Veteran’s Day was this past Monday, and this blog is a tribute to all those that served and their families too. We appreciate you.
When we design spaces for our clients we love to find out what makes their life story special and unique to them. Roger and Margret live in Southeast Portland, Oregon near Mount Tabor. They have been married for over 50 years. Their love and affection for one another, coupled with their life stories spoke wonders to us. One of the interior spaces we designed in their home was their den. The “before” room just didn’t have the pizzazz that Margret was looking for in this living space. It was dull and lacked depth and warmth – nothing like the vibrant, fun loving couple I was getting to know!
I noted a faint nautical theme in the room. Scattered throughout the room I saw artwork of vessels, portholes and decorative anchors. When I asked the couple about their collection, Roger told me he served in the Navy during the Cuban War crisis aboard the U.S.S. Shangri La as a sailor. Roger took pride in his time at sea and over the years collected framed pieces of ships and nautical memorabilia. I honestly think Margret was a bit concerned about our nautical direction for their den. Not designed well, a room can become too themed, look unrefined, and take on a dated appearance. I plunged forward with my inspiration anyway – assuring Margret the finished space would have the right blend of sophistication while still honoring Roger’s past. Using the couples compiled memories and their existing pieces as inspiration, we created a palette of grayed and weathered blues, stripes, metals and warm woods that honored this special time in their life.
We began with a floor plan for the small room, pulled a color story and fabrics for the space, and our ideas started to take root. We called in Steve Klingerman and his team at the THE Remodel Group to cosmetically remodel the room a bit – we painted the walls a grayed blue and it brought to life the warm honey stained millwork. We installed and stained wood crown molding, and updated the worn carpet to an oatmeal colored looped low pile textured carpet.
Our furnishing and textile scope incorporated several existing items in the home, as well as selecting new pieces that worked well with the couple’s style. We kept the existing leather chair and ottoman (although Margret insisted we could replace it), and we found a 1920’s rocker with Craftsman lines that was tired and in need of repair elsewhere in their home. We sent it off for repair and seat reupholstery.
Keeping with a nod to Roger’s nautical roots, I added a stainless steel and leather trunk as a coffee table with ample storage inside for blankets and sheets. We also added a new television console reminiscent of an old wood weathered map chest. To give Margret a little splash in the space, we worked with tailored yet fresh fabrics, even adding a little sparkle to the cafe curtains in the window that allowed privacy from the street view just outside the window.
We added a custom sleeper sofa to the space, so the den could act as an additional sleeping quarters for family visits as needed. When I first brought to Margret the idea to fabricate the sofa in a bold striped chenille type fabric, she immediately said yes. I just love brave clients! (Here was our rendering to help Margret see the sofa before fabrication.)
For most of our projects, we like to orchestrate a full day installation to finish the space. Clients love that day and it is frequently a lot like kids at Christmastime. I generally have to remind clients that they don’t need to be home, and that we want to surprise them with the big reveal. But Margret and Roger couldn’t be contained, and as our delivery team brought in their first piece of furniture, the striped sofa, Margret and Roger plopped down on their new sofa sitting in the middle of their empty room! I quickly snapped this photo on my iphone.
Once all the pieces were placed (and Margret and Roger went to lunch), we started to place the accessories. Tucked away in a closet, I found a treasured service photo of Roger, hand colored in a 4×6 frame. We dusted off the frame, knowing it would display beautifully in their new den. You can see Roger’s photo below sitting on the left hand side occasional table by the window.
You know what I loved most about the finished space? It had heart and it was 50 years in the making.
The Portland Sailor’s Den After
Additional photography of Margret and Roger’s den in the Portland Mt. Tabor area can be found here in our Portfolio.