A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West

by Annie Werbler

A home lover through and through, Katie Bennett — a finalist in our own essay contest, as well as half of the Red House West blogging duo — created a cozy Eugene, OR pad with her husband Cameron Bishop and their squad of cats and chickens. Though the homeowners work in the sciences, they thoroughly enjoy the creative art of nesting in their quirky 1930s residence. They have decorated accordingly, honoring the age and and style of the house, but not forcing themselves to be constrained by it. Every piece of furniture they have (save for one) is either thrifted or handcrafted by Katie and Cameron themselves, or someone they know personally. Certain placeholders remain until the pair can find the perfect things, but the combination of all the unique, decorative elements raises more basic pieces to great heights. Katie, for her part, loves the mix of modern and vintage elements.

Due to its advanced age, nothing in the house is square or level, so every building project taken on requires extremely detailed measurements and always-helpful shims. When Katie and Cameron moved in, there was only one closet upstairs (in the master bedroom) — a situation that had to be remedied quickly. The house did offer lots of other storage solutions, however, with its little cupboards and crawlspaces tucked under eaves and stairs. “Every kid who ever comes into our home immediately suggests playing hide-and-seek,” Katie shares, which is just fine by her. Colorful textures, mid-century furniture, and original details satisfy her desire for a stylishly welcoming home. “Nothing can be too precious or fussy.” To Katie and Cameron, working on their house is a joy, and they’re grateful for a place in which they can be creative and safely make mistakes in the process — only to have fun trying again.

Be sure to check out some common threads at the home of Katie’s Alaska-based co-blogger Mera Matthews in A Red House Legacy Way, Way West. —Annie

Photography by Katie Bennett

A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
Half the living room gallery wall pieces come from homeowner Katie Bennett's time spent living in an Alaskan island artisan community (alongside Red House West co-blogger Mera Matthews). The garage sale tulip chair was revived with a hand-sewn seat cushion and black-painted upholstery until a more costly fix can be done.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
Katie reading in the natural light of her "chamber of secrets" spare bedroom in the Eugene, Oregon residence.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
In the living room, "the windows are original - which makes my heart happy, but my body cold," Katie jokes.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
Various thrifted finds in the living room.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
About a week after they bought the house, Katie and Cameron found this antique cabinet now used for bar supplies and glassware.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
The back of the "booze hutch" is lined with gift wrap from Rifle Paper Co. "I love Anna Bond’s artwork, and the flowers are a pretty backdrop for our vintage glasses," Katie explains.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
The living room is divided into two functional zones with passage space between - the credenza with a record player and stereo live on one side, and a seating area with a couch and chairs define the other.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
Affectionately dubbed "Beatrice and the bird in a party hat," a large painting presides over the seating area. Katie found the mid-century modern chair in a remote road trip locale. "It was their smoking chair when they took breaks and they sold it to me for $20," she says.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
Katie's mom bought the pink chair at an estate sale almost 30 years ago, but so far, ideas for new upholstery have not panned out. A DIY pedestal table is fashioned out of an inverted trash can coated in concrete.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
Looking through the home's kitchen toward the dining room.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
As a wedding gift, Cameron’s dad built the trestle dining table for the couple.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
The home's 1,800 square feet are distributed over two floors.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
Walls in deep blue "Nova" by Miller Paint highlight the white-painted trimwork.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
In the dining room, Katie matted an oil painting from eBay with a hand-stamped pattern reminiscent of her favorite Farrow & Ball wallcovering.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
In the bathroom, a reflected painting titled "Fish Camp" was done by Alaska artist Alex Combs.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
Cameron’s dad built the bathroom bench, equally suited to sitting or storage.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
All the rooms upstairs, including the master bedroom, are tucked under the eaves of a steeply-pitched roof. "Our bedroom is a calm cave," Katie describes.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
Family heirlooms in the bedroom include the chinquapin bed built by Cameron’s parents in the 1970s, and pink embroidery brought back from Crete by Katie’s mother.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
A vintage dresser is one of the few pieces of furniture in the master bedroom.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
Formerly "a repository for junk and a source of great shame," the "chamber of secrets" spare bedroom recently underwent a transformation into a functional office and guest room. It took the homeowners six months to make the fix, including building shelves, a window seat, and installing hardwood floors. They also designed a small closet to tuck under the eave, and closed it with a small repurposed door found in a shed on the property when they moved in.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
"What I love most about my house is... It's a safe place to make mistakes then try again." - Katie Bennett
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
A DIY oil painting bulletin board (tutorial here) hangs above a slender desk in the multipurpose space.
A Vintage Red House (Moderately) West, on Design*Sponge
The window seat has become everyone’s favorite spot – including Dean the cat. The piping was inspired by Grace and Julia’s updated kitchen.

Suggested For You


  • This is one of the best interiors I have seen. It is elegant and restrained and yet still looks comfortable and not just doing the obvious. I like the choices of prints and paintings. Great walls!

  • The built-in bookcase in your guest room is beautiful! The rounded corner of the shelves is such a great touch.

  • This is exactly my style– mostly b&w with lots of vintage furniture. I love that round lamp next to pink chair, and your collection of wonderful mirrors!

  • Oh- beautiful, airy, light filled. Love your style- it’s cosy and clean. Loving the dark paint in the dining room for contrast.

  • Katie, your aesthetic is making our hearts go pitter-patter! We’re so happy to see your house after falling in love with Mera’s when we had her on our podcast. One of these days, we’ll drag you on for an interview as well! (Anyone who is interested, it’s a great conversation and you can find it at littleyellowcouch.com and click on Red House West under the podcast tab. I’m truly not saying this to self-promote…it’s a REALLY good interview and both gals at Red House West have such a fabulous sense of style and a terrific blog!).

  • Chock full of comfort, taste both sensible and quirky, and personal detail. So much to appreciate here! It’s a good reflection of the thoughtful writing and well-chosen photos of Katie and Mera’s blog. Highly recommend. (And nope, I know neither of them, their families, or friends personally.)

  • For me too this is one of the best interiors (though I would love to see that living room wrapped in dark walls hehe). My favorites are some carefull details – like the back cover in the vitrine and the rugs confortably over each other – that show so much love and warm heart. Love it!!

  • I am trying to work out which piece of furniture was NOT thrifted or created by the owners or one of their relatives or friends! I can’t work it out. It’s driving me crazy. Or perhaps it was not included in these photos?

    • Alas, Margot, you are playing a game of hidden picture you can not win. It’s not in these photos (just out of frame in the living room); it’s the martini table from West Elm (which was a gift from Mera after I’d been coveting it for ages).

  • This is really nice and cozy looking. I think that what I like most, though, is actually outside – almost every window has beautiful greenery outside of it. Makes me want to go outside and plant some trees!!

  • My favorite home tour in a while. Everything is truly calming and styled just right without looking too styled. And I adore your house plants! Beautiful!

  • What is the wall color of your calm cave bedroom? I love how it changes with the light.

    • Hi Kate! It’s Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore. I love it as a bedroom color. I found that it’s at its best with bright white trim; I tried it with a creamier white and that made it read very blue.

  • Lovely! Would love to know who the floor lamp is by (pic #9)? and the plant stand (pic #13)?

  • I know there are only so many pictures you can post for a house tour so I understand why the upstairs bathroom didn’t make it in, but man, I love that bathroom! It has the best built-ins and nooks and crannies! Maybe it’s not as fun to actually live with, but I still dream about having a room like that :)

  • I love how each piece tells a story. And, I love the way she embraces bold color and plants in every corner. such a lovely home!

  • Very nice. I think some of the vintage furniture really makes the space stand out. But the lounging kitty steals the scene.