Interiorssneak peeks

A Celebrated Chef’s Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman

by Garrett Fleming

A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge

When homeowners send me pictures, oftentimes it’s hard to decipher their passions or professions based solely on their houses’ styles. On occasion though, a home comes across my email that has me immediately thinking, Oh this person must love doing ______. I had one of these moments recently when I took a peek at chef Renee Erickson’s Seattle, WA Craftsman. The kitchen inside, which she passionately commands alongside her husband Dan, was so fabulous looking and decked out, it left little doubt in my mind about whether or not the couple were foodies. I had no idea though just how passionate about food Renee was in particular.

As I got to know her a bit better, that quickly changed. I learned she’s won a little accolade you may have heard of: the James Beard award! Color me super-duper impressed. As if that accomplishment wasn’t enough, in between opening restaurants and designing menus, this star chef has somehow found the time to make her home into a dream abode, giving it a cozy-and-casual vibe thanks to a collection of artwork and textiles from far off places.

While these additions make every room in her and Dan’s house a stunner, the kitchen, as I mentioned, is one room in particular that’s gotten special attention from Renee’s magic touch. 15 years ago when she first moved in, it was outfitted with a choppy layout and got minimal sunlight. To make it a more enjoyable place to experiment in, she’s since installed big windows above the sink that let cool air in and keep hot air out while pots are bubbling. She also tore down a wall, opening the room up so she and Dan can more comfortably enjoy the space.

All of these tweaks pale in comparison to the stellar job she’s done making the kitchen cabinetry the star of the show though. It’s painted in Renee’s favorite color and keeps everything she needs at arms reach when she’s bopping away on some new dish. They even cleverly installed a counter-height fridge and freezer alongside them in order to optimize counter space. Smart move, team! Eye-catching and bold, this zippy paint job is by far my absolute favorite aspect of her and Dan’s comfy space, and I know you’ll love it too. Scroll down to take a peek at every inch of this duo’s home, and enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Jim Henkens

Image above: Unsurprisingly, the kitchen is the true heart of Renee and Dan’s home. During its recent renovation it got four new windows, fresh lighting and an open feel thanks to some clever tear downs. While its new look is a stunner overall, my favorite additions are the under-counter fridge/freezer (which allowed the family to optimize counter space), and these hypnotic cabinets. I’ll give you one guess what Renee’s favorite color is.

A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge
James Beard award-winning chef Renee Erickson poses in the backyard with her husband Dan and their dog Arlo. For fifteen years, Renee has been steadily perfecting her Pacific Northwest Craftsman by collecting antiques, styling it with weathered accessories and renovating here and there.
A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge

“If there is one detail that I would tell everyone to get, [it would be a] pot filler. It’s super luxurious, but I love not having to lug big pots of water,” Renee explains.

A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge
The couple purposefully refrains from oiling their soapstone counters. This technique lets their natural patina shine through.
A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge
"My favorite thing to do at home is cook," -- Renee Erickson
A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge

Looking into the couple’s bedroom from the kitchen one sees stacks of books for late-night reading on Renee’s bedside table.

A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge

Renee has found the process of watching her bedroom’s walls slowly fill with family photos and friends’ artwork very rewarding.

A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge

The cookbooks and art tomes decorating the den offer “endless inspiration” to the creative duo. Since this room faces North and gets minimal light, the family decided it best to lean into this cozy vibe instead of fighting it. That means grey walls and cozy furniture are this room’s mainstays.

A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge

Custom canvas slip covers protect the vintage armchairs in the background from pup Arlo’s hairy naps.

A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge
A smattering of finds from Oaxaca, MX and Renee's collection of plates decorate the living/dining room.
A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge

When the Seattle weather won’t let Dan and Renee eat outside, they dine near the fire in the eclectic dining/living room under one of Renee’s old restaurant’s wine menu. The world’s most-romantic chihuahuas were done by Curtis Steiner.

A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge

A weathered machine shop table and stacks of books help infuse the home with a laid-back, cottage-esque style.

A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge
The bathroom is laid out and decorated in true Craftsman form, and its original floors -- something Renee cherishes -- are still intact. The rug is a souvenir from Oaxaca, MX.
A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge

A vintage faux bamboo shelf in the bathroom.

A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge

The backyard’s bricks were salvaged from Renee’s first restaurant Boat Street Cafe after it, unfortunately, had to close. Anytime it’s nice out, the family eats here amongst the memory-filled stones, greenery and the clucking hens in their coop.

A Celebrated Chef's Laid-Back Seattle Craftsman, Design*Sponge

Source List


Marble table – Salty Bicycle Co.

Patio umbrella – Pottery Barn

Turquoise Chairs – Industry West



Lighting – Mary Davis Vintage Lighting

Linen hand towels – Fog Linen



Walnut bed – Garnet Hill

Marble lamps – Mary Davis Vintage Lighting



Under-counter fridge – Subzero

Custom pot rack – Salty Bicycle

Butcher Blocks – Boos Block

Stove – Wolf

Turquoise Chairs – Industry West



Couch – West Elm

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  • Love the eclectic look in this home–oh if the furnishings could talk! The adjustable wall lights above the windows in the kitchen I find most interesting. Were they specially made or are they available to purchase?

  • This home is perfect. It’s comfortable and elegant and colours are used with both restraint and flare. The table and shelf top arrangements are stunning. I can imagine it being a home of great gatherings, conversations and food and reading. Perfect.

  • We had such a fabulous time in Seattle recently. It’s such a great city :-)

    I love this couple’s use of marble subway tiles as the kitchen splash back. So chic!

  • What a beautiful home! Would you mind sharing the names of the wall paint colors? I especially love the creamy color in the living/dining room and bathroom.

  • I always love a good craftsman and this one feels so welcoming. I also used to work at the Boat Street Cafe in 1994 (yikes) when I first moved to Seattle from Texas. Susan Kaplan owned it then and I was just a young 20 and she taught me to love cooking and to love food. I owe my passion for food to the woman and the Boat Street Cafe.

  • So lovely! I have now looked at this 3 times. It has such a cozy and welcoming vibe. I would also love to know the paint colors! They all flow together so nicely. Thank you so much for this beautiful sneak peak!

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