sneak peek: alissa pulcrano of bright designlab

When Alissa Pulcrano purchased this 1916-built home in Portland’s Williams Street Corridor, the neighborhood had fallen into a state of urban decay, with many of the commercial buildings boarded up and burned out. Initially, Alissa thought that she would turn the home into an investment rental and move back to her condo, but the area grew on her and as she watched the neighborhood’s revitalization, she decided to stay put. The home has become a testing ground for bright designlab, a full-service design studio specializing in interior design, graphics and architectural photography. The studio also offers comprehensive branding packages for businesses including retail space face-lifts, logo design, building and identity signage, blog site set-up and photographs — whew! (They even do weddings!) Everything gets tested in this full house that includes Alissa’s partner Jason, two Betta fish, a rotating cast of Rhodesian Ridgeback foster dogs, a neighborhood cat and Jason’s two daughters (7 and 9 — so cute!). Thanks Alissa and Jason! And many thanks to Leela, also of bright designlab, for the photos! — Amy A.

My style could be termed “vintage scavenger modern” with an strong obsession for metal. I see everything as a stage set, and love humor in design. I am especially fond of obsolete machines and industrial buildings and luckily so is my mate, Jason, a painter and finish carpenter who lovingly feeds the fixation. I am inspired by the irony of raw materials like rusty steel against natural walnut and smooth white Carrara marble. Almost all of my artwork was acquired from family and friends, and most of the paintings you see in the photos are by my mother Edie — pieces I love of hers from the 1960s. The other art pieces we rotate about the house are miscellaneous wares — adding machines, old telephones, radios, medical textbooks and mattress springs — the collective result being a mixture of inherited mid-century pieces, reclaimed items and custom pieces that we designed. I design for myself and others with personal intention; I believe that a home should be an ever-evolving stage set of your life!

Image above: bright designlab (Leela and me) gutted and remodeled the kitchen — with Hammer & Hand managing the construction, and Jason on detail duty (like building the new light fixtures out of reclaimed pieces). The intention was to integrate my grandmother’s mid-century furniture (and just wallow in my sheer love of the era) in with the architecture of the house. We used classic materials like Carrara marble and walnut cabinets and worked in a furniture-like style for the overall look of the cabinetry. I always make sure to use quality materials and craftsmen in my work. I think it pays off.

Image above: Metal letters collected personally from scrapyard bins, mom’s Jackson Pollack-phase original painting, vintage fan picked up 10 years ago while exploring the town as a newbie.

Image above: Jason is a sophisticated scavenger — he brought this with him to the co-mingling. I installed the birds as a holding spot for these props and they became a permanent fixture.

CLICK HERE for more of Alissa’s Portland peek!

Image above: That’s the neighbor’s cat, who pranced boldly right into photo shoot! The piece on the sink is just one of the metal pieces that we’ve collected — they were all found in the scrap bins nearby . . . some weigh 200lbs! I learned how to weld in my hometown of Santa Barbara after I earned my design degree, then worked for several architecture firms in San Francisco spanning the roaring ’90s decade, then managed crews at a sheet metal/glazing shop in Portland for a couple of years to feed that love before really settling into interior design, which I am formally trained in. I’m a bit like a squirrel with the shiny things and the small collections of obsolete machines.

Image above: Part of my collection of vintage glassware, a hint of my obsession with farm fresh foods and fancy water in glass bottles, and a very cool inherited Francis Francis! espresso machine from my big brother Dan of Metro Newspapers.

Image above: The metal “art” piece on the window is scrap from a metal shop near us — they manufacture truck parts and the pieces are what’s left behind as negative space.

Image above: Plant matter from bright designlab overflow!

Image above: Wine nook — steel and wood rack that I found somewhere — paintings are by my mom, Edith Ostern, from the 1960s, reclaimed light, phone and shelving. Pac-Man is also on the wall, but apparently is camera shy.

Image above: Naive art, picked up while in Croatia, in the bedroom.

  1. Love the kitchen and the amazing duvet cover!

  2. Kristan says:

    What a gorgeous style! I particularly love the wooden kitchen cabinets, and the coffee table. But my fave is definitely the gold light fixture in the first shot. How cool!!

  3. Amelia says:

    I love your home! Where are the geometric prints from? They are great!

  4. love the gray couch. can you share where it comes from?

  5. angie g. says:

    wowza whats not to heart here? metal is delightful and youve used it oh so well in every space! this is honestly one of the most amazing spaces i have ever seen! keep up the great work my friend!

  6. ariana says:

    fantastic job, alissa!
    you are making it happen. adam and i are so proud of you!
    what a different world from the mission in san francisco…
    we miss you!

  7. Vynsie says:

    Wow! Love all the bold bright colours and such a clever and beautiful way to resalvage. Beautiful home!

  8. Cussot says:

    Love the flooring in the kitchen – what’s it like to live with?

  9. Betsy says:

    greetings fellow Portlander! love your house! love the fox (coyote?) throw pillow….source? thank you!

  10. MZA says:

    i think i used to live with that cat.
    dead serious.

  11. Rachel says:

    Love the entryway light fixture. I’d love to know where it was acquired/who it was designed by. :-)

  12. alissa says:

    thanks all, for your nice comments!
    -the geometric paintings are my mom’s original oil paintings from the 1960’s.
    -the sofa is from Natuzzi
    -the kitchen flooring is awesome! tricky install though.
    -the fox pillow is West Elm
    – and the light fixture is vintage sputnik original from a craigslist find…

  13. Dan P says:

    I’ve been to Alissa’s house and can attest to its eclectic yet comfortable design. It’s fun to be able to mix diverse elements into a mix that works and doesn’t look like a jumble … and have the whole become more than the sum of its parts.

  14. Liz says:

    I have been waiting with baited breath for this peek! Alissa is as sweet as she is talented! Yipppeee for A!

  15. Lisa Cole says:

    Totally dig the kitchen and the geometric prints. -Um, what’s up with the cat being shaved like a poodle?

  16. Tracy Osborn says:

    That white paint in the entryway is jawdropping. What color is it?

  17. What an amazing space! I enjoy this blog so much and I’m so appreciative for a chance to peek into this gorgeous home! All I can say is WOW in between my gasps. And those metal letters…love them.

  18. SSA says:

    Can you explain the rug underneath the couch? It looks like Tuuli fabric, did you DIY this? If yes, how? Such a lovely home!

  19. Ariadna says:

    I love the lamp in the hall…i like the colors.
    Lovely home!!!!!!!!

  20. JennyLo says:

    Alyssa is such a talent… beautiful home, beautiful heart. Makes a difference in her style.

  21. Aaron Groesbeck says:

    Love it! Can you tell me where the curtains and curtain rods are from?

  22. It takes a brave person to put a big old wire bed base on the wall…and it looks fabulous!
    Always love a bit of upcycled styling…

  23. Quincin says:

    There is a cafe here in Toronto that uses an old bed wire as a wall piece. They stuff it with savaged stuffed toys and the piece looks very nice on an exposed brick wall. But putting it in a house is BOLD.

    Love your house!

  24. s.d. says:

    i have the same pink tree picture! i bought it in dubrovnik, although mine is a bit smaller and came framed. funny to see it somewhere else!

  25. alissa says:

    s.d. that is really interesting about the pink tree “the wishing tree” which i also bought in dubrovnik! unframed so i could cart it back…

  26. Love the kitchen, and the bar rack, where can I find a bar rack like that one??

  27. nancy says:

    your home is gorgeous- i want to repaint mine white. and i love the exact shade of yours. please do share!

  28. alissa says:

    benjamin moore super white! my personal favorite.

  29. Melody says:

    The duvet and yellow throw blanket are fab! Can you please share where you found them and the name of the designer? Thank you and congrats…

  30. alissa says:

    the duvet is marimekko tuuli and the yellow blanket was a random find…

  31. Very attractive contemporary looks along with beautiful images too.


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