Interiorssneak peeks

The Second Time’s a Charm for Two Portland, OR Homeowners

by Garrett Fleming

The Second Time's a Charm for Two Portland, OR Homeowners, Design*Sponge Mary Kysar, the Creative Director of Portland, OR studio makelike, and her wife Niki readily admit their first home simply didn’t suit them. The kitchen was too small, the lack of a dining room meant entertaining was a no-go, and the house had been stripped of any charm it once had. The property was such an ill-fit they had to get out, and get out they did. While driving one day, Mary came across a “For Sale” sign in front of a charming Craftsman in a great neighborhood. Situated near the perfect school and dripping with potential, it was sure to be snatched up quickly — so Mary bought the house without Niki having ever stepped inside. Now that is trust.

Built in 1915, the home did leave a little to the imagination. Thirty-seven (yes, 37) of its windows were broken, the kitchen needed updating and the bathroom was less than ideal. But all these setbacks proved to pale in comparison to the couple’s drive to build a warm and welcoming retreat for their future family. Since moving in, the women have installed a brand new bathroom, decked out the kitchen in eye-catching wallpaper and used products from makelike to give their dining room a touch of whimsy.

With construction complete, Mary went about decorating each room in a vibrant mix of vintage and secondhand finds. As you’ll see, many of the home’s furnishings were passed down to her from her grandmother and fit perfectly with the space’s old-world charm. Not all of the accoutrements are throwbacks, though. Tucked amongst the century-old built-in cabinetry and original beams are cranberry chairs, a playful yellow front door and colorful rugs from across the world.

All in all, the accessories work wonders for this once derelict property, but the couple’s favorite addition to their home has to be their twins Margaret and Oliver. Both six years old, the pair has grown up here and infused the space with countless memories sure to last a lifetime. Click through to take a look inside the love-filled Craftsman. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Olivia Ashton

Image above: Mary and Niki’s daughter Margaret’s room features a sweet floral wallpaper and abundant natural light thanks to the many windows.

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Mary, Niki and their six-year-old twins Margaret and Oliver's Portland home is built in a "foursquare" style meaning it's box shaped and features Craftsman-style built-in cabinetry and woodwork, a front porch and two stories.
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The home basks in light thanks to over 40 windows -- 37 of which were broken when the family moved in -- but Margaret's room gets the home's best rays because it has so many. It overlooks the backyard.
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Mary's grandmother's dining room table can seat up to 12, making it perfect for both dinner parties and craft night.
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A peek at two of the home's original features: a box-beam ceiling and built-in cabinetry. makelike -- the studio Mary runs -- produces the hand-printed wallpaper.
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Margaret and Oliver's dining room workspaces are illuminated by a vintage, brass drum light.
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When Mary and Niki moved in, they discovered newspapers from the 1920s and an old sand dollar in the living room's built-in bench. The artwork above the mantel is by family friend Kristan Kennedy.
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Family game night takes place right here around the circular coffee table. The accompanying cranberry chair is vintage.
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Mary didn't design the house with a specific decorating goal in mind, but she did know vintage finds and family heirlooms would be sprinkled throughout each room. The two have since mixed together to create "a warm environment where friends and family feel at home." Handmade pillows sit on the Room & Board sofa.
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Shoes are kept under the entryway's bench. "There seem(s) to be a lot of them," Mary says.
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When Mary and Niki started their home search, a larger kitchen was near the top of their list of must-haves. Luckily this spot provided just that. They did have to use some elbow grease to get it up to snuff, and gave it a makeover using wallpaper from makelike and custom furniture by Joseph Alvarez.
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"I love how bright and sunny the kitchen is. It’s fun to cook in," Mary tells us.
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The couple's two children like many things about their Portland home, but most of all they love the special people and pets they share it with.
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Mary's collection of vintage portraits hangs in the home's staircase. As it turns out, this spot is the backdrop of some very fond memories. "When we moved in, the only living relative of the original owners stopped by to meet us. She told us about a memory she had of the daughter of the family coming down the stairs in her wedding gown in the 50s," Mary says.
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The family pets love having their photo taken. Fritz poses atop the couple's Hawkins New York bedding. The rug is by Kat + Maouche.
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The family's other ham -- cat Me-Meow -- sits in a favorite sleeping spot. The dresser to the left was passed down from Mary's grandmother.
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The bedroom's deeply-rich Farrow & Ball "Hague Blue" walls help Mary's grandmother's side table and this yellow lamp shine.
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Mary and Niki turned this area -- originally the home's fourth bedroom -- into a much-needed larger bathroom for themselves and the kids. The walls are painted in Benjamin Moore "Sweet Spring."
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It took nine years to sort it all out, but Mary and Niki have finally finished their home's renovation. They now have an extra bathroom, guest room and finished basement with the charm that only a 100-year-old property can provide.

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