After living for a time in their newly renovated Seattle digs without furniture, designer Jessica Joers’ clients turned to her for help settling in. “I walked into this blank traditional space, which I loved,” says Joers, “but I wanted to make it more transitional for a young, stylish family.” The house, situated in a historic neighborhood, had recently been remodeled by architect Paul Moon, and what it may have lacked in furnishings, it certainly made up for with a beautiful new interior backdrop.
Before the renovation, the house was in dire need of updating, says Moon, a longtime friend of the homeowners. “It had a very 1980s feel and dated detailing,” he says. “The exterior property and French-style façade were stately, but the interior was plain by comparison, so there was a disconnect.” Moon gutted the interiors, bumping out the back of the house. This made more room for the kitchen, aligning it with the foyer and the dining room and bringing in more natural light. He then added architectural detailing to elevate the interiors and visually unify the inside and outside. Formal paneling, tray and coffered ceilings, hefty crown molding, and wainscoting were installed throughout and painted a crisp white. Moon underscored the classic approach by pairing the white walls with dark-stained oak flooring, the contrast calling further attention to the detailed millwork. He opted for natural materials and a white and gray color scheme to establish a clean canvas for the décor. “If you introduce too many loud colors, the architecture ends up speaking loudly and diluting the furnishings,” he says. “Our idea was to create a formal, neutral background to allow the furnishings and accents to pop.”
For Joers, who worked on the project with her design partner, Bradley Huson, “the palette was our jumping-off point,” she says. “We loved the gray walls and white trim.”
To fill the home with furnishings that reflected the lifestyle of her clients—a couple with children and a dog—Joers combined vibrant accent colors with pieces from different centuries and styles as well as myriad textures to render rooms that feel collected and polished without being fussy. “Our goal was to make the house beautiful yet functional for a growing family, so we counterbalanced the traditional architecture with a mix of antiques, and midcentury and contemporary pieces,” Joers says. “The result is chic while also being very comfortable and user-friendly.”
The careful play between the traditional architecture and the designer’s concept for the interiors begins in the entry. Although the previous space was dark with little ornamentation, the revamped two-story iteration is grand and welcoming. It’s also flooded with natural light, thanks to the addition of side windows that let in sun from all directions. Joers treated the space as her canvas, placing a pair of petite consoles—their gilt neoclassical profiles modernized with smoked acrylic tops—opposite each other. Midcentury mirrors hang above them, acting almost as a second set of windows reflecting light, while a simple wood Queen Anne side chair quietly rounds out the room. Chinese vases, in an eye-catching canary yellow, infuse the space with color and energy. “The gray-and-white backdrop was the perfect foil for the yellow,” Joers says of the vibrant lemon, citron, bronze and gold hues she used throughout the house. “We are in Seattle; we have gray, cloudy days. Touches of yellow really brighten things up. We were looking for color here, not trying to be subtle.”
The living room, with its high ceilings, crisp moldings and paneled replace, called for a more formal turn: a 19th-century Japanese six-panel screen. “We love using screens because they’re elegant and have a timeless, enduring quality,” says Joers. “The wave design adds movement, and the paint has a shimmering effect.
We installed lighting over each panel, and the paper just glows.” The antique screen is right at home with neoclassical chairs and a piano, which the designer balanced with the addition of a Milo Baughman sectional dressed in mohair and a pair of Edward Wormley club chairs anking the replace. A petrified-wood side table “adds an earthy quality, which keeps it from being too precious,” explains Joers. The quatrefoil-pattern rug and marbleized dove-gray leather on the chairs were carried into adjacent rooms for visual continuity.
The lively yellows in the main living spaces were traded for delicate shades upstairs in the master bedroom, where the statement is understated and serene. A bed upholstered in wool sits opposite the replace. Near it stand oversize Louis XVI-style chairs, yielding a comfortable spot for the family to gather together and read. “It’s the mix that makes the house beautiful, functional and fresh,” says Joers. “You need that balance to be successful.”