ED: Why did you choose to embellish the ceiling while leaving the walls fairly neutral?SCJ: The details on the ceiling were inspired by a Parisian hotel where the family had once vacationed.There should be harmony within each given room, with colors recurring in the furnishings, the art, and the accessories -- but even in an open plan home, you can treat each room as its own entity. Our team found the live edge walnut dining table on Etsy.It's made by a fabricator in Quebec—the sort of small, local tradesman who it's so much easier to work with in this day and age, thanks to the internet.This 4-block area is filled with small, independent, locally-owned businesses.As much as we can, we try to spend our money here, rather than in Portland.Our front yard isn’t particularly large, but it feels spacious because there’s a nice distance between our house and the neighbors on either side: We like our neighborhood so much better than many of the new neighborhoods we see, with houses all crammed together on postage-stamp lots, nothing much more than paint color to distinguish one from the other. But we see so much potential here, especially for people like us.Our neighborhood has an organic, grown-over-time quality that we just don’t see in new developments. (Meaning, people with more energy than money, who like a good project and want to make a place their own.) Take a look at this home, which was on the market for less than a week before a “sale pending” sticker appeared on the realtor’s sign: This is a project house, for sure–but when we look at it we don’t so much see the dated color scheme and too-cute window boxes and boxy shape as we see that sweet bay window and space for kids and the trees framing three sides of the house.
We actually like the separation of main living area from family room.A combined kitchen/dining/family room didn’t give my kids any privacy when hanging with their friends, so they preferred spending time at the houses of friends who had a separate room for playing games/watching movies/etc.Now, we’ve got a place that helps me keep them close, while giving them the space they need as they become more independent.We may be five minutes from chain restaurants, discount retailers, and a warehouse grocery store (by car, of course), but we’re determined to make this our version of the American Dream. We think the suburban split-level may be a house whose time is coming, and we want to tell you why–so you can get in while the gettins’ good.While a city neighborhood full of mid-century ranches and small, independent businesses would be cool and all, it wouldn’t get us the things we’re really yearning for. (And because if more people who like what we like join us, the community will change in ways we’d like.) No, there isn’t the kind of hipster cool we see in Portland: But there’s still a kind of cool.