Baker Leslie Mackie's Vashon barn is truly home sweet home
The founder of Macrina Bakery calls her home "the Barnstorm Project." Allison Hogue and Richard Floisand of Floisand Studio were the architects. It was built by Steve Brown of SB Construction.
Pacific NW associate editor
CINNAMON ROLLS wearing baker's-parchment jackets rest next to the apple pull-apart cake on the kitchen counter, 19 feet long, butcher block end to end. They are fresh from the oven, and a trail of steam sends a delicious alert to all those who enter: baked goods ahead.
Of course, this is where Leslie Mackie lives.
Mackie is the founder/chief creative officer of Macrina Bakery and author of two cookbooks that share her joy of all things yeast-raised. But here, deep into Vashon Island, is another of her great joys, this one more private, most personal — her home.
"I fell in love with Vashon a long time ago," Mackie says. "I was just waiting for Oli to be OK with it."
Oli is her daughter, Olivia. From her seat on the stairs, her arms full of Jasper, one of the family's two rescue dogs, she watches her mother pluck a roll out of the tin.
"You want a roll like you had this morning?" Mom asks.
"It's grounding," Mackie says of their new home, into which they moved after "a sprint to the finish" in August. "You give so much of yourself that you need that sort of foundation to go from."
Mackie is an ear-to-ear smile working from her command center of a kitchen in what was once, and still is, a gambreled-roof barn on six acres of forest/hazelnut orchard.
"I call this the Barnstorm Project," she says with a glance that sweeps the vast open space; small living room off the front door (sitting beneath the original barn ceiling), dining room to the back. Her office, TV room, a guest room tucked into nooks. Upstairs, a long farmstead hallway of doors (to bedrooms and baths) 4,100 square feet in all.
"I fell in love with barns," Mackie says. "A neighbor said, 'Oh, you might love mine.' It took three years from that conversation to buying the property."
Once Mackie had her barn, the architects came easily, Allison Hogue and Richard Floisand of Floisand Studio. They were Macrina's Sodo neighbors and had remade Mackie's space there.
"I tried to do this as reasonably as possible," she says of the budget-first project. "They presented ideas I never would have thought of; they have so many things in their heads. But I tried to use them as minimally as possible, permitting and detail drawings."
Mackie took it from there, with assists all along the way.
"I felt lucky to work with people who asked me the right questions so I could answer them," she says.
There was one question, however, that Mackie asked (over and over): "This is how it's designed. Now, if there are more economical ways to make this, can you let me know?"
Tiles are from Tiles for Less. Doors, closeouts from Frank Lumber "The Door Store." Closet grips are $15 hardware pieces. Ply cabinets from Kerf Design. The floor is largely the original concrete, polished. Mackie used islanders whenever possible. The builder was Steve Brown of SB Construction.
We head off to two spots homeowners usually do not share. "Here's one thing I just discovered, and I'm so excited," Mackie says, throwing open the door to the pump and fire-suppression closet. "It's cold enough in here to chill dough overnight."
We head across the house. "And this room (boiler and heater) is warm, so I can raise the bread.
"It's so great!"
Rebecca Teagarden writes about design and architecture for Pacific NW magazine. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.