A Pastor’s Victorian Farmhouse in Portland

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“That was horrid… that house is so dark.”

“Oh my gosh, this is our house. It’s going to be amazing.”

When Pastor Josh White and his wife Darcy first toured the Victorian farmhouse in Portland, OR that they now call their “nest,” the two were not exactly in agreement that it was the perfect “forever home.” Previously owned by a hoarder, the windows were papered over and the entire interior was in shambles. But a little faith gave them the confidence to strip the bathrooms, add windows to many walls, and remove all of the carpeting. “I never thought we could handle a fixer-upper — something that would evolve over time — but I am in love with this place. It is like it was made for us,” Darcy says. “We literally had 1 1/2 months to get the house move-in ready. We made it… but we have accepted that it is a work in progress!”

Darcy’s favorite renovation story involves a little trickery by Josh. The couple agreed that, in order to save money, they would hold off on remodeling the kitchen for a bit. “It was awful — one little window, a little corner kitchen unit with a disgusting old sink that faced the wall, horrible aqua countertops, etc. One day during the remodel, Josh called me into the kitchen to ‘show me something’ and it was literally empty. No sink, no dishwasher, cupboards…” Darcy explains. From there, Josh hit up the salvage shops around the neighborhood and brought the beautiful kitchen back to life.

While Josh eagerly demolished the three-story home, Darcy focused on planning the home’s decor. “I would say that our main goal was to create a cozy, forever home,” she says. Memories from the many travels she and Josh have been on in their 19 years together inspired her to create a space that would let family and friends “feel like they are on vacation,” when they stepped inside. “So whether it is a villa in Costa Rica, a hippie cabin on the Puget Sound, a modern beach house on the Oregon Coast — we take whatever speaks to us most in those homes (we have vacationed in) and try to recreate it in our own space.”

What I love most about this Victorian is that it is a perfect example of how this couple worked as a team to create something magical. Josh’s “daring and bold” point of view and Darcy’s “thoughtful and careful” approach perfectly complement one another, resulting in a truly personal and charming home. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Luke and Mallory Leasure

  1. Tami says:

    Bravo! So creative! I love the collage of tiles in the bathroom! The white floors are a beautiful blank canvas for your furniture, rugs and other accessories. Why would you ever want to move? Beautiful lived in home that I can’t take my eyes off of.

  2. Amanda says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! I love the idea of painting every single surface the same color. The result is so cohesive and calming.

  3. I love all of the vintage and reclaimed materials especially the Mexian tiles in the shower. That was a really clever idea and makes me want to go hunting on eBay now!

  4. Elizabeth R says:

    My favorite house submission I have ever seen on any site. This is so me. I love it. Those tiles are dreamy. I wish these two would decorate for me. Where did you all get the sectional?

    1. Darcy White says:

      Ikea!!

  5. Rachel says:

    There is SO much inspiration in this house. Thank you for this. I have been looking at home after home and have felt like people are just recreating the same styles with their own twist. This is truly unique. The fur on the leather sofa, mexican tiles, all white bedroom. There is so much to take from this house! They are very lucky!

    1. Garrett Fleming says:

      Thanks, Rachel! That’s so nice to hear. We really strive to inspire as much as we can.

      -Garrett

  6. Amazing space! Haven’t had time to read these posts lately but so glad I took the time this week :) Great inspiration.

  7. Brandi says:

    What a cute and inviting home. I love the kitchen. The navy with those tiles is spot on. The range is amazing and I love the rocker. Great post.

  8. Eliina says:

    I’m so glad to see the home of a family with children on this site! I’m a long time reader, and while I’ve transitioned from decorating a rental as a single person, to a condo with a significant other, to a condo with kids, to a house with kids, I had been feeling like the site wasn’t growing with me, or perhaps that I had outgrown this site and was no longer the target demographic. Interesting style and children are not incompatible, as this family shows us with their fantastic space. I’m a little surprised that the main write up makes it sound like just the two of them live in the home, but I was delighted to see the kids’ rooms in the photos. I would love to see more homes with children featured on Design Sponge, and I’m sure many other readers feel the same way.

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      Hi Eliina

      We’ve found that the majority of families choose to keep their children’s photos private or off the internet. We have been requesting a family portrait from all home owners for the past two years, but not all feel comfortable complying, and we understand and respect their decisions.

      Grace

      1. Helene says:

        I think she was saying it is nice to see kids’ rooms – not necessarily their photos, no?

        1. Grace Bonney says:

          Oh! Sorry I misunderstood that. Thanks for catching that, Helen.

          Eliina- so far this is the first request I’ve ever received for more children’s rooms, but if we receive more I’ll try to work on something special to that end.

          According to our stats, less than 30% of our audience has children, so we try to keep a balance of family types, but we have at least a few children’s rooms featured every other week…

          Grace

          1. Sarah says:

            Hi Grace – I’m with Eliina, I’d like to see more children’s rooms and/or family oriented homes. Maybe I bump your stats to 30.5% of your audience?

            1. Grace Bonney says:

              Sarah

              I hear you ;)

              We do run home tours with children more than 30% of the time, but I’ll make sure we keep reaching out to more families with great kids rooms

              Grace

    1. Eliina says:

      Garrett, thanks for the links to more Sneak Peeks featuring families with kids! I love seeing how people tackle the challenge of making their home beautiful but also accommodating for the realities of children’s lives. Grace, thanks for the response and so interesting to know that statistic about your readership.

    2. Grace Bonney says:

      Hi Guys!

      We also did a roundup of kids rooms a while back that could be helpful in the meantime. Looks like it’s time for an update :)

      http://www.designsponge.com/2010/07/sneak-peek-best-of-kids-rooms.html

      grace :)

  9. Exe says:

    What a lovely, unique and comfortable home.

  10. Emmy says:

    Oh my gosh, this is one of my favorite sneak peeks ever. This home has so much character and the light in each room is gorgeous. It looks so lived in and loved. Bravo!

  11. SERENA says:

    Beautiful home. Can you provide buying info on the brass sconces in bathroom and kitchen?

    1. Darcy White says:

      Schoolhouse Electric Portland, OR.

    2. Garrett Fleming says:

      Hi Serena,

      I believe they are from Schoolhouse Electric Co. Right, Darcy?

      -Garrett

  12. Miri says:

    This is a wonderful home! What a house! Beautiful. I love the kitchen. Now I will have to look at those pictures again. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Hana says:

    This is one of my all time favorites on DS. They really pulled together a very unique style that looks cozy and inviting and modern all at once! I have kids too and I like seeing homes that reflect family life and the design challenges we face like the herds of shoes and backpacks that accumulate by the front door! Cheers!

  14. Annabelle says:

    Yes yes yes, one of my favorites as well! Do you have any idea where I could find a similar rocker?

    1. DarcyWhite says:

      If you mean the rocker in the kitchen, it is vintage.

  15. Busy says:

    Oh my, an armchair in a bathroom. Perfection. My husband can sit and talk to me while I soak….heaven. Lovely house.

  16. Jen says:

    So lovely. I understand why many people renovate with resale value in mind, but I must admit it’s refreshing to see something so utterly personalized like this. I also live the color of Hattie’s dressing table. Did I miss the paint brand/color?

    1. Darcy White says:

      We actually bought it already painted at a lovely shop called Flutter on Mississippi in Portland, OR.

  17. Really love it! SO NICE!

  18. Emily says:

    i never comment on anything! but i have to echo what a previous commenter said: favorite home seen anywhere on any site. love love love. so authentic and inviting. thank you!

  19. Deanna says:

    Love your house! My husband and I own a 1904 Folk Victorian style house. It has it’s issues, but we love it! I used hand-made Mexican tiles as the backsplash in our kitchen. They turned out beautifully – I wouldn’t trade them for any of the backsplash tiles you find at the building supply stores. No one else has one exactly like mine.

  20. Christina says:

    Love the duvet cover on Hattie’s bed – can you tell me where it’s from?

    Thanks!

    1. Darcy White says:

      Urban Outfitters – it’s reversible – the other side is navy – I think it is called Lovebirds or something like that.

  21. Sally says:

    I really love this home. It looks like a home where people hang out and chat. It oozes comfort and at the same time it has a great look. I adore all the found pieces of furniture and the way they work together. Great work Josh and Darcy.

  22. Stacy says:

    Oh my gosh! I was so excited to click on this today — Josh is a pastor at my church! So wonderful to see his beautiful home. Thanks for sharing the home of such a great family.

  23. Kate says:

    This home looks so incredibly cozy, inviting and happy! I just love everything about it. Any time I see a home like this, I keep wondering how they have the vision to create such special nooks and crannies. I can’t wait to create a cozy home of my own some day.

  24. Austin says:

    I’m dying to see a photo of the outside!

    1. Darcy White says:

      You can see exterior pics on my Instagram: DarcyWhite. It’s a work in progress though! Getting ready to paint the exterior and build a large deck off the kitchen. Cheers!

  25. Paula says:

    Such a beautiful home! I’m really loving all of the floral curtains with pom-poms especially! Where did you guys find them?

    1. Darcy White says:

      All of the drapes are very old Anthropologie….purchased about 9 years ago to be exact. Anthro is a great source for colorful, stylish drapes….and they go on sale a lot too!

  26. Karla says:

    I really liked seeing the children’s bedrooms. I have a twelve year old and an eight year old and I want to change some things in both bedrooms. I like how they kept their son’s room simple and their daughter’s artwork collage on her wall above the bed. This gave me some good ideas, as I have been thinking of things to do with my daughters artwork. One of her self-portraits is currently on the mantel…hanging by scotch tape for now. :)

  27. Kristy says:

    This house is unbelievable and must have been an incredible amount of work and love and patience and grace and understanding!

    Having been a long time fan on Josh’s music, I’m supprized to see not a single guitar or music room or anything. I would hope a family jam happens from time to time around that Piano!

  28. Zoe00 says:

    Love every bit of this home. Best house tour in a while. Just delicious!

  29. Suzanne says:

    This home is wonderful!! I’m in awe. Can you tell me how the white wood floors are with children? Such a perfect way to brighten a home to get through overcast Portland days!

  30. Natalie says:

    Ditto ditto ditto, this house is amazing and unique! Best tour I’ve seen in a long while :) :)

  31. Holey says:

    Where is the beautiful living room chandelier from?

    1. Darcy White says:

      Anthropologie from 10 years ago…but they are always coming out with something new and cool!

      1. Holey says:

        Thank you, Darcy!

  32. emily says:

    what a fantastic home. i love the mix of new lighting and vintage furniture and amazing patterns. such an inspiration for me to mix it up!

  33. molly says:

    I’m writing from the other Portland and and will be moving into an old 1810 farmhouse soon so this is such great inspiration! I was wondering where your daughter’s swing came from or is it homemade? Thanks!

    1. Darcy White says:

      Urban Outfitters

  34. lara jane says:

    This lovely home is warm and serene and just looks so comfortable. I don’t usually go for all-white interiors but I’m finding myself drawn to this one! Beautifully done!

    *Totally random but I love that our sons have the same name — first and last! My Henry just turned 15!

  35. Jordan says:

    This might be weird to ask but I was wondering if I could get a sketch of the layout? I really love the flow of the first floor but I’m having trouble imagining how it’s set up from the pictures. Thanks!

  36. Mandy J says:

    This house has re-established my faith in design! Seriously, a breath of much needed fresh air :) Thank you so much for showing this home<3 Is there by chance a way to find out what color of white paint was used through much of the house? Mooses Gracias!

  37. Kathy kron says:

    What is the bluish green color on porch. Looks close to color on Hattie’s dresser. Have you found a paint color that matches. Please provid what it is

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