A Modern Refresh of a Victorian-Era Portland Home

updated Feb 7, 2019

A Modern Refresh of a Victorian-Era Portland Home

updated Feb 7, 2019
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Square feet
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Name: Andy Barlow, and his cat Cavanaugh
Location: Eliot Neighborhood — Northeast Portland, Oregon
Size: 850 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, renting

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Andy and his cat Cav live in one unit of a Portland duplex that was built in 1890 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Andy is a multi-talented real estate agent, freelance interior designer, and professional home-stager, who never thought that he would end up living in and loving a 127-year old home. “Before moving here I never had any desire to live in a Victorian home. I was into more modern aesthetics, despite loving history. So, after I moved in and started to get a feel for the space, I had to figure out whether I could mix my love for mid-century lines into an 1890 Victorian.”

Andy‘s love of vintage shopping, plants, and the mid-century modern aesthetic all come together seamlessly in a style he calls “mid-century relaxed jungalow.” After a big painting project (Andy’s proudest DIY), the eyesore of a kitchen felt like it fit in with the rest of his space. Many rounds of rearranging furniture and the purchase of his dream sofa made the home complete.

“I’ve been more inspired by this house than anywhere I’ve ever lived. I’ve felt more at home in this house than anywhere I’ve ever lived, so I’ve wanted to nest more than ever.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I think I’d call it “mid-century relaxed jungalow.” I really like mixing old with new and I’m addicted to shopping at vintage furniture stores and adding to my collections of “things” (plants, books, art, tchotchkes, etc). It’s also important for my space to feel like home, and to be both livable and have a lived-in look.

Inspiration: This house in general has been such an inspiration. I’ve never lived in a place with so much character and history. And so, in relation to that, I’ve also been inspired by change and the evolution of time. You wouldn’t have recognized this place two years ago, and I never dreamed it would look how it does today. I’ve swapped room uses a few times (living room/dining room/sunroom) and have had the layout in about 30 different ways. Each time I make a change I discover something new about the space so I’m constantly being re-inspired by it.

Favorite Element: The tall ceilings – this is the biggest reason why I never want to move, ever. And the fir wood floors. AND because this house has so much history (I’ve been told many different types of artists and musicians have lived here over the years).

Biggest Challenge: Before moving here I never had any desire to live in a Victorian home. I was into more modern aesthetics, despite loving history. So, after I moved in and started to get a feel for the space, I had to figure out whether I could mix my love for mid-century lines into an 1890 Victorian. I think it turned out alright…

What Friends Say: They all love it. I hear the words “vibes” and “goals” a lot and everyone is always so excited to be in the space and get the tour. I think they are often surprised by the inside after seeing the exterior.

Biggest Embarrassment: Oh, there are a lot! The house is almost 130 years old so there are some “quirks” as I like to call them. The kitchen used to be a huge embarrassment — the cabinets and walls were all painted in a grungy yellow and an almost neon Easter green. No one misses those colors. (And if you’re curious there is still one bit of that green left around the closet door in the bedroom that hasn’t been painted yet — yikes!)

Proudest DIY: The kitchen makeover. Paint can go such a long way to transform a space and it took me many, many, many hours to get those old colors covered up.

Biggest Indulgence: The sofa. It probably wasn’t the most financially responsible decision, but it is literally my dream sofa and sometimes you just have to make your dreams come true!

Best Advice: Buy what you like! Don’t overstress about things matching perfectly. No one is perfect, why should your home be? And go with your gut.

Dream Sources: The Good Mod, Design Within Reach maybe, but honestly I love shopping at local vintage stores — it’s always so much more thrilling to find something good at a bargain.


Most paint colors are unknown and here before I moved in. I had plans to repaint the entire space, but never got around to it, and then as time went by I fell in love with the blue walls in the living and dining rooms so it all worked out!
The kitchen, bathroom, and sunroom were all repainted, however, and those colors are:
Walls — Dutch Boy Dimensions Interior Acrylic Latex Satin Paint – Designer White
Cabinets — MetroPaint – Storm Cloud

Artwork and Wall Hooks — World Market

Sofa — Chester Sofa by Article
Toss Pillows — Monstera Leaf and Winky Face by Urban Outfitters, Eye Lumbar and Gray/Tan Pattern by Project62 for Target.
Throw Blanket — Sol {Madrid} by Seek & Swoon
Chair Near Sofa — Found vintage at Community Warehouse Estate Store
Coffee Table — Designed and made by Lounge Lizard
Chair Near TV — Found vintage at Lounge Lizard
Coffee Table Shelf — Walnut Monitor Stand by Grovemade
Rug — Plus Sign Rug by Urban Outfitters
TV Cabinet — Vintage
Bookcase — Vintage
Wall Shelving and Tripod Plant Stand — IKEA
Side table — Metal Edge Laptop Table by World Market
Table Lamp — Base and Shade by World Market
Giraffe Bust — by West Elm

Dining Table — DOCKSTA by IKEA
Chairs — Wooden chairs are vintage, White Eames Style Chair by Poly & Bark. Throw Blanket — Gurli throw by IKEA
Toss Pillow — Diagonal Strip Organic Cotton Pillow by Little Korboose.
Rug — Pradeep Runner by World Market
Credenza — Vintage (and was actually found in the trash by a friend). Knobs by Anthropologie
Bookcase — Designed and made by Lounge Lizard
Corner Chair — Vintage from Vintage Pink
Desk and Vintage Desk Chair — Vintage from Urbanite

Rug Near Sink — Lenox Eco Cotton Rug – Denim/White by Hook & Loom
Rug Near Oven — World Market

Bed and Side Table — Unknown – I’ve actually had them so long I don’t remember, except that I got them from a bed store in Indianapolis, IN.
Sheets — Allover Eyes by Urban Outfitters
Duvet — Modern Marks by Urban Outfitters
Clothing Rack — World Market
Hanging Tapestry — Ivory Moroccan-Inspired Wedding Area Rug by World Market
Floor Rug — Vintage

Bath Mat — Solid Navy Blue Flatweave Eco Cotton Rug by Hook & Loom
Shower Curtain — Saskia Pomeroy Plants Shower Curtain by Urban Outfitters
Rolling Cart — ROSKOG by IKEA
Shelving Unit — DYNAN by IKEA
Towels — Pottery Barn

Table — Vintage
Cabinet — Vintage
Chair —Garage Sale

Thanks, Andy!

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