A Couple’s Antiques, Art Shine In A New Modern Setting


eclectic white foyer red rug

Designer Michelle Dirkse shopped her clients' possessions the narrow foyer of their Seattle condo, combining their existing artwork, papier-mache chandelier and carpet runner with a new clean-lined console and light, both from RH, and a mirror from Room & Board.

eclectic living room wool-and-silk rug...

A custom wool-and-silk rug by Thibault Van Renne anchors the living room, which includes a custom sofa Dirkse swathed in Fox Linton mohair and Dualoy Leather trim from Trammell-Gagne. Playing off the sofa's richness are organic elements like the Jayson Home cube table and RH hair-on-hide ottomans, as well as modern ones, such as the Vitra lounge chair, Minotti coffee table from Inform Interiors and the floor lamp from Design Within Reach.

eclectic dining area antique chairs

The antique Louis XVI-style armchairs with a roosters motif fabric set the stage for the informal dining area. Counterbalancing the antique flair is a Saarinen table from Room & Board and a Camerich buffet; underfoot is a carpet from Driscoll Robbins Fine Carpets. RH sconces flank one of the clients' existing artworks.

eclectic kitchen rustic dining table...

In the kitchen, Dirkse combined a modern chair from Inform Interiors with her clients' existing rustic dining table, continuing her mingling of periods and styles.

eclectic living room white and...

A Flos pendant from Inform Interiors hangs in the living room, while whimsical figural sculptures peek out from custom built-ins fabricated by Acorn Custom Cabinets and installed by GW Wilson.

eclectic bedroom sculpture white cabinetry

Dirkse set out to echo the feel of the rest of the home in the master suite, mixing thoughtful furnishings with art, such as a chest of drawers paired with a sculpture and painting.

eclectic bedroom gray wall

Kravet wallpaper from Lee Jofa provides a textural backdrop to the RH leather headboard in the master suite; the bed linens and shagreen side table are also from RH. At Kelly Forslund, Dirkse found a Casamance fabric for the shams and a Zoffany material for the pillows.

It’s rare for a designer to have the opportunity to furnish a client’s home entirely from scratch; the homeowner’s existing possessions almost always play a role.

But that can be a good thing, especially in this Seattle condo, where Michelle Dirkse’s clients had so many fine pieces of art that she didn’t have to buy a single painting to complete the design. On the flip side, though, she was presented with furnishings that initially seemed less than ideal.

While she and her colleague Kat Puma were able to persuade the couple to set aside many things to make way for new pieces, a pair of French armchairs upholstered in rooster-themed fabric were non-negotiables. “What are we going to do with these chairs?” Dirkse remembers thinking. “How do we make them feel intentional?”

Rather than try to hide them, Dirkse enhanced their significance with a dark-marble table that reflects the rooster pattern. A monochromatic rug complements their palette.

The designers used the same technique throughout the condo, using clean, elegant lines to offset the couple’s most prized possessions, giving the pieces a starring role in the new design.

“The things we’re so proud of are the things you barely notice,” she says.