Our Empty Nest Renovation & 6 Months in Seattle

empty nest renovation - Glen Summer House
The renovation of our empty nester fixer-upper will begin in September.

The last time I wrote about the empty nest renovation was clear back in January. It has been quite the roller coaster ride with so many details, so many decisions, so many ups and downs.

A quick review:

Craig and I decided to sell our home, downsize and leave our beach community of Laguna Niguel after 27 years. We left our dear friends, daily routine, and a house full of memories. Not an easy decision.

We purchased a much smaller, 1937 Spanish Colonial fixer-upper home on a quaint, tree-lined street in Pasadena, CA in order to live closer to our family and my Dad who is fighting cancer.

With so many adjustments and challenges, these past seven months have been really difficult and exhausting, however the quality time I have been able to spend with my Dad has been priceless. The move was truly worth every single minute of heartache or discomfort.

We hired an amazing architect, a well recommended contractor and were finally given approval by the city to begin. Truthfully, we have delayed the start a couple of months because of Dad’s illness. He is an inspiration and has suffered more than any person should ever have to. Dad is still outrunning it and plans to continue on this path!

We have chosen fixtures, tile, marble, granite, appliances and floor coverings. The decision making is overwhelming, but exciting. So… now we needed to find a place to live while the house was under construction. The renovation will include every room and every crevice and to live there was just not feasible.

Craig and I spent a great deal of time looking for a place to rent in Pasadena. We did not have much luck due to the fact that we only wanted to rent for six months and we have a dog, who happens to be 57 pounds, which is considerably over the weight limit (45 lbs) of the condo complexes we viewed. Yes, we even thought of cheating, but they check the vet records!

Additionally, it is very expensive to rent a nice home in this area and still most landlords are not open to renting to dogs; even our energetic two year old, Rocco. Trying to keep these costs down, we searched a little further.

A new adventure in Seattle ~

Via 6 Seattle


We have rented a luxury apartment in downtown Seattle that welcomed Rocco and our 6 month leasing requirement. And… it is also the same building where our daughter Alex lives. The rent is at least half of what it would cost in Pasadena. We absolutely adore Seattle and have been visiting there for years. Craig and I can both work from home, so this was not an obstacle. Our son Nick recently moved to San Francisco and no longer lives nearby, we felt free to try this adventure!

I know what you are thinking – What did Alex think? Actually, it was her idea. She has lived away from us in Seattle for nine years and was thrilled to have us finally close by and loves the convenience of us living in her building!

The new digs:

Located in a downtown Seattle area called Belltown, our new building is named Via6 and it is just the coolest place! A multi-use, eco-friendly building, only five blocks from the water and Pike Place Market. Considered a “vertical community”, it is anchored with Tanakasan, a Tom Douglas restaurant, a fabulous market called Home Remedy and a coffee house (of course it’s Seattle). We have an incredible view of the Puget Sound and will fulfill a life long dream of living an urban lifestyle. Here is a quick video of the apartment. If you are reading this via email, click===> here to watch it.


The apartment is small, really small. Living like minimalists, we will take just what we need for the six months. We had a blast visiting IKEA and choosing and purchasing our furniture requirements.

Via 6 view Seattle
The view from the apartment!


View of the restaurants in the lobby.
View of the restaurants in the lobby.


Home Remedy offers delicious food to go and some market items.
Home Remedy offers delicious food to go and some market items.


The lobby and the coffee bar.
The lobby and the coffee bar.


The seventh floor has a common area with fireplaces and recreation room with big screens and kitchens
The seventh floor has a common area with fireplaces and recreation room with big screens and kitchens


Downtown Seattle has a plethora of dog parks for us to play with Rocco. I can walk to Whole Foods, to Pilates class, restaurants and can even take the Light Rail to Sea Tac Airport. I can fly into the Burbank Airport which is a ten minute drive to our Pasadena home, check on the house project and spend time with the family.

Adventure at midlife! No kidding, who knew we would ever be attempting a move like this?

This is only the beginning of this adventurous move and I know that we can handle the challenges that will definitlely come our way. We can spend quality time with our daughter and live a quasi-nomadic, fairly unusual (for us) living situation.

Next Sunday morning we start our road trip up the coast. The three of us (including Rocco) will stop three different nights on our way to Seattle. We have reservations at several dog-friendly hotels and this will be our first time traveling with a dog. This should be interesting, please wish us luck, I think we may need a little extra help.

Let us know if you decide to come to our newly adopted city. There won’t be any room in our apartment for you as there is barely room for us. However, there are great hotels on every block and many different options!

I will write soon about our Road Trip Adventure and give you more details of the house renovation.

I hope your summer is going well.


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28 thoughts on “Our Empty Nest Renovation & 6 Months in Seattle”

  1. Hi Suzanne! What a great adventure. You are so SMART to get away while you are renovating and what fun to try something completely different. The location looks to be great with all sorts of things within easy distance. You might have to get yourself some bikes too. It will be interesting to see how your dog transitions to living in a high rise but no matter what–it is only for six months! I’m looking forward to hearing how it goes. ~Kathy

  2. So sorry your father is ill but how wonderful you were able to move closer.
    I am totally jealous of your ‘urban adventure’ to have the chance for city living sounds wnderful-and to return to a newly rehabbed house even better!
    Sending good thoughts to your Dad and enjoy the time near your daughter.

  3. Super excited for you and your new adventure…albeit a temporary one. We live in Seattle and we love it here. Our youngest is getting ready to head out to UCLA for her freshman year and we are embarking on our Empty Nest adventure. Just booked a 12 day cruise for the spring. Good luck to you!!!!!

    • Thank you Stephanie – Congratulations on your new Empty Nest Adventure! Our youngest just graduated from UCLA and I am an alumni and a member of Parents’ Council. If I can ever help you in any way, let me know. If you would like to share any of your adventures, we always are happy to have them.

  4. Wow Suzanne and Craig!!! How fun that you get to live so close to Alex(Princess) after so many years!!! Probably one of the smartest decisions you could make to not live in a home while it’s being remodeled!!! Congratulations and I hope we see you in SEATTLE…you just never know!!!

  5. What a grand adventure! I hope you like living urban as much as we do! And I hope that your father will be okay. I admire your choices to be there for him. Years ago (before husband and kids) I choose to help my dad and while it took me on a 9 year detour, I do not regret being there for him when he needed me. PS: your new building looks great!

  6. Your place in Seattle looks so cool. I love Seattle and have friends in Queen Anne. Glad you were able to spend time with your dad too….make sure to check out the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and of course, the Duck tour!

    • Thank you Vicki – We have been visiting Seattle for the last 9 years because of our daughter living there. There are so many great things to see, to eat and to do! Thank you for your comments 🙂

  7. Wow!!!! Sounds amazing and stressful. We drove cross country with two dogs to open another salon in Cincinnati Ohio. I can tell you from our experience, every new adventure has been a growing, learning and wonderful experience for us. We did the same in both Oregon and Santa Barbara. Enjoy!!! Love hearing about everything Suzanne. Lisa

    • Thank you Lisa! That is so comforting to know. You guys have paved the way for the rest of us! Thank you for reading and for your support. 🙂

  8. We’ve moved twice since we sold our house in the suburbs—admittedly, one move was just down the hall in the same apartment building. Your saga sounds quite intense. I mean it’s always at least somewhat intense, but your family circumstances made it even more so, I’m sure. Our dog has always done great on road trips, but the longest he has been on is the 330 miles between Philly and Boston. He just sleeps in the car, but we’ve never stayed at a hotel with him. I think he’ll just be happy to be with both his people all day every day. I’d be worried about being so far away during a major house renovation. OTOH, maybe it’s better that way—-if your general contractor does his job. Good luck with everything and give us some updates along the way.

  9. Your house in Pasadena has a lot of curbside appeal and I can’t wait to see how the renovation turns out. And your “MEANTIME” plan sounds like a great way to spend the interval in a city you love as well as trying out the urban lifestyle and being close to your daughter. A winning plan any way you look at it!

  10. Our empty nest life begins tomorrow, after dropping our daughter at college (our son checked in yesterday). I do not think we will sell the house for a bit but I wonder what adventures await us.

  11. OMG… I LOVE the apartment!! It’s really cool that it was Alex’s idea too – she wants to be close to you because you’re awesome parents!! Can’t wait for more pictures and sharing of your new adventure!!


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