eclectic design inspiration

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In Love With The Woodsman


Basically, I'm in love with a restaurant and I'm screaming it from the rooftops doing a full-on blog post about it. Because it deserves it. Considering the fact that the good majority of my spending money goes to food (and random hobbies that last a weekend) it's surprising that I haven't ventured in this direction with the blog before. Well, The Woodsman Tavern has convinced me twice now that it's the best place to dine in Portland, once during an annual holiday dinner with my closest girlfriends and again as an "impromptu" weekend brunch destination; "impromptu" in quotes because I had been scheming a plan since Tuesday to guarantee my brunch companion and I would end up there.

Grounded in Southeast Portland on the increasingly popular Division Street (and only a few minutes from my doorstep - it's a sign), this place had my eyelashes batting the first time I heard the name. I mean come on, "The Woodsman?" Without even seeing the place it's already sexy, and sexy = the best. The tavern (and marketplace next door) was imagined and then made into a reality by Stumptown Coffee founder Duane Sorenson, with chef Jason Barwikowski (formerly of Clyde Common & Olympic Provisions) and barman Evan Zimmerman (formerly of Laurelhurst Market) rounding out Sorenson's vision.

The real first impression happened when my friends and I were greeted by a beautiful wooden trough of fresh oysters and lemons on ice upon entering the restaurant. Good move Woodsman, good move. The five of us were seated around 7:30 pm on a Sunday night without having to wait even a minute (apparently this is not the norm) and I must admit I was sort of freaking out inside as I looked around and took in the thoughtful ambience. It's clear that Sorenson's hypothetical resume has "attention to detail" toward the top of his skills list, and I'm all about detail - so much so that my friends came back from the bathroom insisting I go in just to see how cool it was. I went to wash my hands and the soap dispensers alone (nerd alert!) are worth a trip to the baño if you appreciate design/style in any way, shape or form. I'll let the pictures do the talking because I know my words won't do the place justice, but I'll briefly describe The Woodsman Tavern by saying it's a sort of fantasy world of Portland-style idealized. We all wish we could look this good.

Now of course the food is probably what everyone really wants to know about. As much as style and design influence my opinions, the food is most important; some of the best barbecue brisket I've ever had was out of a small town gas station. I ordered a dirty martini, and it was top notch - perfect with oysters, which I had three of ($2-$3.5). Our server was great at describing the various options, because lord knows that as much as I love oysters I have no idea what the difference is between a Shigoku and a Chelsea Gem. My friend Hannah ordered one of the cauliflower "first plates" ($11) and I admit I was a tad envious; I judged it on looks alone and I know it tasted incredible. But for me the best was yet to come: I made one of the greatest decisions in recent memory and went with the Grilled Bavette Steak and French Fried Potatoes ($28). Best. damn. steak. of. my. life. And I'm from Texas. A ton of flavor, the perfect amount of tenderness, and the potatoes came with sriracha aioli on the side(!!!).



Brunch was a whole 'nother perfect experience. As someone who has waited two and a half hours for a table at another PDX brunch spot (okay there were 7 of us) it's kind of amazing that we were seated immediately and enjoyed pretty much perfect food. But first I have to talk about the bloody mary ($9). I don't have enough self-control to not ask for a bloody mary if it's on the menu, so that's what I ordered without considering anything else. And I had no regret; the secret mixture was "bottle-aged" and therefore looked cool and had unbeatable flavor. My meal was equally good: a potted egg with creamed kale and a country ham and apple butter biscuit sandwich ($12) - but not just any sandwich, a very good-looking one. While the biscuit stack hit this sandwich lover's spot, I must say that I have never loved kale more in a dish. I really, really recommend this meal with all of my heart.



In conclusion, I am very happy that The Woodsman exists, and can't wait to make my third trip back and finally try the "Spicy Back" (Irish whiskey and spicy pickle juice) that has beckoned to me since I first laid eyes on the cocktail menu. If you live in Portland, I recommend you put this place on your calendar asap and if you live elsewhere make sure to check it out if you ever visit our fine city - we want to make a good impression on you and this tavern will do the trick.

I obviously love The Woodsman. Is there a restaurant that you go absolutely gaga over?

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Looking for Great Whites

Who else loves the wonderfully pungent smell of a freshly painted room? As luck would have it, my apartment has two rooms that are begging for a wall color makeover: the kitchen, which is currently a pale yellow (just not my color) and the bathroom, a really, really bright sky blue (better than the yellow but still not my color).  Some may call it boring, but I love a room that's painted a bright white, serving as the perfect backdrop for bold and bright artwork, furniture and accessories that can be easily switched out if tastes change. That and the fact that I'm renting in grey-skied Portland have led me to the conclusion that a crisp shade of white is the way to go.

Of course I need to make a trip to the paint store, get some samples and throw them up on the wall to see how they actually look in real life, but in the mean time I thought I'd do a roundup of some of my favorite white (or shades of white) rooms with paint colors included. If you're looking to do some painting in your own home, I hope you get some inspiration. Enjoy!

Atrium White by Benjamin Moore via

Natural Linen by Glidden via

White Dove by Benjamin Moore via

Witch Hazel by Olympic via

Soft White by Benjamin Moore via

Super White by Benjamin Moore via

Cream Fleece by Benjamin Moore via

Do you have a go-to shade of white in your design skills arsenal?

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Favorite Thing: Moroccan Wedding Blankets

You know how we all have those lists in our heads of things we would LOVE to have or do, but for whatever reason probably never will? For me that includes spending a Christmas in the Swiss Alps, owning a dalmation, being a nanny for a Hollywood celebrity (my aunt tried to convince me this could be a real possibility), having a wedding á la Rachel Getting Married, actually loving wine and, finally, having a Moroccan wedding blanket across my bed.

Moroccan wedding blankets are something I've been loving for a while now, and every time I see one pop up in a photo of a beautiful serene bedroom I fall into a daydream about owning one myself (even though I don't think my obsession with vintage chenille bedspreads will ever die). It spells adventure in faraway lands and centuries-old stories of romance... plus they're really, really pretty.

Here's a little schooling for ya... According to Apartment Therapy, "The creamy, sequined blankets, or handira, are a window onto traditional Berber culture. Known as Moroccan wedding blankets, handira are woven out of sheep's wool, cotton and linen by Berber women in the Middle Atlas mountains of Northern Morocco. [...] Berber wedding blankets are woven in anticipation of, you guessed it, a wedding, by the bride's female relatives. It can take many hours — even weeks — of work to attach those hundreds of mirrored sequins once the weaving is complete; it is thought that during this collaborative task, the bride's relatives teach her all about the birds and the bees, among other marital duties and expectations. After the wedding ceremony, the bride wears the blanket tied around her neck as a kind of cape. It might be associated with her trip to her new marital home, which could be a chilly ride."

Pretty cool, right? Behold....



Gorgeous, right? What things do you have on your "list?"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Design Trends 2013

I'm typically not one to follow trends; the only ones I can recall following from 2012 were the high-low skirt trend and the turban trend - the latter of which I never wore outside of my house, thank god. I put it on and spent a good 10 minutes trying to make it look like I had envisioned, when it dawned on me: I live in Portland, not LA, and I am not trendy. Free People's online marketing campaign had hypnotized me into believing I was though, for the five minutes it took to add the turban to my shopping cart then charge it to my credit card. Maybe I'll incorporate it into some weird Halloween costume this year and it won't go completely to waste.

So, when it comes to trends I end up either chickening out and the item just stays in my closet or I'll wear the thing a few times then feel like it's way past its prime (even if it technically isn't). But interior design trends are different, and that's why I wanted to do this post. Unless it's something that has rarely been done before and then EVERYONE and their hairstylist is behind the trend (chevron, Keep Calm and Carry On), interior design trends seem to be a little more subtle and therefore have more staying power. I perused blogs, magazines, and other interior design inspiration hot spots to come up with a short list of design trends that will be big in 2013. I hope you enjoy and get some kind of inspiration for the year ahead.

High-gloss / Lacquer

I love this trend because it can be done on a variety of scales: from accessories to walls, furniture to floors. For example, if you have a nightstand or dresser that needs a fresh coat of paint, you can just buy a high-gloss color at Home Depot and call yourself the Rachel Bilson of interiors. I accidentally followed this trend a few years back when I needed to repaint some furniture I'd picked up at a flea market (and lived with as-is for far too long) and for some reason or another went with high-gloss for my dresser and kitchen table. There have been absolutely no regrets since.

a glossy turquoise cabinet via Pinterest

balls to the lacquered orange walls via Odi et Amo

a pretty high-gloss nightstand via Decor Pad


Get the heck out of here silver because brass and gold are IN. This trend makes me especially happy because I usually answer with "gold" when someone asks me my favorite color. The color combos are endless: cream, slate blue and gold; pink, white and gold; navy, chartreuse and gold... I could go on forever. This is another trend that can be followed on a budget, just collect a few brass accessories or search for a brass lamp at garage and estate sales - trust me you will find one!

brass fixtures via The New York Times

brass lighting via Design Crisis

brass in the bathroom via Thunder In Our Heart

Grass Cloth Walls

If only I didn't live in an apartment and if only I had crossed "buy a sofa" off my to-do list. This trend is a bit of a splurge for most of it, but doesn't the beauty of this luxe wall covering make it worth it sometimes? Often done in pale blues, greens and greys, I love this in an unexpected color like pink or navy.

a warm shade of grass cloth La Dolce Vita

a serene green grass cloth (and notice the desk?) via La Maison Boheme

my favorite grass cloth of the bunch via Elle Decor

Emerald Green

As Pantone's "Color of the Year," you're going to be seeing green everywhere in 2013. Hopefully in more ways than one! Be bold and paint a wall or four in this bright jewel tone or simply bring some new green and white decorative pillows into your living room. Even though the trend is a particular shade of green, I can guarantee you this hue will have a pretty lax interpretation.

a bold green wall via Andie Johnson Sews

Pantone emerald green chairs via Chic & Deco

green all over the place via My Luscious Life

Natural Elements

A nod to nature will continue to be big in 2013, demonstrated with the use of raw materials in remodels, rustic furniture, vignettes of shells, bones, rocks, feathers and art depicting wild animals, vegetation, and interesting natural landscapes. My goal this year is to create a collection of potted succulents in front of my kitchen window and up the number of indoor plants in the rest of my apartment (because Mr. Staghorn is lonely).

dried wildflowers via Design Sponge

a driftwood wall via Design Sponge

a collection of bird prints via BHG

And to wrap it up, one trend I saw pop up but just can't get behind? Camo. Sorry folks, I will not be upholstering my couch in red, yellow and pink camouflage and I hope you won't be either. ;)

What 2013 design trend are you most excited about?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Best of Lately

After years of knowing it was coming eventually, my punishment for openly loving The Bachelor finally showed its annoying face. In an attempt to get over a ruthless cold, I used Oregon Trail logic and went to bed at 8:30 last night, only to be awoken by text after text after text with my friends' live Bachelor premiere commentary. That's what I get for being a passionate fan (not the hopeless romantic kind) and forgetting to make a public announcement that I was going to bed early. So I just spent the past hour (omg was that two hours?) hacking and sneezing through The Bachelor premiere a day late, understanding my friends' texts a day late, and I realized - if I can spend this much time watching something that absolutely adds no kind of value to my life, I think my blog deserves a little time too.

It's been a while since I've done a house tour post, or any post for that matter, so I'm going to play a quick game of catch-up and share a few of the best homes I've seen lately. Because frankly, these aren't ones to miss.

First up is the ultra-cool L.A. home of Interior Designer Jason Martin and Jon Brockett featured just today on the much-adored Apartment Therapy. What made this place really stand out to me were the unusual color palettes, bold artwork (with an emphasis on photography) and stylish pieces of furniture. I have been wanting to fill my apartment with oversized photographs and now I'm even more convinced that it's a must-do. On another note, I've never seen denim done better. I encourage you to check out AT's full tour, interview and source list here. Photos by Bethany Nauert

Next is another tour by Apartment Therapy showing off the incredible Hollywood Hills home of Parks & Recreation writer Alan Yang, designed by Sally Breer of Commingle Home. The best part about this tour? Alan's interview had me laughing out loud like a goon and his house has a real speakeasy tucked behind a secret door! Of course there's much more to love (must. have. that Lichtenstein!) so you should check out the rest of AT's tour, interview and source list here. Photos by Bethany Nauert

Okay I should just call this post The Best of Apartment Therapy Lately because this last house tour is from there too. Except we're not in Los Angeles anymore; this house is in my home state of (Austin) Texas. Homeowners Levi Dugat and Evette Richards have done a really nice thing with the abundant use of primary colors, which you honestly don't see very often. It feels good to just look at those youthful hues. I also love the airiness and simplicity of the space... something I appreciate mainly because it doesn't come naturally to me (for better or worse) when decorating my own home. Check out the rest of the AT tour, interview and source list here. Photos by Chris Perez

As I went through all the photos I've saved from house tours I've drooled over the past couple of months, I realized there are many more to share. Coming soon... after I catch up on all of my trash TV.

Which of these house tours appeals to you most and why?