A couple of months ago, I was asked to fully furnish an almost-finished waterfront bungalow at Dover Bay Resort in Northern Idaho. Since asking me that is tantamount to asking a chocoholic if they’d like a truffle, of course I said yes!
When I first visited the site, the bungalow was in the drywall stage, and although I had the complete floorplan, it is always nice to see a space in person. This model is a two story, and includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a spacious loft, and a two car garage. The estimated date for completion was sometime after September 1…which ended up being September 26.
Just ahead of the completion date, my husband and I had a long-planned trip to New England for his class reunion, so I started shopping in earnest before we left for the furniture and accessories. Because the owner lives in California and planned to use the space as part time vacation rental and part time vacation home for their family, they entrusted me with the task of getting the home “vacation rental ready.”
What vacation rental ready means is that, in addition to the normal furniture, lighting, rugs, and decor, you need to purchase everything for a fully stocked kitchen, from dishes to glasses to the potato peeler. It also requires all of the small appliances such as coffee maker, toaster, blender, and pots and pans. Next came window blinds, wall art, and television sets. Basically, when I was done, the unit was ready for renters or the homeowner to show up with their suitcase and starting enjoying on day one.
For the dining area, we selected a large wood farm table with black accents, which included four chairs and a long bench, that would allow seating for 7 or more. We actually put the bench near the entry door for a “drop your shoes” area, and it can be moved to the nearby table when needed. For the island, there are four black x-back barstools that allow for even more seating in this kitchen/dining space.
In the living room, there is a large sofa with nail head detail, a corner chair and side table, and a coffee table that opens for storing games, books and remotes. Against the stairway wall, there is a sofa table that, with its proximity to the back door, can be used as a landing area for keys and other items. There is an ottoman tucked under the sofa table, as well as some floor pillows, for extra seating if needed. A floor lamp in the corner, a basket for soft throws, and a television above the fireplace completes this area.
One of the things I learned from the homeowners during our initial design consultation was that they loved vintage black and white photography. Due to its proximity to the Pend Oreille river and lake, as well as the Schweitzer ski area just 10 miles up the mountain, almost all of the wall art incorporated in this bungalow is vintage, and has a nod to either water or mountain ski scenes.
Moving into the two main level bedrooms, things are very simple and serene. One bedroom has a wrought iron black headboard with a gray nightstand and black lamp, and above the bed, there is a framed black and white lake print. Hangers in the closet, and full bedding with a decorative pillow, and this room was done.
The second bedroom has a tufted gray headboard, a black bedside table and lamp. Again, above the bed is a framed vintage photograph of a lakeside scene. Both bedrooms have the same gray coverlet, which is provided by the property management company. They change and clean all bedding in between rentals, so the quilts will change depending on what is available at the time.
In the main floor bathroom, the only thing needed was a soap dispenser, and two framed boat prints. These photographs were actually taken by my mother years ago, and in their navy frames, they are perfect for the main floor with its water vibe. The plush white towels and toiletries are provided by the on-site property management firm.
At the foot of the stairs, there is a large State of Idaho silhouette. The homeowner had commented on a similar one that she liked in some portfolio photos, so I wanted to put one in their bungalow. When they were no longer available from my original source, my husband made this one out of rich walnut, and did a beautiful job.
Moving upstairs, there is the principal bedroom to the left, which is spacious enough to hold a king size bed, a large black dresser, and two black nightstands topped with gray ceramic lamps. One of the clever things that was done in this bedroom to accommodate the sloped ceiling was to order an adjustable charcoal tufted headboard. My husband and I played with the height until it fit perfectly under the eaves, allowing maximum floor space in the room. There is also plenty of room in the corner by the window for the homeowner to add a chair for reading, and the walk-in closet is so large, it could almost be another bedroom!
Upstairs, the mood is more rustic and ski themed, paying homage to the beautiful Schweitzer ski area only 10 miles up the mountain. In the upstairs bathroom, there is a vintage black and white photograph of a ski lift scene, that framed in black, coordinates nicely with the tile/grout combination in this room.
This bungalow has a very large loft, that includes two spaces under the eaves, as well as a large gathering area in between these two alcoves. A large piece with mountains and trees is the only wall art. The room is furnished with a sleeper sofa, an occasional chair, two side tables with lamps, a credenza and big-screen television. There is also a storage ottoman that holds the bedding for the sleeper sofa. Due to supply chain issues, the selection of in-stock furniture was a challenge when getting this unit completed, so we did the best we could with what was available. At a later date, the homeowner has plans to add either a sectional or another sofa/chaise to make the room more accommodating for their family and friends.
At the top of the stairs is a large framed vintage ski scene, showing a line of skiers from the 50’s, at the top of a slope. Between the loft and bedroom are the bathroom and a full laundry room. In the laundry, the only thing added was a rolling wooden storage unit that has room for the laundry essentials and other items. Long term, I think the homeowners will add shelves and hooks to maximize functionality in the space.The last area that will be available to decorate is the extremely large waterfront deck. To say this view is dreamy is an understatement. Of all of the lots in Dover Bay, this one is the sweet spot with the Brown’s Inlet behind, and a view of the Pend Oreille River and mountains in the distance. It was hard to stay on task while decorating with that beautiful view right outside the door!
An important thing worth noting when doing a project like this is leaving enough space for the homeowner to put their personal touches and stamp on it. Many of the rooms seem sparingly decorated, but this was intentional. There is enough in each space to feel furnished, but plenty of wall and floor space to be filled by finds that the homeowner will add over the years. My job was to have it functional for renters, within the budget and timeline that was given, and that goal was accomplished.
One of the things that made this project so enjoyable was how great the clients were. The husband and I discussed logistics and pricing, while the wife and I worked together on selection of the large furniture pieces and overall feel she wanted for the unit. All in all, they were a dream to work with.
The owners selected this particular lot two years before and had waited a long time for the completion of their beautiful bungalow. Part of this was due to COVID, and then the ensuing labor shortages and shipping delays that added to the timeline. Knowing how long they had waited, made me want the end result to be be worth the wait.
For many decorators, having carte blanche on most design decisions sounds like the perfect scenario, but it can actually be stressful. Will they like my style and selections? Will it live up to their expectations? One important thing to point out is that the design decisions made by the homeowner, long before I arrived on the scene, made my job much easier. Their choices in the tile, flooring and lighting were neutral and provided a beautiful backdrop for decorating.
After two days of install, the unit was ready to reveal to the wife, who was flying in from California. As she approached the front door, I was a little nervous, but my fears were soon allayed. She loved it and could not have been more excited. As we went room by room, she said “this is nicer than my house in California” which was so nice to hear.
After looking the bungalow over, my husband, the homeowner and I went out for dinner at a favorite local Italian restaurant. As we sat for hours getting to know each other in person, I was left with the feeling that we had not only done a good job for the client, but had made new friends in the process. Since our bungalow is just down the lane from theirs, we hope to be up there at the same time again soon.
This was the 8th project I’ve completed in the Dover Bay/Sandpoint area, and one of my all time favorites. I hope you have enjoyed this latest decorating project with its gorgeous location as much as I did working on it!