Studying, Fit for a Duck

It is both good and bad that we have developed work in higher end interior design. While we do provide interior design for full build and furnishing projects for clients from start to finish, we are also working for the middle class family who is time challenged and wants a great space – and they want help with resources and ideas.

Two of my favorite clients recently moved into a new home in Beaverton, Oregon. My clients got married a few years ago. The Ms. was widowed after her first husband passed away of cancer and raised two children on her own. She and her new husband met a few years ago. He too had been previously married. Today, they are almost empty nesters with a blended, lovely family. Their kindness to each other is really special to see, and I find myself honored to see how deeply they care for one another.

The Ms. of the home, decided last year to go back to school, something she undoubtedly couldn’t easily manage while being a single parent. My first priority from the couple was creating her home office. The husband’s son, who they both adore, is 17 and is what I would deem as a high functioning autustic young adult. (He also makes me smile from ear to ear each time I see him. He is good looking, friendly and full of enthusiasm.) He asked me if I could make his Mom’s home office into a Duck room, referring to the University of Oregon Ducks. I also think the bright yellow wall paint from the previous owners (really INTENSE in person) set this teenagers mind into motion. His Dad laughed and teased me that would be just what his wife wanted.

I don’t know, sometimes I am up for a challenge. Although I think a college sports themed room has no place in this woman’s personal home office, it made me wonder if it were possible to give her a fun, punchy home office – AND also nodded back to the Oregon Ducks subtly.

Side note: in the before photo above, the wall color is so intense it is making the carpet look lavender. Eeks!

As with most projects, I started with finding out what functions the room would perform from my client: studying, crafts, storage, and an occasional overflow for sleeping for one when they might need it. Next, the floor plan came together. Then the sourcing of furnishings and textiles. The plan includes a console for crafting, an open bookshelf, a desk and a sleeper chair.

Slightly off topic, are you also disgusted with what is readily available for home office furniture? It seems that unless you want an executive desk in ultra modern or ultra traditional style it is hard to find quality. Other desks that are well made from the furniture chains seem to forget that people need storage – a function most clients can’t live without. And then there is the “assemble yourself” furniture with faux wood, and poor quality. In most client cases, I just assume we build to suit our needs. So, I called our furniture maker – who really is a cabinet maker who reads my scribbly drawings and makes sense of them – and got him on board for the project.

How do you determine a species of wood and a stain or paint color for the furniture? I have found my next step is almost always finding the fabric – in this case for the sleeper chair and draperies. I found this fun ikat from Robert Allen. It is a bargain per square yard and is perfect for a window treatment. And I have to say the yellow and green are Duck colors indeed. Double bonus!

I looked for a bit at Nest Showroom in Portland to find a fun, yet durable fabric for the sleeper chair. I couldn’t for the life of me select a solid fabric for that chair. I settled on a geometric green fabric with a paw sized print. It was bold, but not too bold. My clients love hints of contemporary style, and I knew this pattern blending was unexpected, but would also be pleasing to the eye. I settled for walnut wood furniture in a medium finish to complement the colors, and selected a Benjamin Moore wall color in a spicy yellow. To finish, I recommended a green leather office chair – that has some punch. (It is also where our chairs are from at the studio and we LOVE them.)


Once the client approved the floor plan and the desk, console and bookcase drawings, we put together our concept for her. Yep. We did it. She loves it – so do the boys. The room will be finished well in time for early Spring!


Angela Todd Studios For Custom Furnishings

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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