From the inside out
INTERIOR DESIGNER ANNA POPOV DID NOT WANT TO WORK ON HER OWN HOME. THEN SHE FIGURED SHE COULD DO IT BETTER
By Nat Rubiolicht March 20, 2023
Anna Popov never wanted to design her own house. An interior designer by trade, she didn’t want to put the amount of time, energy, and thought that she offers to her clients into designing her own home. She’d rather just find a place that checked all her boxes.
But after two years of searching, nothing felt like the right fit. “We just couldn’t find anything that was better than what we had,” she says. “So I had to come to terms that probably it’s about time for me to design my own home.”
Though redesigning her Redmond dwelling felt like an uphill battle at times, it turned into a labor of love well worth every roadblock. The project, which Popov titled “Warm Minimalism,” was created with the mindset of “functional luxury.” She aimed to create a comfortable space where every detail, color, and texture has been meticulously chosen and thought-out to create a safe haven for her and her family.
A place to recharge
“Our lifestyle is active. We are very social, we have a lot of friends, we travel a lot, we go out, we visit museums, and go to shows. We have a colorful life,” Popov says. “So we wanted our home to be a place that allows us to settle and recharge.”
Popov and her husband had owned the home for nine years before deciding to remodel it. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom space features relaxed, earthy color palettes. Patterns are easy on the eyes, from the inviting and cozy seating area in the living room to the lush and comfortable bedspreads in each of the bedrooms.
Because nothing overwhelms, the decorative elements that Popov included pop out even more, such as the oddly shaped geometric mirrors suspended above the bed in the guestroom, or the custom-commissioned tapestry made of several small painted ropes in the family room.
“For my family, we needed a home that was very calm,” Popov says. “Pretty much everything in our house needed to have a calm background, so the home itself acts as a support system for our everyday activities. It doesn’t take precedence over our life, but rather supports what we do.”
Every detail in Popov’s 1,800-square foot residence has been considered. A sleek and luxurious kitchen with off white countertops and cabinetry abuts a multipurpose den, sometimes used as a simple seating area and other times transformed into a dining room that can accommodate a dozen guests.
The bathrooms give a similar ambience of modern and functional luxury. For example, the master bath contains a clawfoot tub, an open-concept rain shower, and dark walls that juxtapose white tile. While the master bathroom has only one sink, it and the mirror purposefully sit off center to provide extra counter space.
“My favorite quote is from a software engineer,” she says, “and goes something like, ‘when you’re forced to be simple, you have to face the real problems. There’s no ornament to hide behind.’”
The timing in renovating
While the house emanates an atmosphere of chic and effortless simplicity, turning it into what it is today was anything but simple. Popov embarked on the journey of redesigning her home in March 2020, gutting the entire house one week before the pandemic caused mass stay-at-home orders.
As the pandemic shut down just about everything, she fell further behind starting that first few weeks than she ever had on any of her clients’ projects. At one point, Popov calculated that supply chain issues and construction delays would put her six weeks behind schedule, which was estimated originally to take six months. But the team was able to make up for almost all of the lost time, finishing just one week later than she anticipated and wrapping up the construction process in September 2020.
After the bones of the home were constructed, the next step was designing the interiors. Picking out every appliance, light fixture, piece of furniture and rug took the project into the new year, and she finally put the finishing touches on it in January 2021.
“It was a blessing in disguise that this was happening to my house,” says Popov, adding that she believes her studio is the only brand in the Pacific Northwest that strictly adheres to European design practices.
Seeing herself as a client
The process of creating a space perfect for her required the same level of detail and attention she strives to offer clients. Her Bellevue-based studio, Interiors by Popov, works mostly with clients in the Greater Seattle area on residential projects.
Popov thoroughly interviews clients to better understand their household requirements, get a sense of what they want from a home, and where their values lie. Oftentimes, the clients that approach her are looking for “very comfortable, customized living” — Popov never works off a template — and appreciate good design. They don’t always have a full picture of what they want before they come to her. Without straying from their vision, she helps them complete that picture.
Many clients she works with value functional luxury in their homes, aiming to create a space that can offer as much utility as it does beauty. The union of form and function can be seen in elements of her own home, such as a console table in the den that can expand to seat a dinner party of 12 guests, or hidden storage nooks all over to ensure that everything they own has a place to go.
“The function dictates the aesthetics,” Popov says. “Doesn’t matter who the client is. Doesn’t matter what the house is. That’s where we come from.