Contemporary and Colorful in Portland

After nearly two years of living in a 100-year-old, four-story Craftsman at Northeast Portland, J.S. and Robin May have been searching for something new. Their older daughter had left for college, and their younger daughter was not too far behind. Ready to give up the maintenance of their 5,000-square-foot home, the Mays wanted to downsize. “Our previous house had an exorbitant amount of repairs,” says J.S.”We didn’t want another project.”

That’s not to say there was not a substantial quantity of work in getting their new home in John’s Landing off the ground. The Mays first had to remove and recycle a small lease that stood where the present home now stands.

at a Glance
Who lives here: J.S. and Robin May
Location: Portland, Oregon
Constructed: 2005
Size: 2,400 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

Julie Smith

The Mays had the old house dismantled and contributed into the Immunology Center of Portland. In the new house, they used just nontoxic finishes and water-based paint. They also installed photovoltaic (solar) panels on the sloping, southern-facing roof and set into a solar hot water heater. “In the summer, despite air conditioning, our electric bill isn’t greater than $8 per month,” says J.S.

Julie Smith

Whenever the Mays had to eliminate two black walnut trees out of their backyard in order to construct the new house, their contractor, David Hassin of Terrafirma Building, Inc., used the timber to create hardwood flooring for your home. The beautiful black walnut floor now crosses the entire main level.

Dining room desk: Twist

Julie Smith

The few use bold colors freely throughout the home — out of brick red in the entry to vibrant blue-green in the hallway, to a warm, buttery yellow at the living area. The walls also serve as the perfect backdrop for their extensive selection of artwork.

Interior color: Manilla from Devine Color
Artist painting: Ryan Birkland

Julie Smith

The Mays appreciated the services of architect Donna Jean Brown to create their bright and spacious space. The placement and size of this house’s many windows was strategic. “It was very important for us that we receive a good deal of light,” says Robin. Brown also designed Robin’s favorite area of the house: the window-seating location. It offers a luxurious place to unwind; the pillow heats up, which makes it almost impossible to leave.

Lamp and coffee table: Pottery Barn
Seat cushion: Far East Upholstery (503-283-2639)

Julie Smith

The couple’s exuberant personalities shine through their eclectic décor, and they knew precisely the way to fill the space below the dining area’s 13-foot-high ceilings. “These carved animal heads have hung in every dining room we have ever had,” says J.S. Robin purchased the folk artwork out of Sri Lanka for decades ago.

Julie Smith

The Mays love to entertain, and the spacious plans of this dining area and kitchen make chatting and cooking a breeze. The spacious and classy kitchen features granite countertops, alder wood cabinetry, and stainless steel appliances.

Cabinetry: Cascade Cabinets

Julie Smith

Brushed aluminum bar stools from Crate and Barrel assist pull together the area’s finishes, which makes a casual-modern statement.

Julie Smith

Unlike the omnipresent, speckled selection, the granite at the May’s kitchen includes a honed surface with subtle shifts in color. This gives it a much softer, more natural aesthetic quality. “We love the look of the granite and we are so thankful we weren’t talked into the normal, shiny materials,” says J.S.

Countertops: Wild West from Intrepid Marble

Julie Smith

Robin was glad she didn’t overlook the offerings at her local home improvement shop for stylish lighting. She found them at Lowe’s and they seemed exactly the same as the ones she saw at a high-end design shop. The amber-colored colors add more warmth into the room.

Julie Smith

Avid readers, the Mays turned into the landing of their next story to a bright library and workplace. An inviting chaise couch (a gift passed on to them from family), and tall bookshelves from Ikea specify the distance as the perfect place to settle in with the latest read.

Interior color: Seafoam from Devine Color

Julie Smith

The welcoming entryway leads to the living area as well as to the upper level.

Julie Smith

The homeowners used every opportunity to allow in more light, even in the master bathroom. “The windows here are shoulder-high, so we’re in a position to have sunlight streaming in without forfeiting privacy,” J.S. says.

Julie Smith

Robin handpicked every shower tile in the moments room at Pratt & Larson, and laid them out for the contractor in the order she wanted. Visiting the tile store every week and awaiting the perfect tiles to come together was an exercise in patience, but the outcome is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind mixture of color and texture.

Julie Smith

The Mays created a welcoming media room at one of the three upstairs bedrooms. The wing seat, designed by Danish designer Hans Wegner, and the color-block rug from Crate and Barrel, are perfect examples of their bold palette choices.

Julie Smith

The couple thoroughly enjoys the views in the master bedroom. Two French doors open up above their lush terrace, and on clear daysthey have an ideal view of Mt. Hood. Robin enjoys plants and flowers and in short order, she has turned the garden into a gardener’s paradise.

Julie Smith

For their next job, they’d like to substitute the patio pavers and switch out a few of the plants from the landscape. Proving that every house, even brand new ones, can always stand to use only a little fixing.

Julie Smith

J.S. and Robin May at home.

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Place a Bird on It!

Portlandia‘s now-classic skit of both Bryce Shivers and Lisa Eversmith placing birds on matters pokes fun in the ubiquity of birds in décor (“what a miserable small tote bag… I know, I will put a bird on it!”) . However, admits Carrie Brownstein, the actress who plays Lisa,”I still buy stuff with birds on it. It’s too hard to not!”

It’s true. Make fun of just how blessed these fine-feathered buddies are all you want, but they still make amazing additions to décor. As you tune into tonight’s premiere of Season 2, see for yourself where you are able to put birds on things in your home.

(In case you missed out on the joke last year, visit the first skit here.)

Crisp Architects

Set a bird on a branch. This metal sculpture of branches and birds sets the tone with this classic casual room.

Studio Zerbey Architecture + Design

Set a bird onto a shelf. This specific bird was made famous by Charles and Ray Eames, and also you may purchase one of your own.

Vendome Press

Set a bird onto the wall. These classic nature renderings have enduring charm.

Watch more natural curiosities in décor

Sara Baldwin Design

Set a bird in the shower. These decals make a grownup toilet more fun for a toddler.

Supon Phornirunlit / Nude Decor

Set a bird within the toilet. Why? Why not?

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Set a bird onto the background. Some of the very best large scale backgrounds that have come out in the last couple of years feature all types of birds, from cute little chickadees to more foreboding crows.

Applegate Tran Interiors

Place a bird in a swarm. There is a contemporary Hitchcockian vibe into this room that is somewhat unsettling, and that is what makes it interesting.

The Virginia House

Set a bird within the crib. Hearing about how clever blogger and homeowner Jillian Woods crafted this wonderful cellphone for about four bucks inspired many people.

Watch more of Jillian’s house and jobs

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

Set a bird over the sofa. The powerful silhouette of this bird makes this painting a modern focal point in this room.

Watch the rest of this home


Set a bird on a wire, and then put it on your armoire. These cabinets have a quirky custom made look thanks to a simple decal program.

Watch more decals in action

Set a bird onto a desk. I admit it — this bird is in my own family’s house in Maine.

Watch the rest of this home

CWB Architects

Set a bird onto the mantle. Better yet, put two birds onto the mantle.

Tim Cuppett Architects

Set a bird onto a light fixture. OK, technically that should be”put some wings on several light bulbs,” but that just does not have the same ring to it. The birdy chandelier by Ingo Maurer is a contemporary classic that can inspire dialogue and glee.

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7 Methods to Upcycle a Fallen Tree

We dropped a gorgeous tree throughout the freak ice storm we had a few weeks ago. Sadly, the ice was so heavy the tree actually snapped in half. As sad as I was to eliminate the tree (it turned out to be a fabulous source of shade on our porch and needed to be at least 20 years old), my thoughts immediately started producing a million craft thoughts together with the timber. My poor husband spent hours on hours and nearly lost a finger cutting on the trunk and branches into a host of stuff for me to utilize. (THANK YOU HONEY!)

Many, many, lots of the branches turned into thick small wooden coins. As soon as I brought them into the house, they immediately became one of the boys’ toys. They became perfect all-natural building blocks just as they were.

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Amy Renea

Even though the boys were building towers with their timber coins, I decided to use a wood burning tool to craft a pair of letters and numbers. The timber was new so it burned easily, along with the coins are an ideal size for large, easy-to-read numerals.

Amy Renea

It was a fast leap from numbered coins into some pair of alphabet letters for the fridge. A little magnet tape glued into the back of each coin did the trick. Finally magnets for the fridge which aren’t ugly!

Agnes Blum

If you have a medium-sized piece of timber, particularly one which is longer than it is wide, you get a perfect clock foundation. Simply put in a clock kit (found at hardware and craft stores) and you have a fabulous, rustic addition to your space. Proceed with this natural look instead of a glazed timber or else your look will be 1979 than 2012.

Keith Willig Landscape Services, Inc..

If you are blessed to have enormous slices of timber, they are absolutely perfect for stepping stones. Ensure they are level with the floor to avoid tripping, and nestle them in beds of sand or plantings of moss for a gorgeous new walkway.

Amy Renea

‘Tis the season to decorate a tree for the birds! I always make small suet cake decorations for the birds’ Christmas tree, along with a gold coin garland fits right in flawlessly. String them together with a sisal thread for a tree decoration.

Amy Renea

To make your wood-coin garland, just tie a knot around every single slice and fasten with a dab of hot glue. You could also add single coins as individual ornaments for a cohesive look. These timber look great on your indoor, rustic Christmas tree, also.

Amy Renea

An easy grouping of timber pieces stacked around glitsy gold decorations adds a grounding, rustic signature. The gold tone of the timber flesh is reflected in the bottles, but the texture and reflective attributes are contrasting. Try out this rustic wood-and-gold look for all your vacation décor this year.

Michelle Edwards

If you would like to go full scale rustic this season, use pieces of timber as candle foundations on a sanded plank table with a vivid plaid blanket for a tablecloth. Notice how the pieces of trunk are distinct heights to add attention to the grouping.

Michelle Edwards

These little candle stands also make perfect addition to the foundation of your Christmas tree. These stands fill the space between the high bottom of the tree along with the floor, while providing the small tree more presence and weight in the space.


If you would like to go daring with a wood-coin them, a complete wall of varying dimensions makes a huge impact. Add tiered heaps of wood pieces as separate coffee tables, and the look at rustic in its best!

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DIY: PVC Pipe Wine Holder

After Rachelle Falcon transferred into her new house, she was excited about all of the fantastic things it had to offer. But one thing that she was not thrilled about was the absence of pantry space. At her previous home she had a perfect place to store the wines she enjoys to get and flavor, but in her kitchen there was just no way to store her wine. She fell in love with an amazing wine rack, but was not so in love with its price. A DIY queen who chronicles her creative jobs on Adventures in Creating, Falcon came up with this funding variation.

R. Falcon Designs

This new wine rack cost Falcon less than $20. If You Would like to recreate this contemporary appearance, you’ll need:

A mitre saw or hack saw (Falcon used her Dremel tool)

Many lengths and widths of PVC piping

Screws and screwdriver

Epoxy adhesive made for plastic


Cru Wine Rack – $150

This Cru Wine Rack by Umbra was Falcon’s inspiration. She instantly fell in love with this gorgeous metal piece, but at $150, it was a lot of money for her. She thought she could think of a reasonable method to generate something similar.

R. Falcon Designs

Falcon decided that PVC pipe would be a sturdy material to test. She went to her regional hardware store and purchased 4″ and 2″ PVC piping in a little over $1 per foot. She had the store cut it down so she wouldn’t buy considerably more than she needed.

Using her Dremel tool, Falcon cut the pipe to 6″ lengths to fit a wine bottle. She made 6 pieces of every size. You might even use a mitre saw or a hack saw to do this — just be sure to wear safety goggles!

R. Falcon Designs

Once the pipes were cut, she used a sander to smooth and even the borders. Employing cleaning spray along with a towel, then she scrubbed the pipes clean, then organized them from the pattern she wanted.

R. Falcon Designs

Falcon used a mixture of screws and epoxy to attach the pipes to each other. 32 x 3/4″ machine screws demonstrated long enough to fit through the 4″ tubes in which they joined, rather than overly long at which the 4″ and 2″ tubes connected.

Falcon quantified 1″ in from each end of every tube and marked drill holes on the exterior of every tube. This was by far the very time-consuming region of the project. After screwing together the tubes she pumped Loctite Epoxy Glue created for vinyl to the cracks to firm up the joints.

R. Falcon Designs

Falcon allow the glue dry overnight, then cleaned the final product again in the morning. To provide the wine rack a shiny appearance (and hide the pipe markings and screws), she spray painted the entire thing with a white Rustoleum spray paint.

For additional information on Falcon’s PVC pipe wine rack, take a look at her article on Adventures in Creating.

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Upgrade This Ugly Door!
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House Tour: Character and Higher Style in Toronto

Toronto homeowner Shannon of 8foot6 started her website to document the long process of renovating her cellar. But the magic of blogging occurred, and she ended up sharing more than just the details of the cellar project. She also brought us upstairs to discuss her everyday home jobs, the increase of her design style and her serendipitous classic shopping ventures. I check in to 8foot6 often for Shannon’s new spin on home layout. After this excursion, I predict you’re going to be checking frequently as well, if just to discover more about the changes in her toddler son’s bedroom and also the arrival of a new baby in a few weeks.


Starting in the cellar, the first idea was to turn the space into a media space. The biggest barrier was the reduced 6′-4″ ceiling. Underpinning increased the height to 8′-6″. It took 20 weeks of effort — 5 months for its heavy construction (digging and pouring new foundation) and 15 weeks for the endings.

In a last stroke of imagination, Shannon determined that organic timber vertical slats used as railings along the staircase would make a nice transition to the cellar. The classic Shaker-style chairs below subtly mimic the slats.


Heated concrete floors and lots of white paint help the underground space feel airy and light. Although decorated in a minimalist design, the space, which is employed as a media room (complete with projector and screen) and a playroom, is nowhere near complete. Half the fun of checking to the website is to observe the minor changes continually happening.


Shannon had space in the space for an open-concept laundry and storage room, a little bar area and a walk in shower/wet room. Aren’t you jealous of that amazing storage?!


Shannon and her husband had a designer come in to help with the first furniture choice and art in the remainder of the home. The dining room and living room were her most significant projects. The designer offered her top five choices concerning couch, coffee table, dining room table, dining room chairs, light fixture and sideboard. Some things were love-at-first-sight, but in other cases it took months to find just the ideal piece. Both loved working with a professional designer since she educated them about style, shared all her secrets and was willing to continue going back to the drawing board to capture their preferences perfectly. After the rooms were finished, Shannon was ready to infuse them with her own sensibilities and make them feel staged and more lived in.


The art over the mantel, found in the prior photo, is an oil painting by David Gillanders. The coffee table is just one of Shannon’s treasured pieces. It’s a 1960s first Danish rosewood table by Sven Ellekaer. The barn-board mirror was made by Shannon’s dad while she was in university. The designer wished to replace this mirror with a white-framed one, however, Shannon wisely insisted on maintaining it. The leather slipper chairs in the living room were pieces Shannon instantly knew were right. With those options place, the designer picked the caramel color for the chairs and helped choose the carpet and art to pull the room together.


The dining room chairs were a style option that Shannon and her husband instantly were attracted to. The credenza-like sideboard has also turned into one of Shannon’s favourite furniture pieces in the house.


The sideboard, found here in another perspective of the dining room, is a customized piece that was made from classic printer towels and stained almost black. It has a fairly Asian vibe which works with every thing else in the space. The rocking horse adds a bit of warmth and playfulness to an otherwise serious room.


The magnificent charcoal drawing in the dining room was done by Olexander Wlasenko. Entitled Claudia in Car, it was a work the programmer and Shannon’s husband insisted . Shannon relented ONLY if the artist can create the first quite-small bit big enough to fill the wall. The artist was pleased to oblige. Lesson learned: Don’t hesitate to request modifications.


The kitchen table vignette was selected by the designer and enthusiastically approved by Shannon and her husband. The glass table, S chairs and Mooi light fixture would be the first thing you see when you enter the front door. You also get a peek of Shannon’s brilliant antique Pyrex dish set that is displayed on the shelves behind the table. It not only adds unique fun to the space, it also increases by the month.


The slate counters in the kitchen, found here, complement the white Shaker-front cabinets. Shannon was warned by the architect before installing the patina-prone slate which”If you live with something amazing, you have to anticipate it to take on personality over time.” A vibrant striped carpet is a new addition which adds texture and warmth to the polished concrete floor.


The Asian theme in the foyer was a conscious design choice. The entry table was originally a faded crimson that Shannon painted a glossy black. The silver color of this West Elm chair works well with the present color scheme. Although the designer’s first pick was a ghost seat, Shannon wanted something more considerable against all the white wainscoting and stuck to her guns.


The tiny powder room received a dose of sophisticated glamour with an inexpensive light fixture which was modified to mount closer to the ceiling. The same marble tiles which were utilized on the ground were cut down to make wainscoting. The artful photo completes the restricted composition.


The office is 1 room in the house that is 100% Shannon. The book collection displayed by color arrangement (I do exactly the same thing!) And the milk glass set around the perimeter make the space feel relaxed but not messy.


The desk in the office is from Pottery Barn Kids. It was the sole real desk her husband could discover that fit in the small one-bedroom condo he previously possessed. Shannon attempted a bigger table in the space before downsizing back to the charming option.


The white tallboy dresser is a favourite bit in the room. It had been picked up by Craigslist, and it was just upon bringing it home which Shannon found an awful smell she simply could not get rid of. Painting it white was the only means to find a literal new start with the piece.


Shannon’s latest project has been outdoor landscaping and remodeling. The work has generated several zones: the deck couch, the pathway, the barbecue area and gardens, the pea gravel patio with bonfire bowl and dining , an enclosed railing, and bud for running around and playing . Cedar was selected for the deck, table, arbor, and fencing; there was simply no comparison between it and pressure-treated timber.


Shannon is a master of implementing just the ideal quantity of color to what would otherwise be a bland, monochromatic arrangement. Whenever these white outdoor pillows just weren’t doing it for her, then she cleverly added a triangle theme with potato stamps for a easy and successful DIY project.


The ginormous cedar table and seats were custom built to fit the scale of this space. Situated on pea gravel and flanked by bentwood chairs, the outdoor dining area is rustic, charming and simply begging for a massive al fresco dinner party.

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Guest Picks: Fall Wreaths for Indoors or Out

There is something so inviting about front door with a classic, handmade wreath. This transitional season of cooler weather calls for a burst of hot, color-saturated leaves, fruits and vines. — Libby from An Eye for Detail


Wheat & magnolia Wreath – $89.95

I love this wreath with magnolia leaves and yarrow together with wheat. The colors say”It’s fall!”


Succulent Wreath Happiness 9 by Fairyscape

The succulents within this wreath are a fantastic idea. It’s also available in a variety of sizes.


Quince and Cinnamon Stick Wreath – $79.95

This wreath is stunning and a real”cornucopia of fall botanicals.” I love the richness and saturation.


Sun-Dried Tomato Square Wreath – $79

I really like the square shape of the wreath. It’s unique and fun, and you may use the herbs.

The Wreath Depot

Purple Haze Eucalyptus Wreath – $39.99

This one is quite special. The colors might not be traditional for fall, but the different sorts of chamomile — including the Purple Haze — give this a wonderful palette I love.

Artichoke and Herbs Wreath – $43.99

Artichokes and herbs make this wreath a winner. It’d be ideal in my kitchen during the fall months.

Dried Flowers Direct

True Blue Larkspur & Lemon Leaf Wreath – $64.95

Lemon foliage and larkspur combine to create this almost feminine, airy cottage wreath. How about hanging this in a guest room?


Farmers’ Market Herb Wreath – $99.95

Dried flowers and herbs are done nicely in this wreath. All natural and pesticide-free, this one can go indoors or protected under an awning outdoors.

The Wreath Depot

Jumbo Indian Currant Wreath – $139.99

This one is produced from the Indian Currant bush — a new one for me personally. It’s a statement piece and would be ideal indoors or outside.

Grandin Road

Très Chic Wreath – $39

This wreath from Washington state gets the clean, crisp colors of fall.

L.L. Bean

Fall Gourd Wreath – $59

The tiny burnt-orange gourds are fantastic in this wreath. They’re combined with lavender and various autumn leaves to make a genuine fall statement. I really like the depth of colour and textures in this .

Wreaths Galore

Margarita Eucalyptus Wreath – $59.99

Spicy and fragrant with lavender leaves, this wreath has a deeper tone than a few of the others. It would be stunning on front door.

Deliver Star

Morning Harvest Dried Floral Wreath – $75.95

It’s called”Morning Harvest,” and it really does seem it with the luscious, rich autumn colors on a twig base. Perhaps it is possible to place this wreath on your wealthy, dark green front door? It’s a wonderful statement piece.

White Flower Farm

Some Like it Hot Kitchen Herb Wreath – $53.95

This is another distinctive seasonal wreath with its hot peppers, oregano flowers, yarrow and a soft raffia bow.


Mini Pumpkin and Moss Wreath by Flora Organica Designs – $11.25

I love this wreath with moss and miniature pumpkins! It’s very different and adorable.


Fall Wreath The Pumpkin Wreath for Autumn Decor by 2 Inspire You – $70

The grapevine and berries in addition to the fantastic ribbon create this wreath a favored!


Sunflower and Pumpkin Harvest Wreath by Simple Joys of Life – $55

I love the delicate grapevine with berries, sunflowers, mums and miniature pumpkins in this wreath.


Colorful Fall Wreath by Kelly Merrow – $23

I adore these colors. This is an unusual wreath made from artificial flowers and natural twig. It’s just wonderful.


Autumn Harvest Leaves Fall Wreath by Bubble Gum Dish – $35

That is different — in a great way. The newspaper leaves, metallic spray paint and gold tulle are certain to be a conversation starter at Thanksgiving.

Next: More decor for front door

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