Interiorssneak peeks

A Stylist’s Historic Beach Home in Oysterville, WA

by Allison Burt-Tilden

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 

Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
1/18
An interior stylist by trade, Martie is known for her masterful floral arrangements and the inclusion of unique plants to really make a space feel fresh and inviting while bringing natural elements into harmony with contemporary decor. Much of the furniture and decor in her home has been handmade by local artisans.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
2/18
With the coastal location of the house providing more overcast days than not, the many living room windows bring in all available light to reflect off the pale walls. The plants and a painting by Michele Russo add whimsy and pops of color.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
3/18
A tray + pedestal style side table in the living room displays outdoor treasures alongside much loved books, including a history of Oysterville.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
4/18
An extension of the concrete floors, the fireplace serves as an impressive focal point while breaking up the otherwise open space to divide the living room from the kitchen and dining room. Of course, for Martie, a space isn't complete without greenery.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
5/18
Martie and husband Steve enjoying some time together in the living room.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
6/18
Allowing for ample room to entertain, the dining room features a custom-made table and benches by Brooks Woodworks. Custom woven baskets by fine artist Doug Johnson have been turned into light fixtures by Scott Schiesel of Lightlite, whom Martie worked with on many of the one-of-a-kind fixtures throughout the house. The surrounding windows maximize natural light and allow for peaceful views of the forested area bordering the home.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
7/18
The kitchen is the one room that has been expanded from the original house. The open design allows for maximum family interaction as Martie and Steve's five children and adorable grandson visit often. Portland, OR-based Brooks Woodworks made the custom cabinetry using eastern walnut.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
8/18
Open shelving mixed among the cabinets display ceramics from Portland's Pigeon Toe and others to continue the feeling of openness. The marble countertops add a certain buoyancy to the rich, striped walnut dressed with modern brass hardware, seemingly nodding to Captain Stream's nautical past.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
9/18
As the living room leads to the second floor, a crochet and chain wall hanging takes center stage. Handmade by Boet Jewelry designer Emily Bixler, who is based in Portland, it's a true statement piece mirroring the expert mixture of textures in the room.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
10/18
Martie's deft styling skills shine in small spaces like this transition from the upstairs hallway to the master bathroom: a wall hanging by Julie Thevenot complements a light fixture handmade by French duo Best Before. More plants and beautiful wood pieces add warm, comfortable touches creating some contrast in the otherwise clean, white space.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
11/18
Pendant fixtures made from recycled paper by Best Before, a heavenly soaking tub from Victoria and Albert, high ceilings and a wall-to-wall window make for a truly special bathing retreat. Not pictured, the sink area is dressed with airy wallpaper from eco-friendly atelier Juju Papers for even more visual interest.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
12/18
Even the bathroom's water closet gets the styling treatment from Martie who used a mid-century planter and wall hanging to add depth and interest to what might otherwise be a dull space.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
13/18
Maximizing the light and airy qualities of the bedroom, Martie keeps things simple with crisp white bedding, a Turkish rug and warm, mid-century details.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
14/18
Martie's superhuman ability to avoid clutter comes from her years of styling practice. The tidily appointed artwork, flowers, and mushroom lamp create a beautiful mix of form and function.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
15/18
Keeping with the bright feel throughout, the open bedroom's lounging area features a hand crocheted light fixture by Portland-based jewelry designer Emily Bixler, a vintage painting that was an estate sale find, and mid-century furniture which all make for handsome additions to the space.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
16/18
Drawing further on her love of plants, Martie created this display utilizing an assortment of vintage and modern planters, including paper bags from Uashmama, in a corner off the kitchen. The verdant grouping feels lush and homey and combined with the many windows gives off the feeling of being in a solarium -- something that is greatly appreciated when the clouds blow in from the water as they so often do.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
17/18
After renovation approval was received from the Oysterville Restoration Foundation, Martie and Steve worked with Seattle-based architecture firm Res Loci. The exterior design remains true to the original 1869 structure.
Home tour with interior stylist Martie Kilmer on Design*Sponge
18/18
When asked what she loves most about her home, Martie's response was as poetic as her representation, a watercolor by Portland artist Corbin LaMont, is beautiful: "Build what you see."

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