Old Portland Home Living Room Makeover – Spring One Room Challenge

Like you and most people on the planet, I have been staying at home for about 8 weeks now.  Though I feel fortunate to be relatively busy with interior design work in Portland, it feels like a surreal time.  Work is more tedious as many businesses are closed, orders are delayed, and client meetings are all virtual.  Somedays I feel stir crazy. I miss my old life and I miss people.

I had planned this April to participate in my second Better Homes & Gardens One Room Challenge, (ORC).  My intent was to makeover a storage room off my dining space, transforming it into a wine/whiskey room.  But as the pandemic reached the US, I felt uneasy about continuing.  First, the plan involved several trades in my home including a plumber, electrician, finish carpenter, flooring contractor, and wallpaper installer.  The plan also included goods from manufacturers that temporarily closed due to Covid-19 by late March.  Last, even if I could figure out these logistics, it just didn’t seem responsible or safe to spend money on unnecessary home improvements and personal decorating when I wasn’t sure how my business would be affected in the weeks to come.  As I was deciding to forgo my participation for these reasons, the Spring ORC was postponed until early May.

The decision to be part of the ORC didn’t come easy for me.  It was only 48 hours ago I decided to participate.  I have chosen a different room, a more simple approach, work that doesn’t involve trades in my home, and a project that allows me to use a lot of what I already have.   I hope I create something that is worthy of sharing and in the best scenario, it inspires someone like you reading this post.  This is real life.  We don’t always have the time, resources, or money to do our full dream project, do we?  

I am making over my 1916 foursquare living room.  Here she is on the first day we met.  I am embarrassed to admit the living room walls are still this color.  I got to be honest, at least 50% of the reason I am participating is to motivate myself to paint these walls and button up the space! You can probably appreciate from the photo, the room is narrow and has limited options for a furnishing layout.  The house once had a wood burning stove in the kitchen that heated the house that were removed sometime in the last 60 years or so.  This fireplace and shelves were added sometime in the last 20 years with craftsmanship unworthy of such a lovely old house.  My dream is to build a fireplace and bookshelves so true to the period you wouldn’t know we made it over in 2020, but that dream will have to wait for another time.  Please trust me when I tell you the living room looks more pleasing in the photo than in person.   Still I love her.  I love the light fixture, the high ceilings, the pocket doors, the original windows and the main light fixture.

Oh and you know from last time I am not painting this woodwork, right?  Wish me luck to transform this gal for the better in just eight weeks!

Portland Foursquare Living Room

Here is my completed Fall One Room Challenge, and the before image for comparison.  I have also included a photo to show you how these rooms relate and flow together.   You can learn more about the entry makeover project starting here.

Portland Foursquare entry remodel

After Foursquare Entry

In the last six months this entry has been featured in Apartment Therapy, Oregon Home and the Oregonian, not to mention it has been shared at least a hundred times.  I am so proud of how it was received!Screen Shot 2019 10 02 At 11.18.35 Pm

Foursquare Old Portland Living Space



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Angela Todd

Owner & Principal Designer

Angela is the principal designer at her boutique interior design firm in Portland, Oregon. She is known for creating memorable backdrops that tell the story of fascinating and intricate lives.

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