Michelle Dirkse, principal designer of her eponymous Capitol Hill–based design firm (michelledirkse.com), loves mixing styles in unexpected spaces. That’s why a local couple’s cabin retreat near Snoqualmie Pass—more artists’ getaway than classic lodge—was one of her favorite projects.
“We worked very hard to counter the tired cabin design prescription of taxidermy on the walls, rustic outdoor gear and imitation Native American blankets,” Dirkse says of the 1,800-square-foot house, originally built in the traditional log cabin style, complete with full logs, high, vaulted ceilings and a mix of old Shaker cabinets. To contend with these elements, Dirkse used her clients’ interests—namely, the Twin Peaks television series and the Victorian era—to set a tone that made the space feel more refined than rustic.
Traditional cabin taxidermy is replaced with a winged ram sculpture above the living room fireplace
Interior designer Michelle Dirkse contrasted the rustic aesthetic with found objects like this vintage armoire
Dark blue interiors and unconventional decor are two of the design choices that set the home apart: a winged ram sculpture hangs above the living room fireplace, instead of the cabin cliché of a stag’s head or snowshoes. The drawing room serves a dual purpose as the couple’s art studio, where they sketch their illustrations and create mixed media projects, and a guest room for visiting friends and family. For this space, Dirkse sourced a 19th-century cast-iron daybed from an antique store in Maryland, and added vintage blankets from Jayson Home in Chicago and custom decorative pillows covered with Jim Thompson fabric sourced from Trammell-Gagné, in the Seattle Design Center. Cole & Son’s dreamy cloud-print “Nuvolette” wallpaper and a textured West Elm area rug are juxtaposed with found objects, such as a vintage typewriter and a collection of porcelain Staffordshire bull terriers (a hallmark of 19th-century decor) from the Pacific Galleries antique mall and Etsy. “It felt really special to have a client who understood the value in taking time to search for used and vintage products,” Dirkse says.
The cabin’s full log exterior belies the Victorian-inspired interiors
The couple also wanted to incorporate as many vegan and environmentally friendly products as possible into their home. The daybed’s mattress is made of natural latex, and a bed rug is made of all-natural coconut fibers. The selected materials and items combined with the existing log cabin create the exact look Dirkse and her clients had intended. “[It’s] a style that can’t be pinpointed, but will bring joy, humor and warmth to inspire both the owners and their guests.”