Every career in every genre has certain milestones that indicate a job well done. For an interior designer, one of those is certainly when your design-centric parents come to you for the renovation of your childhood home. This moment “was one of the most challenging and rewarding projects I’ve ever done,” says Malibu-based designer Taylor Ogle of , who took on her parents' Norman-style house on Washington’s idyllic Bainbridge Island. “The project was dear to my heart, and since they’re family, I wanted to please them,” Ogle adds.
Task number one was getting the entire family comfortable with one cohesive design plan, which proved difficult because “my stepfather is very traditional, and my mother prefers a clean, modern look,” she explains. Ogle proposed a restoration, and addition, that would weave their two distinct styles — a mix ‘n match aesthetic that she refers to as a “new take on traditional” — then set about easing her stepfather into the process of renovation, which in this case, involved taking his lifetime home down to the studs.
“It was hard on him,” she recounts. But the footprint needed to be reworked to accommodate the retired couple’s want for a tranquil retreat all their own. Ogle paired up with Peter Brachvogel of local architecture firm BC&J, and together, they installed a master suite, connected to the main house by a window-lined breezeway, bringing the home’s bedroom count to five.
Much of the exterior stayed the same, and the landscaping of the 1930s home didn’t need much, it resides on eight acres of waterfront land, grapevines and apple trees framing views of downtown Seattle. But in replacing all the windows and doors, Ogle had the opportunity to see through a longstanding vision. “In my head, I always saw the house with big, portella steel doors,” she said.
When it came to the interiors, both designer and client — daughter and stepfather — agreed on the allure of his assemblage of old-world paintings and portraits. “He’s a historian,” Ogle explains, “with a photographic memory. He can recite any part of history at any time you ask him.” They were the missing element needed to introduce texture and warmth to the fresh surfaces, and in the end, “they dictated the color palette of the entire project,” adds Ogle.
The well-positioned spaces thread seamlessly through the square footage, the flow ideal for when Ogle’s mom hosts an evening at their place, the sounds of their piano — a nonnegotiable line item in their redesign budget — filling the air. If the piano is the entertainment, home base is the Ralph Lauren bar cart, stocked with heirlooms like vintage barware from Ogle’s grandmother and a decanter that made its way off an old steamliner.
If the kitchen feels more contemporary — sans the farm sink, which Ogle explains away with, “everything in the Pacific Northwest gets dirty, and you need a good, deep sink” — that’s because it’s Ogle’s mom’s pick, the cook of the family. Open shelving provides ease of movement, and floor-to-ceiling glossed white tiles cap it with a streamlined, and textured, shell.
Of course, if you’re on an island, “the best part of the house is in the back,” she says, where the home backs up onto the water’s edge. Ogle outfitted three different lounge areas for maximum enjoyment. “A dining area off the kitchen is the best place for dinner in the summertime, and the living room doors open up to a space for them to sit outside with their morning coffee,” she says. “It’s important for them to have a space where they can sit and watch the boats go by.”