In 2011 Holly Johnston and her husband bought a “pretty standard” circa 1950s house in Seattle when Johnston was seven months pregnant with their first child. They knew they would eventually overhaul the kitchen, but they used it daily for four years “to know how we would use the space before we made any changes,” she says.
When it came time for the remodel, Johnston designed the kitchen herself; though she’s not a trained designer, she works in construction management and has a few interior design classes under her belt. She also has a practiced eye—she’s the owner of Goose Creek Mercantile, an online shop with an emphasis on designers from the Pacific Northwest. “I’m ready for design to be an intentional part of my life story,” says Johnston. “This remodel was an opportunity for me to see my ideas in action.”
Photography by Kate L. Porter, courtesy of Holly Johnston.
Before the overhaul the kitchen was separated from the living and dining, the laminate floor tiles were peeling off, and the 1980s appliances were “on life support.”
“Our house is most definitely a family-friendly home, and it works hard for us,” Johnstonsays. “Nothing is sacred or off-limits.”
Among the interior design classes she’s taken, Johnston says, “I found my training with the National Kitchen & Bath Association invaluable when it came to designing my kitchen.”
“It’s a small and very efficient space. Every drawer was strategically planned for its contents; duplicates and unused gadgets were donated,” Johnston says.
“We turned our front closet into a storage niche, and it was the best decision ever,” Johnston says. “It has such visual impact, and the lost storage is offset.”
“We only use it to melt butter for popcorn and warm cold coffee,” Johnston says of the microwave. “We felt it was a necessity, but we didn’t want it to look at it.”
The Kitchen Table is a collaboration between Seattle furniture designer Matt Kelly and Goose Creek Mercantile; it’s sold on the site. Johnston commissioned a custom design because “gathering for meals is big on our list and we needed a table that was wide, with lots of leg room. We wanted for a ‘forever’ piece that would tell a story.”
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