Arts & Crafts Bungalow on Bainbridge Island

A 1915 Arts & Crafts house on Bainbridge Island, never substantially altered since it was built, is restored with regard for its history, architectural scale, and original style.

Heavily forested, Bainbridge Island is a 65-square-mile island in Puget Sound in the state of Washington. When Jill a and Dean Sterrett went shopping for a new home near Seattle, they chose Bainbridge with its bluffs and bays, inlets and streams. The 35-minute ferry ride from downtown, they thought, would be more enjoyable than a traffic-clogged commute. The rural atmosphere appealed to them, more so than did shopping centers and suburban sprawl.

A north view shows the front wraparound porch that has a view of the bay.

William Wright

The two were thrilled when they saw the modest bungalow set high above the water. Dean and Jill had restored a small Craftsman house in California and they liked the straightforward styles of the times. This setting was magical; hidden in a clearing deep in the woods, amongst ferns and moss-covered trees, the house overlooked a bay and the Olympic Mountains beyond. The bungalow had an honest charm, having not been altered in any substantial way since it was built in 1915. A wide porch wrapped around the front, facing sunsets. Inside, a river-rock fireplace anchored the living room, which retained aged fir trim.

The room is painted Benjamin Moore’s Hubbard Squash. Stickley chairs and a custom sofa provide comfortable seating; the green pillow on the left is one of several embroidered by homeowner Jill from kits by Dianne Ayres.

William Wright

It was not, however, love at first sight. The house had been a rental and poorly maintained. Many period details had been removed: all of the original lighting, a wood colonnade separating the living and dining rooms, original fittings and tile in the baths. The kitchen had been “modernized” with cheap box-store replacements for cabinets and fixtures. The upstairs hallway had a worrisome slope; at the top of the stairs, the hall was interrupted by a brick chimney stack serving an ancient oil furnace that would need replacement. A lean-to carport was, indeed, leaning precariously; a laundry room added to the north side of the house blocked the best views of the bay. Exposed rafter tails were rotten, the roofing was shot, and systems required updating. 

Antique Gustav Stickley dining chairs and a vintage oak table are backed by the built-in buffet in the dining room. The stained-glass pass-through above it was added by the couple during renovation.

William Wright

Jill and Dean bought the house but lived here for a year before beginning renovations. That helped them set their priorities. They noted how the light changed during the day, and they researched the Arts & Crafts movement, acquiring a sizeable library of books. Then they began to buy antiques.

Read: A Bungalow Garden on Bainbridge Island

Jill Sterrett, an urban planner, engaged her architect friends to help. The plan was to do a modest remodeling, staying in scale with the original house and the period’s architecture. They chose as their contractor a design/build firm led by architect Tom Spivey. Knob-and-tube wiring was replaced, as was cast-iron plumbing. 

The kitchen is centered on an old science-lab table used as an island for food prep and breakfast. Pottery on display here includes Bauer, Homer Laughlin, Fiesta, and Hall.

William Wright

Cased openings were added between the kitchen and adjoining rooms, and new woodwork matched to the original fir trim. An expanded pass-through between dining room and kitchen was added over the built-in buffet, using salvaged stained-glass panels. A master bath was installed upstairs, with an antique washstand converted to a vanity. 

The downstairs bath features stained-glass panels that were part of the early 20th-century, five-piece doorway surround that also yielded panels for the pass-through in the dining room. Walls are painted in dusky Province Blue (Benjamin Moore); the clawfoot tub is vintage.

William Wright

Dean, the family cook, wanted a state-of-the-art kitchen. Sensitively designed, it includes a six-burner Garland stove and Marmoleum flooring. Custom Arts & Crafts-compatible cabinets were modeled after a vintage cabinet that sits in the breakfast room. 

On the mantel, vintage pottery is by Catalina, Redwing, and Langleyware (England). Newer pieces are from Ephraim Pottery and Van Briggle; the tile is from Motawi.

William Wright

Jill’s father’s 1940s Kodak Duraflex II camera (furthest right) is among Kodak ephemera on display.

William Wright

Homeowners Dean and Jill Sterrett relax on the porch swing, one of their first purchases for the house.

William Wright


Tags: bungalow OHJ August 2021

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