A Palm Springs and Tiki-Inspired Portland Home

updated Oct 9, 2019

A Palm Springs and Tiki-Inspired Portland Home

updated Oct 9, 2019
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Name: Dane Kealoha and Chris Johnson, and Larry their Chocolate Lab
Location: Hazelwood Neighborhood — NE Portland, Oregon
Size: 2,750 square feet
Years lived in: 3.5 years, owned

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Palm Springs is known for its cool mid-century houses, poolside parties and colorful decor, which is exactly what inspired the design of Chris and Dane’s Portland home. But wait, it gets better: They even have a tiki bar in their basement!

Dane and Chris are real estate agents who both grew up in Portland, and after living in homes from every era, they happily purchased a 1959 ranch in the Northeast quadrant of the city. Inspired by their love of the Palm Springs lifestyle, vintage furnishings, and the designer Jonathan Adler, they set out to restore their mid-century home’s original features as well as thoughtfully update their space.

Their first undertaking was a complete backyard overhaul. Swimming pools aren’t very common in Portland, and the couple knew they wanted the backyard to be a stylish and functional place to entertain. With a classic Slim Aarons photo as inspiration, Dane and Chris removed crabgrass and old rose bushes to make way for an expanse of green lawn, desert-inspired succulents, and a screen of native shrubs to give their yard privacy. Their modern outdoor furniture and fun yellow umbrellas complete the “Palm Springs in Portland” look.

Chris and Dane lived in their home for two years before finally remodeling the dated kitchen. Their goal with the update was to create functionality and open the space, but honor the original features of the home. “Our cabinet maker tried to match the wood color as best as possible to make our new kitchen fit with the original wood.” The couple sourced a new oven to fit in the wall where the original one was, and repurposed the pantry by placing their refrigerator there.

The lower level was already a prime party spot with a pool table and built-in reel-to-reel when the couple bought the house, but they took things to the next level. Partly because Dane has family connections to Hawaii (his mom is a former Miss Hawaii and his dad was a professional surfer), and also because tiki bars are fun and very mid-century, the couple has styled the basement with all things tropical.

When Dane, Chris and Larry the Lab aren’t selling Portland real estate, vintage shopping, or tending to their gorgeous yard, you’ll find them working on their other gorgeous home, which is actually in Palm Springs.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Mid-century mix of new and vintage

Inspiration: Home tours for fun and for work. We are both realtors and are constantly touring homes. We also go to Modernism Week in Palm Springs each year, where we recently remodeled our vacation home. We’ve seen some of the most amazing mid-century architecture, eclectic interiors and beautiful backyard landscapes on tours there!

Favorite Element: The original mahogany paneling in our dining room with built-in brass clock. Our cabinet maker tried to match the wood color as best as possible to make our new kitchen fit with the original wood.

Biggest Challenge: The endless list of projects we inevitably create for ourselves.

What Friends Say: “Why aren’t you in the pool?” It’s true, we don’t use it as often as we should.

Biggest Embarrassment: The brown color roof shingles that don’t go well with our black trim. The roof is in good shape so we just can’t bring ourselves to invest in a new roof just because of the color!

Proudest DIY: Our basement tiki bar. The bar itself is original to the house but we’ve added some tiki elements like “lauhala” woven mat wall, IKEA shelves with Rustoleum gold-painted brackets, brass sputnik light and “tiki” made by a family friend. They are made from carved foam coated in concrete, made to look like lava rock.

Biggest Indulgence: The quartz waterfall edge countertop in our kitchen.

Best Advice: Don’t rush into big remodel decisions. Live in your house for a while; your initial plans will probably change as you see how you use each space.

Dream Sources: Urban America in Long Beach, CA. Mid-Century Mobler in Berkley, CA. Look Modern, The Good Mod and countless other vintage stores here in Portland.


Sherwin-Williams — Extra White
Sherwin-Williams – Worldly Gray (bedrooms)
Sherwin-Williams – Tricorn Black (exterior trim)

Parker Flush-Mount Fixture — Jonathan Adler
Reese Sofa — Room & Board
Woven Letter Pillows — Jonathan Adler
Smart Round Marble Top Coffee Table – CB2
Mid-Century Buffet – West Elm
Mid-Century Media Tower – West Elm
Greenwood Pulls – Schoolhouse Electric
Mid-Century Knobs – Schoolhouse Electric
Side Tables and Lamps – Thrifted
Folke Ohlsson Side Chairs – Hawthorne Vintage
Herman Miller Eames Lounge Chair – Estate Sale
Honeycomb Textured Wool Rug – West Elm
W. Vose Wall Sculpture – Craigslist
Mid-Century Tripod Floor Lamp – West Elm

Oval Tulip Table — Rove Concepts
Executive Side Chair – Rove Concepts
Slim Aarons Print – Photos.com
George Nelson Saucer Pendant – DWR
Round Brass Tray – Schoolhouse Electric
Vintage Bar Cart – Lounge Lizard
Vintage Tension Rod Lamp – Asylum

Alto Surface 8″ Light – Cedar & Moss

Architecture Bed – Room & Board
Mid-Century Nightstand – West Elm
Radcliffe Knob – Schoolhouse Electric
Tilt Cone Scone – Cedar & Moss
Vintage Pendant Lamp — Lounge Lizard

Peacock Headboard and Nightstands – Craigslist
Side Lamps – West El
mVintage Pendant Lamp — Lounge Lizard

Shower Curtain – Trina Turk

Cypress 3-Arm Floor Lamp – Cedar & Moss for Rejuvenation
Vintage Coffee Table – H Lounge Lizard
Sputnik Lamp – Practical Props
Vintage Table Lamps – Thrifted
Hawaiian Print Pillows and Cushions – Made by Grandma!

Casbah Outdoor Sectional – CB2
Idle Grey Outdoor Chaise Lounge – CB2
Alfresco Grey Work Station – Crate & Barrel
Pagoda Patio Umbrellas – One Kings Lane
Vintage Peacock Chairs – Thrifted

Thanks, Dane and Chris!

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