Maury Island, in Washington’s Puget Sound, is small. You’ve likely never heard of it before, but you may have heard of its larger neighbor, Vashon Island, to which it’s connected via an isthmus built by local homeowners in 1913. (Before then, the two islands were linked only during low tide.) Both are accessible only by ferry, the inconvenience of which has kept commercial growth at bay—and that’s how its residents like it, including designer Tim Pfeiffer (of Seattle-based architecture and interiors firm Hoedemaker Pfeiffer) and his partner, Matt Carvalho.
The two had been searching for a vacation home on the rural island for years when they finally spotted potential, under a layer of peeling linoleum flooring and pink plywood walls, in a former shipbuilder’s cabin from the late 19th century. Over the course of a year, Pfeiffer’s design team led a gut renovation of the home, stripping layers of various misbegotten decorative styles from the 1,900-square-foot home and adding back in historical charm—or, to put it succinctly, “eradicating a 1960s rambler vibe out of an original 1898 house,” says Pfeiffer.
In a nod to the cabin’s original owner, the interiors now also allude to its roots: The couple’s home is peppered with nautical references—from the subtle (brass hardware in the kitchen, a focus on the color blue) to the straightforward (artwork of coastal life and portraits of sailors).
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