A Young Family's Vintage-Filled Mid-Century Portland Home

A Young Family's Vintage-Filled Mid-Century Portland Home

Name: Ellen and Jace Krause
Location: SE Portland, Oregon
Size: 2,600 square feet
Years lived in: 6 years, owned

Ellen and Jace's sweeping mid-century ranch home in Southeast Portland is vintage in the most authentic way it can be—it's filled with actual hand-me-down pieces that have been saved from a bunch of different family members! If the couch and chairs in the living room, or the bench in the entry, or even the dining set in the backyard look familiar, that's because they may have once belonged to grandma. This is the way vintage design should be: The pieces that bring you the warmest feelings and memories are front and center.

A beautiful vintage collection needs a beautiful vintage home, and the Krause's have been working hard to maintain their house's historic details. The entry, dining room, and living room are all open to one another in typical fashion for this type of home. The entry and dining room are separated by original built-in wood shelves, and the living room rocks a gorgeous pink quartz fireplace. Along with the inherited furniture, they also scored familial artwork and even an aqua accordion wall light. Light-colored walls and floors allow the collection of vintage rugs to really pop in the living room.

The bedrooms are all on the main floor, and each has its own personality: the master is in the corner and matches brass accents with coral colors; the boy's room has a bright yellow bed cover, light blue walls, and a vintage desk and map; and the girl's room is soft and neutral, with pink accents to complement her vintage Barbie toys. The kitchen, which is also on the first level, was remodeled sometime in the '90s, but is slated to be renovated sometime in the future—not everything "vintage" is able to be saved.

There is a basement level (practically the size of the first floor) and it is here where the family's living spaces are located. The large family room maintains its original brick fireplace, and also contains areas for the kids to work and play. There's a guest room tucked away with its own bathroom; and in the other corner there's a place for the guys: Jace's office and studio is down here along with a uniquely carved out space under the stairs for the boy's library and reading area.

The backyard is one of the most impressive parts of the home. Ellen and Jace planted trees, created a larger vegetable garden, and extended the patio out into the green space. "Do you recognize the patio furniture?" Ellen asked a visiting cousin during my visit."They used to have this green floral print, remember, and belonged to Grandma and Grandpa!" "OMG yes," exclaimed her cousin, and then the two were off reminiscing about happy times growing up together. As I sat in one of the rockers, listening to them, I couldn't help but think that this is exactly what great vintage pieces have the power to do—they help build new memories from the memories of long ago.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Mid-century, vintage, collected.

Inspiration: Emily Henderson. She's a design/style blogger who does a fantastic job of mixing styles together and creating rooms that look inviting, interesting, and with just the right amount of quirk.

Favorite Element: Textiles and linens. Bedding, rugs, curtains, I love it all. Textiles are always the first thing I'm drawn to when shopping for home decor. I have a couple of sets of vintage sheets from the '50s or '60s and they are amazingly soft. I haven't been able to find new sheets that can compare.

Biggest Challenge: Our kitchen. There are bottlenecks in high traffic areas, and not enough counterspace for food prep. We've been dreaming of a kitchen remodel since we moved in.

What Friends Say: Friends often comment on the amount of living space downstairs. We had some friends over for the first time, and when they saw the basement, one of them said "You have a whole other house down here!" The floor plan is nearly identical on both levels, so there's plenty of space for everyone in the family. People also compliment us on our backyard. Our garden takes up half the backyard, and produces plenty of food each summer. There are some shaded grassy areas, and the kids have a swing set to play on.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our dingy white carpet. It was nearly pristine when we moved in but family life with kids has left it looking worse for wear. We'd like to pull it up but sadly there aren't hardwoods underneath. We're saving up to have new floors installed.

Proudest DIY: The garden and patio. We've planted trees for privacy and added a variety of plants around the edge of the yard. We doubled the size of our vegetable garden and built seven more raised beds. Our big project this summer was adding to our existing patio to connect it with the rest of the yard. We spent most of the weekends digging, leveling, and laying heavy 2'x2' concrete pavers. The extra space has been amazing.

Biggest Indulgence: We haven't made any big purchases for our home yet but I would say I do love to buy my fair share of plants. Outdoor, indoor; I love to be surrounded by greenery.

Best Advice: If you're buying something when it's on sale, do you love it enough to buy it at full price? Make sure you're filling your home with things you love.

Dream Sources: Go to the far corners of the basements of estate sales. Often that's where you find the best stuff! Sometimes you have to get a little dirty while thrifting to discover a good find.


Master bedroom — Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams
Bathroom — Oystershell by Benjamin Moore
Dining Room — Wrought Iron by Martha Stewart

Mirror — Vintage
Bench — Vintage hand-me-down
Wall hooks — Target

Curtains — Target
Couch and pair of chairs — Vintage handed down from our grandparents
Rug — Goodwill
Pottery vases on mantle — Target
Portland print above fireplace — ORK Posters
Planters on hearth — Target
Blue and white planters — HomeGoods
Aqua accordion wall light — Vintage hand-me-down from grandparents
Lavender hanging light — Goodwill

Table — World Market
Four matching chairs — Vintage
Upholstered shell chairs — Target
Blue watercolor framed art — Target
Plant stand — Ikea
Curtains — Crate & Barrel
Rug — Ikea
Copper himmeli — DIY

Table & chairs — Craigslist
Rugs — Home Goods
Curtains — DIY'd with linen fabric from Ikea

Bed — Wayfair
Dressers — Vintage
Nightstands — West Elm
Table lamps — Ikea
Mirror — Vintage and repainted
Rug — World Market

Rug — Rugs USA
Bed — Vintage
Floral bed quilt — Target
Curtains — Target

Desk — Vintage
Dresser — DIY (refinished)
Curtains — Ikea
Yellow quilt — Target

Rug — Rugs USA
Sectional — Ikea
Art table and benches — Ikea
Blue cube shelving — Ikea
Baskets on wall — vintage

Patio dining set — vintage
Dining table — Target
Umbrella — Target
Bamboo rockers — vintage
Pair of modern chairs with matching side table — Target

Thanks, Ellen & Jace!

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