With bold bathrooms (hello wallpaper) and a creatively envisioned space for hosting cocktail hour, this family home finds balance through scale, shape, and proportion.
In this Seattle home, an entertaining-forward space dubbed the "snug" is a central gathering place. Interior designer Jessica Nelson added a large picture window to keep the room from feeling too dark. Built-in cabinetry and shelving hold wine and spirits, and a seating area is upholstered in a rich, sage-green velvet.
“If it had been up to the wife, I think every single room would have been wallpapered!” So says interior designer Jessica Nelson with a laugh when talking about a recent remodel for a family of four in Seattle. “Both she and her husband have lived abroad—he’s originally from Turkey—and they have traveled extensively and curated a collection of art and objects from around the world. They both like color, but he’s more into greens and blues, whereas she wants bolder tones such as rust and eggplant.”
Finding a balance between the two preferences—and updating the tired 1980s-era house—was the goal for Nelson, founder of Jessica Nelson Design. Built in a Spanish style, which is “super-rare for Seattle,” the designer notes, the residence had potential, but the finishes, flooring, and much of the interiors needed a refresh. “The husband and wife had a minuscule primary bathroom that we expanded along with the primary bedroom,” Nelson says. “We also added a kids’ bathroom. Before, the kids had to go downstairs or come into their parents’ room in the middle of the night. It wasn’t working for anyone.”
Just off the kitchen, the dining table is a dining area with a custom table sourced through Elsie Green. The dark wood of the island is an elegant choice in the otherwise neutral palette.
The project was a gut remodel that reconfigured the layout. The renovation process included the expansion of the second-floor primary bedroom (and ensuite bathroom), the addition of a bathroom for the kids, and a total kitchen overhaul.
“The primary suite was the biggest component,” says Nelson. “We extended that out over the living room, which used to be two stories high.”
Just off the kitchen, under an arched opening is a room dubbed the “snug.” A unique flex space that emphasizes entertaining, it holds a U-shaped, velvet-upholstered seating nook, a Frame TV, and a wall of built-in cabinetry housing a bar. “The couple are big entertainers,” Nelson says, “and they make a great cocktail.” Cocooned in midnight-blue paint, the space is cozy—light wood flooring and a new picture window help prevent it from feeling too dark.
The bold jewel tones favored by the wife are on full display in the living room, which features furniture that the clients already owned. Nelson designed the bookcase and painted it an eggplant color that helps ground the space.
In the living room—a step down from the entryway—the motif of luxe materials and rich colors continues from the snug with a blue velvet-upholstered couch and a built-in bookcase with arched detailing painted in Farrow & Ball’s aubergine Brinjal. A set of chairs with rattan backs and dark wood trim layer in texture. Much of the furniture in this room was reused, and objects collected from the family’s travels adorn the fireplace mantel and bookcase shelves.
The kitchen is a bit more subdued, but it is a popular hub in the home. The sophisticated marble island top, counters, and backsplash are a focal point. “On the weekend, the wife makes big Turkish breakfast,” Nelson says. “We added a tea station with all of these pieces she’s collected over the years. She’s put a ton of thought into the styling and curation of this home.”
The first-floor powder room is a favorite project element for Nelson. The sink is sourced from Turkey and paired with traditional-feeling brass hardware.
Behind the kitchen is a long hallway that leads to the guest suite and a powder room, the latter of which Nelson says is her favorite part of the project. “It’s the tiniest room in the house,” she says, “but it’s often the room where people let you have the most fun.” Done up in a bold blue Morrison & Co. wallpaper, it features a large stone sink sourced from Turkey. “We found the sink on Etsy,” Nelson recalls, “and the clients said, ‘We’re going there soon, we can probably go and talk to the vendor in person,’ and they did!” She paired the sink with two candelabra sconces and a round rattan mirror. “I wasn’t sure about the sconces until the day they were installed, but I love the balance."
The guest suite has pops of color in through upholstery, but the truly exciting moments are in the wallpapered bathroom (above at right and below). The print from Morrison & Co. is balanced by marble finishes.
The guest suite bathroom.
Next to the powder room is the guest suite, in which another bathroom got the bold wallpaper treatment with a second Morrison & Co. print, this one green with yellow details. “This room has more of a British feel to it,” Nelson notes. She sourced a wood vanity and put layers of topcoat on it until it shone like a varnish. A marble archway leading into the shower is a fun contrast to the wallpaper; it complements the floor tiles and countertop.
The primary bedroom embraces the husband's preference for blues and greens.
Upstairs, Nelson took a more restrained approach to the primary suite, coloring the walls in a relaxing cornflower-blue paint and selecting a deep mossy-green bed that acts as a neutral. The formerly postage-stamp-sized primary bathroom was expanded to include a large walk-in shower walled in a pale-green Zellige tile. Carrera marble floors, a long white oak vanity, and a freestanding rectangular tub round out the room. The wife didn’t want window trims, so Nelson suggested extra-thick countertops to create an interesting balance.
The primary bathroom is streamlined and minimal, giving it a spa-like atmosphere.
This balance throughout the home makes the dualities—conventional and bohemian, bold colors and subdued—succeed. “We had a lot of fun with this project and pushed some things stylistically,” Nelson says. “The wife loves a traditional look, but she’s got a sneaky modern flair.”
Photos by Carina Skrobecki