To say I was only a little amazed after stopping by the property of Ron Alessandrini and Mike Osterling would be a huge understatement.
The RAM (Ron & Mike) studio/shop, yard/gardens, and home in Woodinville has so many wonderful features I hardly know where to begin.
But instead of beginning with the place, I should start with my gracious hosts, Ron and Mike. They both can be described as truly the “hosts with the most.” The positive aura and energy that you feel around them is present from the minute you are acquainted. I felt as if I had known them both for years. Genuine, sincere, and caring are just a few of the attributes that come to mind to describe them. (Thanks for the introduction Larry!)
Ron is the Vice President of an import company with an office in Monroe. He visits China often, which is reflected in much of the art I viewed during my tour. Mike is a Realtor. They both are caregivers to the property, artwork and home where they live.
John Clise whose family developed Marymoor Park built the home in 1965. The home was surrounded by 15 acres and “was praised by architects nationwide and recognized for its unique design,” according to Ron. When John Clise passed away his wife Mary sold the property and it went through many hands before Ron bought it. It had been subdivided to the current (close to) two acres and had fallen into almost complete disrepair. Ron said, “[The house was] two weeks away from being tore down.” Ron visited the house with the Realtor. He walked into the living room, with its’ floor to ceiling windows covered in boards, and said he’d take it. Many neighbors, and likely the Realtor, thought he was crazy, but he wanted a place that he could sink “sweat equity” into.
That was 15 years ago, and Ron and Mike have sunk a ton of sweat equity into every area of the (RAM) homestead.
We started our tour in the shop/studio, which has become quite the gathering place for the neighborhood and friends since a snowstorm in 2012 according to Mike.
The studio side is a place where creativity is encouraged. There are antiques and collectibles everywhere and a large counter/table graces the middle to use for work projects. I would call it “art projects” as everything I saw was a unique work of art. There are chandeliers varying in size and design covering the ceiling and wood disks from tree stumps ready to form tables. “We are big on repurposing,” said Ron.
They are not sure as to when it began, but people started bringing stuff in and it has snowballed from there. One thing is certain; they both agreed that it is a lot of fun working on the projects. I asked if they had an outlet to sell their (RAM) art. Ron admitted that they have thought about it but hasn’t happened. For now, they enjoy giving items as gifts or donating them to local auctions that support area schools.
Just off the studio is a big shop area that is more for storage at this time to house the future projects. There are plenty of back up supplies housed here to keep them busy for years!
We next ventured out and around the yard and gardens.
There are so many wonderful sites and hidden gems in their yard. It is really amazing! From monk guardian statues from the Ming dynasty (1,110 years old), to a koi pond, to a graffiti wall (that Ron commissioned to have painted), to sculptures (glass, metal, and wood), to secret sitting areas, a monkey paw tree, and flowers, flowers, flowers, there is much to behold and ponder. Ron and Mike do all of the yard work themselves. “It is a stress release,” Mike said. “It is a ritual and fun to work in the garden,” he added. They said start every morning and end every evening with a walk in the gardens – I would too! I must add that they presented me with a beautiful bouquet to bring home that I enjoyed as I wrote this story.
Ron mentioned that it’s not unusual for them to arrive home to find a yoga class or a bible study-taking place on the lawn or a neighbor picking flowers in the garden. There have been weddings of friends on the property as well. They encourage it all and are happy to share their blessings.
It is not surprising that the gardens/yard have been a favorite on the Woodinville Garden Tour in the past. Next year, they are slated to be a stop again.
We ventured into the house next where I admired a private art collection that rivals many galleries. Artists featured include Picasso, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Dr. Seuss, and the list goes on. “All art has a story,” Ron said. It’s important for him to be sure the art is on display for all to see and enjoy.
The house has definitely been “saved” and looks terrific. A big testament to that would be the kudos they received from Joslyn (JC) Clise, John Clise’s daughter, when she visited some 40 years after she lived there with her family. She drove up and introduced herself after the house appeared in a magazine article.
Ron says he is “very blessed.” He continues, “Look what life has given us…so much.” I would return that sentiment as these two gentlemen give so much back. The law of attraction is at work in a big way at the RAM homestead.