Designer Sarah Reed of Arbor & Co. and her carpenter husband, Duane, moved into their Portland home in March 2019, and have been tackling home improvement projects ever since. The couple, who now have a 2-year-old daughter, were looking for a home that could better fit their needs as new parents, and found a fixer-upper in the Arbor Lodge neighborhood. 

“My husband wasn’t initially convinced to come look at this home because it was definitely a full-gut situation,” Reed recalls. But, she could see its potential. The mid-century ranch home had three bedrooms, a basement, and garage, but was stuck in the ‘80s as the previous owner hadn’t made any updates over the last 20 years. 

The kitchen, in particular, had a “classic ranch home feel,” but was dark, with a lot of wooden cabinetry, and a dated popcorn ceiling. Furthermore, there was no dining room, but instead a make-shift porch they planned to knock down that would allow for a proper eating area, plus views straight through the kitchen to the yard. 

The plan was to create a warm, storage-filled kitchen inspired by Scandinavian design. “Before we became parents we went to Norway,” she says. “That trip had a lot to do with our evolving style. We came back from that trip changed.”

The design scheme would feature their favorite color, sage green, as well as black accents and two-toned cabinetry. An addition of a skylight has made the room the brightest in the home, so “it was an easy decision to go darker with lower cabinets,” she says. 

Bespoke Portland-made Cedar and Moss lighting, Heath Ceramics tile, and honed quartz countertops with a waterfall edge, which adds drama and can be seen right when you walk in the home, were the splurge components, while Ikea boxes and Semihandmade fronts adorned with Amazon hardware helped them stay on budget

Because Reed and her husband work in the industry, they felt confident doing the project themselves. “We built the Ikea boxes and put on the fronts ourselves, which helped us save,” she says. “It took a while, but it was a fun process.” 

The left side of the kitchen features Impression Sonoma fronts, while the right wall, which includes the pantry, a coffee and wine bar, as well as toddler storage, is concealed with White Supermatte Slab fronts. And to add a custom touch to the pantry wall, her husband built wooden spacers around each cabinet. 

While they plan on more renovations in the future, they learned many lessons with their kitchen makeover. “I wish we had done most of the renovation before we moved in,”she says. “Trying to move in with a baby and renovate at the same time was a lot. I also wish we would have delegated more and done less of the work ourselves,” she adds. 

Overall, the kitchen is crisp, clean, modern, and perfectly accentuates the home’s mid-century feel. 

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