APAK's Creative Cottage

House Tour

Name: Aaron Piland, Ayumi Kajikawa Piland (APAK), Ocho & Peanut
Location: Portland, Oregon
Size: 950 square feet
Years lived in: 3

Tucked away on the outskirts of Portland you’ll find the cozy home of the artistic duo known as APAK. You might have seen their work here recently on Apartment Therapy. Their 1930s home is warm, inviting, and reflective of the art that this couple creates together.

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Aaron and Ayumi have done several things to brighten up their home. They installed a window box and a sliding glass door to bring in much appreciated light. Though it is tough to keep up with the dusting, tiny collections are displayed everywhere. Take a close look and you’ll find small giraffes grazing on their houseplants and god’s eyes adding bursts of color here and there. They have surrounded themselves with the things they like: small toys, art, pieces of nature, and vintage niceties. Two lively little pooches do their part to keep the house cheerful as well! APAK works from their studio upstairs where the natural light flows in like water. There they create colorful art inspired in part by the things all around them. Visit their Etsy shop to see more of their work.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our style: Handmade Modern maybe? Not sure what our style is actually...we kind of just have a feeling about what we like and try to find what works in our small space that we can find/make/afford. We like small, cute, warm, handmade, comfortable and natural.

Inspiration: This Old House, Todd Oldham, Readymade Magazine. We get inspiration from nature, and friends houses, and vintage shops too.

Favorite Element: We like our wood stove in the winter and big shady trees in the summer.

Biggest Challenge: Finding furniture that works in our small space and our small budget. Finding ways to buy less and reuse more.

What Friends Say: Cute! Homey! Sweet!

Biggest Embarrassment: Our floor. We bought our house 3 years ago “as is” and the floor is still “as is”. Eventually we’d like to refinish it and have wood floors throughout. hopefully we can score some reclaimed flooring from the ReBuilding Center.

Proudest DIY: We’re DIY kids and artists so we’ve done a lot on our own, not just because it’s cheaper but because it’s fun to experiment, make mistakes, learn, and make our space special. Our house was pretty dark so we put in a sliding glass door in the dining room so we can look out and watch birds and squirrels at lunchtime. Also we put in a garden window in the kitchen, where there was no window before. Now we have great natural lighting and a place to grow happy herbs. We’ve also redone the kitchen countertops, replaced the sink, put in a doggy door, put in a new bathtub and tile surround, hooked up a tankless hot water heater, replaced light fixtures throughout and switched to fluorescent bulbs, converted to gas stove and dryer, switched to low flow faucets and shower head, repainted the house with zero VOC paint, planted a garden and trees to name a few.

Biggest Indulgence: We have two big Douglas Fir trees with two hammocks hung between that we often lounge in and stare up at the incredible canopy above and watch clouds float by.

Best advice: Appreciate what you have. Do more with less.

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Resources: Goodwill, “The Bins” Goodwill Outlet, House of Vintage, Forest Park, Powers Park, ocean beaches, Willamette River banks, Etsy, IKEA, yard sales, free piles, ReBuilding Center, Habitat ReStore, Craigslist

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(Thanks, APAK!)

Images: Molly Anderson

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