Each time I’ve moved into a new home, I’ve had the urge to change things up and give my home a new feel. Maximal, minimal and everything in between, all of my homes have told different stories and have each represented particular phases in my life. While I’ve kept some key pieces, scouring flea markets and auctions for new treasures has been one of the most exciting parts of moving.
When Sarah Nelson, a stay-at-home mom, and her husband Ian, a freelance photographer and creative director for non-profit organization Remember Nhu, began looking for a new home in Southeast Portland, OR, they too wanted it to look completely different from their last one, both inside and out. They didn’t want to limit themselves too much with a list of must-haves, but still had their hearts set on a few specific traits. They wished for a house with a bit of curb appeal and character, a decent sized porch, an open banister-style staircase, a spacious dining room for entertaining, four bedrooms and plenty of natural light. They assumed that they would have to compromise on something, but as if meant to be, the perfect house came along.
It was a dull and drizzly day in February when Sarah and Ian first visited what would become their dream home. There was no doubt about it — they immediately knew it was the right choice for their family of four. Although Sarah and Ian were eager to give the house a new look with cosmetic updates, they wanted to avoid bigger projects. Before closing, they made sure that the 1911 colonial-style bungalow was structurally sound and ready for a visual makeover. “We were in a bidding war, but ultimately won due to the family photo and heartfelt letter we submitted to the sellers with our offer!” the couple shares.
The family’s previous homes focused on an eclectic mid-century modern feel. For this home, Sarah and Ian wanted a big change and decided to start from scratch. They sold most of their old furniture and went in a completely different direction. Sarah, who is passionate about fashion, decorating and refinishing furniture, saw her family’s new home as the perfect blank canvas and ideal creative outlet. “I wanted to create a home with a chic boutique hotel vibe,” she explains.
During their eight years of marriage, Sarah and Ian have been lucky enough to travel the world together. A lot of the family’s home decor is inspired by those travels — the old bungalow oozes a comfortable, stylish and global feel. “No matter which destinations we travel to, we will always love coming home to this house,” Sarah adds.
The style that Sarah chose for her family’s new home is a bold combination of black and white, tropical greens and soft pinks, sumptuous velvets and modern brass elements. Some of the most breathtaking design statements include dandelion patterned fabric on the master bedroom walls, a combination of black paneling and dalmatian spotted walls in the dining room, not to mention the jaw-dropping pink velvet sectional in the living room. Together, these spaces make up a family home where all luxe-bohemian dreams come true under one roof. “We were finally able to pour a bunch of time and some of the equity from our last home into sprucing up this house and we couldn’t be more proud! It is now everything we wanted it to be that first day we walked through,” Sarah shares. The family’s unique aesthetic feels like a breath of fresh air, and proves that starting from scratch can lead to some truly amazing end results. —Sofia
Image above: Sarah and Ian with their children Greyer and Ruby on the front porch of their 1911 colonial-style bungalow. The family first thought about painting the exterior black or pale pink, but eventually chose black shutters and trims and a grass green door. Such a fun pop of color!