Today, we’re taking a (virtual) 15-minute ferry ride from Seattle and heading to Vashon Island to take a peek at The Residency Bureau’s latest renovation: both a primary bathroom and powder bathroom in a beautiful farmhouse. Designer Amy Vroom worked with the homeowners, pulling inspiration from their world travels. She blended the old with the new, bringing eclectic-yet-elegant details to the forefront. The designer tells us more:
Where is it located? Did the neighborhood influence the design?
The home is situated on Vashon Island, which is but worlds apart once you cross Puget Sound and set foot on the island. The pace moves to a steady crawl and the famous Seattle skyline is replaced by thick forest and towering evergreens. The farmhouse is tucked smack dab in the center of the island surrounded by acres of orchards, artist enclaves, and working farms of all types.
We’d love to know a bit about the clients.
The homeowners split time between Seattle and Vashon and run their business on the island. The home is the main building of a working farm that’s a mainstay in the community, known for their brilliant seasonal CSA boxes and charming event venue.
The goals were simple: since the house was built in 1990, it was missing the character you’d find in a hundred-year-old farmhouse. I needed to infuse it with personality, but in an eclectic way to match the homeowner’s aesthetic — a mix of old and new, funky and unexpected, with an appreciation for details and touches that tell a bigger story. The clients are also avid art collectors so finding the right space to showcase some of their favorite pieces was a must. Overall, it was an expansive design range that stretched from soft and airy to dark and moody, using rich textures and striking finishes throughout all of it.
Your focus was on the bathrooms. What condition were they in in at the start of the project?
The original bath seemed to have missed the memo that it belonged in a farmhouse and not straight out of the 90s. It had a glass block shower, square white tile counters, and bulky jacuzzi tub that I’m pretty sure had colored light options. The powder room was equally as dated, with a charmless vanity and floor that felt misplaced.
What was the inspiration “jumping off point” for the project? In a few words, how do you describe the style?
The jumping off pointing for the main bathroom was a sink basin on a rustic wood counter my client had discovered on a trip to Greece. From our initial meeting, that was our north star. We also took inspiration from old farmhouse floors seen throughout Europe and decades-old, patina-rich furniture that you’d find in them. Stylistically, we focused on an eclectic blend of rustic character layered with modern surprises that’s as familiar as it is transportive.
It sounds like there was a global influence to the design!
Both the homeowners and The Residency Bureau are (were!) avid travelers. We collectively had images of cobblestone streets tucked into an alley in Old Shanghai or a cement basin on the island of Naxos in Greece. We took inspiration from the Austrian farmhouse the homeowner grew up going to as a kid and continued to build layer upon layer of texture and story. One way or another, it all found a way to influence the design.
How long did the renovation take?
The project took about 8 months from start to finish. And while we likely could’ve pushed to get it done sooner, we consciously worked around the massive exterior project happening at the same time. Working on an island with a tight-knit crew has its advantages in a global pandemic.