Home Improvement

Shipshape and Refreshed: A Considered Renovation of an 1898 Cabin on Maury Island

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).
Join us for a tour.
Photography by Thomas J. Story, courtesy of Hoedemaker Pfeiffer.
Above: A blue front door references the waterfront views just behind the house.
Above: Pfeiffer’s favorite room, the living room with its library wall. The design team sourced a mix of antiques and primitive nautical objects for the interiors.
Above: The cedar-paneled walls in every room were painted a soft white for cohesiveness.

Above: Expert layering is evidenced in every corner. An early 19th-century set of croquet pegs makes for a sculptural display.
Above: The only element that survived the renovation? The 1950s kitchen cabinets, now painted a gray-blue and appointed with brass hardware for a nautical feel. Formica countertops (new) further the old beach-cottage story.
Above: Salvaged Douglas fir planks from Second Use make up the floors.
Above: The couple and their dogs lounge in the sun room. Note the wood panels laid at an angle in this room.
Above: The master bedroom with an ensuite bath. The home’s reclaimed doors are from Second Use.
Above: Also from Second Use: the circa-1920s tub in the master bath. A pair of signal flags found in Provincetown make charming curtains.
Above: The hardworking mudroom, complete with sturdy hooks; a round porthole-like mirror; a nautical cleat door handle (and improvised leash holder); and industrial nautical sconces. (See Nautical Hardware: 7 Cleats for Home Use.)
Above: The couple added a window to the original front porch to make it an all-season sitting area.
Above: Unbeatable views from their multi-tiered deck.
For more island style, see:

Seattle Chef Matt Dillon’s Cookhouse at Old Chaser Farm on Vashon Island
Farmhouse Refresh: An Antiques Dealer’s Clean and Simple Family Retreat on Shelter Island
A Chic Fixer-Upper on Fire Island, Budget Edition


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