How a 29-year-old, self-proclaimed “surfer gal” from sunny California ended up in the middle of Portland, Oregon, is a story of the journey to home-ownership. For some, packing up and moving across state lines is a perfectly reasonable sacrifice for owning your dream home. And for entrepreneur Amanda Franz, a strong determination to purchase her own home before she turned 30 drove her to this 1930s English cottage-style 4-bedroom home in Northeast Portland. Amanda set this goal for herself when she was young and wasn’t about to let geographic location stop her from finding exactly what she was looking for. Since she runs a custom stationary business called Wide Eyes Paper Co. from home, Amanda takes full advantage of her sunlight-filled abode most days of the week with her puppy, Milo, and draws creativity from its design.


“As a visual artist, aesthetics play a huge roll in my design process. I see all forms of design including interior as a form of self-expression.”

Although the home was “almost too perfect” when she bought it, by adding a few unexpected touches here and there, Amanda has carved out a space that is a genuine and unique representation of her in every sense. Time and patience (and a hefty number of mood boards!) she says, has paid off. See Amanda describe the space in her own words and get a full tour below!

Amanda Franz’s Home Tour

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

“I think my home is the perfect blend of whimsical and modern. Built in the 1930s with all original windows but upgraded appliances and fixtures, it features a classic white picket fence along the perimeter of the home and the cutest dutch door you’ve ever seen (one of my favorite parts!). It even has an outdoor office that I am going to build out to be my studio space. I work from home so this is such a bonus to be able to design a space to create intentional work-life balance.

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

The power is in the details, at least in my eyes. When I moved in, my home was an amazing blank canvas filled with white walls and natural light — a dream to me on those gray Portland days as a gal who came from a sunshine state.

I really appreciate clean, minimal design. This is was one of my goals when designing out each room. I wanted furniture and art that I would love forever, and chose to invest accordingly. I only believe in accumulating the items that spark joy and ignite creativity.

As a visual artist, aesthetics play a huge roll in my design process. I see all forms of design including interior as a form of self-expression. My goals were to design my home from a heart space versus a head space, while combining aesthetics and functionality unique to my personality.

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

I’d have to say my kitchen is my favorite aspect of my home. It is on the smaller side, but it has so much charm. I love the open shelving filled with plants, cook books, and my favorite coffee mugs. However, my favorite part of the kitchen is the rounded kitchen nook. When I first moved in, the house almost felt too perfect. I wanted to add in quirky elements that felt like me in a subtle way. On the inside of the kitchen nook I added tropical wallpaper which was a subtle way to add in a little bit of So-Cal tropics. I also wanted to add a little bit of funky to my bedroom staircase so I implemented the same wall-paper on every other stair case. So fun! Lastly, I had cushions custom made for the little nook for the ultimate coffee or wine drinking experience (depending on the hour!).

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

The backyard “office” was already there for me, but it didn’t have the right shape, so I am in the process of building out my own design studio. I just received the permit back so stay tuned for the build out!

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

home tour — west elm amanda franz

My best advice for first-time homeowners is have fun and be patient with the process! Think about the energy, emotion, and vibe you want in a room before buying or starting the design process. Think about how you want the people you love to feel when they enter into your home. As a visual artist with a creative spirit this is the one of the most important things to me.

Take your time, create mood-boards, and allow yourself space to dream of what you really want each room to be. Designing and curating a whole house is so much work (and money) so patiently waiting for the right pieces to come is my biggest tip and it is so worth it!

home tour — west elm amanda franz

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