Two Good Friends Turned an ’80s Portland House into a Fantastic “Cougar Den”
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Our situation is a little unconventional… we are two great friends in our 30s who bought a house together. We named our house the “Cougar Den,” the idea being that we ladies needed to rely on each other to make this home happen. Our intention in purchasing this large home was to house, feed, and entertain the ladies of Portland in style!
When searching for a home, we knew we wanted something with character, a place in which we could manifest our black cat palace style. Built in 1980, our house has great bones. There wasn’t a need to change much, but we made many cosmetic updates and added our personal style.
The house is far too big for the two of us, so we Airbnb the lower level and have (rather unintentionally) provided the spare bedroom as a landing spot for friends who need a place to reconvene while coming out of breakups. We wanted a space to entertain and we couldn’t have been luckier to land the right house for the job. Sunset parties are the best here as you can see all of the Portland skyline with a glow of pink from our living room. The Cougar Den energy draws all kinds of creative types into its doors. We love it!
Natasha moved to Portland four years ago from California. Sure, California is sunny and Portland is rainy, but the rain makes beautiful flowers, so she is happy! Natasha attended The National University of Natural Medicine during her time in Portland and now has a master’s in Holistic Nutrition. She specializes in fertility, working as a personal chef for women and families who are looking for a holistic way to increase health and fertility. Her new website, figintheoven.com, recently launched.
Erika is an Oregon native who hadn’t positioned herself to buy a house until the Portland real estate market got pretty wild. Through a lot of heartbreak trying to get her offer accepted in a very competitive market, she decided to find a way to save money toward a more substantial down payment. She has been moonlighting for the past couple of years as a dog runner (next level dog walker), which has successfully proven that odd jobs, coupled with collaborating with a generous and creative partner in the process, do pay off.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Boho with a tropical palette and a touch of mid-century modern.
Inspiration: Our awesome realtor, Liza Stillhard (brandnewkeys.com) was so aligned with our vision and style that she showed us houses all over the city that embraced good design and had Airbnb potential. There were elements in many of the homes we saw that inspired us and she encouraged us to recreate in our own house!
Portland is a city full of creative people and it was so fun being able to see the design and decor choices that people implemented during our search. We tried to play into our house’s late ’70s/ early ’80s mid-century bones. We let the house speak to us. Strong and bold style choices are easy when recreating that era and the house allowed us to create an energy that embraces strong bold women.
Favorite Element: The city view is unbeatable.
Biggest Challenge: Since we wanted guests to be able to enjoy some privacy in the lower level, we had to come up with a tasteful way to add a door to the large doorway at the top of the stairs. After a lot of researching on mid-century design, we came up with the idea to add a doorway with a sidelight, much like the front door of the house. Finding the perfect door at the Rebuilding Center took a lot of patience, but our awesome handyman did an amazing job creating a doorway that looks like it was an original feature of the house!
Proudest DIY: The laundry room gets no natural light, so we wanted to make it bright and fun. We tore up the ’90s vinyl flooring and painted the vinyl adhesive seafoam green, changed the baseboard, added bright fixtures and decor, and now it’s an entirely different room! It feels like you’re under the sea when in you’re there.
Biggest indulgence: Even though our property is large, it’s mostly terraced, so we really wanted to enjoy the usable space on the deck. We said to hell with it and splurged on the sexiest loungers we could find. No regrets.
Dream Source: Anthropologie, Chairish.com, Rejuvenation, WORN furniture restoration in Portland
Best Advice: WHATEVER you do—get at least two quotes. We installed some sod in our backyard and our quotes ranged from $250-$1,900! Thumbtack is our friend.
Couch — Hamilton leather sofa from West Elm
Waterfall coffee table — Anthropologie
Arabella bar cart — CB2
Library chair set — Craigslist (old Portland Public Library chairs painted green)
Credenza — Worn Furniture Restoration
Mirror — Anthropologie
Cloud formation wallpaper — Anthropologie
Side table — Anthropologie
Torrance rug — Anthropologie
Tropical fruit painting — Charish
Pillow covers — West Elm
Tulip table — Lexmod
Chairs — Vintage, painted and reupholstered
Geese wall hangings — Charish
Rug — IKEA
Paint — Sherwin Williams Chartreuse
Duvet — Anthropologie
Sheets — Anthropologie Leopard sheet set
Nightstands —Anthropologie Holcombe nightstands
Bed Frame — CB2 Seville bed
Art above Bed —Vintage from Chairish
Dresser — Vintage from Worn Vintage
Framed art above dresser —Etsy/Hello Marine Shop
Wallpaper —Clarke and Clarke
Wallpapers/Vogue Bathmat — Urban Outfitters
Pendants —West Elm Stool — Vintage from Monticello’s Antique Mall
Wallpaper — Anthropologie Lake Migration wallpaper
Desk/dining chairs —Pari rattan chairs from Anthropologie
Coffee table —Urban Outfitters
Spindle couch/chair set — Craigslist find, reupholstered locally at IN-EX in Portland.
TV stand — Vintage find at WORN restoration
Thanks, Natasha and Erika!!
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