A Floral Designer’s Peaceful Abode in Portland, OR

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Sarah Blasi, owner of SELVA Floral Design, lives in an old 1920s farmhouse-turned-apartment in the small southeast Portland, OR neighborhood of Sellwood, with her cat, Ellie. Sarah has the upstairs 500 square feet of the bisected house, which includes a bedroom and living room. She has been in her apartment for the past three years, the last two of which included taking a leap of faith and quitting her full-time job to fully pursue her boutique floral design company — after she had been doing floral design for over 10 years! Sarah describes her beautiful wedding and event design work as, “unstructured, abundant and organic in nature and inspired by the ever-changing seasons.” She is passionate about using sustainably grown flowers and foliage, of which she gathers from the small flower farm she runs with her mom, in addition to other local farms.

To say that Sarah’s leap of faith has paid off would be an understatement. Not only is she happy to be able to do what she loves every day (and what she doesn’t love — “managing the books”), but it has afforded her the time to pursue her other favorite pastimes: making her own lotions and scrubs, creating essential oil blends for herself and friends, dancing, yoga, Barre3, and “eating a lot of Mexican food!”

Three years ago Sarah was just moving back to Portland, and her boyfriend at the time tipped her off to this great apartment on Craigslist. As soon as she saw it, she fell in love. If the incredible natural light that streams through the original windows wasn’t enough, the adorable neighborhood cinched the deal. Sellwood is close enough to downtown to be convenient, but far enough that her neighborhood is still quiet and peaceful. The waterfront, walking paths, and shopping are all within walking distance. Sarah says that she really feels like she could stay there forever.

While Sarah shares that there are some things she would change in her apartment if she wasn’t renting — like the kitchen countertops and appliances, and the kitchen and bathroom flooring — she still loves her home and says that it’s, “very comfortable, inviting, and energetically clear.” Self-described as not being very organized, and also a collector, Sarah fills her petite home with treasures from flea markets, or her travels (which is where much of her pottery and textiles came from), dried flowers she designed from events that were too beautiful to throw away, and books. Most of Sarah’s decorating is inspired from her being born raised in New Mexico as well as traveling to Mexico and South America.

Sarah has found that being very intentional with what she brings into her small space works the best for her; she has family heirlooms in her bedroom, items from local makers hanging on her walls, and as you might imagine, flowers are always in her home. When she works from home, her living room becomes her studio, the bathroom her cooler, and occasionally Ellie jumps onto the table on which she’s working and knocks over an arrangement. Despite the occasional chaos, the lack of ample shelving, or space, it’s unapologetically Sarah’s. The home is hers to create in, decorate, and share with her family and friends (and their dogs). —Rebekah

Photography by Benjamin Holtrop

SOURCE LIST

Living Room
– Large Macrame wall hanging by Holly Mueller
– Large Navajo area rug was Sarah’s parents’ first year anniversary present to each other
– Large green pouf/ coffee table is vintage from Vintage Pink. Tray on table is vintage from Monticello Antiques
– Black and white SELVA print photographed by The Weaver House
– Side table is vintage from Sarah’s mom
– Straw Chair is vintage from Monticello Antiques, sheepskin pillow from Appetite
– Bookshelves were made from lumber and cinderblocks from Home Depot
– Dresser is antique, gift from Sarah’s parents
– Plant stand is antique from Appetite
– Couch is from city liquidators and All Roads Design pillow is from Anthropologie

Bedroom
– Bed frame, side table and dresser were Sarah’s grandma’s
– Blanket is Pendleton, large pillows are Heather Taylor Home from Seven Sisters in Portland. Small Coral and Tusk pillow
– Light is antique
– Cow skull was found in New Mexico desert
– Macramé Plant Hanger is vintage
– Wall hanging by Jennifer Fisher from Haunt Portland

Bathroom
– Towels from Anthropologie
– Hand soap and body lotion from Barr Co.

Kitchen
– Dishes: plates are Martina Thornhill, orange bowl by Heath ceramics, others are vintage
– Chair is vintage from Appetite; mirrored shelf is vintage from Maven Collective

  1. Sofia says:

    I love all the plants around her home! It really adds to that personal touch!

    xo, Sofia

  2. Stephanie says:

    I’m jealous that your kitty allows you to have all those beautiful plants. My cat has gone so far as to get atop the fridge to chew on and ultimatley push off a potted fern. That was after he had nibbled it to almost nothing in other spots around the house. I can only have succulents because he ignores those… all other plants have to be kept outside.

  3. Marna says:

    Favourite house tour. So natural and unpretentious

    1. kimithy says:

      Great words to describe this apartment!

  4. carlene says:

    I love it! I wish more landlords would leave the original (usually white and cute) kitchen cabinets. You have no idea how many lovely pre-war apartments there are around here (Chicago) with brown wood kitchen cabinets from Home Depot. It’s heartbreaking.

  5. zinxeb says:

    Really lovely and bright apartment. Looks so cozy, I’d never want to leave. : Love the kitchen!

  6. madlyn says:

    Portland seems to have the best bungalows. The original bathroom and kitchen are wonderful.Very lovely home!

  7. Margot says:

    Her flower arrangements are so, so beautiful…

  8. Donna says:

    Soooo relaxing and perfect Sarah!! Love your style!!!!! <3

  9. Nicole says:

    This home looks so cozy and beautiful! I am also very curious about any tips on keeping cats from munching on plants. The amount of plant life your cat appears to not destroy is truly impressive!

    1. Hi Nicole! Thank you for your comment! As far as being able to keep my kitty from eating all my plants- she does eat some! The palm in my living room is pretty chewed on, she also occasionally will chew on one of my ferns. I keep a potted plant of “kitty grass” aka wheatgrass next to her bowl of food and water which helps reduce her desire to chew on the plants. I also have a lot of pathos plants in my house- which are poisonous to cats, but she seems to know they are bad for her cause she has never tried to chew on one. You could also try hanging your plants! In areas where your cat can’t climb to get to. Hope this helps! xo

      1. Nicole says:

        Thanks so much! I will add kitty grass and hanging planters to my strategies… I am a new cat owner and determined that Harriet (the munching furball o’ joy) and my plant habit WILL co-exist peacefully… So whenever I see homes like yours inhabited by cats I have hope! Thanks again for the tips and the beautiful inspiration. :)

  10. She did an amazing job decorating. When living in an apartment it can be so hard to find pieces that make the space feel like home. Greenery is a great form of home decor for this, especially when they have a story behind them like the plant from New Mexico. I love how the greenery pops out against the all white backdrop.

  11. Your kitchen is BEAUTIFUL. Also, I love the arrangement of wooden boxes atop your dresser.

  12. Nicolette says:

    This home is so lovely! I wish there was a better shot of the bed, I was gifted a double bed that looks identical by my boyfriends grandma!

  13. Caroline says:

    I love every single thing about this magical home..including Ellie. I didn’t want the tour to end!

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