Some of my favorite homes are those that merge modern pieces and plenty of color with century-old, timeless character — and both of these aesthetics are balanced perfectly in this 1898 Victorian beauty. Home to artist and illustrator Lisa Congdon, her wife Clay Lauren Walsh (who works in real estate), Wilfredo the chihuahua, and cats Margaret and Barry, this unique and personalized Portland, OR property has only been a year in the making.
After living in California, the couple decided to relocate to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to Lisa’s family, and they immediately began their house hunt. After losing out on what they thought was “the one,” Lisa happened upon this home in the Kerns neighborhood of Northeast Portland while on a run. “We immediately contacted our agent to get a viewing,” they explain. “When we walked in, we both fell in love — even though the walls were painted brown, there was brown carpet and outdated light fixtures and blinds everywhere!” Overshadowing the less-than-thrilling aesthetics, the pros — an abundance of natural light, an intuitive layout, and the fact that it was situated on a corner lot with beautiful, old growth outside — won them over, and the following week they made an offer. Just like that, the house became the pair’s little project, but despite the cheerful aesthetic the home boasts now, the process wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
“We have been working on renovating the house since we moved in,” Lisa shares, “but we still have a long way to go!” The couple started with the easy stuff — painting the walls, changing the carpet and swapping out the window coverings and light fixtures — but there are still items on the to-do list, such as their kitchen, which hasn’t been updated since the 80s. “There are all kinds of little quirks that we are learning to live with for now,” Lisa begins, “Home ownership is an exercise in patience!”
Through it all, in the short 12 months that they’ve lived here, Lisa and Clay have managed to create a perfect balance between their modern, Scandinavian style while paying homage to the home’s charm and character. The space is clean and organized yet also cozy and livable, filled with plenty of personal touches, making for an entertainer’s dream. —Sabrina
Photography by Luke and Mallory Leasure