Tag Archives: Rustic Desgin

Russell St BBQ Remodel

rustic interior designers restaurant remodel portland
          The owners of Portland’s down-home-cookin’ joint Russell Street BBQ, Sharon and Diane, approached us when looking for someone to freshen up their charming restaurant.  Housed in a cavernous 1909 building, this well-regarded and authentic barbecue spot was in need of some updating.  The goal: match the interior decor of the restaurant to the heightened caliber of the food. The style of the food is approachable, well-crafted, and something your mother would’ve served if you grew up in the south and she happened to be an inventive and skilled chef.  Drawing inspiration from traditional sauces tasted in the Carolina’s, Kentucky, and everywhere along the way to Portland, Oregon, Sharon and Diane have managed to take the best of Americana flavor and find that sweet spot between nostalgia and gourmet.
          One of the most unique things about this restaurant is their dedication to providing entrees that are both comforting and healthy.  On my last visit I ordered a fresh, green salad and was delighted that I got to add any one of their barbecued meats to it.  It was the perfect way to get a taste of smoky beef brisket without needing a nap afterward. That freshness is reflected in our design choices: clean, bright yellow and red for the walls, seasonal flowers in mason jars for every table, a rustic, rich brown stain for the wainscoting and wood details, and whimsical chalk messages on cast iron skillets sprinkled throughout the space.
          It was important to make the space feel more like home: welcoming, approachable, clean, and fun.  The owners’ personality shines through accent pieces they already had: aged whiskey barrels as bar tables, an adorable bucking pig logo, and corrugated metal accents in the entry.  We brought these accents together with new paint,  new mason jar and tin bucket lighting, and a new feature wall with a logo that stretches all the way up to the 15 foot high ceilings.  Painting Oregon really came through and knocked this massive project out of the park.

restaurant remodel interior design portland style

We have just recently completed Phase 1 of this remodel, head on over to 325 NE Russell Street and check it out!

For more photos of the space, check out the Portfolio Gallery.

Phase 1-1




Milk Glass Christmas

delicious holiday decor beautiful interior design portland interior designers

It’s that pretty little dish at Grandma’s house near the davenport that holds those hard candies that have magically all fused into one.  It’s those petite white vases that were made to display a single red rose.  Sometimes it lives in the china cabinet–too delicate for regular use.  We’ve all seen it, but few have really paid it the attention it deserves.

This Christmas, I’m bringing it back to showcase it’s opalescent glory.  It’s Milk Glass, and it accents the most beautiful holiday tablescapes.

holiday decor christmas table style interior design

Because of an American resurgence in the 1930’s and ’40’s, it may seem like this dinner-table staple dates back less than a century. However, the origins are much more interesting than that.

It turns out that milk glass–a term that wasn’t coined until the 19th century–has been around since the 1500’s and originated in Venice.  While opaque white is the most recognizable form of milk glass today, it came in a variety of “milky” colors, including black, brown, pink and blue.  Popularity surged in France as the decadent style of well-coiffed aristocrats was replaced with a more approachable, natural aesthetic reflected in the simplicity of a milk glass motif.

For our purposes, this tableware will create a neutral backdrop for pops of holiday colors and textures.  It provides a clean palette that will fit-in with a variety of styles–most especially a colorful Victorian like mine.  Our Christmas brunch has an intimate feel, with an antique table set for four.  With all of the seasonal sweets and leftovers, a brunch is the perfect way to re-purpose some of that holiday ham.

The best part about decorating with milk glass?  If you’re not a stickler for authenticity, you can very easily pick up a bushel of reproduction pieces at your local flee market on the cheap.  In spite of the thrifty prices, I still recommend taking care when handling your glass.  It doesn’t react well to temperature changes; I would never put it in the dishwasher or microwave, and when hand washing try to use water that is close to room temp.  Would hate to unknowingly damage a piece that was made in 19th Century France(!).

I would love to hear about your milk-glass adventures.  Let us know what you think about this timeless treasure in the comments or over on our Facebook page.

Happy Decorating!


China’s Top Design Magazine

magazine article interior design by allison smith interior designers

In 2009, shortly after completing her Jackson Hole project near Beijing, Allison was interviewed by China’s Top Design Magazine.  They were interested in her process around choosing color and decor.

magazine article interior design by allison smith interior design magazine feature allison smith designer interior design magazine feature allison smith designer interior design magazine feature allison smith designer modern interior design style portland modern interior design by allison smith rustic interior design style portland classic interior design style by allison smith creative interior design style in portland amazing interior design style by allison smith farmhouse interior design remodel home decor modern apartment interior design studio space small interior design rustic farmhouse design interior magazine feature interior design by allison smith magazine feature interior design local interior design team allison smith

Winter Bold Paint Palette

Winter bold color palette for interior design paint

In our last blog post, we featured a step-by-step guide to choosing color.  If you scored mostly A’s in our Quiz and love to make a bold statement, then the perfect palette for you is…

interior design paint colors quiz

Interior design color coordinating idea board

Your style is classic, smart, and straightforward.

The perfect palette for you offers clean lines and a touch of drama by punctuating fresh white with strong fabric colors.  In fabrics, go for deep tones, lots of texture, and mix in a bold black and white print.  This palette is great for older, classic homes but will work well in a modern setting as long as the colors are fully saturated.

I recommend using no more than four colors to create a coordinated color scheme.  Subtle hues and tints of these colors may be used to vary the effect.  Each palette is divided into one predominant color and three accent colors.  Use the predominant color in the palette for the largest areas or space in the house, such as the entryway, hallway, family room, or great room. We ended up using the predominant color–a crisp white–in the kitchen, and one of the accent colors–a sunny yellow–for the living room and dining room.

We used this color palette for an update of a beautiful 1920’s cottage in NW Portland.  A bold, black and white kitchen leads into a sunny dining and living room.  Romantic arches and built-ins are brought to life with our AS01W and AS02W.  This home was always full of charm, now it has the colors to match.  Check out the rest of the photos here.

Love Your Colors?

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interior design by allison smith with winter bold yellow walls

Take me back to the other colors:

Winter          Spring          Summer          Fall


Everything About the Kitchen Sink

Double faucet farmhouse sink kitchen remodel
Latest obsession:  The Farmhouse Sink aka Bib Sink

…aka Apron front.  Whatever you call it, we love it.  Considered by some to be the original sink, these large, utilitarian, rectangular basins were designed to do it all: chores, prepping food, washing all of the dishes, and sometimes washing children too.  Recent trends are heading towards a utilitarian look: exposed brick and hardwood, pendants with exposed bulbs, metal pipes as shelving, the list goes on and on.  Of the items on this list of trends, the farmhouse sink might be the most useful.  Who doesn’t want a sink that can fit both a saucepan and a baby?

This sink is amazing because it instantly creates ambiance in the kitchen.  When you walk in and see a farmhouse sink, you know immediately that this homeowner appreciates a classic, country look, but wants to keep up with a great, long-lasting trend.  While they can fit right in with a modern, eclectic style,  these sinks are especially appropriate for our older Portland home remodels.  Homes in Portland don’t get much older than the 1920’s and 30’s, which is the perfect era for this look.  (Side note: here is an awesome map showing the age of Portland homes) Whether your home is a country cottage, or newer construction with a post-industrial design, this sink will last a lifetime and somehow always feel fresh.

This kitchen sink doesn’t have the bib, but still has plenty of farmhouse charm.  We used black subway tile, soft blue walls, and a silver tin ceiling.  Cup pulls help tie the look together and keep it true to the home’s classic architecture.

Double faucet farmhouse sink kitchen remodel

Chrome cup pull in farmhouse kitchen remodel with farm sink design Double faucet farmhouse sink

The classic black and white kitchen.  Always a charmer, and so easily livened up with some pops of color from flowers, towels, and dishes.  The best thing about a black and white kitchen is you can really go wild with your accessories and completely update the look on a whim.

farmhouse sink bib sink in black and white vintage kitchen remodel

A more subdued, country kitchen also works well with this style of sink.  Use the colors you would find on a farm: the buttery cream of fresh milk, rustic bronze from rich soil, and cornflower blue.

Oil rubbed bronze faucet on farmhouse sink bib sink in kitchen remodel


And last, but certainly not least, our newest remodel of a home in Carlton, Oregon.  This kitchen received the star treatment remodel with all new appliances, flooring, countertops, and a mosaic tile backsplash that goes all the way to the ceiling(!).  This eclectic design combines new trends with lasting traditions.  Let us know what you think.

interior design kitchen remodel with floating shelves


What do you think of this style?  Will it last?  Would you use this sink in conjunction with a modern home?

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