Decorating a home can be a daunting task. It is an organic blend of practical decisions and emotional reactions to textures, colors and furnishings. How does one make sense of it all? Well, there is no one recipe that fits all but for me, the best decorating happens when rules are forgone in favor of things cherished, collected and personally meaningful. It is the case of some of my favorite homes – Bee Cottage designed by Tom Samet and Frances Schultz, the Mill Valley home of Blythe Harris and family, decorated by Rita Konig and, it is certainly the case of this vibrant Victorian sea-captain’s cottage in Port Townsend, Washington. With magnificent vistas overlooking Admiralty Inlet, the house is one of interior designer Markham Roberts and his partner, furniture and art dealer James Sansum’s three homes. It is also one of their most personal ones, and my favorite designed by Roberts. It was included in Markham Roberts’ book Decorating: The Way I See It (published by Vendome in 2014) and, more recently, it was featured in The Seattle Times and in Cabana Magazine’s Fall/Winter 2017 issue.?
“Old, cottage-y rugs and painted Victorian furniture were all thrown together, and the result is what I call “relaxed”, in that we’re not really going all out to decorate. The bedrooms, too, are a crazy mixture of old-fashioned patterns and odd pieces of furniture, charming in an old summer cottage way.”
The house has been in Sansum’s family since the 70s and it still represents a cherished summer escape. The first thing that comes to mind when looking at these images is the feeling of freedom and ease. There’s a sense of comfort that transpires these colorful rooms. It is difficult to replicate also, which is where lies the immense talent of interior designer Markham Roberts and his ability to harmoniously marry bold hues, classic patterns and different styles. Family heirlooms and beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces collected over the years fill this home, it is pure joy to study every room and each cranny!?