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In Portland, an Early-1900s Victorian Fit for Four

by Garrett Fleming

In Portland, an Early-1900s Victorian Fit for Four, Design*Sponge

I wasn’t surprised in the least when I found out that Darcy and Josh White’s Victorian farmhouse in Portland, OR was our #9 home tour of all time. It featured Mid-Century-style decorations both old and new and housed one of the most memorable spaces in our 15-year history: a dreamy bathroom decked out in Mexican tiles that the couple came across on eBay. Overall, it was a stunner.

Since we last caught up with Darcy, Pastor Josh and their children Hattie and Henry, the family of four has left their neighborhood and old Victorian farmhouse for another Victorian farmhouse in southeast Portland. With the change came a great school district and a better quality of life: “Each of [the kids’] schools are less than half a mile out of our front door. And even Josh’s work, our church building, is only one and a half miles from our front door. It is truly ideal for the stage of life we are in.” Darcy says.

In order to afford a place in the neighborhood, the foursome had to downsize. Luckily, solving design challenges — like fitting their family into 1,600 square feet — comes naturally to Darcy and Josh. Darcy tells us, “Designing a new space is really one of the most fun things we do together. We barely even have to speak. It’s pretty cool. [Josh] is a total free spirit, and I am very methodical… yet our heart for a space is always the same.”

To make their home feel larger, Darcy and Josh focused on not over-designing each room. Instead they pared back on patterned accessories, kept their walls and larger furniture white, and removed a wall here and there to help each room flow into another. The duo also cleverly optimized their back and side yards by installing a hot tub, deck and fire pit. This move has extended their living space beyond the home’s walls and turned the house into their block’s go-to hangout spot. Scroll down to check out this family’s new nest, and enjoy! Garrett

Photography by Luke and Mallory Leasure

Image above: Some of the home’s more unique accents are its stained-glass windows. Josh found them at an antique shop and later installed one here in his and Darcy’s bedroom and one in the living room. “We love [these] special touches that make the space feel like ours,” the pair says.

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Styling the exterior of the home is a never-ending labor of love for the couple: “I just keep adding plants. Our home is currently three or four shades of blue… we can’t decide which direction to go.”

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“My husband built the fence from vintage trim pieces he bound at the local Mississippi Rebuilding Center.” – Darcy White

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“It cracks me up that even though our home is a fraction of the size of our kids’ friends’ homes, everyone seems to end up at our place,” the couple says. “We ended up creating a really open side yard with a deck, picnic table, sitting areas and a fire pit… It really allows all of us to spread out.”

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The hot tub and deck sit behind the home’s picket fence.

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The front porch is one of the family’s favorite places to unwind. On nice evenings they’ll click on the lamp and relax in its soft glow.

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A troupe of treasures greets guests in the entry.

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When the couple moved in, the dining room was painted a dark red hue, and a set of french doors cut it off from the living area. They’ve since painted the dining room white and removed the doors between the two spaces. These tweaks and the addition of greenery have effectively turned the dining room into an atrium.

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“Our favorite thing about our cozy home is that it is filled with peace, a sense of belonging and a little bit of magic.” – Darcy and Josh White

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Meaningful collectibles like those on display in the dining room act like a timeline, bringing to life Darcy and Josh’s personal story.

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The living area in their current place is much smaller than the one in the couple’s previous home. Since it’s on the smaller side, Darcy and Josh decorated it with calm, monochromatic tones. “It is so neutral for us, but it feels right,” Darcy says.

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A peek at the home’s second stained-glass window as well as the wood-burning stove Darcy and Josh installed.

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There isn’t much storage in the quaint kitchen, so this island has been a game changer.

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A lighting fixture from Denmark illuminates the kitchen.

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The first floor’s “teeny tiny bathroom” was gutted by the couple. They installed a new sink, lighting and clawfoot tub.

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Darcy’s side of the bed is decorated by a portrait of her that daughter Hattie drew.

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Josh’s side of the bed hosts a vintage lamp and portrait of his kiddos.

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Across from Darcy and Josh’s bed stands two doors that are original to the house. Josh stripped them himself. The armchair is where Darcy “nursed and raised” both her children, so the piece holds a special place in her heart.

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Hattie’s own artwork intermingles with vintage finds in her bedroom.

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Hattie is passionate about decorating and helped plan the look of her bedroom.

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“We had the basement dug out to add another 12 inches of headspace, and we added this room and a bathroom for Henry. He is 17 years old and really needed his own space. He too has a great eye for design and is super passionate about vintage fashion.” – Darcy White

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The first floor’s layout.

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An aerial view of the second story.

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The basement’s configuration.

SOURCE LIST

Exterior
Paint – Sherwin-Williams “Mediterranean Blue”
Front door – Benjamin Moore custom yellow

Darcy & Josh’s Room
Bedframe – IKEA
Bedding – Schoolhouse

Bathroom
Vanity, sink – IKEA
Mirror, light, shower curtain – Schoolhouse

Kitchen
Light fixture – Bumling by Ateljé Lyktan
Island – antique
Oven – Wedgewood
Refrigerator – SMEG

Living Room
Sofas – IKEA
Coffee table, throw blankets, pillows – Beam & Anchor
Gas fireplace – Jotul

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Comments

  • Maybe this is silly, but I think my favorite part (other than that fabulous porch) is Henry’s bedroom. It’s always refreshing to see stylistic choices made to give children their own space as they age. That’s so important, and so many parents don’t see the utility or necessity of giving young people coming of age a space that’s age appropriate and private. This entire space looks so respectful – of the home’s history, of each family member’s needs, of nature and the home’s surroundings – and I think that’s brilliant.

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