stood there before. One of the main priorities when first approaching the remodel was turning confusion into curb appeal.

“Like many Anchorage homes built in the 80's, the garage is front and center and is the first thing you see when you approach the home,” says Maximillian Zurek, architectural designer with Treeline Construction. “There were four exterior doors into the house and none of them were visible from the street. There was no hierarchy of approach, and the homeowners were tired of guests being confused about the location of the main entry.”

Updating the exterior of the home would not only provide an aesthetic upgrade, but also a necessary point of clarity. “(To) make it very clear how to approach the front entry, we added an accessory roof with a contemporary trellis structure,” explains Maximillian. “The entry deck, railing and roof share angled structural columns, and the walls and soffit are clad in a cedar rain screen creating a warm, inviting 'obvious' pathway to the main entry door that is tucked in along the side of the house.”

Bringing the outside in

Contemporary homes are generally identified by clean lines, smart design and open floor plans; yet, the “contemporary” label alone does not fully capture the Boss’ newly redesigned space. Simplistic style and metal materials mix effortlessly with wooden elements throughout their home for just a touch of natural warmth.

With the inlet view at the very center of their design vision, replacing all windows throughout the home and increasing the height of the bay windows in the sunken living room would become step one as they tackled the interior.

“We were then ready to get on with what we thought was a kitchen and dining room remodel, and ended up being a complete rebuild,” says Gary. “Max was amazing to work with. We ended up with 3D color images of what our new home would look like, and amazingly the home looks just like the drawings.”

To create Radine’s dream kitchen, a weight-bearing wall would only temporarily stand in the way. Removing that kitchen wall to open up the view, installing custom hardwood cabinets with granite countertops, placing all new kitchen appliances and much more would soon come together as their most-used space in the house. “It was (intentionally) designed to be open to the view and deck outside while preparing a meal and sharing it with friends and family,” Radine explains.

“The interior of the home was very dated and had a closed off floor plan,” says Maximillian. “We removed a majority of the walls downstairs, and the kitchen now opens into the dining and living room, making the spectacular views of the Cook Inlet and the Alaska Range visible from the majority of the ground floor.”
To continue with the open concept floor plan, the old entryway and stairs were fully replaced, giving off the feel of a much larger space. “We designed an open riser glulam staircase, which helps maintain line of sight throughout the entire space,” says Maximillian.

Heading upstairs, they were surprised to find black mold above the original shower and extending throughout the ceiling. “That held up the process for a bit,” says Gary. “Because of the mold, the decision was made to remodel all of the upstairs as well.”

Now, their serene master bath features a custom tiled glass shower, stand alone bathtub, floating bathroom cabinets and glass sinks that lend to the spa-like feel. For a dose of privacy while still maintaining an open, airy look, opaque glass barn doors were used for the master bath, master closet and laundry room.

From dated to dream home

Aside from their personal viewpoint of Cook Inlet’s Turnagain Arm, both Radine and Gary have developed a few favorite parts of the home that fit their lifestyles effortlessly.

For Radine, this would be their deck with a raised vegetable and flower bed where she gardens while viewing and listening to the many species of migratory birds passing by. For Gary, summertime at their home proves idyllic for photographing the sandhill cranes, swans, eagles and other birds. In winter, their theater room “is the perfect place to photograph the ever-changing sunsets of Redoubt volcano and wind generators of Fire Island.”
The couple found their scenic dream home within the formerly dated walls of this 80’s fixer upper. “Having our own little sanctuary that does not feel like you are in a city is simply amazing and we feel very humble about it.”