Transplanted from the West Coast to the Pacific Northwest, the owner of this home wanted to prove that California is more than just a place, it’s a state of mind.
The classic Craftsman home offered some inspirational elements to play around with, but it was up to Bellingham-based interior designer Lisa Staton to bring the sun in and transform it into a comfortable, modern home.
“The bones of the house, including the coffered ceiling, were in place, but the house was a little cold and sterile when our customers bought it,” explains Lisa. “We wanted to add warmth and color to the home while remaining cozy and relaxing.”
The client, a clothing designer and visual artist, brought his own sensibility to the project and informed about the commission to redesign the space. “Originally from Northern California, our client has a real affinity for the colors and textiles of the American Southwest, which we incorporated into our design choices,” explains Lisa. “The client is also a working artist and her own paintings are displayed throughout the house.”
Below Lisa, founder of Lisa Staton Design (opens in new tab)takes housing etc during a tour of the property.
If an entrance would ever set the tone for a home, this is it. Relaxed, cozy and comfortable, it’s not just a transitional room, but a space to linger.
“This was all about layering textures and textiles,” explains Lisa. “Using vintage rugs and cushions and a custom brass buttoned pouf, we wanted to create a space that says, ‘Come in and put your feet up and stay a while.’
The California bohemian vibe that acts as a continuous line in the house really sets in in this open plan living room.
“The living room was about creating a relaxed and informal atmosphere,” explains Lisa. Neutral but full of textural touches and vintage finds, it’s a decidedly “cool” design as it feels like it’s not trying too hard. And isn’t that the real trick to a true boho living room?
“We upholstered a vintage sofa in flax and placed it on a thick mohair plush rug,” says Lisa, “while the vintage wicker chairs were found at an online auction, white and slightly broken when we found them. We took a chance and had a local manufacturer fix the wicker and dye the chairs a more neutral hue.”
The coffee table is an old Chinese vintage work table, dressed eclectic like the fireplace, as if only the decoration of the coffee table is just a small collection of the customer’s favorite things.
For the windows, tailored but sheer wool curtains hang clean and fresh from a specially hand-forged iron rod,” explains Lisa. “The wool helps them stay soft and ethereal.”
“The dining room continues this combination of handcrafted and found,” says Lisa, channeling the Californian influences with a surfboard in the corner of the room.
The table, for example, is vintage, found at Kassie Keith Antiques, while the dining chairs were owned and recovered by the customer. “The end chair cushions are made with fabric from Suay LA, an amazing company working to reduce waste through upcycled textiles,” explains Lisa.
The lighting is a handcrafted cluster by ceramist Heather Levine which, when illuminated, casts intricate patterns of light throughout the space.
A space defined more by its openness to others than its own wall, interior trees add height and texture, while a nearby console table creates a showpiece for another collection of intriguing bohemian artifacts.
While this property’s kitchen uses some particularly interesting design tricks, it still captures the essence of effortlessness that defines this home. “The brief was casual California chic for the kitchen,” says Lisa, “plus he needed to be prepared for a lot of cooking.”
The kitchen island has seating that ensures the kitchen remains a social space, but it’s clear this kitchen belongs to someone who actually uses it for cooking, as ingredients are close at hand thanks to a clever kitchen shelving idea.
“The window shelf combo allows for sunlight while still providing storage space,” says Lisa, “and as an avid cook, you have grains and nuts, herbs and dried garlic and peppers right at your fingertips. It’s a practical, no-fuss approach to an active yet stylish kitchen.”
This small but perfectly formed powder room showcases some of the home’s natural charm. “The sink and wall paneling came with the house,” explains Lisa, “but we added layers of found and unusual shapes together with our client.”
One of the key issues for the client’s job was getting plenty of sunlight in — “or at least as much as possible in the Pacific Northwest,” says Lisa. “Again, the master bathroom was all about the window and maximizing sunlight.”
A clever little bathroom layout idea was key to making this design work. “Placing the vanity on the same wall as the window allows for a more spacious vanity and sink area, but still allows natural light to flow through in the morning,” explains Lisa. The double vanity allows for a mirror over the second sink, while cute little cafe curtains maintain privacy while still allowing for a green glimpse.’
To ensure the design is practical, Lisa placed the custom steel cabinet between the sinks for bathroom essentials within easy reach of storage, also freeing up crucial bathroom countertop space.
At the back of the house, this second living space embraces the eclectic California look by balancing relaxed neutrals with some colorful interventions. “While her own art and textile collections are colorful, she wanted to infuse the home with warm and soothing layers that our company is known for,” explains Lisa.
The owner’s own artwork is a prominent feature in this space, echoing the colors and patterns of textiles from the American Southwest.
The division of space means that behind the sofa, a beautiful textured design and folding windows give this space a better connection to the backyard in warm weather, adding to that charming feel of indoor/outdoor living.
“There’s no TV,” explains Lisa, “it’s just a place in a busy city to escape and relax – right off the kitchen and with access to the patio and backyard.”