Tour a 1,400-Square-Foot Portland Bungalow With Cali-Scandinavian Vibes

Sometimes, less space is better when you have kids. This Portland, Oregon, bungalow, featured in HGTV Magazine, proves it.

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February 14, 2020

Photo By: CHRISTOPHER DIBBLE

Photo By: CHRISTOPHER DIBBLE

Photo By: CHRISTOPHER DIBBLE

Photo By: CHRISTOPHER DIBBLE

Photo By: CHRISTOPHER DIBBLE

Photo By: CHRISTOPHER DIBBLE

Photo By: CHRISTOPHER DIBBLE

The House

Parents often wish for more room for their family. Not Nicole Wear and Calle Holmgren. “We wanted to simplify life, instead of getting overtaken by chores and maintenance — more lawn to mow, more house to clean,” Nicole says. Three years ago, they traded in their 2,500-square-foot new build for a smaller 1923 Craftsman bungalow. Although they adored the intact original details, the neglected interior begged for modern touches. Nicole is from California and Calle is from Sweden, and they married their cultures to create a light, bright Cali–Scandi look. Last July, Baby Mio joined siblings Jade and Isla. Nobody misses that extra 1,100 feet. “The rainy weather means we’re often gathered around our fireplace, chatting, reading or playing board games,” Nicole says. “For us, downsizing freed up family time.”

The Family

Calle and Nicole, and from left, Isla, 7; Jade, 9; and Mio, 6 months.

Living Room

To keep things interesting but not busy (key in a smaller house), Nicole combined pieces with funky wood bases — a West Elm sofa and coffee table and Salvation Army chairs that she had reupholstered. They’re grounded by a punchy rug from Shkoon Shop. The couple regularly changes up the art on the mantel. “It’s unexpected to have bold pieces in an older home, and it adds life,” Nicole says. Dala painted horses, a traditional Swedish craft, sit on the coffee table.

Dining Room

The dining room may be made for meals, but it’s also a prime play space. The storage units along the wall are filled with toys, and Jade and Isla build fairy houses and magical cities here. “We didn’t want them playing in their rooms behind closed doors — this creates coziness,” Nicole says.

Kitchen

“I thought I liked open floor plans, until I got this kitchen — it’s closed off from the dining room, and eating without seeing the mess from cooking is great!” Nicole says. She painted the window frames black, and next to the white subway tile, they play off the existing checkerboard floor. New brass hardware on the cabinets matches the original handles on the windows. The mat is from Target.

Isla and Jade's Room

"When a room is 9 by 11 feet, you need stuff that you’re truly drawn to or else it’ll feel like clutter,” Nicole says. The girls chose the dotted bedding by Cotton On, and Nicole paired it with an equally exciting diamond-esque rug from Rugs USA. Just for fun, she attached a strip of the room’s wallpaper on the top bunk’s rail. A basket from a secondhand store got a new life as a hamper.

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Master Bedroom

A headboard made from salvaged wood, a blush-hued nightstand (from West Elm), and artwork with pink shades by Laura Berger look cozy-chic. Nicole repurposed a kilim as a pillow cover and a piece of fabric as a throw. The view from the door is amazing — a leafy print with tangerine bursts by local wallpaper company Makelike. Says Nicole, “There’s always sunshine there.” Pro tip: A three-legged nightstand is nice and compact. (Also, cute!)

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