anne ditmeyerinterior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: joel henriques

by anne

Joel Henriques is an artist and toy designer who lives with his wife and their four-year-old twins in Portland, Oregon. Author of the blog Made by Joel, Joel just finished writing a modern toy/craft book, Made to Play, due out fall 2011. This 1950s house has been home to Joel and his family for three years. They’re lucky to have a beautiful park up the street and great neighbors. Overall, this family likes to keep things simple, functional and minimal. Thanks, Joel! — Anne

Image above: Upstairs, down the hall from my art studio. A painting I did based on my wooden elephant puzzle design, and a work-in-progress wire sculpture commission hangs from the ceiling. [Joel is also a painter, and you can see his work here].

Image above: Our kids loved eating at this small table so much that for almost a year, my wife and I sat here on the floor for family meals. The kids are now big enough to sit on the benches at the dining room table, but I still eat breakfast with them here every morning. We like looking out the window at the bird feeder and the people walking by.

Image above: In my art studio. Homemade paint rack and brush holder, a couple of my paintings. Also, my favorite Alexander Girard doll (holding twins) that my sister gave to me for creating the artwork for her Lullaby Piano album.

CLICK HERE for more of Joel’s sneak peek!

Image above: Corner of our living room with one of my mobiles and a painting. Also, my favorite latch-hook pillow that my mom made just after I was born.

Image above: Bedroom. More toys and a little vintage chair (originally sold by Costco as a child’s car seat) that we found at a shop here in Portland.

Image above: Upstairs, just outside my art studio. Red vintage chair found by my wife at one of the many fantastic Portland thrift stores. Vintage abstract painting by my Grandma. And a bicycle painting that I just finished for a show in Portland that will be up through the month of March.

Image above: My art studio. More toys, lots of art books and an original Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Table that we inherited.

Image above: Kid’s bedroom. A partial view of my son’s collection of “buggies.”

Image above: More art studio. My desk, at which I never really sit. I mostly sit on the floor and work at the Barcelona Table with my laptop.

Image above: My espresso machine. I love coffee, and used to work as a barista. I also built a coffee roaster 15 years ago, and still use it to roast my own beans.

Image above: Our dinning room. Every day we have to clear off all of the paper, watercolors and kids’ artwork so we can have dinner. It’s a well-used table.

Image above: Our guest room, down the hall from my art studio. It’s a peaceful space and really beautiful when the dogwood tree blossoms outside the window.

Image above: Kid’s bedroom. Playing with some yo-yo balls that I made. Also, the “Twin Birds” painting that I made for their room just before they were born. And the dress my daughter is wearing is from the fantastic Etsy shop, mette.

Image above: Here is the backyard playhouse that I made for the kids two years ago. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and get out of the house when it’s raining outside. The kids love it. I painted one wall with chalkboard paint, so we end up doing a lot of drawing (and practicing letters lately) in there.

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  • I stumbled across Joel sometime last year. I love his homemade toys. I work in health care with low income families and have made some of the toys for my office with which the kids can play. They love them and it also give me an opportunity to talk about low cost ways to engage with ones children. Inventive and brilliant, he is!!

  • Nice work Joel!
    I love seeing a father taking the crafting care giving lead in the house- yay for Dads! And yay for Portland- keep up the good work.

  • Love Joel’s house and the art is just amazing…infact I love everything…the furniture…kids buggies…playhouse..well like i said..everything…what a lovely atmosphere for the kids to grow up in…thanks for sharing Grace…xx meenal

  • Yet another Portland artist I have discovered via the web.

    Lovely home. I am especially drawn to the dining room and guest bedroom (love the serene feeling of both).

    There’s no better place to live if you love great coffee than Oregon! But with an espresso machine like that, and having been a barista, not much reason to go out. :-)

  • Such fun–takes me back to when my son was a wee one and we played at that exact children’s table for hours. Nice to go to that “child’s place” within–your work takes us there. Thanks.

  • I absolutely love everything about these photos! Such wonderful colors. :)

    I think the link to his blog is wrong… it doesn’t open. I think maybe the correct one is madebyjoel.blogspot.com ? :)

  • So lovely! I’d like to move into the guest room. The dining room table is fabulous too. :)

  • wow, his site is jam packed with activities to enjoy with the kids! yet more proof as to why i need a conjoined family art studio.

  • I love seeing kid-friendly spaces. And while I enjoy the crap out of my baby, I do look forward to the time I can put away the exersaucer and the “cage” that takes up half of our living room and replace them with cute little tables and chairs!

  • This is such a lovely home! At first I thought the playhouse was a sauna – and I was very jealous – but a playhouse is pretty great too.

  • Greetings from Istanbul. I am one of the many who never grow up! That is why I fell in love with the tastefully scattered playfulness in the house. The warm simplicity really makes it feel like a home. Thanks for sharing…

  • I agree with Carole, Joel’s house seems so serene. I could spend all day in that studio.

    I’m also loving the playhouse!

  • what a sweet house! almost everything seems kid-scaled, which is perfect. i LOVEthe elephant print in the first shot.

  • I followed the links – I feel like I’ve fallen down the most WONDERFUL rabbit hole looking at Joel’s stuff. I’m heading out to get more art supplies immediately (not exaggerating). Wow.

  • I love Joel’s website and projects and I love this house! Think I’m going to go make some yoyo balls right now.

  • Thanks everybody! You all are too kind. Thanks to Design*Sponge too!

    tara – To answer your question. The yellow paint on our bedroom wall was here when we bought the house. There is a can of it in the basement though, and it looks like the color is called Devine Birch, from Sherwin-Williams.

  • Such a wonderful home…very functional as well as STYLIN! Love the dining room table…ours is not as beautiful but is constantly covered in paper…
    And that play house is brilliant…I hope my husband loves it as much as I do to build one!!!

  • thanks joel for getting back to me! i actually meant the color paint in the room with the purple bedspread. i should have clarified. sorry! love your home! thx! – tara

  • Thanks!

    anna – ha! sorry. But yeah, the guest bedroom is just plain white. The white balance on my camera might make it look more than that though. Maybe you can print the photo out and get it electronically matched!

    Laura – Those dressers are actually from IKEA. Not bad right? And very affordable.

  • I love your dining table & benches! We have conidered getting something like this for our 3 kids who can’t seem to sit in their chairs at mealtimes. Where did you get it?

  • Lovely.
    Just the right balance – streamlined & modern yet cozy too.

    Grew up with a knock-off version of the glass Barcelona Table in our 1970s dining room, and now I feel inspired to track down a similar one…


  • Beautiful home. I especially like the playhouse and would like one of my own. My boy/girl twins just turned 21; looking at your kids brings back sweet memories. (My twins are still the best of friends like that!)

  • Love the table for the kids. Where did you get it and when did your kids start using it? Many children’s tables have relatively tall chairs (my daughter is 2.5) and these don’t look so high.

  • Thanks everyone!

    AidelK – That’s so great that your twins are still best of friends. It’s a special relationship for sure!

    KerriS – You’re right! This is actually a table and chair set from IKEA, but I ended up cutting about 3 inches off of the legs (on table and the chairs) because our kids were not quite two years old at the time. They still fit pretty well on the shorter chairs even now though (at age 4). So yeah, just get the set and cut them shorter. Even a hand saw would work fine.

  • One of the two D*S posts which have induced me to comment–because I am faint with longing for this to be my house. Those paintings!!! My heart!!!!!!

  • Congratulations on such a beautiful house, so simple, epurated, practical and yet so warm!
    I love the lamp on the play house, is it ikea?
    Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring!

  • I just love everything you’ve done for your home. The artworks are so much fun, simple yet powerful!

  • Really sweet place. makes you want to dabble around in fun things from your childhood- i hope to bring my kids up in the same way- plenty of exploration with drawing and great toys!
    You have a nice balance of things in your home too :)

  • Wow! Everything is so well balanced and visually appealing. It makes me think of the symmetry and lines that you’d see in a Wes Anderson film. In your art studio, I was wondering what the dimensions of your paint brush holder were? Thank you! And thanks for the inspiration as well!