Our Little House

Home Renovation, Personal

Sprial-Staircase---Amy-Sia
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)….

Heylen-Thienes---Home-Renovation-Inspiration

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!

XO
H

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.

Tea Towels

Passion Project

HT_TeaToweks-1

When it comes to decorating my house I have one simple rule: it must function and it must look good. It’s one rule because there’s no choosing between them – it must be both.  We live in an old mill house (1919 to be exact), and our part of the house is just over 600sf.  When you have limited space you cannot afford to have things that just look pretty and take up space, and (call me superficial but) likewise you can’t have ugly things because they’ll likely be on display… all the time.

Which is what gets me about tea towels.

HT-TeaTowels2I go to shops such as Anthroplogie and drool over their beautiful tea towels, only to come home and find that that’s all they do: look beautiful.  They spread lint all over my dishes and then leave them half wet.  It drives me insane. Not only are they costly, but they’re rubbish!  And that my friends, is why I decided to take matters into my own hands.

After doing a bit of research I found that linen is one of the most absorbent fabrics, most GOOD tea towels are a linen/cotton blend.  I wanted to make sure these worked, so I tried both the 100% linen and the linen/cotton blend and the pure linen won by far!  My sister and I did a test run last week and there was no lint and no water.  So they function. And to make them pretty, well, if you know me, you know that I live for stripes and polka dots so it was a no brainer as to what the pattern was going to be.

HT_HangingTeaTowels

I loved hand painting, sewing and playing with the patterns, thinking about what they would look like hanging on the oven handle or kitchen island, and I even added a little ribbon on the back so they can be hung too.

I haven’t been this excited about a project since, well, I can’t remember.  But bottom line is that these have been an absolute joy to work on and I hope that you will enjoy using them too.  You can now buy them in my very own shop, or you live in Bend, they’ll be on sale at Armature Bend, and at Craft-O on December 13th and 14th at the Old Iron Works Arts District.

Close Up Patterns

I’d like to thank my wonderful husband  who drove me around Portland looking for supplies and my incredible studio mates (Kelly, Karen & Gabe, Leah and Wallis) at Armature who have all shared in my excitement and really encouraged me to make these!

 

Companies I love: Sackcloth and Ashes

Companies I love, Favourite Things

Sackcloth&Ashes: Night Sky Wool

About a month ago I came across Sackcloth & Ashes on Instagram and their short bio was enough to make me want to find out more: “With every blanket you purchase, we will give a blanket to your local homeless shelter”.  I tend to be drawn to companies who are working to help their community, so this struck a note with me.

I headed over to their website and was really impressed by their story and ‘let’s do something about this’ attitude.  After a series of events Bob Dalton’s mum (Bob’s the guy that started the company) found herself living on the streets.  This is an educated woman, with two degrees non the less, she even had a family yet she ended up homeless.  Not everybody chooses to be homeless and everybody most certainly deserves a second chance.

About ten years ago I volunteered at Crisis, a charity for single homeless people, helping with their monthly newsletter which was composed of stories and articles written by the people at the shelter.  The contributors were far smarter than me, and most had not ended up homeless by choice. This totally changed the way I viewed homelessness and realised how easily and quickly it can happen.

After Bob’s mum’s experience, he called shelters and found out that what they needed the most was blankets. After all, winter comes round every year and even summer eves can get pretty cool in some parts of the country. So he started making blankets right here in the Pacific Northwest and selling them, and the same blanket that you buy is also given to a homeless shelter near you.

I looked through their shop and fell in love with their Night Sky Wool (80% wool and 20% polyester) blanket, and since my birthday was coming up I figured I’d give my sister a ‘hint’ about what to get me. She didn’t get it for me. But my mother-in-law surprised me with it.  I think I may have actually squealed when I opened the box, and was genuinely taken back by the quality of the blanket and how cozy it is.  This will be something we’ll treasure for a long time and take with us wherever we go… especially as winter begins to set in begging for nights spent on the sofa, bundled up in my new blanket.

To find out more information about what Sackcloth & Ashes is doing visit their Shelters page, and while you’re there have a look at their blankets – they have a fab selection!

Jefferson Millhouse: Part 1

Collaboration, Jefferson Millhouse, Personal, Remodel

Last year I got to be part of a very unique remodeling project alongside my husband. He and his uncle remodel homes here in Bend, Oregon, often transforming them from something you wouldn’t want to set foot in, to wanting to make it your forever home. Well this project was like nothing I‘d ever done before, sure, I’d watched them draw up plans, tear down walls and build beautiful bathrooms, but had never been part of the process as closely as with this one.

In December 2012 they bought a little craftsman 1920’s mill house at an auction, and while the house, which was split in to two separate living units, had a ton of character – with original claw foot tubs and hardwood floors – it was in desperate need of love (it also had original wiring).  There were so many unique things about this house, from its history and how it rang a bell with my husband’s family history, to the way it was so conveniently located – close to downtown, the river, the Old Mill District… It was easy to see from the start that this project was going to be different.

As a result, after a lot of discussing and planning the goal became to keep the house as a vacation home and not put it back up for sale (for now, anyway). My job was to give them some art direction in how to make this home a place where people would want to come and dwell in on weekends, holidays etc; from researching colors, light fixtures, bathroom designs to staging the home and designing the visual identity, bringing everything together. I had never done this before, so not only was it a huge challenge and learning experience, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Since this project was (and still is) so special to us, so many people were involved and so many people always ask us about it, I wanted to share a bit about the process and show you how it all came together.

Going from this:

Jefferson Millhouse | BeforePhoto: Google Maps

To this:

Jefferson Millhouse | AfterPhoto: Stefanie Holland

If you can’t wait until I post all the after pictures, you can see current pictures here and here