What a concept

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Above, the dining room of the new Porticciolo home on Mercer Island’s South end. -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Above, the dining room of the new Porticciolo home on Mercer Island’s South end.
— image credit:

Island homes tour to benefit Pratt Fine Arts Center

By Lori Ehrig
On Design

Since breaking ground last November, the building progress of KIRO TV’s Concept Homes on the South end of the Island has been documented on KIRO’s Web site and in updates on its news programs. The finished homes, designed and built by MacPherson Construction and Design, each have their own distinct personality: “Eagle Ridge” carries a Modern Industrial Craftsman style,while “Porticciolo” is a little more traditional with a hint of European flair. Both are open for public tours with ticket sales proceeds benefiting the Pratt Fine Arts Center, whose students’ artwork is prominently displayed throughout the homes.

Roger MacPherson, MacPherson Construction’s president and namesake, is a student there himself, as well as head of its board. He became interested in taking art classes when his kids outgrew “his sports coaching abilities,” as he puts it, and still wanted to be involved with their extra-curricular activities. They solved the problem by taking art classes together at Pratt, which they have done in subjects ranging from glass blowing to iron welding. In fact, MacPherson has one of his own pieces on display that combines both his glass blowing and iron welding skills.

MacPherson grew up on the Island and is a 1977 Mercer Island High School Graduate. He received his degree in architecture from Washington State University and went on to start his own design/building firm less than a year later. The company has built many homes on the Eastside but is now focusing on getting back to its Island roots. Interestingly, some of the subcontractors and artists involved with the project have Island roots too; take, for example, artist Mark Ditzler, class of 1976, whose beautifully colored glass chandelier is the focal point of the entry to the Eagle Ridge home.

The art is both functional and decorative. The central staircases in each home are metaphors for that fact and announce each one’s style as you enter. The iron beam and glass tread stairway in Eagle Ridge, by a Pratt instructor, sets the tone for the contemporary craftsman style. The use of metal is carried to the fireplaces with steel plated accents contrasting a distressed wood mantle.

Porticciolo’s counterpoint is a gracious curved staircase — framed with a sculptural iron railing on one side and cascading wood trim on the other — that meets the entry foyer with a single granite step. Downstairs, a stained glass door completes the wine room. Two more stained glass works appear as “barn doors” that slide closed to separate the media room and artistically frame it when open.

All of the bathrooms feature an interesting use of tile and stone. Eagle Ridge continues the slate entry floor up the wall of the powder room and then mixes in a rough stone bowl sink with granite countertop and pendant lights that complete the look. Upstairs, glass tile accents the subway-patterned cut marble in the master bath, beautifully juxtaposing the materials. Porticciolo’s master bath features an extensive use of mosaic tile in a basket weave pattern.

A warm neutral paint color palette is used throughout both homes, where color is brought in through the art and blown glass. The furniture for Eagle Ridge and Porticciolo is from Costco Home, and the interior design by Lisa Leo of A Contemporary Interiors and Dana Foster of DTF Design for each respectively.

The Concept Home Tour is a great way to get creative ideas and take in some beautiful pieces of art, which also happen to be for sale. It is open Friday-Sunday though Oct. 14. Tickets are $10 each with a complimentary shuttle from Clarke Beach that runs frequently during show hours. For more photos, go to and click “Concept Homes.”

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