We love how Stef and her husband, Mike, have managed to achieve that often elusive balance of style and comfort while also choosing pieces that reflect their personalities. One look through her photos and we were wishing she'd invite us over to hang out in the Tea Nook.
Our Style: Eclectic modern with a blend of east and west. I love simple lines but also appreciate thoughtful detail.
The inspiration for our home: My inspiration comes from various places. As much as I try to stick with a style for the rooms, I always end up with a combination that is very much about who I am. My roots are in SE Asia but at the same time, the West draws me. That said, we love to entertain at home so most of how the space has been designed is with that in mind. Quite a bit of consideration has been put into the flow of the room and the comfort factor of our guests.
Favorite element: It has to be my tea nook. The architect of the home intended for this part of the main floor to be a family room, since it is next to the dining room-kitchen area but I converted it into a conversation corner. Folks can spill into the tea nook to sit and talk. I sometimes spend an afternoon there, reading and sipping oolong.
Biggest challenge in designing our home: Trying not to do it all at once since this is our first home. One specific challenge: finding the right spot for the flat-screen TV. The many windows in the house let in a lot of light (a good thing for grey months in the PNW) but it creates glare on the TV screen. Our living room is going to be our next project (not sure how far off) -- we would like to mount the TV above our fireplace and rearrange the pieces in the room to fit a new sofa.
What friends say about our home: When they first come in the front door, they expect a small interior as the house has a narrow front, but the open concept on the main level often surprises them. They also tell me that it is very beautiful and at the same time, a very comfortable place to be.
Biggest embarrassment in our home: A dining table that we have outgrown and have yet to replace because finding the right chairs has been a huge challenge.
Proudest DIY: Our outdoor blue-stone patio. In the original design, the backdoor from our kitchen leads down into a small lawn backyard. We didn't have a spot to grill and eat out (which we love to do in the summer) so we removed sod and some shrubs planted by the builder and built our blue-stone patio, edged with Mexican beach pebbles. It still needs some containers to soften the edges but it served us well last summer, as we had many a backyard soiree.
Biggest indulgence with respect to our home: Our big flat-screen TV with a good sound system that makes it sound like the band is actually playing in the house.
Best advice given: You've only succeeded if it still feels like home after you've prettied it up.
Best advice received: One room at a time, baby.
Dream source for stuff: Room & Board
• GE package that came with the home
• Maytag Washer & Dryer from Lowe's
• Came with the home
• Replaced some with ones from Lowe's
• Cost Plus World Market
• The Container Store
• Design Public
• Pier 1 Imports
• West Elm
• Urban Outfitters
• Came with the house
• Design Public
• Valspar (formerly American Tradition) from Lowe's
• Red birch flooring came with house
Rugs and Carpets:
• Star Decorating
Tiles and Stone:
• Came with house
• eGreen Landscaping (West Seattle)
• Restoration Hardware
• Bed Bath & Beyond
• Homemade with fabrics from Joann and Reprodepot
• West Elm
Thanks, Stef and Mike!
(Check out Stef's blog here)
(Edited from a post originally published 05.01.07)