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June 5, 2024

ueda updates mid-century artist home through a japanese lens

ueda design studio balances the past and present


Hidden in the Pacific Northwest woods near Seattle, Washington, this Alden Mason House has seen a renovation by Ueda Design Studio. Originally crafted in 1958 for renowned Seattle artist Alden Mason by architect Charles A. Marsh Jr. and builder Tom Paulsen, the house embodies the essence of Northwest Mid-Century Modern design. Its unique charm lies in its connection to nature – a quality the new owners instantly fell in love with upon acquiring the property in 2013.


While the owners cherished the home’s historical significance, it presented challenges common to mid-century architecture — a lack of modern amenities like spacious bathrooms and inadequate insulation for Seattle’s chilly winters. Ueda Design Studio, entrusted with the renovation, approached the project with a respect for the home’s original character. Their aim was to blend modern upgrades with the existing design, similar to a historical restoration.
images © Kevin Scott



a renovation to celebrate artist alden mason


The transformation by Ueda Design Studio began upon entering the Alden Mason House. The original foyer, lacking storage, was subtly updated with integrated shoe cabinets and a coat closet that complemented the existing design. The artist’s former studios flanking the entrance were reimagined as a music room and an office, preserving the space’s creative purpose while acknowledging the evolution of artistic expression. A special discovery was made by the architects during the removal of laminate flooring — paint stains on the concrete underneath offered a glimpse into Alden Mason’s artistic process.

ueda alden mason house
the Alden Mason House, first designed in 1958, embodies Northwest Mid-Century Modern architecture



inside the transformed seattle house


Ascending the stairs of Ueda’s renovated Alden Mason House, visitors are greeted by a skylight bathing the main level in natural light. A captivating backdrop unfolds through the windows, showcasing the surrounding trees and the gentle creek – a perfect complement to the wall sculpture by Alden Mason prominently displayed in this space. The living room exemplifies the successful marriage of modern and classic elements. The expansive windows blur the lines between indoors and outdoors, while a steel fireplace and contemporary furniture create a timeless environment.


The kitchen renovation prioritized functionality, elegance, and a connection to the home’s existing aesthetic. The new cabinetry in walnut and white laminate integrates with the established wood tones throughout the house, maintaining a bright and inviting atmosphere. A strategically placed skylight further enhances the light-filled space, while a unique tube-type exhaust hood visually connects the kitchen to the living room’s fireplace.

ueda alden mason house
new owners sought to modernize the home while preserving its historical character



Ensuring year-round comfort was paramount for Ueda Design Studio. Staying within budget, they focused on improving the home’s thermal performance. The installation of radiant floor heating on the main level and radiant wall heaters on the lower level, along with a Heat Recovery Ventilation system and upgraded roof insulation, significantly increased the home’s energy efficiency and winter warmth.

ueda alden mason house
the kitchen renovation prioritized functionality and a timeless aesthetic
ueda updates mid-century modern artist home in seattle through japanese lens
the artist’s studios were transformed into a music room and an office, honoring the home’s creative spirit

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