a portland house : fixer upper edition, part 1

a bit back, i posted about turning all my wallpaper fantasies into all my wallpaper realities. the thing about fantasies is, well, they’re just that. they don’t come with a price tag or a budgeting plan or a baby daddy who lives in the real world and has the shitty job of (gently, kindly) shooting down all my whimsical dreams. it’s okay, i still love him. because of his stereotypical jew-like accounting radar (something my jew ass simply doesn’t have), we’re debt-free and can afford to buy all the organic fruit i can stomach. so there’s that. but back to wallpaper business and a house update!

after much deliberation and late night internet worm-holing, i managed to narrow down my billion wallpaper choices to just a few. okay, several. whatever. decisions are not my strong suit. especially when many are needed to be made in a short amount of time and oh yeah, no big deal or anything, but these decisions would be stared at by us, family, friends, strangers, neighbors and pizza delivery kids for the next 10-20 years. ugh. pressure. fun pressure, sure, but pressure. so i sent off for many wallpaper samples, at $1 a piece from wallpaperdirect.com – a site i came across that i’ve been really pleased with, not just for their massive worldwide paper selection but also for their awesome customer service. a rarity these days, it seems. rating customer service is also my own personal indicator that and i’m getting old and cranky. fun. anyway, here’s what came in the mail:Screen shot 2015-06-20 at 2.16.56 PMi’m really glad i decided to throw down a wad of dollar bills to get physical samples. i could 1) see the actual colors up close 2) see the pattern and how large or small it was and 3) walk around the house’s big, empty rooms, holding up the samples on the big, empty walls and visualize the best i could what that room would feel like when covered in wallpaper. on the wall paper direct website, they also have a nice room gallery that can help you see what whole walls plastered in any of their papers will look like.

the husband and i hemmed and hawed and hemmed some more and then started narrowing down room and number of wall choices. wallpapering is not cheap. the paper itself is not cheap (on average, all the samples i loved were over $100 per roll – it will take us two rolls to do a smallish standard sized wall in the bathroom. and the installation is not cheap. unless you a talented mo fo and can do it yourself. i thought about this, i really did. and then i talked to some folks who were like, umm, if you’ve never done it before, this probably isn’t a great first timer situation. no offense. and i was like, none taken. the last thing i want is mismatched seams, mismatched patterns or bubbly walls. but i did figure out a nice compromise, both for my own need to learn new skills and to help soften the installation price which is to help the woman who is doing the installing. she is terrific and talented and told me that she would love to help show me how to properly lay wallpaper if i helped out with the process. done and done.

all that being said, picking out choice walls that i reaaaally wanted to wallpaper was tough but here’s where that left us:

the kitchen nook. a tiny space that makes me so happy. wanted something that would complement the potential beverly hills palm paper that will likely go on the back den wall so i’m leaning towards this fun toucan paper. only drawback, lots of pretty white space which i imagine in a few short years (weeks), will be spotted (smeared) with an array of colorful food stains:

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the other top contenders for this space are these two cow print versions from marimekko. the samples are teentsy so i included larger pictures found online, so you can really see the cow action:

large marimekko cows 2

large marimekko cows 1

ahhh! they’re both so on fleek (that works for things other than eye brows, right?)! can’t you just see yourself, saturday morning light coming in through the windows, kiddos scampering around still in their pjs, first round of french toast sticks in the heavily buttered pan  – you’ve just poured yourself a lovely mason jar of french press (stumptown, barista, coava, water ave., take your local pick, they’re all outstanding and deliciously nerdy) and then you curl into a kitchen nook surrounded by these big-eyed, gentle giants. you can’t see it? well damn, i can.

the den. baby daddy pulled white, arabesque tile to surround the fancy wood-burning stove that we inherited when we bought the house. we would have neeeeever purchased something this extravagant on our own, it wouldn’t have even crossed our wishiest of wish lists but the previous owners spent good money on one and had it installed, chimney and all. everyone who has come through the house has drooled over it and told us we will luh-huve having one in the winter so we are going to be burning some wood and making some fires y’all! bring a mug for hot chocolate and come on over.

og fireplace 1

as stated above, still obsessed with this iconic beverly hills hotel palm paper to cover the back wall of the den. i think the white arabesque tile will look good with the palms. like cookie dough and ice cream. sandals with socks. rice with soy sauce. you get the drift.

palm leaf 1

the upstairs bathroom. this room was gutted so were we happily forced to design (within budget, always within budget) from scratch. we decided to go full force with white subway tile, a nod to our love of nyc. did the tub walls, the floor (no one told us that tiling a floor in wall tile wasn’t the smartest thing to do. oh well.) and every other wall except one, which will be gloriously plastered in this:

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it’s from cole & son, called palm jungle. they carry it in about four different colorways. and here’s current before and afters of where we’re at with the bathroom. due to a just glorious skylight, the room is actually flooded with light but i think because of the size of the room (it’s small) and my mediocre camera skills, these came out lighted terribly.

og bathroom 1

og bathroom 2

and after the white-on-white subway tile and tub went in:

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we also had to tile the kitchen sink backsplash so we laid white subway tile there too. because really, you can never have too much subway tile. the before:

og kitchen 1

the after:

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that’s probably all for the wallpaper. i’m super stoked though – it’s a good start and even though i think plainly painted walls are bo-ring, i had to pick some colors for all the other rooms (that is correct, we are painting the entire interior of the house. that’s how much of a hot mess it is) so i spent an achingly long time at sherwin-williams and came up with these swatches:

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i saw this image online and was like, fuck yes, so we’ll see if that comes of anything but for now we’re going with a bright, light cream for much of the main floor, stairway and upstairs.

diagonal wall stripes

attic playroom – black chalkboard paint on bottom and light sky blue for angled walls. here’s our before, i’ll add in an after later:

og attic

chalkboard paint, b-t-dubs, is o-mazing and it now comes in a bunch more colors besides black! you can go old school (literally) chalkboard green and relive third grade! i’ve never painted with it before but i’m so excited! seb is going to have to fight me for doodle room. just remember to cure whatever you’re chalkboard painting before you start drawing. and also! people! there is an outstanding local paint company that slangs chalkboard paint in so many colors! all their paints, chalkboard or otherwise are totally non-toxic / voc free / can be inhaled by small humans and pets without fear! they’re called colorhouse paint! we are definitely buying our chalkboard paint from them. woop!

chalkboard paint

sebe’s room – one cherry red wall and same sky blue on rest of walls as in playroom. his room before:

Sebe's room 1

the after, with the red wall…it occurred to me last night however, as i was putting little muffin to bed, that this is the current crib set-up and i still totally love these dark pieces by our favorite portland graffiti artist rasco:

current wallpaper 2

there’s also no red in those pieces so maybe i should nix the red and pick a color (purple? orange?) from the rasco art if we’re going to transplant the pieces to the new bedroom…

not feeling 100 about this room because initially i drooled over these wallpapers which got axed off the budget so i half heartedly picked primary colors. inspiration will hit at some point. it’s a kiddo room! it has to be rad!

Burgerdoodles-wallpaper5

 

kiddo wallpaper

sewing room (did i mention?!?! i wil have a designated sewing and patterning room!!!! oh a girl can dream and those dreams can come true!!! i have massive plans for this space. private classes, group workshops, whatever anyone wants to pay me to do, we can do it in this room. stop. that sounded dirty. sewing-wise. you know what i mean.) – verdict still out but leaning towards a bubblegum pink? eh. i don’t know. i plan to hold mad classes in this space so i want it to read clean, fun, encouraging, inspirational. the kind of space where anything is possible. i love my friend and very accomplished portland pattern maker and designer john blasioli’s gorgeous studio shots that he posts on his instagram. his space is well loved, simple, open and functional. something to aspire to for sure. this first shot was taken by the unfuckwitable mikola accuardi, photographer and portland supply co. blog owner.

Screen shot 2015-06-21 at 2.06.51 PM

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plus he does achingly fun things like this and isn’t afraid of making a giant mess while doing so:

Screen shot 2015-06-21 at 1.58.43 PM

exterior of the house needed to be painted like whoah so after not so much deliberation, we said black. black is it. i was fully aware that black usually (most of the time. all of the time.) looks best on multi-million dollar mid-century modern houses but hey, our 1922 bungalow is so totally close to that. right? ha. no, no it is not. surprisingly, sherwin-williams has three exterior blacks to choose from so we did three swatches and chose the one that had the most matte appearance; cavier black. the first time i had time to go check out the progress on the house, much of the first coat had been put on the big side wall. i freaked out. i woke up in the middle of the night continuing to freak out. i thought maybe we had made a huge mistake. turns out, a 1922 bungalow is nothing like a multi-million dollar modern house. one of the painters said, “it’s cool. it’s like the adams family lives here.” i wanted to cry. i said maybe we should stop and change it. to like, a brilliant blue or something. baby daddy got out his calculator, pushed up his glasses and gently reminded me that all the paint had been purchased, the work was started and that we weren’t making a huge mistake. that it would look amazing and that with the other pops of color we were planning; huge front window garden box filled with bright green ferny plants and a front door and fence in light-colored wood – that it would be fantastic. i knew he was right. i still loved black over any other color for our house. everyone asked what contrasting trim we would be doing. umm, none, juuust black. the whole, entire, thing black. we like making statements, what can i say.

before:

og side house

 

after:

black house

the backyard is the other gigantic improvement, which i would have been able to post an after for except that i just went through my phone’s gallery and those photos are mia, which means my very savvy not quite two year-old deleted during one of his recent playing-with-momma’s-phone sessions. even on airplane mode that kid manages to make his mark. i’ll update the after soon. just know there is grass. lush, green, roll your face in it grass.

og backyard

complete with a janky (chicken? dog? we weren’t entirely sure. but it was falling apart and literally covered in shit) coop at the far end near the garage:

og back yard chicken coop

so, let’s see – front windows still need to be installed, whole house will be painted with a second coat soon, i plan on making window seat cushions and fashioning the kitchen of my dreams…but that might be it for now! holy shit. a house. it feels really, really unreal.

if you’re remodeling a space and/or have any helpful tips, suggestions or grumblings of lessons learned the hard way, please holler! especially all you kitchen and craft people!

xoxo!

pookie play date : poa cafe!

poa cafe in portland oregon

poa cafe in portland oregon


Poa Café

4025 North Williams Avenue
(503) 954-1243

poacafe.com

Saturday 8am-7pm / Sunday 8am-4pm


poa cafe in portland oregon

poa cafe in portland oregon

poa-cafe

i don’t think there’s a coffee shop in town that i haven’t had one too many vanilla lattes at while spending one too many hours in, poured over fashion magazines i splurged on at Rich’s Cigar Store. my “free coffee” punch card game is banging. before Sebe, this was one of my most favorite things to do if i had a lazy morning opportunity. post Sebe, those mornings are few and far between.

poa cafe in portland oregon

poa cafe in portland oregon

but not all is lost. there is Poa. when i heard there was a new café in town that was not only child-tolerant but child-ready-willing-and-able, i could not wait to drag my spit-up covered self and newborn in to check the place out. with its bright white walls, tables and chairs, i remember initially thinking, well this is way too pretty for the smudgey likes of children, there must be a mistake. but there wasn’t. run by a husband and wife team who have two littles, Poa is the perfect balance of getting to order that beloved latte and drink it too. it’s filled with pretty parents who can order house-made pastries (sweet brioche buns stuffed with sugary ricotta! seasonal breads!), fresh fruit and veggie smoothies (matcha green tea with greek yogurt and protein powder! avocado with banana and flax seeds!) plus full breakfast, lunch and kiddo-centric menus.

poa cafe in portland oregon

poa cafe in portland oregon

the front of the house is filled with seating and community tables, along with plenty of high chairs to go around and a basket of good glossies that could keep a girl like me there until way past naptime (Kinfolk! New York Times Style Magazine!). back of the house is all for the wees – carpeted area filled with building blocks, toys and extra-wide rockers perfect for nursing (tested and approved), a huge chalkboard wall, an interactive space with toy kitchens and mini-height tables perfect for your child to self-snack or start typing their novel (autobiography?) on one of many loose keyboards.

poa cafe in portland oregon

poa cafe in portland oregon

they also have a bookshelf brimming with the coolest collection of international kids books i’ve ever seen. plus they have weekly get the fuck out the house (which i’ll just create my own acronym for since i feel like i will be using it a lot so let’s just call it, “gtfoth”, shall we?) events like Spanish story time (the woman who comes for this is awesome. there are bubbles.), music with people like Mr. Ben (he does guitar covers from, “Frozen” and, “The Sound of Music”) and other awesome local pop-up stuff (they had a world mapmaking class from Carson Ellis, the illustrator behind “Wildwood”!). plus they have adult happy hours that come with a bowl of popcorn (organic. sprinkled with nutritional yeast.) and coincide with family film night. i love this place.

poacafe.com

Kiddo Outing – SpielWerk Toys

SpielWerk Toys


SpielWerk Toys

Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm / Sunday 10am-5pm


SpielWerk would probably go under the same category as Powell’s Books, a store that sells things but supplies a kid-friendly port-in-the-storm space where you are welcomed and encouraged to come and kick it, in whatever state of sloppiness or exhaustion you may have found yourself that day. This toy store is delightful and I often feel like I’m in some quaint European city while browsing through their goods, which is exactly what I think the store owners hoped for, as they source many of their items from small studios in Europe. They believe in classic and simple, handcrafted toys that inspire imagination. The first time Seb and I snuck in was to bridge the gap of time between putting in our group number for brunch at Tasty n’ Sons (the outing of which was only made possible by visiting friends – two hour waits for breakfast with an infant on board is not only cruel but should be made illegal. that being said, nothing can fuck with their Potatoes Bravas or their Radicchio salad, which is served in a pre-chilled bowl and is the greatest morning companion to warm eggs and potatoes and a mug of Stumptown coffee, made with several spoonfuls of sugar and fresh cream, which they always have, and is always fresh). I’d walked past the place so many times but never been inside. The whole front area of the shop is an open play space. At the time, they had a cardboard kid house, a mini height-right table filled with stuffs and thingys to play with and a giant wooden loft with a make-believe house and kitchen underneath and a stairway up to the second story, which was enveloped in a gauzy, fairy covering. I got to sit and sip still-warm coffee while Seb did his baby thing with a couple other kiddos. The whole brunch wait time flew by so much more painlessly than ever before and I was so thankfu that the next time I needed to pick up a baby gift, I made it a point to spend my loot there.