Tucked into a tree-lined block on Seattle’s First Hill, the English Tudor Stimson-Green Mansion (First Hill, 1204 Minor Ave.; 206.624.0474; stimsongreen.com) graces its neighborhood with a decidedly Downton Abbey-like style. Designed by noted Spokane architect Kirtland Cutter and completed in 1901, the mansion is one of the city’s few remaining grand urban residential structures of the period. As well as serving as headquarters for the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation (preservewa.org), it is in demand as a wedding and event venue—and one ripe for an interior that will take the building into the future without losing the integrity or the spirit of the original house.
The makeover, which aims for an approachable and comfortable spin on high-style historic, began with the redesign of the two upstairs bedroom suites. These rooms are important spaces for potential wedding clients, and they required a major transformation to become inviting dressing areas for the bride and groom. I knew that one of the bedrooms, formerly furnished in a feminine style, would need to be repurposed as a stately “gentleman’s parlor,” a room where a groom and his attendants could relax, celebrate and prepare for pending nuptials.
One of the most exciting parts of this project was sourcing furnishings and accessories from the mansion’s cavernous basement storage area. Most of these pieces hadn’t seen the light of day for decades. The redesigned room is a tony gent’s parlor that’s ready for celebrating in grand style.
John Stevens relaxes in the Stimson-Green Mansion’s bedroom that he redesigned and repurposed as a “gentleman’s parlor.” He started by removing several layers of faded floral wallpaper and worn pink shag carpet. To impart a warm, clubby vibe, he had the room painted taupe, with an accent wall of deep burgundy red. Details such as the cast-iron horse (on the bar) from Restoration Hardware (University Village, 4619 26th Ave. NE; 206.522.2775; restorationhardware.com) and the floral-scroll-patterned carpet from Great Floors (multiple locations, including Bellevue, 12802 Bel-Red Road; 425.455.8332; greatfloors.com) in tones of onyx, crimson and gold, impart an elegant formality. The late-19th-century carved mahogany sofa came from the mansion’s storage area and was reupholstered in a taupe velvet from the Kravet showroom at the Seattle Design Center (SoDo, 5701 Sixth Ave. S; 206.762.1200; seattledesigncenter.com). A French walnut bergère chair was re-covered by S and S Custom Upholstery (Lake City, 12545 Lake City Way NE; 206.478.4140; sandscustom.com) in Kravet’s gold-and-moss-green, diamond-pattern brocade.
A number of accessories, such as this circa-1880 English mantel clock and antique English table, were gathered from the mansion’s collections and seamlessly integrated with New World finds, such as the burlwood Althorp table box from Masins (Bellevue, 10708 Main St.; 425.450.9999; masins.com) and fringed velvet Stroheim drapery panels from George Associates (SoDo, 5811 Sixth Ave. S; 206.724.0006; georgeassociatesinc.com). Dog bookends are from Tuesday Morning (multiple locations, including Tukwila, 17720 Southcenter Pkwy.; 206.575.7949; tuesdaymorning.com).
Bookends and a vintage brass hourglass from Restoration Hardware rest atop Baker’s twist-top side table from Masins. The armorial throw pillows from Pacific Galleries (SoDo, 241 S Lander St.; 206.292.3999; pacgal.com) complement the circa-1900 needlepoint armchair that was salvaged from the mansion’s basement. S and S Custom Upholstery recovered the chair’s back, and carefully cleaned and repaired the tattered needlepoint.