Interiorssneak peeks

Hotel Turned Beautiful, Efficient Apartment in Portland

by Lauren Chorpening Day

My first apartment living alone was a 390-square-foot oddity. The door opened into a main room that was more like a wide hallway, too small to fit more than one piece of living room furniture. A curtain turned the front into a makeshift bedroom and dining area and my couches ended up in the technical bedroom. It’s what worked in the strange space and it’s all I could do to functionally — and somewhat beautifully — live there. When Casey Keasler moved to downtown Portland, OR, two years ago, she knew it would be important for her to find a home she could work out of, share with an assistant, find historical significance in and walk easily to and from downtown with her dog, Winston. She found everything she needed, except excess space, in this two-room apartment in a 1914 hotel converted into rental units. Looking at Casey’s Instagram account, you’d never know that her apartment is 365 square feet. Her perfectly proportioned furniture, design solutions and the gorgeous natural light pouring in makes her place feel airier than it is.

Casey is an interior designer who works for herself and from her home. Her use of the space to accomplish all of the various aspects of her life in the main room is pretty remarkable. Her lounge area with her couch and bar flows effortlessly into her small dining area. Since Casey loves to entertain, she’s created a space that achieves her hosting needs, despite the apartment’s small size. “The process is always evolving and organic. Come back in six months and things will have changed. The place is small, so it took me some adjusting to realize what I actually need on a day-to-day basis. I got rid of a lot of stuff,” Casey says. “I wanted the place to be a background for everything that I do. My place needs to have a life that can evolve. Because of my lifestyle, it needs to do many things, but also be a relaxing environment for me to live and work.” It’s one thing to create a functional space, but Casey has created a beautiful home as well. —Lauren

Photography by Casey Keasler.


Casey wanted furniture with open, light frames to keep the space from feeling heavy. She found this couch on Craigslist for $100 and had it reupholstered in a grey wool blend tough enough to stand up to use by Casey and her dog Winston.
With the main room including the lounge, dining, office and kitchen areas, the bar, mirror and print help to anchor this corner of the space as the "living room."
Casey likes to bring in art in unsuspecting places, "This painting by Teil Duncan is one of my favorite pieces I own and I like the unexpected of seeing [it] in the bath."
Her bathroom has beautiful subway tile and a clawfoot tub. Casey says, "the clawfoot tub is original to the hotel, it's the smallest I've ever seen. My best guess is before the hotel was remodeled into apartments, the two rooms I have were guest rooms split by a shared bath."
A small built-out closet was the only storage the unit came with, other than the kitchen cabinets. When she found that the closet didn't even fit hangers, Casey got creative with her clothing. Her open wardrobe rack only includes what she really wears and needs.
This is maybe the most personal corner of the home where Casey displays her beloved book collection, art from traveling (left) and local art (right).
"This is Winston, also known as Winnie, the Dude or Duckface. He is a rescue pup that I got when he was 25lbs and now he's 90lbs. I had no idea he would become such a large dog, but couldn't imagine a more perfect companion. He's sweet and gentle and uses my bed as his dog bed," Casey says.
While Casey's bedroom doesn't have to be a multipurpose space, it's nice that it can be, "I have moved my bed to every single possible location in this room and this is the best for me. This is my retreat. I'll watch movies from bed or read or even work when I need a change of environment."
"These vintage Danish chairs were given to me from a friend who no longer wanted them. They were a wedding gift to his parents and they brought them to the US when they moved here from Denmark in the 70s," says Casey. "Someday I will reupholster them but love the faded blue they are now." Having a second lounge area in the home makes it feel larger.
"This is my office and where I work most of the time," Casey says. "I try to keep papers and stuff to a minimum because the area is small, but also keep it interesting with enough objects and pieces for me to move around."
The space is the size of a studio but the bedroom and closet are private from the rest of the home.
The vintage metal cabinet contains all of her office supplies while the mid-century style chairs are multipurpose between the dining area and the office.
The vintage collection of copper pots was given to her by her mother and the print above is of her grandmother as a toddler. Casey has found a perfect balance of sentimental and styled.
Casey says, "I've never had such a small kitchen. It doesn't even have an oven but somehow I've made it work and entertain regularly. I store rarely used cooking and styling items on top of the cabinets and started hanging things on the walls that get regular use."
Getting a large print from office supply stores and a few clips turned a Debbie Carlos print into a lovely focal point in the room for little money.

Suggested For You


  • Where is that gold lamp on the first slide from? I have been searching for one like this and that one is beautiful!

  • I know right where that place is! Even though I’m not living there now, I always consider Portland home. I love all the old conversions like this. There really isn’t another city like it!

  • Is her art from traveling a Guayasamin? I’ve been obsessed with his Las Manos de la Protesta ever since I saw it in Quito, and it kind of looks like that.

  • I’d like to know where the pillow cases on the bed are from – the ones with white and chambray stripes. Thanks!

    • Emily and Sam

      I agree. I made that change to the post. Home owners don’t always give us full source lists, so we have to update them as we go along sometimes.


  • But isn’t that a print by Debbie Carlos hanging above the couch? Would be a nice thing to credit the artist instead of calling it a ‘photo file’.

  • I’ve been eyeing the large format b&w print featured in photo 1 from debbiecarlos on Etsy for a while. Looks great here. Nice space.

  • Thanks for the featuring my little apartment!

    Melissa – the gold lamp is vintage.
    Kristin – the knitted pouf is from CB2.
    Ashley – the pillowcases are Steven Alan for West Elm.
    Kristina – I don’t know the artist’s name but yes, I bought the piece in a market in Quito!

  • I recently bought a large Debbie Carlos print and am at a loss on how to hang it safely. Can you share the method of clips used? I thought of using this method, but was afraid I’d rip the paper. Thanks!

  • ahhh so much to love here- the tiles in the bathroom, the way she displays her books next to the bed—and the blue chairs in the bedroom…love those!!! wonderful little apartment!

  • I would love to see the exteriors of homes featured. I know it can be a bit invasive for some people, but maybe a bit more often?

    • Sarah,

      We always ask, but most people aren’t comfortable showing exteriors, as they make homes easy to find or track down in person. As the internet gets older, I found most people are taking more control over their privacy and asking for things like that to be kept offline.


  • I can’t believe this apartment is only 365 sq feet! It looks much bigger. That’s a big dog for such a small apartment :)

  • I just visited Casey’s website, it’s lovely just like her home. There doesn’t seem to be a link in this post however. Also, really wish that sneak peeks came with a source list.

  • What a beautiful home! Is it possible to please share where her handsome garment rack is from? Our home doesn’t have a closet in the front entry and it would be lovely to have a rack like this one to store our winter coats and boots.

  • Colleen – the rug is from Dwell Studio, thanks!
    Kirstie – the garment rack is from Storables in Portland
    Wendy – great idea! Imagine two square rooms with a bathroom in the middle of the two!
    TR – the shower curtain is Martha Stewart Living

  • Lovely home. I always enjoy the very small space tours, because it challenges me to do more with my somewhat larger 2-bedroom condo. I’m especially interested in the practicalities of entertaining in small dining spaces, or in homes with no dedicated dining space. I would love to see a roundup or something, because I always wonder how to do it well.

  • I love this apartment! I have this page bookmarked and I keep coming back to it for inspiration.

    I’d love to know more about what reupholstering this sofa entailed. Was it simply a matter of getting new covers for the cushions, or did the cushions themselves need to be re-created? I have a similar piece where the wood frame is in great shape but the cushions leave much to be desired, and I’d appreciate any info about replacing the soft parts.