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Bellingham designer chose bright, fun and clever in remodel of her house

Jennifer Ryan redecorated a third-floor open space in her Bellingham house in 2014 to provide extra beds for visitors. The space had suffered a fire years ago and only had bare plasterboard before she fixed it up. She chose seafoam green paint for the walls and ceiling, and barn-red paint with cow-print carpet squares for the floor. The blackboard surface by the window lets visitors write their names and other messages. “I wanted this area upstairs to be fun and whimsical,” Ryan says.
Jennifer Ryan redecorated a third-floor open space in her Bellingham house in 2014 to provide extra beds for visitors. The space had suffered a fire years ago and only had bare plasterboard before she fixed it up. She chose seafoam green paint for the walls and ceiling, and barn-red paint with cow-print carpet squares for the floor. The blackboard surface by the window lets visitors write their names and other messages. “I wanted this area upstairs to be fun and whimsical,” Ryan says. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

When it comes to design work, Jennifer Ryan is all over the map, in a good way.

She operates her business, Jennifer Ryan Design, out of her 1903 Dutch Colonial home in Bellingham’s Lettered Streets neighborhood. She’s an interior designer, to be sure, and a contractor who can manage projects.

She also reupholsters furniture, creates custom slipcovers and cushions, and designs valances, curtains and other window treatments. She does tile design, too, and painting projects, from straightforward interior jobs to faux finishes, murals, and painted furniture and floors. And don’t forget her custom clothing designs, costumes, and planning and design work for weddings and other events.

Clearly, her talents and interests are varied, and very much in evidence in the remodeling work she has done in her three-story, 3,600-square-foot home.

“I can’t live in a house that is just a plain old spec house,” Ryan says.

I wanted this area upstairs to be fun and whimsical.

Jennifer Ryan, designer

The house was a duplex when she bought it in the early 1990s. Since then, she has taken out some walls, removed the second-floor kitchen, and remodeled the second-floor bathroom.

Years ago, a fire charred a room in the third floor. When she remodeled that space in the summer of 2014, Ryan chose seafoam green paint for the walls and ceiling, and barn-red paint with cow-print carpet squares for the floor. A blackboard surface by the window lets visitors write their names and other messages.

“It’s where all of our friends come and stay,” Ryan says. “I wanted this area upstairs to be fun and whimsical.”

The remodeled third-floor hallway features a hanging light from the original Roosevelt Elementary School, and mixed stairway railing pieces that she painted a uniform black.

The remodel of her kitchen — “The kitchen was in dire need of something,” she says — was finished later in 2014. The main kitchen area lacked room for a dishwasher, so she installed one around the corner by the eating area.

Cabinets above the dishwasher are new, but match original ones in the kitchen. The glass panes in the new cabinets are recycled windows. “They just happened to fit,” Ryan says.

You only need three things to make a collection, but I tend to have more.

Jennifer Ryan

Ryan opted for a six-burner, natural gas stove in the kitchen and a twin-basin metal farmhouse sink, because she loves to cook and entertain. On one counter sits a vintage ice cream blender.

“It’s an old-timer,” Ryan says. “It weighs about 20 pounds.”

It’s clear that Ryan is fascinated by old objects, many of which she restores and puts to new use. For examples, stacks of trunks and old luggage pieces provide storage space and flat surfaces in a second-floor guest room.

In the TV room on the main floor, the walls are covered with handpainted black trays, which she collects.

“You only need three things to make a collection,” Ryan says, “but I tend to have more.”

Home makers

Interior designer and general contractor: Jennifer Ryan Design: 360-733-9519, jenniferryandesign.com

Countertops: Northwest Granite and Marble. 360-510-4255, bellinghamgranite.net

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