The new Dog House: Owners release renovation plans for historic tavern

A restoration of the Dog House Tavern and a reopening of the historic bar may soon be on the way in Langley.

A restoration of the Dog House Tavern and a reopening of the historic bar may soon be on the way in Langley.

Owners Janice and Charlie Kleiner recently received conditional approval from a pair of Langley citizen boards to move forward with conceptual designs.

Plans for the building include a residence and office/retail space upstairs, a restaurant and bar at street level, an event space on the lower level, and a two-car garage for the residents off the Anthes Avenue hill. Off the back of each floor juts a deck looking out toward Camano Island and Saratoga Passage.

Based on the concept designs and architect Duaine Weston’s presentation to the Design Review Board on May 19, the building’s facades will remain largely unchanged, including the bright red paint.

“Bob (Waterman) and his group are going to hold you to the fire on that one,” said Bob Dalton, the design board’s chairman, referring to Waterman and the Langley Historic Preservation Commission.

The Kleiners, the building’s owners since 2010, submitted the conceptual designs to the city’s Historic Preservation Commission and Design Review Board this week. Prepared by Duaine Weston & Associates and architect David G. Welsh, the design passed muster with the preservation commission — an unofficial step in the process. Waterman said the Kleiners were interested in seeing if their changes — such as the decks, a different First Street awning and restoring the old windows — would qualify them for the city’s historic register and a property tax break. They presented their drawings to the preservation commission May 12.

“Our sense was in looking at their plans that, although there will be additions such as the decks and windows, the main mass and two sides — south side and west side, would retain their historic characters,” Waterman said in followup interview Thursday.

On Tuesday, Janice Kleiner and Weston made a similar presentation to the Design Review Board. Other than a few concerns about lighting, fire escapes, future signage and paint color, the design board members were pleased with what they saw.

“It’s low impact and I support it,” said Ron Kasprisin, a design board member, after looking at the design specs.

The Dog House Tavern has come a long way in just the past two years. After a stop-and-start restoration and renovation plan, the building’s outcome looked grim.

In 2014, the Langley City Council passed an ordinance outlining steps for demolishing buildings that are eligible to be or already on the National or Washington historic registers. The rules came in response to an inquiry by the Kleiners about demolition, which prompted the city to adopt guidelines for historic building destruction that would prevent demolition by neglect and allow Langley to keep buildings it found historically important.

Now that the locally beloved but long dormant Dog House is on its way to waking, city officials are getting behind the project. Waterman said he fully supported their designs because they were in line with the structure’s history.

“This is a combination of a preservation and restoration project,” Waterman said at the Design Review Board’s meeting Tuesday.

Weston was seeking a general nod from city representatives before going forward for a structural engineer’s designs to be submitted to the Community Planning department for review. The four members said they conditionally okayed the concepts, but still needed to review the exterior lighting, signage and awning before giving a full approval.