The “Captain Stream” house was originally built in 1869 by Captain A. T. Stream in what is now the historic walking village of Oysterville, WA. Home to a small community that has diligently preserved a host of original buildings as well as the pioneer cemetery, Oysterville’s off-the-beaten-path location on the Longbeach Peninsula means many miss out on its charm — but not Martie Kilmer, a Portland, OR-based interior stylist. Martie’s family ties to Oysterville have allowed her the opportunity to spend much of the last 25 years enjoying the quaint village with its carefully preserved history, natural setting, views of the bay, and of course, oysters.
With Oysterville being one of just a handful of towns in Washington state to be wholly registered as a historic site, available properties are few and far between. Once it became known that the Captain Stream house would be going on the market, Martie and her husband, Steve Romero, made the decision to purchase it. After spending a few years in the home as-is, an addition to the kitchen was planned and got underway after the long process of consulting with the Oysterville Historic Preservation board and all the conditions that entailed. With plans from Seattle architecture firm Res Loci in hand, construction began and it didn’t take long for a devastating discovery to be made: the home was infested with dry rot and powder post beetles. The infestation was so bad, it was a wonder the house was still standing, and it was promptly considered condemned. Faced with the choice of abandoning her home, or rebuilding an exact replica, Martie thankfully chose the latter.
With years of interior design and styling under her belt, Martie wanted to honor the historic charm of the home without turning it into a period replica. Antiques, she says, aren’t quite her thing. Instead she decided on a homemade / craft approach to the design with a focus on custom and one-off items, many produced by local artisans in Oregon and Washington. To complete the heavenly family retreat, the house gardens include an expansive croquet lawn as well as a potager, otherwise known as a French-style kitchen garden. The very definition of “bright and airy,” the end result is so stunning, there’s no doubt in my mind that Captain Stream himself would approve heartily. —Allison
Photography by Allison Burt-Tilden; photos 7, 8 and 16, 17 by Mikola Accuardi