Our Little House

Home Renovation, Personal

We’ve now owned our house for just over three years and it’s still far from looking like the home we want it to. There are a lot of factors that have contributed to this, e.g. the fact that it’s divided into two completely separate 600sf apartments (upstair/downstairs) with only outdoor stairs; it’s also a 1919 little craftsman cottage, and though the electrical has been redone, that’s really about it. Shortly after moving in we redid the upstairs bathroom because it was just awful, and we love it (it’s now white and black subway tile, black walls and hexagon floors); we loved it so much we stopped all remodeling after that!

The biggest challenge in deciding what to do with our house has really laid on the fact that it’s divided. We had thought of remodeling both apartments, renting them out, and hopefully moving somewhere with a little more space, but when the City informed us that we weren’t actually supposed to have two apartments, and that whoever did that did it without a permit *insert frustrated sigh here*, it kinda of really threw us off balance.
After about three months of trying to figure out what to do and sitting down with our favourite architect, we realised that there was only one option: making it one 1200sf house. Though it was frustrating that all of a sudden we were forced into one option, it did provide some clarity. After all, we do live in a great neighborhood: we’re pretty much smack down the middle of town, down the street from the river and one of the best parks in the city (which will be handy for when kiddies come along), and from what I hear, a great school district (again, for when kiddies come along).

We’re still trying to figure it out, but the gist of it *insert super excited face here* is putting in a spiral staircase, making a master bedroom downstairs with a walk-in closet (can I get an Amen?!), converting the old living room into a small bedroom, the old bedroom would become a landing and hang out area. The upstairs would remain pretty much the same, the bedroom will be an office/guest crashing quarters, and eventually we’ll redo the kitchen because God knows it needs it!

Of course, this is all going to take a while, we like to do things mostly debt free which means that sometimes things take twice as long and we also want to make sure we LOVE everything we do, but now we have direction! And below you can see my inspiration (it’s mostly decor, but you see where I’m going with it)….


I would love to know what your favourite home decor and remodeling blogs are, or send me your pinterest board links, I’m ready for ideas and inspiration!


PS: If you’d like to follow the remodeling journey or just keep in touch, hit me up on Instagram!
Pictures credits starting from the top: Amy Sia, Garance Dore, New York Times.

Eli + Jana: An Engagement Shoot

Passion Project, Personal, Photography

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I am not a professional photographer. Nor do I claim to be one. But I don’t think it’s a secret that I love taking pictures.  Over the last two years I’ve stopped taking so many because the idea of spending hours editing all of them just became overwhelming. But when my brother-in-law and his fiancee asked me to take theirs, I just couldn’t say no. And it was SO much fun! We got there a little late for the ‘golden hour’, but we got some pretty good shots.

I shared their story of how they got engaged last month and posted their wedding mood board, so it would be just rude to not share their engagement pics… how happy do they look?!



New Studio Space

Design, Studio


If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that Friday was studio move day!  A few weeks ago I decided that it was time to step it up a little and get a studio space.  While I I’ve loved working from home for the past two years, I’ve also realized that I need some separation that a 600sf home just doesn’t allow.  My new space located at Armature Bend (by the Old Iron Works District) in Bend, Oregon lets me spread, hang client work on the wall for critiquing and just gives me room to grow.  I’m excited for this new stage and just seeing where it goes.


For the time being I have my desk, shelf and Helmut Newton poster up (that has been with for the last five years and to three different countries), but I once I get it closer to what I want it to look like I’ll be posting more pics!

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The studio is open Thursday to Saturday and theres’a little shop where my fellow creatives sell their artwork, so if you’re in town come and see me.  We’re also right next to Sparrow Bakery so come and grab an Ocean Roll and say hello!

And if you’re interested in seeing what I do when not on instagram or blogging you can see my portfolio here

Middle picture by Tambi Lane 

Jefferson Millhouse pt4

Collaboration, Jefferson Millhouse

HeylenThienes-_-152-Bath-&-BedR: Original sink, Tile from Dal-Tile in Bend.  L: Light fixtures from Home Depot, duvet covers from Ikea

Continuing this series of how this forgotten little house became a cute vacation home, today I wanted to share the after pictures.  In previous posts I mentioned the state it was in, planning and scheming our vision for the house, and getting down + dirty and taking the house back to the studs.

One of my favourite things about working on this project, was seeing how proud everybody who worked on it was, from the floor guys to the landscaper, from the cabinet maker to the painters.  All the planning and research paid off.

Doing your research and planning is half the job, as without it you’re going to get lost and overwhelmed.  But make sure you leave room for spontaneity and take advantage of opportunities.  As we started to execute our plan, Seth’s uncle found out that his friend had just acquired two trees that had naturally fallen on the McKenzie Hwy: a Doug Fir and a Chinkapin, and they would both be enough for all the woodwork needed in both units; so the kitchen, counters, trim and benches in both units are all made from one single tree respectively.

Being open to opportunities like this enables you to make your home (or project) unique, give it character and a story.  Our guests have LOVED hearing about this.

HeylenThienes-_-156-Kitchen HeylenThienes-_-152-KitchenTop Left: Custom Kitchen, Restored Light fixture, Farmhouse sink from Home Depot. Top Right: Wing Chair from family piece, Southwest Cushion Covers Iron Horse, Sofa bed Urban Outfitters. Bottom Left:  Hardware from Vintage Hardware, Restored Sink. Bottom Right: Custom Chinkapin Kitchen, light above sink is antique

As the project started to wrap, it was my job to go furniture shopping.  We had discussed that we wanted one side to pay homage to the era the house was built in, and the other side to be more modern and rugged giving each side its own personality.  We foraged countless of thrift and antique shops from Jacksonville, Or to Portland, Or in search of unique and functional pieces to mix in with others from big box stores; patience is key to this, as is having a plan and keeping your eyes opened.  Once you’ve envisioned what you want, tell/describe it to all your friends, so they can also keep an eye out for you – this is how we found a lot of things (like WW2 trunks that became a side table).

The most important thing to know, is that whether it’s your vacation house, a paid project or the place you call home, it’ll take time to get it to look the way you want it (see this interview/home tour), and you’re not going to find all the perfect pieces at once – and that’s what makes the whole experience so beautiful!

HeylenThienes-_-JM-PicturesBottom Left: Side table from Redoux, Lamp from Ikea, Duvet covers Pottery Barn. Top Left: All Hardware from  from Vintage tubs, Original claw foot tub. Bottom: Sofa bed from Urban Outfitters, Lights from Target and Customized, Side table and beige chair from Wold Market, WW2 trunks second hand, Antique 1900’s phone.

If you would like to see all the pictures and have more info on how you can stay at Jefferson Millhouse, please visit the Facebook page! And if you live in Bend, Oregon and would like a list of our subcontractors (who we highly recommend), leave a comment below and I can email it to you!

Next time: How the branding and launch came along!