Reviving the Living and Dining Rooms

11/06/15

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{The living room in our 1898 Portland Victorian}

As many of you know, my wife Clay and I moved 7 months ago to Portland, Oregon. We mostly moved here to be closer to my family (my sister and parents have lived in this city for years), but in the process, we also had the opportunity to buy our first decent sized house together — something we couldn’t afford to do in the Bay Area of California. Last June we purchased a 2000 SQFT 1898 Victorian on a corner lot in the heart of the Kerns neighborhood. We loved this house instantly when we first walked in — it has enormous windows with fantastic light, a wonderful flow and beautiful high ceilings. It is surrounded by trees and just a short block from a beautiful park. But it also needed a lot of TLC, and we began quickly to make renovations. So far we have finished the downstairs half bath, which you can see here. And just last week we finished the living and dining rooms (more on that in a moment). We still have a long way to go (the complete renovations will take years), but it feels really good not only to be making progress on fixing up the place, but also to be nesting. Clay and I are both homebodies. We love to cook and clean, to organize, tinker and hang out at home.

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{Looking down on our Eames coffee table}

When we moved into the house, I connected immediately with my friend Kate at Rejuvenation to begin helping us pick out some new fixtures and furniture. They house hadn’t been updated since the early 1990’s. In addition to lighting and some other accents, one of the things we needed was a new living room sofa. I wanted something modern, but I also wanted something that would reflect the old feel of our Victorian house.

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{Living room arrangements of some of my favorite things}

One day Kate invited me to visit the Rejuvenation salvage warehouse (which is also the location of their 87,000-square-foot U.S. based factory). And while I was there I spotted a simple 1920’s vintage sofa, stripped down to its bare bones, and fell in love. I think Kate could see the adoration in my eyes, and so she suggested that we collaborate with Leland Duck of Revive Designs — a partner with Rejuvenation — to reupholster the beautiful old piece for our home. I quickly agreed. For the record, here’s what the piece looked like before:

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Shortly thereafter, Clay and I went to North Portland to meet with Leland of Revive Upholstery & Design and his wife Chelsea in their new showroom and workshop to discuss what we’d use to give the piece a new and modern look. I’m not sure what I expected when I walked in, but I didn’t necessarily expect to see a young couple! So I asked Leland how he learned to reupholster furniture so beautifully (his showroom and workshop were filled with really gorgeous stuff he’d worked on). I learned that day that her learned the art of reupholstering by working on vintage cars as a teenager. In his early twenties this unique skill, combined with his keen eye for the good bones of cast-off furniture and love of historically significant fabrics, led him to creating one-of-a-kind chairs, sofas, ottomans, and pillows that are far greater than the sum of their parts.

In the newest segment of their partnership, the gurus from the Rejuvenation Salvage team have scoured antique shows, flea markets, and vintage dealers across the country rescuing rare pieces and trucking them back to Leland’s skilled hands. The result is a truly original and one-of-a-kind collection of furniture finds, each with a unique story to tell. I felt so lucky to have this furniture find and so honored to be working with Leland to make it new again!

After our initial meeting, we decided on a subtly textured blue fabric (I’m really into blue these days!). I went off to Hudson New York for my residency, and Leland set to work on transforming our new sofa. When I returned from Hudson, he came over to drop it off, and I was thrilled with the results!

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Leland’s work was impeccable, and we adore the white accent stitching. That’s a vintage Chinese textile hanging on the back of the sofa and the beautiful pillow is by Anna Joyce.

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We also replaced the former light fixture with a new globe pendant hanging light from Rejuvenation (which we love) and which you can see below. Trio of prints hanging on wall by Katherine Jalaty.

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We also worked with Jen Garrido of Jenny Pennywood to purchase some yardage of her beautiful screen-printed fabric to cover the cushions on our vintage side chairs. The bold pink flower pillows by print maker (and my best friend) Jen Hewett. The abstract paintings are by me.

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We also got a fabulous new light fixture for the dining room — a Cobalt Blue Butte Dome Pendant from Rejuvenation, which you can see below. We think it’s the perfect match to our blue accents and Danish dining furniture.

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More from the dining room:

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To celebrate the opening of their new showroom and workshop, Leland and Chelsea of Revive are hosting a grand opening party from 6-11 pm tonight at 2030 N. Willis Blvd in Portland. I will be there and if you enjoy Leland’s work, I hope you will check it out too! Drinks! BBQ! Live music!

From my home to yours: have a great weekend & happy nesting.

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