Portland Fixer Upper Construction Update and Artist/Maker Call Out
The Portland project is full steam ahead and boy is it a (beautiful) beast. Despite its challenges, it’s actually super exciting. I’ve never really designed fireplaces, stairs or used intricate moulding and to do it from afar, not actually in the space (or state) adds a double dose of challenges but I’m just learning. so. much. To recap – my little brother and his wife bought this fixer-upper as an investment and we are redoing it together with hopes to put it on the market this July (fingers crossed). It’s a traditional-style house with enough modern touches to keep it exciting. If you want more details on the house (square footage, # of bedrooms, etc.), or a refresher on what this is all about, head here.
Though this post is partly to show you where we are with the house (though I’m not ready to do a room-by-room description just yet), the real point of this update is actually at the very end (and it has to do with local Oregon artists and makers).
Right now, we are in the final stages of each room (don’t worry, I’ll be blogging about every single thing in this house – I can’t wait to tell you what I’ve learned and how we did things). All the trim, doors, casing and millwork are going in (all from Metrie and we went through Medallion Industries in Portland to order, which was wonderful – more on that later).
The windows (from Milgard’s Ultra Series in the Black Bean finish – more on that later, too) and exterior French doors (also from Milgard) came in and they are so pretty. Another development is that the flooring is down in most of the house – which I HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN IN PERSON! (We went with Hallmark Floors’ Ventura Mangrove.)
There are so many elements that excite me (the millwork, the pretty black windows) and some that scare me – the three fireplaces that all have different challenges. It’s actually almost four fireplaces because the one in the family room is indoor/outdoor and I haven’t designed the exterior part of it yet.
The rooms that I’m pumped about most are the dining room and the master bedroom. Wait, and the office…and the media room + the three outdoor patio areas and the massive yard.
But I think the biggest change that will make the most impact is the natural light that we brought in through all the windows and the added skylights. It’s a totally changed house thanks to added natural light.
I still haven’t chosen the colors for the kitchen which I HAVE to do today. (Update: I didn’t.)
Ken (my brother) and I text 59 times a day, and many decisions are made via FaceTime – but it’s working. I had a project manager/designer up there (Jenna) previously who became too high demand as a designer (No!!!) so I hired some help here in LA to streamline decision making (I’m pretty hard to get a hold of if you are in another state, but someone at a desk next to me can force me to engage and make a decision). We are trying our best here to communicate with Ken and the General Contractor (Jp Macy) as much as possible.
How beautiful are those doors from Metrie?? I LOVE them so much. The 7 1/4″ baseboard is so grand and lovely. You’ll get a full post about the mouldings and trim, but I can’t say enough good things about Metrie. They helped weigh in on major decisions and gave me some tips on choosing/pairing profiles (we went with the ‘Very Square‘ profile line, in case you want to know right now). They are to the trade, so you basically need to find a building supply location in your state and see if they sell them.
They are all different but share some common themes (obviously).
The skylights in that master are game-changing and that vaulted ceiling makes the room feel even bigger.
The master bathroom proved to be an incredible challenge design-wise for me, but I’ll walk you through why very soon. It’s turning out great due to a last minute (very hard) decision…
This media room is turning out shockingly fun. We added paneling to the ceiling to make it feel taller (mission accomplished). I debated adding another flat stock on the longer pieces to make them come down lower but was talked out of it. Do you guys think we should? It would affect the cans so I’m not sure we can do it at this point. I had a local architect weigh in and he said ‘No, leave it.’ I was super happy to have someone tell me what to do.
The room, which opens up to the backyard, also has a wet bar and reading nook. I can’t tell what age of kids this house would be best suited for. We’ve really designed it to be super functional for families (or people who love to have a lot of guests).
The storage rooms (above and below) have turned into remarkably cute bedrooms. They are quirky and cozy and you are surprised by how great they are when you walk in. We are installing wall-to-wall carpet in here to make them feel more inviting and because newsflash – I like carpet in bedrooms. More on that later.
Nothing is painted yet and so the doors, walls and trim don’t match. Once they are fully designed, everything will make sense.
It’s a lot to talk to you about, and I’m sorry for not divulging more. I feel like all I said over and over has been ‘more on that later’ or ‘stay tuned’.
But that’s because I need to get to the point of THIS post.
The design team and I are flying up there in a couple of weeks to begin the furniture/accessories portion of the process. I have been so busy designing fireplaces and millwork that I literally haven’t thought about a sofa. And if we want this on the market in July, we need to HUSTLE.
Ideally, we’d style and stage every single room, almost as if I were living there. Art, accessories, textiles, furniture, books, candles, etc., and I’d love to work with as many local-to-Oregon makers and companies as possible. We already have Rejuvenation, Ann Sacks, Pratt & Larson and Decorview on board – all Portland-based companies.
You are probably wondering how this is going to work: Well, we’d essentially borrow pieces for two months in exchange for photos of your piece in the house, and crediting, linking and call outs on the blog, and, of course, tagging and shout outs on social media. We’d give love and photos and hopefully sell the piece for you. You could be a painter, furniture maker, artist, potter…anything. And we are looking for everything from vintage to new. Stylistically, it’s a combination of Simplified Traditional and California Casual.
Once the house is officially in escrow, the new owner would get the opportunity to buy anything at whatever price you want to sell it for and then obviously we’d send you that money. Whatever doesn’t sell will need to be picked up the day that escrow closes, because the day after that, whatever is left (all our purchases – from thrifting to big box) will be sold in a fire sale with any profits being donated to a local cause (still TBD). You could also let us know if you want to donate your piece to the cause; they would get 100% of that money.
Logistically, it’s going to be hilarious insanity (think of the inventory we have to keep straight!), but I have a good feeling that so much of it would be sold to the new owner. I think a massive benefit of buying this house is not only that it’s pretty and large with one big acre of old growth trees and a bocce ball court (not to mention that it’s basically brand new), but you ALSO inherit thousands of design hours from an interior design team. Having someone design, decorate and style out each room to ensure that it looks GREAT is, my goodness, such a fantasy.
Can you imagine walking into your brand new house that is FULLY FURNISHED??? No furniture assembly. No hours shopping to then realize that the piece doesn’t fit. No returns. No boxes to unpack (besides personal items). No indecision. No arguments with your partner. You get professionals to do all the creative work and the physical labor. The rugs will be the right size. The toothbrush holder will look beautiful in the bathroom. The towels will be perfectly folded and the beds will already be made!!!
Of course, the buyers could want nothing.
When we sold our Glendale house, the new owners bought 90% of what was staged (I staged only with what I was willing to sell). They bought all the furniture and accessories and even the books on the shelves and the tray on the nightstand. It was SO FUN. We went around ‘shopping’ the house. The only big thing that they didn’t buy was the living room rug. I was so confused and concerned and finally just asked them – but why not?? And they said, ‘Well, we do have some things of our own,’
Ha. Oh right. And then I asked to see the rug they intended to install for approval. I mean, that house was my work and I didn’t want that room messed up if the rug wasn’t the right size, color, style or pattern.
I was joking. They laughed. 🙂
So that’s how this will work. You let us borrow your pretty furniture, art and accessories (and yes, of course, it has to fit into the style we are going for) and we give call outs on the blog and social, and you can have the photos of your piece in the house to use as you wish. I will say that we will likely not be able to borrow one small accessory because keeping track of the inventory and social media callouts might be so time-consuming that it stops making sense at a certain point. But if it’s a big piece that really makes a statement or multiple pieces spread throughout the house, then great. I’d love to highlight more local Oregon makers and make the house feel really special all while benefitting the artists. (In case you forgot, it’s kinda my hometown, so while of course we’ll be shopping at major retailers, I want it to feel like Portland artists were a big part of the beauty.)
The timeline we are thinking is likely mid-June to end of August.
And we’ll have a big fun party with press and all of you who are contributing, and we can mingle and celebrate how awesome you and the Portland art/design industry is.
I hope that all makes sense. Please ask any questions you need and if you emailed before with submissions, please resubmit just so we have it all in one place. Email photos and/or a link to your website to Priscilla@emilyhendersondesign.com.
My baby brother Ken and I are working together really well. He’s one of my favorite people in the entire world (probably because he’s me but male and stronger but with the same lack of editing, embarrassment or shame that I have). It’s so fun and despite the challenges, we are likely going to do it again. He is learning a ton about building and design AND he has a really good point of view. I trust his instincts, and since I’m not physically there, I typically ask him ‘well, does that feel weird to you in person?’ And his answer is always what mine would have been. It’s so refreshing to work with him, with an honest refreshing outlook and he cares about function in a way that I often don’t even think about. I think we are a FANTASTIC team if I do say so myself. He crosses my Ts and so far there hasn’t been one second of tension. YAY 🙂
So again, stay tuned for MANY MORE updates coming soon (as soon as we’re ready for ya!). In the meantime, thank you in advance for sending along all of your awesome Oregon-based artisan recommendations. Brady and I (and likely Ken and Julie) will be up there in a couple of weeks and I’d love to meet you :).
P.S. If you’re interested in the house, please contact Alex Sand, Christy MacColl or Carrie Gross at team@portlandcityproperties.