Week 6 Finale – One Room Challenge – Old Portland Foursquare Entry Makeover

Portland, Oregon’s interior designer, Angela Todd is part of the Fall One Room Challenge, sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens.  In only 6 weeks participants are challenged to makeover a space.  Angela chose to makeover the entry of her 1916 Foursquare in Southeast Portland, Oregon. She is known for fearless pattern blending and bold color palettes. The big reveal will be posted here and via Instagram November 7th through the 10th. Follow Angela here on Instagram and if you need to catch up, here are quick links:

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6

We did it!  Whew. I hope a few of you have been anxious to see the finished space.  I know I have!  To recap, here is the former entry of my home, modest and unimagined.  She has great bones, and as plain as she was the day we met, I feel madly in love with her character.   Screen Shot 2019 10 02 At 11.18.35 PmIf you have been following along, you may remember that I painted the walls shortly after I moved in as a temporary measure until I addressed the space.  (That yellow was intense in person and didn’t do the oak flooring or the woodwork any favors.) Nearly four years went by and other projects took precedence. This video shows how the space looked as the One Room Challenge began:

And here she is now, my very own life-sized jewel box, just six short weeks later….

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There is something profoundly special to me about owning an old house.  Being the steward of an old home includes a lot of responsibility to future generations.  I am sensitive in every update I make, because anything old removed or altered cannot be replaced.  I often look at my original windows and woodwork made of old growth timber no longer available, and I realize the previous owners of this house also shared this same philosophy.  It is humbling to know when nearby neighbors were tearing out their old windows for vinyl windows, and removing and painting woodwork, so much of my house’s character was left intact to be appreciated 100+ years later. The long and short of it is this: please think long and hard before you paint stained woodwork, or before you replace wood windows, or before you remove original fixtures and fittings. Most of the time these items can be repaired and reconditioned for a fraction of the cost of replacement, and they were built to last for generations. Additionally, what you might not like about something original in your home may be because of what is OR what is not surrounding it. If you are looking for some education, here is a great old house resource – the old window section is particularly eye opening.  Trends will come and go, but great craftsmanship and quality is always timeless.  Besides, they don’t make them like they used to folks!  The cost of labor and materials at this level of building is too cost prohibitive for most of us these days.

Old homes, like my Portland Foursquare are perfectly imperfect, so you may notice we chose to not retouch my original woodwork in the photography.  The Mann Family, the original owners of my home, had four children – and of course other families lived here too from the 1960s until I bought the house 4 years ago.  I imagine there are some heartfelt stories that go with the few dents and dings you might see in the photography.  My woodwork also has a distinct patina and a raised grain you will only see in wood over 100 years old. I am also keenly aware that my home’s woodwork stain color isn’t currently on trend.  But I hope when you see this finished space you understand a simple truth – any element can be made fresh and beautiful simply by what surrounds it.

This Osborne & Little wallpaper from Manolo Walls is nothing short of magical.  It completely transforms you.  (It also brings out the warmth in the wood tones because of the complementary color relationship between blue and orange.)  It is vibrant, enchanting, playful and full of energy and zest.  It also is meaningful to me.  I have had hummingbirds appear in significantly hard times in my life, and their totem energy reminds me that there is a bigger picture and all will be well.

Update: I have had a large amount of inquiries regarding the wallpaper used in my One Room Challenge.  Osborne and Little isn’t available for online sales in the US, but Nelli at Manolo Walls has graciously agreed to personally help anyone interested in this paper.  Visit Manolo Walls for more information (they have thousands of wallpapers not on the site including this paper I used for the challenge), or contact via email  at info(at)manolowalls.com.

A view into my adjoining living space and my front door.  The switch plate, door and hardware is original. The unlacquered brass was tarnished from years of polishing neglect, but beautifully returned to a warm satin brass with a little elbow grease.  (Yes, I do have a velvet pink Chesterfield inspired sofa.)

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Here is a little fabric and wallpaper blending magic.  I like fabrics in a home to tell visitors something subtle about my clients.  If you have met me, you will agree their is something about this that sums me up in visual form.

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We have only had our wool carpet stair runner installed for 24 hours, but we already love the way it feels underfoot.  This beauty came from Classique Floors.  They aren’t just great because of their selections in flooring and tile, their service is truly unsurpassed. A few words about wool carpet.  It is naturally stain resistant, it cleans the air you breathe, and it doesn’t off gas like synthetic carpets.  While it is true wool is more expensive than synthetic carpets, it oozes luxury and it is absolutely worth it.

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A little rose quartz, and a butterfly sculpture in the entry because, well, they both are both deeply meaningful to me.

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I am feeling gratitude for everyone that helped create this entry space in my home.  As an established interior designer in Portland, I am fortunate to work with the very best artisans and vendors.  These amazing connections no doubt made my project almost free of any worry.  Over the years I have found a handful of people I can count on to achieve extraordinary results for my client projects.  This is the secret sauce of Angela Todd Studios, and I used many of these same local partners and friends to help me embark on this One Room Challenge journey.

In no particular order, here are the “we” – the exceptional people that I specifically wish to thank:

  • Nellie from Manolo Walls, your enthusiasm for wallpaper, color and going BOLD is definitely from my tribe. I think we were sisters in another life. I am so glad Portland, Oregon has you!
  • 4th generation wallpaper installer Chuck Ricks, from Wallpaper PRO.  Your work is meticulous and I appreciate your friendship.  Thanks for making time for me and fitting me in.
  • Michael from Kula Solutions who swooped in ‘because I asked’ by helping get my 104 year old woodwork in order prior to the wallpaper and stair runner installation.  I know you are well graduated in your custom furniture craft and that you did a kind favor helping out.  In so many ways, our relationship is priceless to me.
  • Abby and Mark from Classique Floors, thank you for making the short timeline work and always being on top of problems in all of our endeavors.  I appreciate you always having my back.
  • Juan from Juanitos Fine Furniture, when I ask you always graciously help and meet timelines. I love my custom bench seat so much!  I hope I tell you often enough how much I appreciate you.
  • Matt from Rayburts, I noticed you worked over a weekend to hand-bind my stair runner without a single complaint.  You are pretty exceptional and I am in awe of your craft.
  • Shannon Ggem of Ggem Design Co., everyone should have a friend like you.  Thank you for always being positive, loving and an example of how to be in this world.
  • Deborah Main of The Pillow Goddess, thank you for encouraging me to enter the challenge.  I am not sure why I said yes, but I am so grateful I did.

In addition to the above relationships on ground zero, it is mind boggling to consider how many hands go into a finished space behind the scenes.  One of the best gifts an interior designer gives a client is access to so many options. I can find just about anything, and if I don’t know, I can find someone to locate it for me, or create it for us.  My Fall 2019 One Room Challenge includes wares from the following manufacturers and shopowners, who I wish to acknowledge wholeheartedly for what they bring to the marketplace:

It was pretty amazing to be part of the One Room Challenge sponsored by Better Homes and Gardens!  Below are the 20 featured participants, and there are the week 6 final guest participants here.

At Charlotte’s House | Design Addict Mom | Erika Ward Interiors | Erin Kestenbaum | Girl & Grey | Gray Malin | Hommeboys | I Spy DIY | Jewel Marlowe | The Learner Observer | Making it Lovely |  Nicole White Designs | Old Brand New | Oscar Bravo Home | Place of My Taste | The Rath Project | Room for Tuesday | SG Style | Undecorated Home | Veronica Solomon 

Thank you for following along.  Please let me know what you think in the comments below.

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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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