Robin & Clay's Whimsical Capitol Hill Home

Robin & Clay's Whimsical Capitol Hill Home

Andie Powers
Apr 30, 2012

Name: Robin & Clay Martin
Location: Capitol Hill, Seattle, Washington
Size: 4,500 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years; Owned

Located in the sprawling neighborhood of Capitol Hill in Seattle, Washington, Robin and Clay's four-story home welcomes all with a bright and sunny yellow door, with blooming garden out front. The interior of the house has an unexpected quality about it, bursting with quirky aesthetics, contrasting with classical touches, and always lively with children playing.

From the countertops, kitchen hardware and newly painted children's bathroom, it's obvious that each room contains a do-it-yourself history from their recent (and ongoing) remodel. Plus, despite its size, the home conveys a warm, familial feeling. During my hour-long photo shoot, Robin cooked noodles for her kids in the kitchen and chatted with me about the origins of her brightly colored fiesta-ware and pear paintings and her recent at-home projects, including those fabulous modern, painted mason jars in the dining room and bathroom, plus old family furniture recycled into fresh pieces.

The most amazing part of the house, in my opinion, is that it just keeps going! The top floor holds a secret ship-like corridor containing a guest room, with captain's and doctor's "quarters," and marine-style light fixtures. They've got great plans for that attic space, but with the size of the space and wide span of Robin and Clay's creativity, it's a work in progress. Even more fun (for the kids especially) is the basement hideaway containing children-sized kitchens, vintage toys and a built-in swing set! I had so much fun exploring the home, and can't wait to see what new touches come about in the future.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Elegant and whimsical. We aren't tied to one aesthetic in particular.

Favorite Element: I love the pantry that holds our dishes and cookbooks. My husband stripped off layers of white paint and peeled off a fake wood laminate from the counter top to reveal beautiful real wood.

Biggest Challenge: It's a big house, which I'm not complaining about, but things tend to get dwarfed, especially carpets and art work.

What Friends Say: Our neighbor once claimed that our house "pulsates with activity."

Biggest Embarrassment: The aluminum siding on the outside is probably the biggest.

Proudest DIY: The hundreds of pieces of brass hardware (hinges, drawer pulls, window locks etc.) that Clay (the husband) stripped and put back into place when we bought the house. He just boiled them in water and scraped them with a wire brush. He also redid the pantry and the blue kid bathroom.

Biggest Indulgence: The light fixtures from Mary Davis Lighting in La Conner, WA. When we bought the house the light fixtures were mostly from the 80s and were awful. One by one we've been able to replace them with vintage fixtures. I really love the sconces in the dining room and stairway. They are from a recently demolished turn-of-the-century bank in Everett, WA.

Best Advice: Live in a space before remodeling. You can make a best guess at how you are going to use a space, but you never really know until you actually live there.

Dream Sources: Re-Store in Ballard for salvaged materials, Craigslist and Pacific Galleries in SODO.

Resources of Note:


    • Bedroom: "Cinnamon Slate" Benjamin Moore
    • Kid bathroom: "Hague Blue" Farrow and Ball
    • Front Door: "Sunbeam" Benjamin Moore
    • Entry and Hallways: "Brookside Moss" Benjamin Moore


    • Turquoise Piano - Free from my parent's friends. Nobody wanted it because it was turquoise. We wanted it because it was turquoise.


    • Couch - Kasala
    • Ottomans - Craigslist
    • Chairs - Salvaged from my parent's house, re-covered and painted


    • Table - David Smith
    • Pear Paintings - Errol Ger


    • Barstools - Area 51
    • Counter Tops - PaperStone in Mocha


    • Bed, nightstands and smaller lamp - Ikea
    • Lamp - Target
    • Pillows - West Elm and homemade


    • Purple painting of little girl in daughter's closet: Maggie Schneider
    • 4 paintings in kids bedrooms (birds, superhero, monkey, robot) - Matthew Porter
    • Pirate, elephant and astronaut illustrations - Kids Haus


    • Toilet- It's a Kohler but I purchased it used on Craigslist (Really!)
    • Sink- Kohler Brokway 36"


    • Paintings of kids hanging over bench - Page K. Eaton
    • Bench fabric by Schumacher and Tina Turk - Santorini Print in Persimmon
    • Most light fixtures from Mary Davis Vintage Lighting

    Thanks, Robin & Clay!

    (Images: Andie Wurster)

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