A 100-Year Old Home in Oregon's Wine Country

A 100-Year Old Home in Oregon's Wine Country

Heather Keeling
Dec 2, 2017

Name: Matt and Ali Murray, daughter Tennyson, 2, and Lucky, the Mini Aussie
Location: Newberg, Oregon
Size: 3,000 square feet
Years lived in: Owned, 5.5 years

Six years ago, Matt told Ali that he found their dream home in Newberg, a small town in Oregon's wine country about an hour from Portland. They had previously lived together in downtown Portland, and later owned a house in a southwest suburb of the city...and weren't actually in the market for a new home. But the couple fell in love with this 1910 house's original charm and woodwork as well as Newberg's small-town community. "From the built-ins, to picture molding, as well as pocket doors and wainscoting, the house has much of its turn-of-the-century features intact...sometimes I joke that we bought the house for the 600 square feet that had never been touched," says Ali.

Though the 100-year-old home needed a lot of work, Ali and Matt moved in right away. The first winter they lived in their partially finished basement while work was done on the upper floors. "We have redone two bathrooms, had over 1,000 square feet of hardwoods refinished, the entire interior painted, had the exterior repaired and painted, as well as a dozen of other small projects. We really allowed the historic features of the home to take the lead and then added in what we found over time to create a comfortable home that is ideal for working remotely, entertaining, and raising a family."

Both Ali and Matt work from home — she's a photographer and has an office upstairs, and he serves on city council and works in sales from his workspace off of the dining room. The family loves to entertain, travel, and work on their antique house. "Renovating a 100-year-old home has been an amazing part of our story."

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Eclectic. We have a solid mix of well-loved, slowly collected furniture and décor.

Inspiration: The house itself. We were not home shopping when Matt excitedly said he had found our dream home. The next day we had a showing, the house was a major fixer and I was not convinced that we were up for the task. As we were walking out, I saw that the mail was hand delivered, which energized my interest. The location was also a huge selling point, having a home within walking distance to downtown Newberg in Oregon's wine country was very appealing, as a bonus George Fox University is only blocks away (which is now our favorite place to walk). It had everything we needed: restaurants, wine bars, the post office and a bank as well as the library and park, which were only blocks away. We really enjoyed having a walkable neighborhood when we lived in the Goose Hollow neighborhood of SW Portland. Matt said it would be his greatest regret if we did not buy the home, so we lined up financing and made an offer within three days of him finding it online.

Neither of us were design buffs when we moved in (our tiny starter home was decorated in strictly IKEA, Craigslist finds and hand-me-downs) but we really spent the time doing research on owning an old home and finding great contractors. We were also fortunate enough to be gifted a significant amount of furniture — the Heywood Wakefield furniture was a good starting point to inspire our décor direction. Resources like Apartment Therapy and Pinterest, as well as spending time in the beautiful homes of our family and friends, helped shape our design aesthetic.

We have redone two bathrooms, had over 1,000 square feet of hardwoods refinished, the entire interior painted, and had the exterior repaired and painted, as well as a dozen of other small projects. We really allowed the historic features of the home to take the lead and then added in what we found over time to create a comfortable home that is ideal for working remotely, entertaining and raising a family. Renovating a 100 year old home has been an amazing part of our story.

Favorite Element: All of the original charm and wood work. From the built-ins to picture molding as well as pocket doors and wainscoting the house has much of its turn-of-the-century features intact. The picture molding is especially useful, we often rotate our art and photographs without having to use a hammer and nail. These features are what drew Matt in — sometimes I joke that we bought the house for the 600 square feet that had never been touched.

Biggest Challenge: Now that we have a two year old I understand why an open concept home is so popular. Keeping an eye on our daughter while trying to cook in the kitchen can be a challenge.

What Friends Say: Friends are always impressed by our vinyl record collection as well as Matt's bourbon wall. Usually people beeline to one or both of those areas to see what is new. Something rare and unique is always on the shelves since our collection of both liquor and music is ever evolving. Often when we host parties I have to coax our guests out of the dining room into our much cozier living room after eating. I often think of the 107 years of parties our home has seen. I imagine those gatherings having the timeless common elements that bring people together — music, good booze, delicious food and even better company.

Biggest Embarrassment: Ali: The kitchen. Although it is functional it does not suit the home (especially the faux wood floors). At this time we are undecided if we are going to be here for three more years or twenty, so we are unsure if and when we will do a major kitchen renovation.

Matt: The landscaping and the deck; there is a lot of work left to finish the exterior spaces.

Proudest DIY: With help from a friend we managed to hoist our king-sized mattress and box spring over our second story master balcony because they were too big to fit up the stairs. We also had to do the same thing with a large sleigh bed frame and then I changed my mind — so it had to go back down the balcony. To convince Matt to do it again I had to promise to love the replacement. Luckily our new headboard fit up the stairs. I know it's not a traditional DIY project but the story always makes me smile. In all seriousness, usually we tackle small DIY projects like refinishing nightstands or making the chicken wire bulletin board.

Biggest Indulgence: Our trio of 40"x30" Melinda Fellini oil paintings.

Best Advice: Do your research and trust your gut. It is important that you love your space and decorate with what speaks to you. Partner with great contractors, and bring them lunch or other treats while working on your home. Shopping at mass-produced brands can be part of the mix, as they certainly are in our home, but you may find that you can have something custom made for less than higher end big box retail. What I appreciate about working with artists is their work is one-of-a-kind, made with love, and getting a custom order delivered with a hug and a smile is magic. Curate your home with fewer items that are of higher quality and don't buy decor just because it's on trend — the things that speak to you will never go out of style.

Dream Sources: We enjoy wandering through Schoolhouse Electric in NW Portland where many of our fixtures are from. They are making new heirloom quality lighting with old-fashioned technology and the inspiration the showroom offers is never-ending. Arcadia PDX is another local company that makes my heart beat fast. I absolutely love their flooring, cabinets and tile — I dream of the gorgeous kitchen they could build for us. Danielle, the owner, has helped me tremendously in accessorizing our home — those tiny details have contributed to giving our home a finished look. My dream shopping trip would be to fly to Palm Springs, rent a moving truck and shop for more mid-century furniture and one-of-kind pieces for our home. It is inspiring that one city can have so many sources for such a specific look and time period.


Upstairs hallway, master bedroom, bedroom, upstairs bathroom, main level bathroom, kitchen- Sherwin Williams On The Rocks 7671
Dining room: Copen Blue SW 0068
Living room, Light French Gray SW 0055 accent wall Classic French Gray 0077
Exterior: Summit Gray SW 7669, Peppercorn 7674, Westchester Gray 2849
Front screen door, side screen door and chairs- Sherwin Williams Mariner 6766

Sectional Sofa - Stanton
Throw pillows – Arcadia PDX
Blanket - Seek & Swoon Adobe Throw
Corner lamp - Antique store find
Ottoman - sofasbydesignpdx
Bull painting - oil on canvas by Marilen Affolter
Beach painting - Oil on canvas by Melinda
The Golden Gate bridge on film by Ali - Framebridge Irving frame
OK vase - Oh Joy at Target
Florist - Bella Bloom
Letterboard - Vermillion Drive
Clock - (Painted black) Pottery Barn
Lit Ampersand - similar Target
Brass candle - Arcadia PDX
Chicken wire bulletin board with clothespins - DIY with materials from Michael's and Wilco farm store
Console table - Big Fir Designs
Frame - Pottery Barn
Blinds -Budget Blinds

Dining table - family heirloom
Dining bench - Big Fir Designs
Metal chairs - Target
High chair - Stokke
Wood chairs - hand me downs from Ali's Mom
Oil on Canvas Painting - Melinda Fellini
Custom vinyl record stand - Big Fir Designs
Letterboard - Vermillion Drive
Cameras- various gifts and antique finds
EAT sign - Target.com spray painted gold
Brass M sign - Crate & Barrel
Zinc A & M letters - Anthropologie
Hello sign - custom Vermillion Drive Design
Hung wood star - Weathered Ways
Eat & drink sign Signs of Serendipity - Sherwood, Ore
Navy needlepoint Chair - gift from Ali's grandmother
Wood trivet - Big Fir Designs
Vase - Tiffany and Co.
Blinds - Budget blinds

White console table - Wine Country Antiques Newberg Ore
Blue IKEA hack stool/learning tower - A DIY gift from a friend

Wash sign - Etsy
Tub - VintageTub.com
Mirror - Antique store find in Lincoln City Ore
Lighting - Schoolhouse Electric (similar)
B&W photograph of Tennyson by Ali
Color photograph of Tennyson- by Ali
Oars - Pottery barn

Curtains - Crate & Barrel

Bed and headboard - West Elm
Nightstands- Big Fir Designs
Metallic Lamps - Arcadia PDX
Curtains - Crate & barrel
Heywood Wakefield Dresser - 31st birthday gift from Ali's mom found at antique store in Aurora, Oregon
Marimekko Duvet- Nordstrom
Sheepskin rug - IKEA
Mirrors - Pottery Barn
"If that's where you are, that's where I'll be." Custom sign- Vermillion Drive Design
"I don't see how you could ever be anything but mine" Custom sign - Vermillion Drive Design
Candles - Arcadia PDX
Tiffany & Co pitcher with flowers by Bella Bloom
Oil on canvas painting - Melinda Fellini
Make & Stow photo box
Blinds - Budget Blinds

Dresser - Vintage Heywood Wakefield inherited from Ali's Grandparents
Settee - Vintage Heywood wakefield – re upholstered in Pendelton Glacier National Park Blanket by RB Upholstery
Curtains - Amazon.com
Blanket ladder - Big Fir Designs
Throw Blanket - Seek & Swoon
Crib - Stokke
Nightstands - Craigslist find refinished with new hardware
Toy bins - Steele Canvas
Gold pizza painting by Ferris Plock
Birth Announcement - Custom sign Vermillion Drive Design
VW "Home is where I'm with you" custom sign - Vermillion Drive Design
Custom nursery painting by Kelly Tunstall
Bookcase - CB2
Gold glitter letters - Pottery Barn Kids
Magnetic board - IKEA
DIY photo wall
Blinds - Budget Blinds

Hardware - CB2
Mirrors - Pottery barn
Metallic geometric vase - Arcadia PDX
Lighting - Schoolhouse Electric
Towel ring- Rejuvenation

Thanks, Ali and Matt!

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