A Portland Rental Beats Gray Weather With a Mix of Danish Pastel and Japanese Minimalism Style
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We moved to this neighborhood a little over a year ago as we were looking for something close to the city center but with a walkable neighborhood. I love that we’re usually 15 minutes from anything I want to do (or eat!) in Portland. We love that this is a two-story apartment that sits on the second and third floor of the building so we can utilize the big windows without passersby being able to see in. Since we both have been working from home the last few years, having some separation of space has been important. During the day, I work downstairs in the dining room and my partner has an office upstairs.
We both are on the go a lot; I am typically running around Portland reviewing restaurants and connecting with local businesses, designers, and partners. We both travel a lot because Bryan is a professional photographer who works all over the globe. When we’re home, our apartment serves as a calm haven for us. You can often find us cuddled on the couch with our dog George, listening to music while editing photos, cooking meals together, or relaxing in our very comfy king bed.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: A mix between Danish pastel and Japanese minimalism with a splash of Portland flair.
Inspiration: I’m inspired by soft colors, light woods, curved lines, and a variety of textures. Throughout the space you’ll see a lot of rounded edges; the dining table, vases, side tables, the mirrors, the lamps, and the coffee table are all examples of softer lines that make the new build of the apartment seem more serene. My style has evolved to be much more colorful since moving here. Since the weather in Portland can often be gray and rainy, it was really important to me to add color and vibrancy… something I noticed a lot of interior designers do in Nordic countries with similar weather patterns.
Favorite Element: I love when the golden morning light streams into the main living space. It enhances the colors and makes them so rich. This is also when we typically sit down for coffee and tea made in our special ceramic mugs and enjoy the space before the chaos of the day. Sometimes we’ll set the disco ball out to really transform the space for breakfast time.
Biggest Challenge: The building was finished in 2018 and has a lot of characteristics of what I call a “cookie cutter” apartment. The finishes and fixtures lack character and the space felt very sterile when we moved in. Adding character was the biggest challenge. Some changes I made to make the space feel more custom was swapping out the kitchen pendants, adding floor-to-ceiling curtains, and mounting shelves and a sideboard for storage with style.
Proudest DIY: Our dining table. The table is solid wood and I found it at a Goodwill for $20. It was in perfect condition and also has a built-in leaf that allows you to seat up to eight people. The chairs are Amazon and just so happen to match the wood grain perfectly so it almost looks like a set. However, I hated the stock fabric the chairs came with so I hired Joe Bennassi to swap out the fabric for a high performance white boucle fabric. The dining table set is definitely the house item I am asked about most, and most people don’t know it’s pieced together…
Biggest Indulgence: The biggest splurge was a custom painting by Jess Ackerman. Their art is something I really connect with and it brings me a lot of joy.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? My favorite pieces are definitely the sideboard and decor in the dining room. The sideboard serves as storage for all our working equipment (laptops, cameras, hard drives, etc…) and I display all my favorite objects on the sideboard including the U-shaped vase, pink pedestal bowl, and Tokyo flower market print, all purchased from local shops.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Clutter is for closets and cupboards. I am an inherently messy person, and I love having designated zones that don’t need to look good. Each closet/storage area has a purpose: our lower closet is reserved for dog food/toys, bikes, and tools. Our sideboard is for our work equipment, and our hall closet is for camping gear, holiday decor, and luggage storage. I also am a firm believer of purging often; I go through our space to sell or donate what we don’t need about four times a year.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Start with one room at a time! Honing in on a specific space makes you dedicate your energy and your dollars and ultimately makes you more likely to “finish” a room. I also believe in starting with the big items first: paint, lighting, furniture, and window treatments before adding in the smaller decor details.
PAINT & COLORS
- Shoe Rack — Open Spaces
- Hooks — West Elm
- Florals — Tulip cowboy
- Rug — Etsy
- Coffee table — Vernet Oval Travertine Coffee Table
- Couch — Drake sofa west elm
- Curtains — Amazon Home
- Shaw lounge chair — Rejuvenation
- Cylinder shade floor lamp — Rejuvenation
- Bishop Planter — West Elm
- Matcha book — Amazon
- Broccoli Magazine
- Boysmells Candle: Italian Kush
- Tan waterfall side table — Vintage
- Cantilever table light
- Custom painting (white, tan, and black) — Lourddddess
- Florals — Tulip Cowboy
- Dining Table — Thrifted
- Dining chairs — Amazon
- Dining chairs reupholstered — Joe Bennassi
- Jute rug
- Sideboard — Ikea Ivar painted with “The Early Stuff” by backdrop
- U-shape vase— Kink Vase
- Pink pedestal bowl — Raawii bowl (large)
- Flower Market poster — Tokyo Flower Market by Astrid wilson
- Diffuser — Seasons
- Candlesticks — Anthropologie
- Tabitha mirror — Urban Outfitters
- Florals — Tulip Cowboy
- Runner rug — Ribbed wool rug Schoolhouse
- White shelves — Bershult Pershult shelf Ikea
- White pendant lights — NÄVLINGE ikea
- Paper towel holder — schoolhouse
- Ceramic mugs — Alexandria cummings, Earth and Her Flower, Mary Carroll Ceramics,
- Green marble tray — Hay Design
- Olive Oil — Graza
- Stockholm salt and pepper mills — Food 52
- Vitamix blender
- Cutting Board — Williams & Sonoma
- Tea Towels — Elana Gabrielle
- Ceramic berry colander — Crate & Barrel
- Espresso machine — Breville
- Stagg Electric kettle — Fellow
- Fruit bowl — Target
- Cookbook stand — West Elm
- Florals — Tulip Cowboy
- Green painting — Jess Ackerman
- Flower photo — Personal image from home owner
- Squiggle lamp — Etsy
- Nightstands — Target
- Bedframe — Wayfair
- Pillows — Rejuvenation
- Green lamp — Schoolhouse Sidnie Lamp
- White dish — Schoolhouse
- Woonwinkle wall hooks
- Wood sideboard — Schoolhouse
- Rug — West Elm
Thanks Emily and Bryan!
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.