Form & function
Artisans, craftsmen and perfectionists join forces to create an immaculately finished home
Story by Mara Severin• Photography by Dave M. Davis Photography
The warm red exterior of Michael and Amanda Hansen’s Pacific Northwest-style home on the Anchorage hillside is an inviting sight on a pale, frosty morning. But visiting this beautiful home at sunrise almost does it a disservice. From virtually every room in the house, boundless views of Denali, Turnagain Arm, Sleeping Lady and the city’s lights are intensified by a backdrop of gold, fuchsia and tangerine. It takes some time before a visitor can turn their eyes to the space within. It takes some time, but it’s worth the wait.
MX&B Development, LLC
Martha Lee, Blind Monkey Designs
907 Fire Protection, LLC
Flooring and tile
Andre Kozel, AK Floors
Wicanders, K&W Interiors
Granite, quartz and
Hard Rock Designs
Douglas fir, Jon's Woodworking, LLC
Dining room light
Jeremy Williams, Alaska Custom Fabrication
Viking and Miele, Allen & Petersen
Mega Ultra Corp
Spark Modern Fires
Hansgrohe, Pacific Plumbing Supply Co.
Crazy Raven Carpentry
Roofing & Exterior
Rain Proof Roofing, LLC
Shakertown cedar siding
Smokey's Custom Carpentry
Graceful yet informal, the home emphasizes natural, often rustic materials and a serene, subtle color palette. It’s a tranquil place, but the house finds its energy and charisma in the exquisite craftsmanship found throughout. From the heft of the concrete fireplace that anchors the main living space to the bevel on a countertop, every element of the home seems thoughtful. Everything lends to a cohesion. The house, above all, feels finished.
For the team behind the house, Terry and Dennelle Seetomona, of MX&B Development LLC, building is not just a business – it’s personal. “We build every house as if we’re going to live in it,” says Dennelle. “We want to live in a quality home,” she says. “And if we decide to sell, we want to sell a quality home.”
The airy, light-filled living room with its breathtaking views is given gravity with roughly textured walls, deep-toned cork flooring, and powerful décor elements. The highlight of the room, created by Eric Kenison and Shon Johnson of Concreation, is the incredible two-story, concrete fireplace that has been crafted to look like vintage, re-claimed wood from an age-bleached farmhouse. The illusion is uncanny. “People have literally accused me of lying when I say that it’s concrete,” says Dennelle.
Balancing the bulk of the fireplace is an eclectic window feature created by Robert Mcgee of Mega Ultra Corp. A show-stopping frame for the stunning views was created with slim pieces of wood hand-fitted around the window – the effect is three-dimensional and has a bold presence in the room. The effect is so unique that it almost rivals the view. “I asked for something irregular,” says Dennelle. “What I got was a work of art.”
A kitchen with refinement
The kitchen, while central to the main living space, is elegant and discreet. The stainless steel range and arch of the sink’s faucet are the only hints at the room’s functionality. The smooth hardwood cabinetry (with perfectly aligned wood grain) has no knobs or visible hardware. “I like kitchens that have a furniture feel to them,” says Dennelle.
The dining room, nestled into a windowed nook is crowned by a beautiful light fixture of hot rolled steel by Jeremy Williams of Alaska Custom Fabrication. The natural iridescence of the material changes with the ever-changing natural light in the room. The effect is mysterious and hints at the elusive beauty of the Northern Lights.
A house with a story to tell
Enveloped in the calm and polish of the home, it’s hard to picture the chaos of its initial construction. “Prepping the land was absolutely crazy,” says Dennelle. “It took a solid week of blasting.” The stubbornness of the terrain called for some quick design changes but the results were serendipitous. “We have organic retaining walls,” says Dennelle pointing to a cross-section of massive rock visible from the home’s back windows.
“The evidence of having to blast is an interesting element,” says Terry. It tells the home’s story.
Michael agrees: “The way the home now seems carved out of the bedrock of the hill adds an element of grounding and warmth to the views from the interior.”
A night on the town – or on the second floor
Upstairs, three en-suite bedrooms, an office space, and a light-filled recreational room (perfect for exercise or meditation) are flanked around an open lounge area with a wet-bar and room for a pool table. And if that’s not enough to keep you entertained, there’s always the home-theater with the built-in light show and elegant wooden beams. Even in this room, the décor is carefully tied into the rest of the house.
Craftsmen whose talents are set in stone
Terry and Dennelle love to talk about their projects and they are incorrigible name-droppers – the names, that is, of the craftsmen and artisans who help them achieve their vision. “I like to give credit where it’s due and it always pays me back one-hundred fold,” says Terry. He points to a particularly beautiful marble countertop on the upstairs wet bar with a specifically angled bevel. He and Dennelle saw the bevel in a warehouse in the Lower 48 and wanted to replicate it. Troy Millhouse of Hard Rock Designs turned their measurements and hopes into reality. “He worked it out,” says Terry. “He spent time and resources trying to get it just right. Sometimes we ask for something and our guys make it better.”
Dennelle then points to the edge of the marble top indicating where a thin vein in the marble is perfectly lined up from the face of the stone down the side.
“We have the best workers,” says Terry. “They are the best people I’ve ever met in my life.”
A house that sells itself
None of this is lost on the Hansens. “The attention to detail, and the always-functional design, border on the obsessive,” says Michael. “But there are no meaningless or superfluous design elements.”
It’s not every home that can sell itself to a couple who aren’t even shopping. But that’s just what this one did. “We weren’t really looking for a house,” says Michael. “I have some land on the hillside that we were planning on designing and building on, but when we saw this home, we quickly changed our minds. We couldn’t be happier if we had designed and built it all ourselves.”