Alexis & Nathaniel's Modern Cottage

Alexis & Nathaniel's Modern Cottage

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )
(Image credit: Alexis and Nathaniel )

Name: Alexis, Nathaniel, and son Finnegan
Location: Portland, OR
Size: 780 square foot main house, plus a 300 square foot detached art studio/utility room (not pictured)
Years Lived In: 8 years; Owned

Recently, Apartment Therapy shared our home as a House Call and we were so thankful and overwhelmed by all the kind comments! So when they asked us back for a full House Tour, we were more than excited — thank you, Apartment Therapy!

(Image credit: Alexis and Nathaniel )

We bought our home in 2007 just when the market was beginning to fall. We’d seen a lot of properties and were about to give up since most of the houses in our price range needed more work than we could afford. So when we came across a listing for this cute little cottage, we were extremely excited. It had great bones and it was in the right neighborhood — we knew we’d found our new home. We started renovating as soon as we had the keys.

To start, we painted everything a crisp bright white, which helped show off the beauty of the wood floors and opened up the rooms tremendously. We tore out the old kitchen and went to work putting in a kitchen of our own design. In keeping with the rest of the house, everything in the kitchen is white, including the Corian countertops and large farmhouse sink. With this being our first remodel, there was a bit of a learning curve, but when it all came together we were quite pleased. We still plan to add a backsplash made of Heath tile seconds, but as all homeowners know, it is always a work in progress.

The small footprint of the home helps keep us creative — it’s a fun challenge to find storage and space where it didn’t exist before. We’re so grateful to call this house our home!

(Image credit: Alexis and Nathaniel )

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: A modern cottage with a touch of mid-century

Inspiration: Scandinavian and Japanese style (both new and old), Charles and Ray Eames, Handcrafted Modern and Modern Originals by Leslie Williamson, Alexander Girard, Jens Quistgaard, Dieter Rams, Borge Mogensen, Oregon, natural elements, and, of course, art!

Favorite Element: All of the windows really help to keep the space bright and feeling larger. Living in the rainy and cloudy Portland climate, we’ve seen first-hand how important it is to have natural light. We have a couple skylights and replaced all the windows, allowing much more light to filter in. So, even on the grayest of days our home always feels bright, cheery, and open.

Biggest Challenge: Having one bathroom.

What Friends Say: “It feels bigger than 780 sq ft!”

Biggest Embarrassment: The bathroom! It is just not our style, some day we would like to tear it all out and re-do the whole thing.

Proudest DIY: The hi-fi cabinet with built-in amp that Nathaniel built — it also disguises an air conditioning unit that the previous homeowner had stuck through the wall. The large wood panel on the front is attached with magnets so the whole cover detaches and we can use the air conditioner when we need it and hide it when we don’t!

Biggest Indulgence: Furniture, art, and we also have a bad book and record-buying habit — we like to be surrounded with the stuff that inspires us. Nathaniel just finished his first children’s book, The Lonely Little Dark Spot, and is working on getting it published! He also created and narrated a little video for it. Oh! And can’t forget going to the PDX store Canoe; we pretty much can’t walk out of there without buying something!

Best Advice: “If you want it to feel bright and open, paint it white!”

Dream Sources: There are a lot but a few are...The Good Mod and Lookmodern (mid-century shops in PDX), Herman Miller, DWR, Marimekko, Heath Ceramics, Das Programm, Huset, School House Electric, and Scandinavian garage sales (wink wink!)


(Image credit: Alexis and Nathaniel )


Pretty much the whole house is Behr Ultra Pure White. We used a really, really pale blue for the kitchen backsplash, but we can’t remember the name. Finnegan’s room is Pratt & Lambert Gigs Grey.

(Image credit: Alexis and Nathaniel )


  • Hang-It-All coat rack: DWR
  • Shoe shelves: Ikea- PS 2014
  • Book and ecord shelves: Ikea
  • Eames LCM: Score! Half-off from an interior design firm that had too many!
  • Arrow print: House Industries
  • Gibson guitar poster: made by Alexis’s dad of his own guitar from the 60s
  • (Image credit: Alexis and Nathaniel )


  • Couch and chair: Crate & Barrel Petrie Collection
  • Floor lamp: CB2
  • Marimekko pillows: Crate & Barrel
  • Eames coffee table: Score! on Ebay
  • Teak side table: vintage Morganton inherited from amazing grandparents
  • Eames LCW: DWR
  • Rug: Ikea
  • Fireplace screen: made by us by upholstering a piece of plywood
  • Eames wire base table: Hive Modern
  • Vintage Jupiter 6500 speakers: Ebay
  • Nelson ball clock: Hive Modern
  • Mirror: Ikea Stockholm
  • Planters: Revolution Design House
  • Paintings on wood: Luke Agosta
  • CD player: Muji
  • Wooden radio: Areaware
  • Duckling: Canoe
  • Kristian Vedel birds: Canoe
  • Little house: Michael's
  • (Image credit: Alexis and Nathaniel )


  • Dining table: vintage Danish inherited from mom
  • Vintage Cherner dining chairs: gift from mom and dad!
  • Kid's chair: Ikea
  • Lamp: George Nelson Criss Cross from DWR
  • Various planters: Heath Ceramics, Ikea, and gifts
  • Swedish tray: Lounge Lizard

  • (Image credit: Alexis and Nathaniel )


  • Ceramics: Heath
  • Canisters: SagaForm
  • Kitchen cabinets: Ikea
  • Sink: Ikea
  • Corian countertops: Home Depot
  • Hansgrohe faucet: Home Depot
  • Kitchen Aid appliances: Lowe's
  • (Image credit: Alexis and Nathaniel )


  • Furniture: pretty much all Ikea- we added wooden handles to the dresser
  • Painting above bed: Nathaniel Gibson
  • Floor lamp: Ikea
  • On the shelves: Forest by Nathaniel Gibson
  • Love blocks: House Industries
  • Wooden llama: Areaware
  • Hawk print: FAB
  • Metal wamp: West Elm
  • (Image credit: Alexis and Nathaniel )


  • Bed: Ikea
  • Kartell Componibili storage unit night stand: Hive Modern
  • Dresser: Ikea
  • Bookshelves: Ikea
  • Toy table: Target
  • Owl kite: Shanghai airport
  • Prints: Charley Harper and Small Adventure from FAB
  • Paper fox: Chloe Fleury
  • Shinzi Katoh poster: My Sweet Muffin
  • Oregon print: Amy Ruppel
  • AT-AT and guitar: Santa Claus
  • (Image credit: Alexis and Nathaniel )


  • On the desk/shelves: Dark Geometry by Nathaniel Gibson
  • Yeti microphone: Amazon
  • Fostex speakers: Guitar Center
  • Boxes: Ikea
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    Thanks, Alexis and Nathaniel!

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