Modern Lines and Natural Materials Created a Calm, Tailored Atmosphere in This Washington Home
Across the world, designers craft rooms that send the viewer's eye on a rapid-fire journey, darting around a cacophony of color and pattern and chaotic whimsy. At first sight, these rooms may feel bold or exciting, but they often miss a crucial aspect of interior design that sits at the core of every home: the person living inside it. At Ore Studios—a Seattle-based interior design studio—the eye is given a welcome break; instead, they curate soothing, calm spaces that feel more like a retreat. In lieu of that design rollercoaster, each room feels lived-in, but modernist.
For the studio's latest project, a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom home in the La Conner neighborhood of Skagit County, Washington—just an hour north of Seattle—firm principal Andy Beers employed contrasting color palettes and natural materials to create a home that allows for some much needed peace and serenity. "My aesthetic tends towards a warm modernism, but is highly dependent on client and context," Beers says. "We like to do what is right for the building, the place, as well as the client."
Ore Studios took charge of both the interior design and decorating process, as well as the more constructive architectural elements of the home—allowing the team to take full creative control from start to finish. "In terms of the interior, we wanted to make something that felt warm, bright, and clean. The house is meant to feel intensely comfortable, and not take away from the gorgeous site and views," continues Beers. "This translated to a very tight palette of finishes, and we relied on a lot of texture and contrast to make things feel distinguished and special while remaining quiet."
Here, the great room, complete with exposed beams and heavily contrasted windows, anchors the house with an organic, but modern edge. Ahead, a full tour of the space, from the moody dining room and cozy office to the textural main bedroom.
"Experiencing the volume of the great room once it was framed was a highlight—it was wonderful to inhabit the proportions we had drawn and get a sense for the feeling of that room," says Beers. "It was also wonderful to translate the feeling the homeowner wanted into furnishings that would complement and support the interior architecture."
Right now, at this very moment, people live in this house—something that was top of mind during Beers' design process. It was important, notes the creative, not to overdecorate, and instead allow the organic vibe to define the rest; he and his team maximized the space, vaulted the ceilings, and then filled in the gaps with paired-back furnishings, giving each piece that much more weight. "Very little changed with the finishes and fixtures through design development and construction. We purposefully left decoration a bit looser so the clients could adjust things as time progressed," adds Beers. "The sofas, tables, and chairs were all selected during construction, but carpets, pillows, and artwork were all added over time."
Now We're Cooking
Breaking from the black-and-white scheme seen throughout the rest of the home, the green island is the kitchen's focal point. This was intentional, says Beers, who notes that tackling the overall color palette was an involved process: "Light in the Pacific Northwest is very particular, and when you combine that with a strong waterfront exposure, it is hard to get a white house to feel cozy and nice," he explains. "We tested a lot of color and ended up with a very warm, creamy white paint that felt good in the flat gray light that exists here most of the year."
It also had the added benefit of making white tile, stone, and millwork look more complex, he adds. As for the accents? "We selected some very pale gray-greens for millwork and went with Benjamin Moore's Dark Olive for the kitchen island, which made it look more like a piece of furniture."
"The client specifically requested the fireplace in the dining room—it was a detail that existed in the house he grew up in. It felt nostalgic and added warmth to that space," says Beers. "The table is a single slab of Oregon white oak, which looks amazing. And we love the dining chairs, which are several sets of vintage chairs combined and refinished with black lacquer."
Stick in the Mud
In the mudroom, Beers anchored an open corridor with stone floors that could resist scratches and stains—but still adhere to the black-and-white tones of the home.
A Good Book
The balance of books and objét make for a harmonious aesthetic in the de-facto library of the house, located at the back of the mudroom.
Though this is a second home, Beers and his team crafted an office big enough to get things done—but small enough to not get stuck in. "We wanted to provide a quiet nook to leave a laptop and some light paperwork that wouldn't be in the way of the public spaces," says Beers, noting that the client preferred to keep these essentials off of the kitchen island. "We designated the area at the top of the stairs as a small study, with just enough space to pound out a few emails or catch up on bills or news."
"The deep cast-iron tub is in the guest bathroom, and looks out into the woods," says Beers. "The walls and ceilings in this room are all clad in paneling—we didn't want any drywall in the bathroom. It's great to sit in the tub and be able to have a conversation with someone in the adjacent bedroom when the door is open. It's also the perfect spot to bathe kids."
For the main bedroom, Ore Studios softened the overarching high-contrast palette with calmer, balanced colors, seen here in the multiple wood tones, creamy white blankets, and varying shades of gray.
Perfect for the first mug of morning coffee or the last glass of Pinot Noir at night, the deck overlooking the water was added as a respite—the perfect spot to take another deep breath of fresh Pacific Northwest air.
The Great Outdoors
A dock on the edge of property provides the best possible view of sunsets over the lake.