A Colorful, Classic Update to a Queen Anne Craftsman

Ambitious paint choices liven up this Queen Anne home while accentuating its original touches.

By Darren Davis March 27, 2018 Published in the April 2018 issue of Seattle Met

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Teal in the dining room provides a stark contrast to the dark wood stains—a conversation between classic and contemporary.

Image: Tom Marks

When Jordan and Iris Levy moved to Seattle in 2012, they were looking for two things: a city to grow Jordan’s cloud computing startup and a home to one day grow their family. This city, of course, is proven fertile ground for the former. For the latter they discovered a 1914 craftsman on the quiet residential swaths of Upper Queen Anne.

While the twentysomethings loved much of their new home’s classic elements, the many wood finishes in particular, “We wanted to put a younger face on it,” says Jordan.

First, the couple nabbed some major pieces to help usher in a little of their personality—living room sofa and chair, light wood dining room table and accompanying bench, white plush dining seats, along with a sunroom table built by Jordan himself. But they still felt stuck in the space. The changing of the guard in this stalwart early-twentieth-century home called for more drastic visual changes.

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Seaglass green paint and sheer gray roman shades add a soft but distinct touch to the living room.

Image: Tom Marks

In other words, color. A lot of it. The existing browns and off-whites had to go. In their place, more lively and expressive shades that also harmonize with the interior’s wood features and furniture sets.

“Working around existing pieces can be a bigger challenge than starting from scratch,” says interior designer Lindsey Runyon, who was brought on to breathe new life and light into the space. She assembled a series of concept boards, agreeing on color schemes and the general vibe of each space. Seaglass green for the living room, brick red in the guest bedroom, teal in the dining room, and aqua in Iris’s office (she employed the space as a treatment room for her aesthetician business when its commercial location underwent redevelopment), with contrasting grays and blues throughout. 

Even though they planned out the colors long before busting out the paint cans, the sudden change from drab to dramatic took some time to get used to, particularly the dining room.

The vertical columns of dark-stained wood cutting through the blue wall proved a heavier contrast than expected against such an electric color. “For a day or two [Iris] kept going down into the room,” says Jordan. “And she was like, ‘Oh my god, what have we done!’ ” But in no time, the shock wore off. And the dining room remains a favorite for the Levys.

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Darker shades in the master bedroom (above), including the custom window treatment.

Image: Tom Marks

Runyon didn’t stop with the paint job. In order to play further with contrasts, she installed custom window treatments in each space. Sheer billowy fabric in the guest bedroom, gray roman shades for the living room, and in Iris’s office white coverings outlined in gold.

Custom textures add accents to each room in the form of throw pillows and patterned banquette cushions in the dining room. Everything from surface decorations and accessories down to the fixtures, like the drop pendant light above the sunroom table, were all chosen to be in conversation with the color stories.

Now, having settled in to the new colors, the Levys prepare for another big change: a baby. And with that addition comes another bundle of design decisions. For instance, where to put this incoming family member? Jordan likes the guest room, with its adjoining nook, for both a nursery and a room the baby could grow into. He even thinks the rich red can stay for now. At least until the newest Levy grows up to have a say. 

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Aqua and white liven up the office space.

Image: Tom Marks

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