Categories: Home+Garden

Designer Spotlight: Sarah Phipps

written by Melissa Dalton | photos by Joseph Eastburn

As a longtime lover of old homes and decorating with salvage, designer Sarah Phipps enjoys giving neglected houses new life. “It’s a challenge,” she said. “And a fun puzzle to figure out.” Here, she shares a kitchen redo that she did for a larger remodel of a 1912 Bend triplex, as well as her top tip for getting the vintage vibe right.

What did the space look like before?

Everything was battered and neglected. All of the floors were covered with dirty, ugly carpet. But underneath that was the original wood flooring. And the trim on the windows and doors were all original, [as were many of the windows]. So I tried to save all the vintage details.

Tell me about the kitchen.

We kept the original cabinets, and I just cleaned them and painted them because they were in good shape. I kept all the wood floors. Then I added the tile backsplash. The countertops are Corian because I was trying to use a material that was more budget-friendly but also durable and easy to clean. And I didn’t want it to jar with the vintage quality of the house. To make it feel more vintage, we had them make a deep, integrated sink and route out the drainboard beside it.

What about the appliances?

The client wanted new appliances [for easy upkeep]. The Smeg refrigerator has a smaller profile. The range and dishwasher are both from the GE Artistry series, which is a good price point. They have a good combination of modern and vintage styling, which is what I was going for in the whole place.

Any tips for people wanting to do something similar?

Before you get started, one of the most important things is to take a moment and breathe. Don’t just start ripping everything out. Stop and very carefully walk through and look at the space. Often I find a cheap material has been installed and preserved the vintage material beneath it. Look for the original details because those things are almost impossible or ridiculously expensive to replace.

Can you give me an example?

It might cost just as much to refinish an existing wood floor as it does to put a new one on top. But know that the wood from 60 or 70 years ago was old-growth wood. It had a lot more personality and character. You’re not going to be able to replace that. You literally cannot go out and buy that wood anymore. I think that even if things are a little rough around the edges, that roughness is what makes things have soul. There’s something you can feel that radiates off of them. So, try to save that and not just gloss over everything. The kneejerk reaction is to go in and to make everything brand new, but brand new is not always better.

Published by

Recent Posts

Spring Whiskey Events Around Oregon

MARCH 25 Distillery Startup Workshop Mon, Mar 25 – Fri, Mar 29 Corvallis Corvallis, OR MARCH 28 The Eastburn’s Whiskey…

1 month ago

Women and Whiskey at Freeland Spirits

Freeland Spirits sets out to do distilling differently written by Sheila Miller Freeland Spirits started with a Texas grandma, a…

1 month ago

Gravel Riding Calendar 2019

WASHINGTON Cascadia Super Gravel (Olympia) — March 30 Vicious Cycle's Gran Fondo Series Ephrata — March 17 Goldendale…

1 month ago

Gravel Ride the PNW

Get off the pavement and into backcountry on gravel roads across the Pacific Northwest by Kevin Max I climbed the…

1 month ago

Northwest Destination: Spokane Rising

Spokane is the right jumping-off point for outdoor adventure and sophisticated city life written by Cara Strickland If you’re looking…

1 month ago

Trip Planner: Redmond

Central Oregon’s oft-overlooked city is getting cool before our eyes written by Sheila Miller Not so long ago, downtown Redmond…

1 month ago