sneak peek: r. rolfe + stephen rutledge

Rolfe and Stephen have lived in Portland’s Kenton neighborhood for 15 years. They’ve christened their home “Post Apocalyptic Bohemia,” referring to their penchant for modern living surrounded by age and patina — they love crumbling objects and the more rust, the better. Their home has been almost completely rebuilt using found, salvaged and repurposed materials. Rolfe started his professional career as an interior designer in the theater. The world of sets, lighting and costumes was the perfect training ground for developing a theatrical style of decorating. Rolfe says that nothing was quite as satisfying as the curtain rising on opening night and hearing a collective sigh or gasp from the audience at the sight of the set. He strives to create that same feeling at home. This home is shared with three four-legged companions: the terriers, Lulu and Junior, and an ancient feline named Henry. In addition to his design work, Rolfe runs Boys’ Fort, a shop that celebrates all things boy-centric. Thanks, Rolfe and Stephen! (All images by Jaclyn Campanaro.) — Amy Azzarito

Image above: Serious stacks of books are everywhere. A nineteenth-century carved Indonesian wall piece with velvet-upholstered inserts is used as a headboard; it’s the most color in the entire house.

Image above: A pair of eighteenth-century Italian fruitwood chairs serve as nightstands. I’m a sucker for a great chair.

See more of Rolfe and Stephen’s Portland home after the jump . . .

Image above: Random-width planks of whitewashed hemlock line the wall, with corresponding lines painted on the adjacent wall. I purchased this 18th-century sofa 40 years ago in Belgium. The frame is carved with flowers and seashells. It stands on a hand-knotted rug from Afghanistan. Above the sofa we showcase our collection of shadow-boxed photos from the 1930s of men being affectionate.

Image above: Stephen’s workspace

Image above: My workspace with one of my collage/assemblages

Image above: The living room. Next to the sofa is our chimney pipe side table with rusted trivet top. Vintage garbage can as tree planter. Enormous reclaimed shutters, leaning in panels against windows. Behind the sofa are stacks of reclaimed doors and windows.

Image above: Living room detail — old wire basket with wooden tool chest atop as an end table

Image above: The fireplace is partially silverleafed but intentionally left unfinished. Our mantel is where sacred things go to live. Mirror on mirror on mirror (a favorite look). Reflection in mirror of our art pottery collection across the room.

Image above: The door to the bathroom

Image above: A reclaimed vintage sink in the bathroom, which is also the resting place for our collection of antique porcelain toothpaste containers, ephemera, etc. (Justin Bieber singing toothbrush!)

Image above: We use an industrial tool chest as storage/pantry. Above the counter is some of the art pottery collection that fills the house.

Image above: Garden room on the way to the boys’ fort at the end of the boardwalk. (The boys’ fort is the best part of the house, built completely from old doors, windows, shutters, cast offs, etc. We live exclusively in this space from July 4th to September 1st, or as we call it, summer in Portland.)

Image above: Bell wheel from an old British church tower, Indonesian daybed, treasured red door

Image above: One of a pair of upholstered daybeds on either side of a floor-to-ceiling window onto the garden. We read, eat and watch television on these. Now it holds a napping Lulu. Behind the daybed is a Belgian carved wall piece — the shutters would slide to either side, and you would crawl into your sleeping berth built into the wall, circa 1800.

Acanthus Nichole

I love this place! The headboard is amazing and I love how personal and collected the whole house is, with all kinds of treasures on display everywhere-especially the stacked books and workspace. I really like that workspace!!

Love that it’s here in Portland too!

Holly (The Apiarist)

I absolutely adore Boys’ Fort! I visited their downtown pop-up location last Fall many times, and was so delighted by all the clever vignettes and stylish curiosities. The home tour definitely does not disappoint. Thanks for the tour!


What a great home. I have lived in Portland for just a little over a year now and I am constantly inspired by the eclecticism in this city.

Emma Marion

this is so inspiring! I tend to be a bit collective, so I’ve worried about my home being a bit cluttered, but really it’s all about organization and the placement of those things!


Whenever I see this beautiful houses full of stuff and marvelous objects I wonder ¿how do they do to clean, dust off?


What a creative, personal home! And it looks like it’s designed to be lived in – not to be a page or two in a magazine.


This is exactly what my dream-home looks like. Well done lads!

Julian Hazlett

I just love this home. What an inspiration. I lingered on the images. I wanted to savor them.


I feel liike this house really speaks volumes. It fills my heart with warmnesss!

Angela Muller

One of THE best interiors I’ve seen EVER! So many wonderful ideas, it’s difficult to name just one! I am truly inspired to let the ME in me sing. Thanks!

Angela Muller

The Best interior design I’ve seen EVER!


There is nothing I don’t love about this entire space. It is warm, welcoming, interesting, eclectic–everything I LOVE! Well done!


I love this look of having a bright colorful bedroom and a more muted living room!


Wow – this looks like it’s right out of a movie. Beautiful.

Susan Mills

This home is gorgeous and perfect and I can’t imaging living in a better place. Why, when I try to put used things like crates and wire baskets in my home, does it just look like junk? In this home it all looks beautiful! I ditto every admiring comment above!

May we please please see the boy’s fort?


thanks so much for featuring this home. i love all your posts, but was worried that modern danish all white rooms were becoming the norm. i enjoy seeing homes that do not have the same room and board furnishings and would especially like to see more like this, and even others with lots of color and personality. thanks.


I love this house! It has a very birdhouse-y vibe.

Heidi (AlpineGypsy)

Absolutely love the jumbles of books, old wood, rust and Persian carpets…..this place is warm, and enchanting. Marvelous!!!

I do love that they’ve left all the patina in its Glory…why don’t more folks just leave the decayed beauty like this? It is what gives personality.

And….a FORT too?? I’ve died and gone to heaven…..

Awesome peek ~ Heidi


love this home- i also am glad to see something different
LOVE that wooden daybed


So glad to hear I’m not the only one whose fave home activity is moving things from room to room. Your spaces as so delightfully creative! Very refreshing.


It takes real genius to arrange “junk” to perfection. Obviously from the number of positive comments, I’m not the only one who recognizes genius when they see it.

Gia ~ The Vintaquarian

Unbelievably cool! Wandering from room to room, moving things around is also one of my favorite things to do. To do it in this home, AMAZING !!


wait, don’t go, this can’t be over. I need a floor plan, a short video, an interview with the creators, to understand what and where the boardwalk is and what the boys fort looks like. crazy about this place. why have we not seen it in magazines or blogs…more please.


Lord have Mercy! Literally draw dropping gorgeousness! I wish I lived there. So creative and inspirational. Thank you for sharing.


I love the collected-cozy-effortless feel I get from viewing this house. I would enjoy spending some time there.

blockie steve

Nice repurposing when an object and a use fit like it was meant to be .I wish I was young and random again.


Lisa – it’s in Portland, OR.
Susan and Heidi – Boys Fort is a store, not an actual fort at their house (alas, because I’m sure that would be amazing!).
But you can follow the link in the story to the store website.
Love this example of Portland style. Thanks for sharing!

Kyra O'Brien

This collection is amazing! the industrial pieces so very well highlight the softness and magic of the house.


an “interior designer in the theater?” that’s called a set designer or scene designer. :) it’s what i do!


So obviously well loved and well lived in,a triumph. Masterful use of shape,color,texture,form and wit. (& my prosaic side would love to know where you found that just tufted enough tightback sofa)

Beth Price

What an amazing home, but I imagine it would be a nightmare to clean! I love the stacks of books and mix of textures and colours everywhere. The home is like a collage itself!


Quelle Joie ! Belge, d’accord ! Mais, je vois que d’autres Personnes vivent “comme moi” dans un “somptueux” (pour vous) capharnaüm, où, nous nous sentons si bien. Et, de plus, “nos trésors” de vieux objets “détournés” . Ici “Tuyau alu” de dessus de vieux poêle (chauffage), avec dessus “coudé” est devenu une “Lampe” (ampoule ‘miroir’) On dirait 1 “Périscope” ! Le ‘divan-lit’ ! on y fait tout et, le chat, ici, m’accompagne! La Récupération des portes et fenêtres … Et, mon coup de coeur …le(s) “mètre-ruban” de Maître–TT —–


…(coupée ! sorry)Dans le Bureau, Mètre ruban de Maître Tailleur / Styliste comme feu mon Papa. Aussi, en ai-je, chez moi aussi ! Merci pour ce merveilleux “Accueil” chez vous ! Vi from Belgium

Kimberlee Jaynes

Rolfe I finally had a chance to see your home! It looks amazing!!! You continue to embellish, embue, and embibe your surroundings!


love this design!!!

a very random question – any idea where to find that bedding? I absolutely love it and am way over do for an upgrade!