Fairley home honored with Trillium Heritage Award

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The home of Sen. Darlene and Mr. Michael Fairley in Lake Forest Park was honored with the Trillium Heritage Award, presented by the Shoreline Historical Museum at its annual meeting November 21 2009. The Trillium award recognizes outstanding examples of pre-1941 architecture in the communities of Lake Forest Park, North Seattle and Shoreline. According to the Shoreline Historical Museum, the purpose of the Award is to “raise awareness of the community’s past, as well as encourage excellence in maintenance and perpetuation of historic buildings in accordance with their original style.”

The Fairley’s home, built in 1924, is already on the King County historic homes list. It is a modified English Cotswold style, built as a family home by Gardner Gwinn, who also built the Ben Franklin Hotel in downtown Seattle. The Ben Franklin was demolished in 1980 to build the Westin Hotel.

Darlene Fairley says that she and her husband were attracted to the house because of the large Batchelder fireplace in the living room with its original American Art Pottery tiles, as well as the three-layer oak floors, the mahogany trim and the leaded glass windows.  “As antique dealers, we appreciate the artistry of vintage homes.  This is actually the newest home we have owned."

The Fairleys found out about the fish pond when they were inspecting the property and their then-two year old son ran into a grove of trees and dropped out of sight. Michael Fairley dug the toddler out of what proved to be a 12 foot marble-bottomed fish and water lily pond which was completely filled with debris.

Mrs. Gwinn told the Fairleys that there had originally been a sundial on the lawn but the family who purchased the home from them parked a large piece of construction equipment on the lawn and knocked over the sun dial. The Fairleys recently commissioned a sun dial from artist Tony Angell. Forgetting to mention that they wanted it to be functional, Tony included his trademark birds, resting on the top of the dial. 

The "C" on the chimney was originally a "G" for Gwinn. The next owners, whose name began with a "C", chiseled off part of the letter to fit their name. "Since my maiden name was Cook," said Sen. Fairley, "I was happy to leave it that way." 

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