A Basement-Level Garden Apartment Is Peaceful, Purposeful, and Pretty

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Credit: Angel Guzman
Our living room including The Frame tv, Zila Lila bean bag, vintage Odd Knutsen Teak Luna chair and dried flower arrangement from Solabee.

Name: Angel Guzman, wife, Monica, and dog, Rooster
Location: Historic Alphabet District — Portland, Oregon
Type of home: Garden Apartment
Size: 1,100 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, renting

Credit: Angel Guzman

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: When our daughter moved away for college, my wife and I sold our belongings and left the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona, for a new start in the city center of Portland, Oregon.

Credit: Angel Guzman

We chose this garden apartment for walkability, public transit, and the clean slate of the apartment’s interior making it possible to absorb our personal aesthetics. The charcoal gray concrete heated floors, white walls, white cabinets, white appliances, and light wood accents were a great start to welcome any style. Our main goal was to make our space pure, pretty, and purposeful. Within steps outside one will find restaurants, stores, coffee shops, parks, flowers, murals, live music, and much more a lively city can offer. Although we love the vibrant outdoors, we wanted to create a calming and simple place to return to.

Credit: Angel Guzman

Monica and I are very similar in that we desperately need tranquility and cleanliness. We both appreciate a break from sensory overload. Our color palette of choice is neutral such as white, grays, tans, and browns. Even our dog, Rooster, brown and hypoallergenic, fits the color palette and cleanliness. This palette is exceptionally versatile and calming. In a small place, it is easy to become overwhelmed by stuff. Our white furniture does not demand attention because it appears to camouflage with the walls. Our favorite art pieces are custom paintings from The Wells Makery. Annie and Whitney, from The Wells Makery, recreated core memories of our family by painting my thoughts. These pieces are personal and spark joy.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Pure, pretty, and purposeful.

Credit: Angel Guzman
Our mudroom/entryway/gym

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is our mud room/entryway. It is the room that gets most light. With two large glass doors, we can watch the neighborhood come alive, and in the spring we watch the vine archway thicken and bloom, leading to our little home. Our entry way also transforms into our small gym. We open our double doors and blast the music for a great indoor/outdoor workout.

Credit: Angel Guzman

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last thing we purchased was a dried flower arrangement from Solabee, our local flower shop. Living in a basement unit in Portland, the sun is sparse. We find it challenging to keep plants alive. Solabee helped us create a large, soft dried arrangement with our color palette in mind.

Credit: Angel Guzman

Any advice for creating a home you love? Start with you. Your presence and the love you spread when you enter your home will overshadow any decor. Plus, music is very necessary.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.