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5 simple decor tips from Lake Oswego’s Vanillawood design firm


Look around your home and you’ll know if you’re longing for a fresh start. Maybe the New Year is the time to start thinking about updating the kitchen or installing a fetching piece of art in the living room.

Kricken Yaker, who co-owns the Lake Oswego-based design, build and interior design firm and store Vanillawood, with her husband James Yaker, is hired by clients to help with dressing up the decor to whole house remodels.

She’s a big believer that sprucing up what you already have not only saves money, but recycling is rewarding in many ways. Sometimes, though, a house needs an entirely new look and feel.

Yaker worked with a couple to transform their Lake Oswego lodge-style house into an open, modern, kid-friendly home. French doors that closed off the living room from the deck were replaced with a 12-foot-long wall of glass that slides to connect the interior walnut wood floor to the slate out on the deck.

The kitchen went from an uninviting room with dark cabinets and small windows to a bright, high-gloss space with glassy white cabinet fronts and a large polished Carrara marble island. Walnut was used on the pantry doors, shelves and trim over the white subway tile surrounding the stove.

Here are five easy design tips from Vanillawood Design/Build Firm owner Kricken Yaker:

  1. Reupholster your furniture: Breathe new life into a tired piece of furniture or family heirloom with a fresh new fabric and a little paint. Bonus, you are being green by recycling what you already have.
  2. Use statement wallpaper: Add personality to your home using a modern, nature-infused pattern or bold pop-of-color graphic wallpaper to deliver instant visual interest to a space.
  3. Install art: Original artwork is so much more than just a decoration. It inspires conversation and encourages us to look at the world in a different way. To learn about art before you buy, visit the Portland Art Museum’s rental sales gallery, and attend artist fairs and artist’s open studio events.
  4. Refresh your bookcase: Use your shelves to tell your stories and reflect your personal style with a mix of visually stunning books, favorite photographs and sculptural design pieces.
  5. Update lighting fixtures: Lighting is the jewelry of the room so don’t overlook it. Think about what you’re lighting and how you want the space to be illuminated in addition to the style of the lighting fixture you select.

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