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Urban Cottage: Designer and “Creativepreneur” Angela Medlin’s Chic Victorian in Portland, OR

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Urban Cottage: Designer and “Creativepreneur” Angela Medlin’s Chic Victorian in Portland, OR

July 13, 2020

“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.

We discovered Medlin first as fans of House Dogge, her stylish dog toys company, and then via a blog post in Schoolhouse Electric. Intrigued, we came (digitally) knocking and she welcomed us in.

Photography courtesy of Schoolhouse Electric, unless noted.

the exterior is painted in graphite with onyx trim, both from benjamin moore   9
Above: The exterior is painted in Graphite with Onyx trim, both from Benjamin Moore  (to see the transformative powers of paint, scroll to the end for a Before shot).

“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 and her beloved, late dog wubbi, an olde english bulldogge. medlin is we 10
Above: Medlin and her beloved, late dog Wubbi, an Olde English Bulldogge. Medlin is wearing a sweatshirt of her own design—currently not in production but she makes a Hoody Fleece that’s “the equivalent for dogs.”

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.”

the back of the house has new tall glazing and a patio for outdoor eating. 11
Above: The back of the house has new tall glazing and a patio for outdoor eating.
&#8\2\20;whenever i move—this is my sixth home—the first thing i do is  12
Above: “Whenever I move—this is my sixth home—the first thing I do is build shelves,” Medlin tells us, adding that this time, she narrowed down her book collection down from 900 volumes to 500 (mostly hardcover novels and design books).

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.”

the existing kitchen, medlin&#8\2\17;s contractor discovered, was a long ag 13
Above: The existing kitchen, Medlin’s contractor discovered, was a long-ago addition that got added onto the back porch with “not much under it—it was falling off,” so that’s what ended up requiring extensive structural work and all new fittings.

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.

medlin displays art all over. &#8\2\20;i’ve never been someone who wanted 14
Above: Medlin displays art all over. “I’ve never been someone who wanted bright, shiny objects; I like things that are soulful and that tell a story.” The cabinets have Knurled Pulls in natural brass.
a orderly open pantry created with a black walnut coat rack and foundry cart, i 15
Above: A orderly open pantry created with a Black Walnut Coat Rack and Foundry Cart, inspired by the rolling shelving in French bakeries.
in her home studio, medlin uses old school lockers for storage. the yellow stan 16
Above: In her home studio, Medlin uses old school lockers for storage. The yellow standing light is the Studio Floor Lamp and the domed pendant is the Ostara, both by Schoolhouse Electric.
medlin launched house dogge three years ago as a passion project devoted to mak 17
Above: Medlin launched House Dogge three years ago as a passion project devoted to making sustainable, made-in-America dog accessories, including the biodegradable Vegetable-Tanned Leather Tug Toy.
a \1960s surrealist painting—passed on to medlin by an older friend when she  18
Above: A 1960s surrealist painting—passed on to Medlin by an older friend when she lived in Seattle—leans on the second floor landing. The house’s fir floors are original.
there are two bedrooms downstairs and this one upstairs. the hamilton bed is mo 19
Above: There are two bedrooms downstairs and this one upstairs. The Hamilton Bed is modeled after classic, turn-of-the-20th century iron bedsteads.
the bathroom came with its claw footed tub, hung here with a painterly stripe s 20
Above: The bathroom came with its claw-footed tub, hung here with a Painterly Stripe Shower Curtain.

Before

angela medlin house before
Above: The house came with a “mustard and ketchup” paint job. In recent months, Medlin has converted the garage into her home design studio. For more dark exterior paint options, see Architects’ Favorite Black Exterior Paint Colors. Photograph courtesy of Angela Medlin.

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