Creative Entrepreneurs Share a Cozy Condo with a View

updated Dec 19, 2019

Creative Entrepreneurs Share a Cozy Condo with a View

updated Dec 19, 2019
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Name: Joe and Holly Mueller, and Captain the dog
Location: Downtown Portland, Oregon
Size: 950 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years, renting

After living in Chicago, New York, Milwaukee, and Seattle, Joe and Holly decided to make Portland their home. They adopted a dog, bought a forever house, and dove into their creative businesses (she’s a fiber artist known for her large-scale macrame, he owns a custom suit shop in Portland). But they soon realized a big house and yard was more than they needed (or had time to attend to), and opted instead to move into a modern high-rise in the heart of downtown Portland.

Holly and Joe appreciate the urban location of their new home—Joe’s commute is a pleasant five-minute walk through downtown, and the couple rarely use their car. And the perspective afforded by the 18th floor location sealed the deal for the couple, who admit, “We’re addicted to the view!” Scaling down from a large house to an apartment in the city has had other benefits Holly and Joe didn’t anticipate, as well: “By necessity, we have learned that we prefer to surround ourselves with fewer things, made better, and that inspire us.”

An appreciation for the aesthetic world has always been a force in the couple’s lives. Joe’s mother has an artistic eye: “My mom collects anything and everything—interesting objects, art and craft, and random natural science pieces.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: We like clean, contemporary lines balanced with natural woods, textiles, and colorful art.

Inspiration: We are constantly inspired by the great community of artists and craftspeople here in the Pacific Northwest, and we find ourselves gravitating toward their work.

Favorite Element: Not that we can claim any credit for it, but we love the view of Portland’s Forest Park and up the river! Second would probably be the handmade wood furniture made by The Joinery here in Portland.

Biggest Challenge: Editing down from a large three-bedroom house to a one-bedroom apartment, but now when we look around we are glad to be surrounded only by our favorite pieces.

What Friends Say: “That view!”

Biggest Embarrassment: At first we were a little embarrassed to have repurposed our dresser into a sideboard in our dining room, but no one else seems to notice!

Proudest DIY: It’s nice to have a rotating selection of Holly’s work, and when it sells we get to replace it with something new.

Biggest Indulgence: As much as we can afford, our approach has been to invest in original art and furniture we love and want to live with for many years.

Best Advice: By necessity, we have learned that we prefer to surround ourselves with fewer things, made better, and that inspire us; so even if we scale back up to a bigger home in our future, we’ll be okay with taking our time to fill that space more intentionally.

Dream Sources: The Joinery, Beam & Anchor, Canoe, Andy Paiko Glass


We don’t know! They were already here.

Bookcase — The Joinery
Art — Photograph by Richard Barnes
Medicine chest — antique from Holly’s aunt’s travels
Wire sculpture — Spenser Little

Dining Table — Handmade in cherrywood by The Joinery
Dining Chairs — Tolix chairs from Design within Reach with cushions made by Holly
Art — “Faith, Hope, and Charity” Silkscreen by Northwest Artist Elton Bennett, from the Resale Art Gallery in Portland; “Blue Bathers” by Northwest Artist George Johanson, from Portland Art Museum Rental Sales Gallery
Sideboard/Dresser — Made by the Joinery in Walnut with “Mission Pulls” and some custom features
Bar/Cocktail mixing equipment — Bull in China
Hand-blown Glass “Crushed” Tumblers — Custom by Andy Paiko, also available through Joe’s shop, Wildwood & Company

Couch — Mitchell Gold Bob Williams in custom fabric
Two wood occasional chairs — Room & Board
Leather Recliner — Stressless
Coffee table in Oregon black walnut — Custom piece by Mark Pendergrass
Side table/shell cubby — vintage from Appetite in Portland
Media Console — Crate & Barrel
Record Storage — Box from the Joinery
Rug — Vintage Kilim (can’t remember source)
Art — Monotype by Kim Osgood from Russo Lee Gallery; Oil Painting from Bill Brennan (from 1976, found at Antique and Collectible Show)

Bed — Mitchell Gold Bob Williams
Side tables — The Joinery
Lamps —
Woven art —
Trunk — Antique from Holly’s aunt’s travels
Pillows — Made by Holly
Sweaters — Handmade by Wildwood & Company

Thanks, Joe and Holly!

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