Craftsman with a twist

An adventurous couple turns a 1908 duplex into a home full of personality and charm

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  • Anne and Richard De Wolf took on an eight-year remodel of their Portland home, bringing together an eclectic mix of materials and inspirations.

    Craftsman with a twist

    Lisa Romerein

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What they learned

Richard and Anne De Wolf put a combination of "sweat equity and patience" into their eight-year remodel. "We set realistic expectations for ourselves, so we weren't disappointed," Richard says. Here are more of the couple's tips.

Get priorities in order. "Don't get carried away with the pretty stuff first," Richard says. "Make sure the systems are updated ― electrical, heating, plumbing ― and that the roof is sound." He recommends living in an old house for a while before remodeling further.

Buy vintage when you see it. An eclectic look requires confidence. "Vintage and salvaged items are one of a kind, so you have to be able to take a chance," Anne says. Always bring your home's dimensions and master plan on shopping trips.

Unify rooms through repetition of color. "Every room has a bit of each color in it, which helps link the house together," Anne says. The blue of the entry room ceiling is repeated on the dining room walls; all interior doors are oiled to the same natural finish.

Limit trendiness to accessories. "For things like furniture, artwork, or paint colors, the sky's the limit," Anne says. In architectural details, "be respectful of the house ― you don't have to be historically accurate, but what you do should tie into the home's essential character."

Info: Design, Arciform, Portland (503/493-7344).




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