A Coastal Pacific Northwest Home With Spunk Welcomes Dog Lovers

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Dining room with windows on...

“I knew they were going to be fun clients,” designer Julie Massucco Kleiner says, after the owners agreed to a Niermann Weeks chandelier for the dining room. Kleiner also selected a Gregorius Pineo dining table and chairs from Kelly Forslund and dressed the latter in an orange Edelman leather. The carpet is by Stark; the draperies are a Quadrille blend.

A long hallway leads to...

Kleiner's client wanted to encourage visitors to explore other parts of the home—not just the rooms with views to the water. She obliged, envisioning a bright, playful dining room at the end of a long hallway.

A breakfast area has two...

The kitchen’s adjacent breakfast nook favors simplicity with a table by Ted Boerner from Terris Draheim and leather Holly Hunt side chairs from Jennifer West. Custom shades in Caroline Cecil Textiles’ Loop fabric add just a dollop of pattern and keep the eye firmly on the water view.

Kitchen with island.

“When our clients bought the home, the kitchen was in good shape. We added some statement lighting and minimalist seating,” says Kleiner, pointing to pendants by The Urban Electric Company above the white marble island and understated stools from Mattaliano.

Family room with couch, chairs...

To honor their new community, the clients wanted to bring some local history into their residence, so the family room includes black-and-white photos of the island from Peter C Fisher Gallery. A Stark carpet makes a handsome base for the Vanguard Furniture ottoman, Gabby lounge chairs in Euchtman by Schumacher and a Room & Board sofa. Above is a pendant from Made Goods.

Wood paneled office with desk...

Kleiner kept the rich wood paneling in the office but personalized it with a quartet of Jessica Ambats photographs of the clients’ plane in midair. An Altura desk and an A. Rudin chair from Trammell-Gagne in Keleen leather from Erik Waldorf make for a chic work spot. The overhead fixture is by Made Goods.

Guest bedroom with green patterned...

Twin beds in the guest room can be pushed together or pulled apart depending on the visitors. Kleiner went all-in on color with a headboard in a Seemakrish print. She offset the bold presence with whitewashed Bernhardt night tables. A Lee Industries lounge chair in a Holland & Sherry wool is an inviting place to relax.

Greenhouse with a dining terrace...

Appreciating the lush Pacific Northwest landscape, the couple spends a lot of time outdoors. Kleiner played with some not-found-in-nature colors for the dining area near the greenhouse, choosing a McKinnon and Harris table and chairs with cushions in a cheerful hue.

Rear facade of a Shingle...

The bright palette chosen for the outdoor furnishings is especially pleasing when juxtaposed with the weathered gray of the Shingle-style house. Along the expansive back porch, Kleiner placed McKinnon and Harris club chairs and Dedon sofas, all with bright upholstery.

Most designers meet their clients for the first time in an office, a house, maybe a coffee shop. To meet one set of hers on Orcas Island, Julie Massucco Kleiner descended a rope ladder from a seaplane and looked for the owners of a vintage red Jeep station wagon, who were waving at her. She had flown from Seattle with an open mind and an enormous bag for her design presentation—carpets and fabric samples that all had to be weighed before boarding. It was an unconventional start, but, says Kleiner, “I had a good feeling, and I’ve learned to trust my gut over the years.” Eventually, a collaboration that began with an email produced a lively dwelling that brought color and spunk to this idyllic part of the Pacific Northwest.

Kleiner’s clients were up for the adventure. Originally from California, the couple had visited Orcas Island and fell for its lush surroundings, artistic community and laid-back lifestyle. Licensed recreational pilots, the pair easily saw themselves there and decided—rather spontaneously—to make the change. They purchased a property, selling their contemporary California residence and everything in it. “I think they had two chairs and a dog bed in their plane when they moved,” says Kleiner.

When Kleiner visited the couple’s new digs—stately and gray-shingled with a classic layout—it made quite the first impression. “It’s very gracious, and your breath is taken away because, as you open a large front door, you see straight through to the water,” she says. Her firm is known for creating interiors that don’t shy away from color despite the region’s more subdued palette, and the clients were a perfect fit: They were interested in something new following their modernist central California dwelling and a place in Montecito that had been styled in blue and white. “I think we touched on every part of the rainbow,” the designer says of the palette—starting with the dining room.

With a sight line to the water, the home’s natural appeal was obvious, but the wife also wanted to draw attention to areas inside. “She said, ‘Make me turn right,’ ” the designer remembers, referencing the dining room in the hall off the entry. The design scheme had to attract the eye beyond the views. To create that appeal, Kleiner used zingy orange chairs and a butter-yellow backdrop before leading up to the main attraction: a funky upside-down palm tree chandelier that kicked up the tropical factor.

It was a gutsy move that paved the way for other dynamic turns with pattern and hue: a detailed green headboard in the guest room, lighting with colorful accents, a master bedroom awash in purple. But Kleiner saved some of the boldest colors for the exterior. “The water can be blue and sparkly, but it can also be gray, so we used a vivid, almost fluorescent orange and pink that truly pop off the shingled façade,” she says of the furnishings near the greenhouse. “Navy and white would have been a sensible choice, but that’s what you would expect.”

In a few instances, Kleiner did dial back the intensity, most notably in the living room. “The colors are a little more restrained because the view is so much a part of your experience when you walk in,” says the designer. There, while she opted for a mix of blues—from sky for the draperies to navy for an ottoman—the rest of the furnishings lean more neutral, like warm wood tables, a gray carpet with a subtle pattern, and the stars of the show: a pair of custom sofas in gray wool placed back to back. “I’ve always, always wanted to do a double layout,” says the designer, “and finally my dream came true.”

For a coastal house—one that would be used and loved—Kleiner selected fabrics, be they bold and bright or neutral and understated, that were guest- and dog-friendly. “We used a lot of linen because they’re on the water, and it breathes well and holds up,” she notes. She also chose a lightweight wool for its “cozy factor” as well as its durability. And, it nearly goes without saying, there are lots of indoor-outdoor fabrics, so no one has to worry about damp clothes after coming inside from the lawn or off a boat.

The designer’s deft touch ensured the house would be the perfect spot for a new chapter in her clients’ lives, and the project’s completion was timed to coincide with a big Memorial Day party they hosted. It was the ideal way to celebrate a fresh start. “They trusted us with a new community, new habits and daily patterns—it was very exciting,” says Kleiner. “We wanted to give them a home they were going to love.”