A light-filled home is the finishing centerpiece of a couple’s 10-year project

Completely contemporary: Ralph and Alicia Siegel now have a beautiful Bainbridge Island house to go with their charming boathouse and carriage house/garage.

A fireplace separates the dining area from the great room. “The dining area doesn’t need to be exactly adjacent to the great room,” says architect Peter Brachvogel; “it’s daily hangout plus formal.” (Benjamin Benschneider/The Seattle Times)

WHEN LAST WE VISITED Ralph and Alicia Siegel, their burgeoning Bainbridge Island compound was missing just one critical component: someplace to live.

They had someplace to stay — a couple places, in fact: As phases one and two of a three-phase, 10-year, compound-amassing project, BC&J Architects already had created an enchanting cedar-shingle boathouse and a cozy, coordinating carriage house/garage on the waterfront property. Those made ideal interim nests while the Siegels were based in the Midwest, awaiting the big retirement move back to the island where they met.

“We were living in Chicago for the guts of this; we’d come back every six weeks,” Ralph says. “We used to tell our friends we lived in a garage. And we didn’t kill each other.”

Well, it is a lovely garage.

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But it was not home. Phase Three took four more years of designing and building and finessing and filling — and now, lo and behold, home is a complementary, contemporary centerpiece that wraps up the compound and establishes a special, spacious gathering place for the Siegels and their three far-flung sons and their families.

Battered columns of troweled cement plaster flank the stairs to the office/den area. “We do love what the battering creates,” says homeowner Alicia Siegel: “so many layers, so interesting.” (Benjamin Benschneider/The Seattle Times)

That contemporary profile, smack in between the boathouse and carriage house, is “very…

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