This Portland Rental House Is Somehow Both a Cute Preschool and a Cozy Home for Grown-Ups

published Jun 7, 2023

This Portland Rental House Is Somehow Both a Cute Preschool and a Cozy Home for Grown-Ups

published Jun 7, 2023
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“I have always loved designing the spaces that I have lived in, and those designs have always reflected the stage that I am at in my life,” begins Jenny Subil, who has been renting this 1,045-square-foot house in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, photographer Chris Brodell, for three years. “From decorating tiny corners and small rooms when I lived with roommates, to filling our first one-bedroom apartment here in Portland with plants, I have gone through many design phases.” Her current home is in a particularly unique design phase and challenge: Much of the home serves as a home-based preschool, Lilyposa Schoolhouse, a certified family childcare home in the state of Oregon.

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Combining both a preschool and a home in one rental house is a tall order, but the couple tackles it beautifully. “I was very scared that I would lose my sense of fun and identity in this transition, but I actually realized living in a preschool could be quite fun and expressive. I want the kids who come to our school to feel comfortable and have fun here — just like I do every day.”

“I think transforming my home into a preschool has helped me tap even deeper into myself. My love of color, whimsy, and a larger-than-normal collection of disco balls all make their appearance in this space. A sense of comfort and usability for both adults and children drives me to create and maintain spaces in my home,” Jenny continues.

“Prior to transforming the house into a preschool, our home would have mostly aligned with mid-century modern style. We have tried to bring in items that we know will be useful for the classroom and also keep the place uncluttered and have a calm-yet-happy aesthetic,” Jenny explains. “During our school tours we like to talk about how the space is almost like a third teacher. Everything has a place (or a home) so that kiddos can learn how to clean up. Everything is placed at their level so they can learn to independently engage in projects and activities.” 

“Most importantly, we wanted our style to evoke feelings of safety and coziness. We have kiddos from 2 to 5 years old enrolled in the school, and sometimes this is their first experience away from their grown-ups. Our goal is for the design of the space, along with our teaching style, to help the children feel like this is their second home. Also everything is glued down/affixed to walls and we keep all the glass and breakable items in the basement living room now.”



  • Living room walls — Sherwin Williams “Baguette”
  • Bedroom walls — Sherwin Williams “Baguette”
  • Supply room — Valspar “Jasper Stone” 
  • Downstairs accent walls — Clare Paint “High Vibes”






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