before and after

before & after: portland home redo

by Kate Pruitt

Honestly, the idea of building one’s dream home seems daunting, expensive and impossible to start. However, after seeing this full home renovation project, I am filled with inspiration and hope. Textile and interior designer Vicki Simon decided to completely transform her small home in Portland, Oregon, replacing synthetic surfaces with all salvaged and eco-friendly materials. The results are dreamy, especially this gorgeous open, airy kitchen, which is actually a combination of the original kitchen and the front porch.

Nothing feels overdone, and the color palette is a perfect balance of bright white, earthy neutrals and beautiful natural woods. Naturally, Vicki’s rug designs fit perfectly with the overall aesthetic, which reads as warm, understated, organic chic. If I ever get a chance to renovate a home, I’m definitely taking some cues from Vicki. Kate

{Photography by Lincoln Barbour}

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Read the full post after the jump . . .

Time: 10 months

Cost: $60K

Basic Steps: I opened up the kitchen by converting the original covered porch to the appliance room, making it half the house in the back with access to the gardens. I found master carpenters who were patient and willing to work with me hand-in-hand to salvage architectural materials from the house and from local salvage sources to repair and put back in. I also searched locally for existing furniture hutches and antique hardware to use for storage instead of traditional cabinetry. An antique desk was used to hold the cooktop. I replaced all synthetic materials (Marmoleum/MDF) with solid, untreated and sustainable materials (wood, ceramic).

My advice is to scour your local salvage shops and Craigslist for furniture, hardware, and building materials. Hire a local master carpenter that you like to achieve your vision for the space. Be there every day to give input and supervise the project so you can discover the problems together and come up with a solution on the spot. — Vicki


Richard Christianson, Troutdale, OR
Adan Sotelo, Milwaukie, OR

Salvaged Materials
The ReBuilding Center, Portland, OR
Salvage Works PDX, Portland, OR
Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage, Aurora, OR
Timby’s Dip & Strip, Portland, OR
Old Portland Hardware, Portland, OR
ReStore Habitat for Humanity, Portland, OR
Rejuvenation, Portland, OR
Hippo Hardware, Portland, OR
Monticello Antique Mall, Portland, OR
Flea Markets all over Oregon
Ohmega Salvage, Berkeley, CA
Urban Ore, Berkeley, CA

Living Room
Rugs — Night Vision by Vicki Simon Rugs
Coffee table — Knoll, Barcelona table
Credenza — Domore
Side Table — Eileen Gray Accent Table, circa 1927
Sofa and drapery — Ikea

Dining Room
Table — Custom design by Vicki Simon; aluminum base and Pietra Grigio stone top
Chairs — Thonet Bentwood Corbusier arm chairs

Butcher block island — Custom by Vicki Simon
Chairs — Handcrafted from Bali
Paint colors — Pratt and Lambert Chalk Gray, and Fine Paints of Europe, oil base, to match. Also, Yolo Water 02 for doors.
Ceiling and furniture — Eddie Bauer Home, color Linen

Desk — Recycled fir and glass, custom by Vicki Simon
Bookcase — Sapele, custom by Vicki Simon
Desk Chair — Herman Miller Aeron
Desk Lamp — Wagenfeld Bauhaus lamp, circa 1924

Suggested For You


  • Superlatives fail–beauty and integrity and killer good taste. Well done! Please come to my home and completely redo everything.

  • Wow is all I can say! … and as a fellow Portland-er I am inspired to visit a few places on that list to update my place! Hippo Hardware here I come!

  • I love how in the bathroom they took what was a “modern” aesthetic and had the strength of vision to move it into a simpler country look. It looks like it went from cramped to cozy. I really like all the other rooms as well. I admire their vision and taste.

  • you removed the stained glass in the bathroom! and trapped a window behind a whole bunch of heavy office furniture.

    that said the kitchen is lovely, and I think the change of door height and skirtings was well worth it, looks great.

  • Of course I’m so jealous of the darker living room, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I have next to nothing in natural light in my living room… :( Next house! But that bath literally took my breath away!!! I MUST HAVE!!!! And actually can!!!

  • Well placed thoughts gave way to space well lived in. Nice feeling of space where before the spaces seemed closed and choppy. I would not have thought to move the kitchen door, but it is so pleasing and balanced instead of cramped and misguided looking. Seems like better flow. Great job from one Oregonian to another who appreciates light and color in a home.

  • I don’t know… some of the befores I like better than the after. Like the bathroom. But that living room definitely need something. Maybe some of this stuff just isn’t my style. ;) It’s all impressive changes, nonetheless.

  • Wow. I’m definitely using the kitchen as inspiration for our future remodel. It’s hard to acheive a neutral/eclectic/warm/inviting vibe, but they nailed it in every room.

  • Hello Dominique. It’s a vintage sink (50’s or 60’s)that I got at Habitat ReStore here in Portland. It’s made by American Standard and I wrote them for a color card so I could shop for tile and accessories with the color in hand. It was quite the find as people in the store were eyeing it and considering it before I purchased it.

  • Dear Lou, The plain schoolhouse type ceiling pendants are recycled from a Whole Foods, found on craigslist, and polished brass patinaed by hand using Brass ager sold at Hippo Hardware. The smaller ones in the kitchen are both from Schoolhouse Electric (shades) and The Rebuilding Center (fixtures), wired and refinished by Hippo Hardware.

  • Dear Saga, Lovely that the illusion worked! Notice in the before picture that the window is up off of the floor and my desk meets the bottom of it, barely. The full height drapery covers more than the window, to accentuate the 10′ ceiling height.

  • Sorry to tell you this, but Marmoleum is actually completely natural. It’s the same as linoleum, made from linseed oil. But if it was ugly, then just as well ripped out. :) Looks good!

  • wow – this is gorgeous!! and i just love that it was heavily focused on eco-friendly solutions (salvage, craig-listed things that were removed). now i’d love to see more of the house! (hint hint :) )

  • Congratulations Vicki! I love seeing your new beautiful home in Portland. Berkeley misses you!

  • Vicki! I remember you from the Seattle Design Center, circa 2004. How lucky for me to see you in this post. Your work is as beautiful as ever. I remember you had a stunning kitchen in your Seattle home too! Great job.

  • Vicki, I would love to know your paint colors, especially the whites and near-whites. My floors are a really close color to yours, and I need the color help! Wonderful job on your reno!

  • Vicki- What an amazing find on that sink! ReStore is the best (although I am sad now that I may not be able to find the same kind of sink..) Beautiful job!

  • Vicki, love the remodel, what a difference. I especially like your choice of colors – warm and comforting. I’m also a fan of browns and whites. Do you remember the paint color you used for the bathroom? Reminds me of the foam on top of a cup of coffee. Love it!

  • much of the After shots fit the house much better. Personally dislike when a charming old house gets a mid century re do and that is happening all over where i am. Although, the orange in the Before kitchen was much to my liking. Very very pretty.

  • I love the before more than the after…Everything now looks a lit bit just like any other catalogue house, but it is just a question of taste. The work was brilliant, but the house had more charm before in my eyes. The kitchen floor looks very nice, but for example I wouldn’t change the bathroom completly, now the sink seems trapped. But it is not my house, so congratulations, the work and choices are very cohesive!

  • why are the before and after photos from different angles, depths, perspectives. It would be great to have a true before and after comparison.

    • j

      please see the comment sections of earlier posts. most people don’t shoot these with a d*s post in mind, so they don’t always have exact comparisons on hand.


  • The fact that you were able to add so much storage in that tiny bathroom is so inspiring. I have always loved pedestal sinks, but never thought I could get away with the lack of cabinetry underneath. Seeing that your shallow, tall cabinets actually take up less space floor space
    than a cabinet sink base would gives be so many great ideas!!! Thanks for the inspiration and congrats on a job well done. Your home is so beautiful.

  • WoW! I love that you didn’t take the easy road and buy everything from a big box store! Your home feels more evolved rather than manufactured. I just bought a fixer upper in Portland moved from San Francisco, could you recommend some Flea Markets?

  • Dear Valerie, the summer beholds many “one time” fleas. Look up Farm Chicks and also visit Monticello Antiques in the Montevilla neighborhood of Portland. There they have postcards for all the upcoming fleas. Please contact me through my website linked in the article and I’ll happily fill you in. Always nice to meet another San Francisco transplant.

  • Absolutely stunning home. I love it throughout the entire house. I really like the ceiling panelling. I wonder how long it took to fully complete the project?

  • this is definitely a thoughtful, unpretentious design solution. i can feel how relaxing this space is just by “moving’ through the pictures. btw…the bathroom sink is the “Tilche” model by American Standard. the series was introduced in the early 80’s and also featured a toilet with a square base and toilet seat. the soft corners of the sink remind me of the “Happy D” series bath fixtures by Duravit. congrats on a wonderful job!

  • Breathtaking, inspirational and stunning! Am in awe of what you have achieved. We are in the throws of houe renovating/remodelling ourselves right now – again! When its finished you have such a sense of pride, particularly if you have undertaken a lot of the work yourself. I keep moving from room to room (those we have completed) with a huge smile of my face!
    A fantastic remodel, be proud!

  • beautiful job.& I do love the use of recycled and natural materials. once again. fabulous!!!’

  • The kitchen is stunning! The combination of natural elements against the white walls is awesome! Love, love, love the sink and currently am looking for something like that for my kitchen, but in a smaller version; wish I had the space for one this size…This got to be one of my favorite kitchens in DS, thanks for sharing!

  • Thank you readers for all of your wonderful comments. I really appreciate it and I’m happy that I’ve inspired you.

  • Delish bath! I looked at these same cabinets and from the pics online they look about 16″ wide or so…when I found out they are 24″, that would be 48″, not incl the sink….are they really that wide? What is the length of the bathroom you renovated just for scale? If you can provide the width of your bath too, that would be great! I don’t have a shower in mine, but for scale would help? Well done! Light and bright!