This Interior Designer Turned Her Cookie-Cutter Town House Into A Personal Art Gallery

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“The biggest challenge was using what was already here but making it better,” says Tiffany (left). “This isn’t our forever home, so I had to be really smart about what I decided to spend money on and what just needed a small facelift. It’s way easier to bring your full vision to life without any restrictions, but the fun part is figuring it out with those limitations.”

When interior designer Tiffany Thompson bought this two-bedroom Portland, Oregon, town house in 2016, she was working at Nike and viewed its close proximity to the company’s headquarters as a major benefit. It also didn’t hurt that she had access to a community pool and tennis court, or that the drive toward her street was lined with towering trees. But the deciding factor, Tiffany remembers, is that it had a certain Pacific Northwest luxury. “What initially drew me to this place was the amount of natural light it received. It’s pretty bright all of the time,” Tiffany says. “Coming from Miami where it’s usually sunny, the thing that scared me most about purchasing a home in Portland was that it was going to be dark and rainy seven months out of the year.”

The challenge would be turning this cookie-cutter town house into a personalized haven. Tiffany was surrounded by a blank canvas. Luckily, her boyfriend, Julian Gaines, is a fine artist. “With all of the art, we want to evoke emotion and really let them be the highlight of our home,” she says. “Being with an artist is amazing because I have endless items to choose from.”

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“For the dining room art, Julian imagined himself being next in line on his way to heaven and seeing the person in front of him receiving his halo,” she says. The table is from Lillian August, and the surrounding chairs are from Design Within Reach. The Studio Eero Aarnio Mini Pony Chair in the corner was found at Finnish Design Shop.

Tiffany couldn’t touch the exterior or overhaul its interior, thanks to a homeowners’ association and a limited budget, but she could reimagine its white walls. She pictured a theme of timeless and cozy beauty, punctuated by details that were functional yet exciting upon a closer glance. Tiffany considered her canvas for a year, figuring that it was best to take her time on “making this home feel like me.” And when she was ready, she landed primarily on a black-and-white palette. “It’s amazing how these two colors bring a sense of balance to a space,” Tiffany says. “There’s also so much greenery outside that the black-and-white palette grounded my home and makes the backdrop of the outdoors feel and look even more intense.”

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“These types of homes have exteriors that all look alike, so it was important for me to have some features that were our own and fun,” Tiffany says. The accent wall is made of one-and-three-fourths inch oak slats that were nailed to the wall in one-inch gaps. The entire project was painted in Tricorn Black by Sherwin-Williams. The coffee table and floor lamp are from CB2, and the chrome Wassily side chairs were found on Chairish. The framed artwork was created by Julian and the masks are vintage.

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