Francesca’s Cozy & Refined Portland Studio Apartment

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Celeste Noche)

Name: Francesca and her cat, Shady
Location: Southeast Portland, Oregon
Size: 421 square feet
Years lived in: 9 months: Rented

When Francesca moved to Portland from upstate New York two years ago, she only brought a few suitcases with her. Since then, she’s been working for Airbnb, where she finds herself looking at beautiful interiors all day long and nesting beautifully in the first space she’s lived in by herself. In building her home, much of what she began with came from free piles on street corners or walks in the woods, and those remain some of her favorite elements.

(Image credit: Celeste Noche)

Since moving into her space nine months ago, Francesca has enjoyed both the joys and challenges of living alone in such a cozy space. Although her studio is just a bit over 400 square feet, she often hosts gatherings for friends, making the most of floor seating around her ottoman centerpiece, around her backyard fire pit, or a combination of both. The small space challenges her to express herself with both thoughtfulness and discretion, choosing each piece with the deliberate intention of bringing joy to the sanctuary of her first home.

(Image credit: Celeste Noche)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Vintage jungle vibes, with elements of hedonism, feminism and mysticism.

Inspiration: My mom’s herbal spa, Justina Blakeney’s Jungalow, and the Olana State Historic Site.

Favorite Element: As a tall lady myself, I really enjoy the high ceilings.

Biggest Challenge: Keeping the plants alive.

What Friends Say: Friends tell me they wish they lived alone, too. It’s a sacrifice of space for sure, but it’s worth it to fully see how my singular personal style is articulated through decor.

Biggest Embarrassment: The closets. My broom closet contains my skis and ski poles, and my coat closet is full of inflatable river tubes.

Proudest DIY: The fabulous wall unit. I never expected to pull off something so big and permanent, much less something actually sturdy enough to hold books.

Biggest Indulgence: The refurbished Mid-century ottoman (aka “The Button”) is well enjoyed by both Shady and myself. It accommodates every activity in the space as a practical yet fantastical object.

Best Advice: Stay curious, stay impulsive. And when you’re too poor to buy pretty little tchotchkes for your shelves, bring in stones, pinecones, nests, and whatever else you can find for free outside.

Dream Sources: A Mesoamerican archaeological dig site, the Arts and Crafts collection at the Met, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.


(Image credit: Celeste Noche)


  • All paint: came with the rental!
(Image credit: Celeste Noche)


  • Macrame pot holders: DIY
  • Pots and plants: Pistils Nursery in Portland, OR
  • Curtains: IKEA
  • Glass table: IKEA
  • Hanging lantern: Shining Star in Albany, NY
  • Record player/radio: a gift
  • Knitted blanket: a gift
  • Fur blanket: HomeGoods
  • Duvet: Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Rug: Rugs USA
  • Painted table: vintage via Stars Antique Mall in Portland, OR
  • Wall unit: DIY
  • Lamp bases: antique via Stars Antique Mall in Portland, OR
  • Lamp shades: HomeGoods
  • Indonesian carved chair: Craigslist
  • Jawbone: vintage via Stars Antique Mall in Portland, OR
  • Staghorn fern: DIY
  • Stone bookends: vintage via Lounge Lizard in Portland, OR
  • Record player: vintage via a free pile
  • Striped blanket: vendor in Tarifa, Spain
  • Glass vases: Stars Antique Mall in Portland, OR
  • Carved end table: antique from New Paltz, NY
  • Glass lamp: Target
  • Painted carving: antique from Stillwater, NY
  • Mirror: IKEA, spray painted
  • Armchair: Craigslist
  • Pillows: Target
  • Series of three prints: prints found online, frames from JoAnn Fabrics
  • Prints on closet doors: Drawn By Instinct by Tiffany Bozic
(Image credit: Celeste Noche)


  • Bar cart: vintage via Stars Antique Mall in Portland, OR
  • Decanter: vintage via eBay
  • Jigger: vintage via Stars Antique Mall in Portland, OR
  • Champagne glasses: Seasoned in New Orleans
  • Juicer: Craigslist
  • Chemex: Craigslist
  • Marble cloche: Goodwill
  • Skull: found
  • Beaker vase: Stars Antique Mall in Portland, OR
  • Clay vase: Navajo from Colorado Springs, CO
  • Mortar and pestle: HomeGoods
  • Painted candle sconce: Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Rabbit pelt: Mohawk trading post near Berlin, NY
  • Thigh bone: Paxton Gate in Portland, OR
  • Tea towel: Salty Teacup in St. Johns, OR
  • Map: gift from my grandmother as a set that included the entire span of my cross-country drive
(Image credit: Celeste Noche)


  • Teacup with succulent: free pile
  • Glass dish: handmade
  • Mirrored tray: gift
  • Vintage perfume bottles: gift
  • Painted skull, large: market in Acapulco
  • Painted skull, small: vendor on Venice Beach
  • Prayer candles: local Mexican market
  • White candles: IKEA
  • Kimono: vintage received a gift
  • Painting: vendor in Jamaica
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Francesca in her studio apartment in SE Portland, Oregon (Image credit: Celeste Noche)

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Thanks, Francesca!