My dear friends' "Swedish Village" on Orcas Island!

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My longtime friends from Pasadena have developed a charming spot on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands in Washington state.  They have been going there for 22 years!  It is a dream of a family compound!

This summer I went to Orcas Island to visit my granddaughter at her camp and visited the Coffey’s “compound” close by! This red house is one of five! This one is called “Missel Thrush” after  a quotation in “The Secret Garden”; a book my friend Marty has loved her entire life.

Orcas Island has very strict rules about development;  which has resulted in an unspoiled natural environment!

There were five little “shacks” on the property when my friends purchased it;  and they were allowed to only build on the “footprints” of those “shacks”.  They are reminiscent of a Swedish village with the feeling of the Swedish artist and interior decorator  Carl Larsson.


This is “Argonauta” named after another  of  my friend Marty’s favorite books.  “Gift from the Sea” by Ann Morrow Lindberg.

Isn’t this the most delightful place to store logs?  It is on the deck of “Missel Thrush”

This is the view from the deck looking the other way! 

This tiny cottage is “Goose Corner” because one of their daughters (the youngest) they have called “Goose” her whole life!

The interior of “Goose Corner”  and the view out the window!  How charming! Who wants a big house when one could have all these charming cottages!

Here is another one!   This one is “Pooh Corner” after another favorite book of the family of four children  and  the grandchildren who have been  coming here for years!

This is

painted inside…..note the part of the quote…….”as our days disappeared all too soon ”  are paler than the rest…so true

and so poignant.

A wonderful artist actually lived here for some time painting all these charming vignettes!

There are four of these bunk beds with privacy curtains and even a secret passage to a loft to “hide from parents”!

Talk about a “kid magnet”??  The grandchildren love the whole place!  Magic!

The kitchen in the main house “Missel Thrush” and the cozy  nook below.


Just next to the nook is the living room looking out to the deck with this wonderful fireplace!

I can’t remember the name of this one, but it has an ingenious cupboard  bed! And the delightful girl outside!

Who could guess this would open up to be a double bed? with a window and lamps!

The “secret” hideaway bed!

and these are the steps to climb into bed!

The living room beyond the hall with the secret bed!!

Another cottage!

And another!

I hope you enjoyed our trip to a Swedish village on Orcas Island!   Poppy did!!!!!

9 thoughts on “My dear friends' "Swedish Village" on Orcas Island!

  1. The Devoted Classicist


  2. penelopebi

    Thank you! I thought so too!


  3. Heather

    No wonder Poppy was smiling–what a wonderful escape, charming is definitely the word for such a creative enclave. 🙂

  4. Victoria

    well Penny the first word that came to my mind
    was “charming” as well. A lovely spot indeed.

    By the way have followed your work for years
    from afar. Your home has the most wonderful

  5. penelopebi

    I thank you so much for your lovely comments!

    I hope you have some idea how much they mean to me!
    There has never been an “avenue” for me to get any feedback for my work!

    I have to say; just one story. (about the “net”!!!

    When our house was first published in 2002 in Traditional Home; it was such a thrill for me!!!

  6. Thoughts on Design

    The cupboard bed and hidden double bed are genius! I’m ready for an extended stay!
    Hope the fishing’s good!

  7. debra

    Hi Penny –

    I found you through Velvet and Linen and I love your blog. Being the luddite I am, I cannot find a way on your site to subscribe. Can you direct me? Thanks, Debra

    1. penelopebi

      Hi! I’m delighted you enjoy it! I will sign you up and you can confirm in your email!

  8. Terri

    Hi, I would also like to subscribe to your blog. Will you help me as well? Thank, Terri

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