Linda Derschang mixes high, low and humor to create the perfect hangout at home.
There are no skulls or safety pin sculptures on display in Linda Derschang’s home, but it still shows signs of her punk past—a metal “KISS” sign above a doorway, a Melvins poster beside a window.
As creator of some of Seattle’s most recognizable hangouts (she owns Oddfellows, Smith, King’s Hardware and Linda’s Tavern), Derschang has developed a sophisticated style that juxtaposes aesthetics. The décor in her North Capitol Hill home is meticulously chosen and reflects the style apparent in her businesses.
“I live in an old house,” Derschang says as a matter of fact. She’s perched on the edge of a chair at a two-top table beside the windows at Oddfellows café, which she opened in 2008 on 10th Avenue. “I was envisioning it as this house that someone inherited from a distant uncle, and there was already furniture there and then the punk rockers moved in and put their spin on it.” Derschang pauses with a laugh, a slight blush spreading across her cheeks. “Of course, when I moved in the furniture wasn’t actually there!”
Derschang took up residence in her home five years ago. She says people were surprised she chose a 1930s Tudor because it was so traditional.
“I find Tudors to be very cozy homes with lots of beautiful details,” she says. “The big challenge was to keep it light and airy, and prevent the rooms from feeling oppressive.”
Embracing the structure’s traditional architecture—dark exposed beams, arched entryways and leaded glass windows—Derschang painted the walls Spanish white and kept the original hardwood floors. Her décor, which she’s done on her own, is a carefully curated assortment of items collected over the years, including plenty of taxidermy. Derschang says her penchant for taxidermy, which is a hallmark of her establishments as well as her home, started 30 years ago and ranges from ducks to deer to bears. Her newest piece is a little deer head (no more than 7 inches tall) in her reading room—a gift from friends.
Derschang describes her style as a “high-low aesthetic.” She isn’t afraid to put an IKEA sofa in the living room with her grandmother’s antique oriental rugs.
“When I find things I love I try to find a place for them as opposed to forcing ‘design,’” she explains. This is evident throughout her home—a mix of mid-century, traditional, Western and contemporary.
Vintage concert posters share space with turn-of-the-century portraits. “I started collecting portraits at least a dozen years ago,” Derschang says. “I was collecting them like they were orphans. I often wondered why a portrait of a woman painted in the 1940s would end up on sale for $40 in some bin at a thrift shop, so I just started buying them and bringing them home.” When the “orphans” began to crowd her home, she moved a group of them to Smith, where they occupy a large wall adjacent to the bar.
Derschang is a voracious reader, so it’s no surprise that the tiny library on the ground level of her home is her favorite room. The little nook is lined on one side with built-in bookcases, and the steely blue walls and ceiling create a cool but cozy effect. A vintage 1950s Knoll sofa, purchased 15 years ago, anchors the room, and Derschang often shares the couch with her four-year-old Westie, Jack.
“I think the most consistent element of my personal style is the eclectic mix of periods,” the self-taught designer says. “There’s a little bit of humor in my home and my businesses. You might have to look for it, because it’s not overt, but I like to include things that make people smile.”
A taxidermy duck flies opposite a Chop Suey show poster for the Kills.
Derschang’s bold style doesn’t drown out the traditional architecture in the living room.
Photography by Steve Korn.