Interiorssneak peeks

A Collector’s “Menagerie” In Portland

by Maxwell Tielman

It’s fitting that when Casey Shagena decided to open her first business, a boutique housed in a beautifully refurbished Airstream Trailer, she chose to name it “Menagerie.” The term typically refers to a collection of unique specimens — wild animals usually — but for Casey, it acts almost as a guiding principle. The impulse to hunt, to find, and to collect beautiful things is something that extends well beyond the small-batch goods sold at Casey’s shop, all the way down to the Portland, OR apartment that she shares with her boyfriend, graphic designer Lou Medel.

“Lou and I are collectors,” Casey says. “We’re both very sentimental people, so even though we wanted to get rid of a lot when we moved to Portland, the majority of our treasures came along.” Located in an old Victorian house, the couple’s apartment is a veritable menagerie of treasures, from thrifted curiosities to vintage textiles and mid-century furnishings. Different time periods and historic styles rub elbows with each other, creating a patchwork of memories and stories to be saved. With classic architectural details, great light, and views of downtown Portland, this charming home seems the perfect place to kick back, dream, and be inspired. —Max

The living room. "We love the warm wood floors, classic molding and windowed closet doors. Even though it's small, we like that the living space is really open," Casey says. "The majority of the objects in this room are thrifted. We made the coffee table out of a vintage type drawer found at a salvage shop. Lou made the shelves that sit above the doorways out of reclaimed wood. The pillows are made by our good friends Scout & Whistle here in Portland."
"This is where we spend the majority of our time in the home," Casey says, "either working at the kitchen table that Lou built or lounging on the couch with our laptops. The wooden crates work perfectly as modular shelving to house our many art/design books. The globe is from my grandmother's classroom when she was a teacher back in Michigan (where I grew up). The prints on the walls are from various artists and design friends from back in Chicago. And of course, we love our vintage map of Chicago - to remind us of home."
"My favorite piece of art in the home is the 'Christina's World' by Andrew Wyeth print given to me by my mom," Casey says. "I love the thoughtful moodiness it brings to the room. The book cabinet holds our cocktail bar, some found treasures and my collection of thrifted pottery."
The dining area. "We gather around this table for long work sessions, meals and game nights," Casey says. "It's our favorite spot in the home. We picked up the chairs for $5 apiece at a reclaim building supply shop here in town. Lou also built the shelves to hold all of our pantry items."
The back entryway. "Our front door doesn't really have a designated entryway," Casey notes, "so we set up the back door entryway to collect our shoes and bags. We picked up the American flag at a garage sale when we first got into town. The bench is also an heirloom from my grandmother; it's an old folding desk chair from her classroom. The stairway leads up to the attic bedroom."
"The vintage tennis rackets were a treasure we found at a sidewalk garage sale in Logan Square, our former neighborhood back in Chicago," Casey says.
"Our kitchen is small but it has great light," Casey says. "Someday, I'd love to have a beautiful open, white kitchen. But for now, this one works for us."
"I cook at home quite a bit," Casey says, "so a well stocked spice rack is important!"
The bedroom. "We loved the look of the attic bedroom upstairs," Casey says, "but didn't realize there's not a great place to put the bed. We tried positioning the bed right smack dab in the middle of the room but it just didn't make sense for us. Since we both work from home and need a lot of space to create, we decided to put the bed in between the staircase and wall. A little cramped looking, I know, but it allowed us to open up the room for large art projects, cutting boards and photo shoots and of course, my many plants. It also gives us a cozy little sitting area to get away from work and just think."
"We created a comfortable little sitting area right at the top of the stairs," Casey says. "This is our only southern-facing window in the apartment, so it gets the best light during the day. I keep all my plants here so they can soak up the sun. It's the perfect spot to sit and think, read and draw."
"To the right of the sitting room is our little office," Casey says. "Because the walls are slanted in the entire attic, we weren't able to put up shelves, but thankfully, we were able to create a simple little space where one of us can work or draw while the other is downstairs."

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  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE that little reading area you’ve created with the plants and beautiful light. So cozy! Wonderful feel to your whole house!

  • Such a beautiful space – and their shop Menagerie is equally charming! It’s so fun to see Casey and Lou’s cozy home being featured!

  • I absolutely love collecting and really feel that collections are meant to be displayed. It’s so great to see these collections displayed in such a small space! Great use of space though… and great use of displaying treasured items!

  • What a beautiful apartment with lots of cozy spaces! Casey when can you come decorate and organize my house? ;)

  • Flag is hung upside down, which is only used to indicate trouble or danger, so you may want to fix it!

  • Debbie – good call! I’ll definitely fix that and didn’t know! My Airforce brother would have my head for that :)
    For those who want to know the paint color, I’m trying to track that down. It was actually already up on the walls when we moved in so I don’t know it… but I’ll find out!
    Thanks for taking a peek inside our home! Small and humble, but we love our treasures:)
    xo Casey

  • I have a very similar grey on my walls; it’s “Fog Mist” by Benjamin Moore. Love love love it as the cool tone perfectly balances my preference for warm colours…

  • This space looks so handcrafted and carefully curated, yet gives off a relaxed and easygoing vibe. We’re all about this dreamy kind of attention to detail.

  • Lovely tour. I live near Casey’s shop / trailer in Portland and its such a sweet spot to visit and shop. She has a wonderful assortment of unique products. Plus the pizza at Pyro Pizza in the same cart pod is super yummy!

  • Wow! I love this feature! Casey and Lou are both obviously super gifted and artsy. Their home is stunning but also homey and inviting. The best combo. XOXO