Gretchen and Kent Haberly took their time finding the right designer for their new home north of Seattle. The empty-nesters had purchased a lot with golf course and Mt. Baker views. They intended to build their forever home – one with all the elements necessary to embrace their retirement years gracefully and become a gathering place for adult children and grandchildren.

“After initially working with a building designer, we brought on Marianne Simon of Marianne Simon Design to help us bring our dream to life,” said Gretchen Haberly. “I’m so glad we did. She understood our vision and was meticulous in addressing functionality and detail.”

Haberly sought out Simon to capture an East Coast aesthetic. From the Cape Code reminiscent exterior shingles to classic elements of marble, white millwork, tongue and groove paneling, and coordinated color palette inside, the home exudes a sense of timeless style. “It’s all about making a space cohesive. Spaces flow together with complementary aesthetics. There is no jarring surprise as you go from room to room,” says Simon.

“The Haberlys are attracted to traditional design, but they’re not stuffy, the overall effect is what I like to call ‘casual elegance.’ Friends and family will feel comfortable enough to put their feet up, but it’s still gorgeous.”

The home is defused with light and natural colors and textures. White oak flooring with a clear finish creates continuity throughout. The open kitchen and dining area feature white cabinetry and hand-crafted white subway tile backsplash. Luxury touches are found everywhere, including soapstone countertops and fireplace accents, dramatic draperies in natural linens, and upholstered bedroom and dining furniture.

Features like lighting, hardware, and seating take traditional forms but with a fresh twist. “Chic Ann Morris pendant lights over the kitchen island might come across as more industrial in nature, but a custom white powder coating softens them into harmony with the room,” Simon said. A traditional chandelier is cast in an oil-rubbed bronze is in subtle contrast to the polished nickel of the cabinet pulls. “I like to mix metal fixtures a bit for depth and context – if all the hardware is the same, it can feel a little flat.” To create visual calm, Simon dressed the dining room chairs in floor-length skirts. They elevate the dining area while reducing a sense of clutter as the eye travels between living, dining, and kitchen areas.

Simon also helped the homeowners to make thoughtful choices about utility and aging-in-place features. “Gretchen is an avid gardener, so we built functions for all seasons gardening right into the combo mudroom and laundry.” The extra-thick butcher block on the kitchen island is both useful and a perfect launching pad for entertaining. The counter stools can be tucked fully under the island and out of the way for 360 degree mingling.

The Haberlys have all they need on the ground floor, including kitchen, living, and main bedroom and bath. Upstairs is for guests. “We have four adult children and grandkids, so making this a welcoming place for everyone to visit and stay was a priority,” said Haberly. Visitors benefit from multiple upstairs bedrooms, including a sophisticated ‘bunk room,’ guest bath, and bonus game room. Marble countertops and dual mirrors in the guest bath turn it into something special as well as practical. Open storage for towels, toiletries, and other essentials makes it easy for even young guests to feel at home.

Downstairs, Simon outfitted the powder room with a sink console converted from an existing cabinet. “We found this dresser with the perfect patina for the home,” said Simon. Incorporating antiques and found objects is a hallmark of Simon’s approach to interior design. Being easy to work with is another.

“Marianne is so delightful, happy, and positive to work with that this whole experience was a pleasure,” says Haberly. “Our builder, Rob Johnson of Johnson Construction, also brought his expert care and craftsmanship to bringing Marianne’s ideas to life.” Little touches like library lights above the bookshelves, beadboard in the laundry, an oval window in the main bath, and traditional crown molding all add to the timeless elegance and sophistication of the home.

“Everything Marianne does is with such a sense of class,” says Haberly. “I just love everything. There is nothing I wish I could have done differently. We’ll never get tired of it.”


Johnson Construction Inc

Marianne Simon Design

Judd & Black

J Garner Home

Seattle Design Center

The Window & Door Shoppe