The interior, main level

As you saw in the last post, there is currently an extensive amount of work and refocusing of effort going on with the Fairmount house exterior; but originally going into the project our main intent was to focus most of the renovation on the interior. The house was built in the early 90’s and as such there were plenty of elements that felt out of place today. The main level of the house (there are 3 levels total: you enter into the main level of the house located at the middle, the master is upstairs, and there is a pair of Jack and Jill bedrooms and extra space downstairs) is probably the part of the home interior that is getting the largest update and reconfiguring.

Starting from the entrance (seen above towards the left in image 1) you originally were greeted by a foyer (?) wall which blocked the dining room behind it. To the left of the wall is the living room, and to the right of the wall is an entrance to the kitchen as well as the stairs up/downstairs and also leads into a hall taking you to the main level bathroom and a room that was previously utilized as a den (we’ll be using it as a guest room). We liked the separation of space that the wall provided, but wanted something more airy, so as you can see in images 2 and 3 the wall is being replaced. At the moment there is just a big hole leading directly into the dining room, but it will be replaced with a wooden post screen. The screen will allow for definition of the space while also allowing direct view of the dining room window as you enter through the front doors.

The dining room previously had a very strong contemporary 90’s vibe to it thanks to the tiered cake style ceiling, as seen in image 1 above. The kitchen also had a similar but far less successful tiered ceiling, but I’m saving the kitchen dissection and renovation concept for another post (mostly because I need to get some better photos of it). The plan here was to remove the entrance-facing wall of course (visible to the right of image 1 above – the dining room side featured 2 base cabinets as a built-in buffet, and the entrance-facing side featured 1 cabinet in the center), and also to remove the separator wall between the dining room and the kitchen, creating one long open space and allowing much more light to flood in between the kitchen, dining, and living room. It turned out that the tiered ceilings were purely decoration and not functional at all; I was totally worried that there may have been some hidden duct or piping or other functional reason for wanting to do a tiered ceiling… because why would anyone want one otherwise! 😅

In the background of some of the photos above you’re able to peek the previous and current state of the living room. The living room was mostly harmless, except for the fireplace. Above the fireplace was a large and ultra-contemporary bulge. Aside from housing an overhead light, it served no real purpose, and turned out to have no functional purpose… so it will be removed in favor of just a clean and flat expanse of drywall. The fireplace hearth is going to be removed in order to give a little more space back to the room – the room photographs a little bigger than it really functionally is, and taking into account the window and fireplace placement there aren’t too many furniture layout options, so removing the hearth will give back needed space and hopefully allow for a couple more layout options.

Around the corner of the fireplace was a bench that housed a log storage compartment, we’re also going to remove this again in order to open up the space a little more and expand the furniture layout possibilities. The new fireplace will feature a wide band of raw metal stretching from the left of the fireplace wall all the way around into the window nook where the bench was previously. The living room is a double-height space with lots of windows providing a wonderful amount of natural light. We’ll be augmenting the space with a nice oversized pendant in the center of the room, adding extra light into the space but like the previous fireplace bulge did the pendant will also direct visual attention back up to the top of the space.

The interior will be mostly on pause for a couple more weeks since the majority of the attention is being spent on the exterior in order to wrap up all the outside work before the heavy rains become a daily event… But we’re so excited to see the interior begin to take shape again. We’ll be covering the design changes and progress on the other 2 levels in the house, as well as the new kitchen. Oh, and the Beetlejuice inspired bathroom and guest bedroom on the main level too! Can’t wait, we’re so excited! 😀

Looking on the bright side

Time really does fly! We’ve been in Portland now for a little over two months, and the Fairmount house has progressed quite a lot over those two months. A lot of the progress has been smooth overall, but there were a handful of discoveries and setbacks regarding the exterior that we’ve decided to look at as an opportunity rather than a problem.

Originally the plan and scope for the house renovation was more focused on the interior, with a few projects concentrated on the exterior. At the start of the project the exterior work was limited to the addition of the Beetlejuice-inspired false wall on one of the decks and a full repaint. Little did we know back then that soon enough the exterior would be commanding the bulk of our attention.

As a side effect of some of the interior projects and wall explorations, a lot of vulnerabilities with the home exterior were discovered. Basically the entire exterior was not weatherproofed as effectively as a home in the Northwest should be, causing plenty of issues underneath the original siding once parts of it began coming out to make way for new windows and doors. To make a long (and depressing) story short, in the end we’ve decided to get the entire exterior corrected… That means all repairs to rotting areas, new weatherproofing, new siding, and upgraded windows throughout. Insert cash register sound effect here!

It really is a costly and time-absorbing endeavor that we weren’t fully anticipating to have to do or prepared to take on at this point of home ownership, but we are feeling good about it and the results so far. Our contractor Hammer and Hand are experts at home weatherproofing, so we absolutely couldn’t be in better hands. Plus once the exterior was stripped down to the plywood and all the windows removed, it really gave us the opportunity to do some customization that we otherwise may not have bothered with.

Case in point, the triangle window and the glass block rectangle window above the main entrance (seen in picture 2 above)… the original plans were to keep and embrace the triangle window and replace the glass blocks with a standard rectangle picture window of the same dimensions. Now with the exterior all opened, though, we jumped at the chance to add some more character to the outside. The eventual Beetlejuice false wall on the balcony will feature a large circle cutout detail, so we decided to repeat the circle above the front entrance with a new 5 foot diameter circular window replacing both the triangle window and glass block rectangle.

Above you can see a few more before photos of the exterior along with a couple of shots of the work in progress. As you can see, there is an extensive amount of scaffolding setup around the house, and it actually extends around the entire home (its difficult to get clear shots of the house due to the thick trees… but I will try to get better angles soon).

The team is working at an incredible pace in order to try to beat the start of the famous Portland rainy season, and as such these photos are a little dated already! At the moment the entire house has been wrapped with weatherproof wrapping and the first bits of new siding are starting to go on. The plan is to finish up the siding one side of the house and begin painting that side while moving on to the siding on the next side, and so on and so on. The new windows should be arriving by the middle of the month, and by that point the outside will be mostly completed and ready to pop the new windows in place and touch up the siding and paint around them. We’re so excited to see the exterior all freshly painted (new color is black!) and the new windows all in place, especially that round window!

Campbell Home Tour, Upstairs

Continuing the Campbell condo tour, in the previous post I went over the details of the main level of the condo, so now lets visit the upstairs. The first stop once you went upstairs was the master bedroom, seen below. The window had some beautiful views of the mountains in the distance, the city, and over towards the right side is the soaring Campbell water tower. Every master bedroom we've had has featured a black wall behind the bed, and that was the first thing we added to this room once we moved in (and we're going to be continuing that tradition at the Fairmount house here in Portland soon). Overall, the room was quite large with more than enough space for a bed area as well as a sitting and lounging area, with the closet and bathroom tucked behind the sitting space.

The next room upstairs was our shared office. This was the room that we spent the most time in year-round. It was always the quietest room in the home, and in the winter it was always the warmest. It was a great space for working, creating, and relaxing. We'll need to replicate this experience in the Fairmount house. Oh, and my deskspace is on the side with the headless manequin… just in case you were curious! 

Finally the last notable space upstairs was the art studio. Sadly, we didn't make much use of this space. In reality it was primarily the cat's space, as this was where we kept their food and litter box. We're adding a larger and more functional studio into the Fairmount house the we hope to really use. 

And that wraps up the tour! Looking through all of these photos made me remember what a great place this was and also how fortunate we were to live there. We're really going to miss this place and all of our friends in the Bay Area. We had a lot of great times and memories there, Campbell will always hold a special place in our hearts. 💛

 Sunset in Campbell, California

Sunset in Campbell, California

Campbell Home Tour, Downstairs

With the Campbell condo in contract now, it seems as good a time as ever to finally share a home tour of it. We've always been very private about sharing pictures of our home online in the past, but considering that the MLS listing had a bunch of more photos, sharing a few of our own favorite personal photos seems harmless now. Plus, it'll be good for me to have a retrievable record of the furniture arrangement and other design details, should I ever want to refer to them!

The Campbell condo was pretty large for an average condo, and always felt a lot more like a house than a condo… possibly because the architect was the careful about placing windows on all four sides of the condo, allowing light to always stream into the home as well as to give different vantage points. The space inside allowed us to play with a multitude of room layouts as well as functions. Some rooms instantly worked out function-wise, and some rooms I always felt didn't reach their full potential… but all in all the amount of space we had here was a blessing, and we will really miss this place as well as the city of Campbell.

Speaking of which, for those of you that aren't familiar with Campbell, it is a wonderful small city in the Santa Clara County of California. We lived in the historic downtown, pretty much right next to the historic Campbell water tower. The downtown itself is smallish but very vibrant, with lots of activities like the year-round Farmer's Market every Sunday, monthly art festivals, and multiple family events throughout the year. The main street is also home to many great restaurants (we're going to miss La Pizzeria more than they'll ever know!) and small retail shops. 

So lets get on with the home tour now, starting with the main level of the condo…

Above is the landing area that greeted your upon entering. Standing at the front doorway, to the left would have been the landing space as well as the stairway to the top floor of the condo, and towards the right would be the kitchen. Beyond the kitchen was the dining room, seen below…

 Closeup of ceramics and pottery display behind the dining table

Closeup of ceramics and pottery display behind the dining table

Past the dining room was the living room, seen below, and it was easily my favorite space in the entire condo (that is probably why I have so many photos of it – even though we very rarely actually spent time in the living room, it was pretty to look at daily). The amount of light that flooded this area was magnificent, and the high ceiling here made the space instantly welcoming. The one regret I have is that I never found the right piece of art to display on the long gray wall behind the television. Once I painted the wall gray I instantly wanted to paint a very wide abstract painting to place there, but I never got around to it; the wall stayed bare the entire nearly 6 years we lived there.

 Large 6x6 foot print of Misfit McQueen

Large 6x6 foot print of Misfit McQueen

Aside from the rooms picture above, the main level of the condo also had a guest room and a bathroom… neither of which ever photographed spectacularly well, so I'l skip them. The main level of the Campbell condo was a great space for entertaining, and although we didn't use it as often as we would have liked, we certainly will miss it.

 Bye bye condo, you were a great place

Bye bye condo, you were a great place

Vintage Shop Score!

We have been trying as best as possible to get out whenever we have a chance and explore different areas around our temporary apartment as well as near the Fairmount house. Today we decided to branch out a bit more and check out some of the offerings around Beaverton, which is about 25 minutes away from the house by car. Specifically we wanted to check out a vintage video game store, Retro Game Trader, but it turns out there are a couple of general vintage store nearby there that we could check out along the way.

While in one of the other vintage stores this large white globe caught my attention from the corner of my eye. I walked over to what looked like a Kartell FL/Y pendant light, and then did a quick double take when I saw the price tag – $45! I had recently been doing some online window-shopping for pendant and chandelier options to hang in the Fairmount house, and the FL/Y was one of the options the we liked, so the price was sort of still fresh on my mind: about $350 for the medium size.

I quickly inquired to take a closer look and verify whether it was actually the real thing or if it was a similarly styled light. Turns out it was a genuine FL/Y light! The store also had an attractive translucent orange/amber colored model, but alas that one was covered in some deep and noticeable scratches upon close inspection. Such a shame too, the color was gorgeous and the way the transparency played with the light was amazing. I still probably would have preferred the opaque white version nonetheless, though, since it would match the house better.

FLY Pendant 1.jpg

Now to find a spot for it somewhere in the Fairmount house… It would look great in the dining room. We're planning to switch to a round shaped table with a black finish, so the light would look beautiful floating above it – plus the living room will be getting a Moooi Random Light, so the shape of the FL/Y light can play off of that light since the two will be near each other. Alternatively it could maybe go in the family room, perhaps floating low over our round coffee table.

The color and shape of the dome remind me a lot of the 2002 Apple iMac G4, the version with the adjustable display that resembled the Luxo lamp. 

That was one of my favorite iMac designs (C'mon! The CD drive stuck out like a tongue! What's not to love?!), and in a similar vintage shopping story, I have a working unit that I found a couple years ago at a salvage shop for just $30. Whatever room the FL/Y light ends up I will need to be sure to place my old iMac in the same room so that they can keep each other company. Fingers crossed that the FL/Y light actually still functions, though!