Interiorssneak peeks

A Colorful Home Outside of Seattle Reflects the Owners’ Journeys

by Erin Austen Abbott

When you walk into the house of freelance illustrator and designer Marisol Ortega, you instantly notice the color that surrounds you in her Federal Way, WA home. As a first generation Mexican-American who fell in love with traveling as an exchange student in high school, she’s made sure to incorporate art picked up from the places she’s visited from around the world. Marisol and her husband are also inspired by flash tattoo art, which is also reflected on their gallery art walls. “It makes me happy walking [into the house] and it’s full of plants, artwork we love, and it’s where our kitties mostly hang out so we are greeted by them every time,” Marisol shares.

Marisol met her husband Rob, an Englishman, while traveling abroad in Australia. The couple relocated to Washington state from Kansas City just eight months ago. “When we decided to move back to the west coast from Kansas City we were looking for something with a big backyard and lots of nature nearby,” Marisol says. “Personally, I wanted to live in a place where the forest met the sea. We also wanted to live in a diverse neighborhood/community so that our daughter would go to a school that would reflect that as well. We knew this was the house we wanted when we went to the open house — our daughter immediately walked towards the back of the house and started playing in the playhouse that was already there. It was a moment of, ‘this is the one’.”

The couple also wanted a home that feels cozy — and where every member of the family has a space for themselves and their creativity. It was also important to Marisol to have a place where she can spread out with her art and share a studio space with their daughter, Ellie. Marisol works from home, where she creates for clients such as Starbucks, Figo Fabrics, Real Simple Magazine, and finds ways to add lots of color and/or nature into every project that she takes on.

While this home is still new to the family, and they have many things they still want to work on, it’s theirs and it feels like home. Scroll below to take a tour of this bright, maximalist home. Erin

Photography by Connor Surdi / @connorsurdi

Image above: A colorful pink gallery wall creates a focal point in Marisol’s studio. Artists featured from left to right are Lisa Congdon, Cabin Journal, Dustin Williams, Molly Egan, Amber Vittoria, Oana Befort, Tigersheep Friends, Kelly Castor, Frank Norton, Brett Stenson, Marcos Roman, Victor Melendez, Josh Kenyon, Kenichiro Chaffee, Chris Lee, Bijou Karman, and Tuesday Schmidt.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

A bold and bright look at the entryway and gallery wall in the living room. The “Welcome Stranger” banner was made by Yellow Beak Press.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

The yellow gallery wall is a wonderful addition to this colorful home. The blue armchair was found through Vessel Vintage Collection.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

A hand-painted cactus wall by Marisol connects the entryway to the living room.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

Marisol, their puppy Rosie, Robert and their daughter Ellie in front of their pink studio gallery wall.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

The studio doubles as a place where the family can all hang out together.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

Ellie and Louie the cat bonding on the big, cozy rug.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

A wider look at the pink studio wall.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

Marisol and Ellie sharing a sweet moment in their shared studio.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

Art supplies that Marisol and Ellie each share, in the studio.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

When you walk into the studio, you are greeted by upholstered Cesca Chairs, table and cactus from Vessel Vintage Collective. The floral painting is by Taylor Price.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

“Sharing a studio with my daughter was super important. I wanted to her to have access to all my supplies and be able to hang out together, but also be a space where we could hang out as a family,” Marisol shares.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

Marisol at work in her home studio.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

The mood board in Marisol’s studio.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

Rosie, the family’s 5-month-old French Bulldog, gets comfortable in Marisol’s lap while she works in her home studio.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

Color is everywhere in this home –from the vintage planter to the fun pop of pink on the door to the pantry.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

Colorful dishes and glassware line the open shelving in the kitchen.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

Louie hides under an armchair from Midnight Sunlight.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

In the bedroom, wooden artwork by Nicole Sweeney hangs above the bed.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

A floral half bath creates a serene, monochromatic space.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

Sweet Max gazing out the window on a calm Pacific Northwest day.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

A fun floor plan of Marisol, Robert, and Ellie’s home outside of Seattle, WA, noting which colorful walls are where throughout their home.

Marisol Ortega on Design*Sponge

All the color and critters are what this family loves most about their home.

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  • This home feels so happy! I love the philosophy behind sharing the studio with the whole family, all the art and the colors, the plants and the animals! So lovely. (And Marisol’s work is amazing!)