“Miss Vicky, as I affectionately named her, is a soulful lady with a little edginess,” says Angela Medlin by way of introduction to her 1906 Victorian cottage in Portland, Oregon’s Sunnyside. Medlin is a fashion designer and self-described “creativepreneur” specializing in sportswear: a series of job overseeing apparel collections for Adidas and Nike’s Jordan Brand are what led her to relocate to Portland, Oregon—three different times. She’s currently staying put, living and working in Miss Vicky.
Medlin bought her house five years ago—”I was renting a place around the corner and drove by as the broker was staking the For Sale sign in the ground”—and what began as a purely cosmetic remodel ended up, as they so often so, requiring unanticipated structural work. Seven months later, Medlin came away with a new kitchen (and foundation under it) and an entirely different looking house: in place of the “mustard and ketchup” exterior, she introduced a stately, unifying charcoal black.
Photography courtesy of Schoolhouse Electric, unless noted.
“My friends and family will tell you, they were not convinced by my vision,” Medlin tells us. “Ha ha, Miss Vicky just needed some love. As a non-traditional designer, I followed my instincts and chose color to reimagine the look of this traditional house.”
Medlin grew up in Hamlet, North Carolina. Her mother and grandparents encouraged her love of drawing— and she went on to study fashion and environmental design at NC State. In 2017, after 25 years in the corporate world—designing and directing creative teams for among others, The North Face and Levi Strauss—she founded the Functional Apparel and Accessories Studio (FAAS), an educational program that’s now part of Portland’s Pensole Design Academy, where Medlin is currently busy teaching and mentoring: “The school nurtures and promotes diversity,” she says. “We prepare the next generation of specialized designers to enter the apparel arena.”
Here, she had shelves built on the dining room wall and painted them white “so the books looks like they’re floating.” Of her horizontal stacks she says: “It’s easier to look at them this way—you don’t have to turn your head sideways to read the titles. I’m a very logical person.” The house is approximately 2,5oo square feet, and as a contrast to the exterior, the interior is just about all white—Sherwin Williams’ White Duck, a shade Medlin settled on after testing 15 options on each wall. “I like that it adds perceived space and it’s the canvas that brings everything together in a relaxed way.”
On the back wall, Medlin used subway tiles in a running bond pattern set off with a dark grout to match the new slate floor (for more ideas, see Remodeling 101: White Tile Pattern Glossary).The handy Wall-Mounted Paper Roller and brass Nicolai Utility Rail, are both from Schoolhouse Electric.
Here are some more inspired historic updates: