Do modern designs and comforts work in historic homes? This Seattle residence says a definite yes

An historic Mediterranean revival home gets a modern update that adds layers of luxury and enhances its original features

living room with blue chairs and two white sofas with windows on two sides
(Image credit: Aaron Leitz)

This Mediterranean Revival home was built in 1910 and although the house has been updated a number of times since then, its layout and aesthetic were very much rooted in the past. This historic property was just waiting to be brought up to date. 

Luckily the home's new owners had an ambitious vision that was to put it among the world's best homes, equipping it with modern systems, while remaining good stewards of the historic residence, by restoring it to its original condition true to its era. That was quite some balance, so to ensure they got it right they called on the experts at Studio AM Architecture who were only too happy to get involved in the project, with design firm Kelly Hohla Interiors creating the finishes. 

entrance foyer with wooden floor and door open and console with artwork above

(Image credit: Aaron Leitz)

The architects' first task was to tackle the property's dated layout as it still had the traditional planning organization with segmented spaces for servants and residents. The previous entry, living room and dining rooms were formal spaces and the kitchen, butler’s pantry and larder were service areas. There was even a servants' staircase at the back of the house. Studio AM reconfigured the downstairs space, removing the back stairs to increase the scale of the entry, pictured above, and provide circulation to the mudroom, powder, and kitchen. Removing the stairs also improved sight lines to the kitchen and outdoors beyond.

Designer Kelly Hohla's hallway ideas are calm and textural, bridging the gap between the old front door and period detailing and the refreshed interiors. Note how the slim profile contemporary console, with gilt detailing, contrasts with the wainscoting and moldings while the textural modern artwork with its concentric squares design references the wainscoting in the entry.  

kitchen with wood island and geometric tile backsplash with wooden floor

(Image credit: Aaron Leitz)

Similary, kitchen ideas play on the juxtaposition of old and new. The traditional black range hood and stove mark a contrast with the contemporary lighting choices and striking geometric tile backsplash. The midcentury-style geometric motif pops up all over this house, and looks perfectly in keeping. 

kitchen dining nook with banquette seat and round table wooden floor

(Image credit: Aaron Leitz)

To one side of the much-improved kitchen, a relaxed dining nook with a glass table and banquette seating now enjoys an uninterrupted view of the backyard. The kitchen's enlarged windows and glass doors, together with its more open floorplan have increased the light flow into the room and have linked it up with the entertaining spaces. 

dining room with wooden table and black chairs and sun room behind

(Image credit: Aaron Leitz)

The magnificent dining room leads into a small sun room. Dining room ideas include pared-back furniture, dark wood table and contemporary chairs, which allow the room's striking architecture to have its moment. When the details are as good as this, there's little need for extra embellishment. 

living room with dark neutral scheme and gray sectional sofa and marble fireplace

(Image credit: Aaron Leitz)

The smaller of the two living rooms, this family room is cozy and intimate. Family living room ideas include a wrap-round taupe color scheme that enhances the sense of warmth in the room. An original fire surround inspired the paint effects for the ceiling. 

living room with two white sofas and blue chairs with windows on two sides

(Image credit: Aaron Leitz)

The main living room has a very different feel and aesthetic. Living room ideas here feature more formal groupings of armchairs and couches, their curved contours reflecting the home's classic Mediterranean Revival arched windows. Just seen, a decorative gilded cabinet adds a touch of contemporary glamor to the space. 

study with decorative ceiling and dark wood paneling and round table

(Image credit: Aaron Leitz)

This remarkable space is used as a study. Home office ideas blend dark wood paneling and bookcases, and a decorative plasterwork ceiling with contemporary furnishings. It's no accident that the patterned rug and curtain fabric echo the ceiling motifs. 

bedroom with gray upholstered bed and blue bench

(Image credit: Aaron Leitz)

Anyone looking for bedroom ideas could surely find inspiration in this smart, yet relaxing space. The renovations added extra windows, so the primary bedroom now has more natural light. A harmonious scheme of soft neutrals with highlights of blue ties the look together, with the midcentury-style chandelier and upholstered bed being the standout pieces. 

bedroom with nature print wallpaper and pink fluffy footstool

(Image credit: Aaron Leitz)

Designing children's bedrooms is a fine art, particularly if the kids are heading towards their teenage years. But take a look at this nature-inspired room with its butterfly wallpaper. It's the perfect room to grow into, with grown-up paneled walls and the owners' favorite sophisticated geometric patterns for the bedding and throw. A sassy pink stool and glistening gold lampbase add just the right amount of luxury. 

bedroom sitting area with steel framed windows on two sides and hanging basket chair

(Image credit: Aaron Leitz)

Leading off the kid's room is this cool hangout space, complete with hanging rattan chair and sofa beds for sleepovers. The den was created as a result of the renovations, as a kind of covered balcony, and with two walls of windows it's a bright and welcoming space that sees a lot of use. 

bathroom with geometric floor and wall tiles

(Image credit: Aaron Leitz)

Bathroom ideas in the family bathroom showcase matching geometric wall and floor tiles, which work well here and give definition to a smaller space. We love the smart detailing, including the square drawer pulls and brass/gold fittings. 

exterior of whitewashed house with blue sky

(Image credit: Aaron Leitz)

The current owners purchased the 1910-built Mediterranean revival home for their young family with the goal of remodeling and bringing it up to contemporary standards while retaining its history and grandeur. Throughout the home, systems were upgraded and modern touches were thoughtfully added with inspired design input from Kelly Hohla Interiors.  

Architect Aaron Mollick says: 'We kept going back to what we hoped to achieve—creating a family house while preserving the specialness of each space. These clients have a modern sensibility and style.

'The home is not historically registered, but is well known as a local community landmark. The property was surgically deconstructed, meticulously documented and studied to ensure development retained the level of craftsmanship and timeless expression while incorporating contemporary elements of styling.' he adds. 'The home is filled with details that replicate and innovate. Hidden doors and high-tech features are interwoven into an old shell with all new systems. New methods of fabrication were employed to recreate elements of the past and allow this historic structure to continue its life as a home for the current and future generations within the context of the community.'

Architecture: Studio AM
Design: Kelly Hohla Interiors
Photography: Aaron Leitz 

Karen Darlow

Karen is the houses editor for and homes editor for the brand’s sister titles, Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors, and an experienced writer on interiors and gardens. She loves visiting historic houses for Period Living and writing about rural properties for Country Homes & Interiors, and working with photographers to capture all shapes and sizes of properties. Karen began her career as a sub editor at Hi-Fi News and Record Review magazine. Her move to women’s magazines came soon after, in the shape of Living magazine, which covered cookery, fashion, beauty, homes and gardening. From Living Karen moved to Ideal Home magazine, where as deputy chief sub, then chief sub, she started to really take an interest in properties, architecture, interior design and gardening.