On her Instagram account @findfarah, physician, accomplished baker, and friend of Schoolhouse Farah Guy gives her followers a window into her singular vision of graceful Portland living. Finding her dreamy life with husband Thomas, Goldendoodle Nora, and cat Nonami a constant source of inspiration, we wanted to give our readers an inside look at her lovely home filled with longtime Schoolhouse favorites.
How did the décor of your home come together? Did you set out with a design in mind or was it a more natural process that happened over time?
"We had a really tough time buying a house in Portland. We had dreamed of getting a charming bungalow but eventually ended up with new, modern, LEED-certified home that turned out better than imagined. It helped us with our goal to minimize our carbon footprint, but it didn't have the charm and character of an older home. The first purchase we made after we closed on our home were Schoolhouse lights. We love the design aesthetics of Schoolhouse—timeless and classic. The lighting in a space can completely change the atmosphere. Plus, we wanted to add more character and incorporate local products in our home."
"My husband and I are both into interior design and feel that our recent trips to Japan, Iceland along with our move to Portland and obsession with the show 'Fixer Upper' strongly influenced how we decorated this home. We started with a neutral palette, stuck with being minimalist and added pieces with function and character. After a few months in our home, we knew what spaces and things we used the most which naturally helped shape how we ended up decorating our home: minimalist, neutrals, lots of plants and shiplap!"
You’ve said you have over a hundred house plants. What draws you to them? Can one ever really have enough greenery?
"We didn't start out loving plants. We had a hard time keeping a cactus and bamboo alive while we lived in Austin. Since moving to Portland, we missed our old condo, which had a lot of charm, and were living in an apartment with a lot of decorating restrictions. We started with wall plants and hanging plants because of our pets. We eventually started adding more plants as our local nursery gave us a lot of tips on how to keep them alive. We loved having more of the outdoors indoors. Most people in Portland will tell you one of the best perks of living here is all of the outdoor beauty. They will also tell you the winter is quite dark and at times 'gloomy.' As a psychiatrist who is interested cultural adaptations to issues such as seasonal affective disorder, I am fascinated by Scandinavian culture and the concept of feeling hygge [a Danish word which means 'fun,' but conceptually translates to something like 'conviviality' or 'welcoming coziness']."
"By bringing more plants indoors and creating more hygge in our home, we love spending time inside in the winter. So my tip to those considering getting house plants is go find a local nursery. They will help you figure out which plants can live where based on light needs, how to take care of them, what to avoid if you have pets and what to do if you're still having a hard time. And to finally answer your question, you can't ever have too much greenery. Think about all of that fresh oxygen."
How does the look and feel of your home relate to your lifestyle? Are you drawn to things more for their form or their functionality?
"The functionality of our home is key. The open layout of our space, bigger windows, LEED certification, just to a name a few, definitely makes this home feel more comfortable. My husband is a designer and always says design is about form AND function. With most things in our home, we definitely consider both before bringing it home."
Considering how much you love baking, how important was the kitchen to your overall interior design plans?
"Very important. Baking usually takes a long time if you prepare all of it from scratch. Having a home with an open layout gave us the opportunity to feel connected while doing different things. During NFL season, you will find me baking all day while my husband is obsessing over every Steeler's game."
What’s your favorite type of treat to bake?
"I am in love with the farmer's markets in Portland. I didn't learn to cook until I moved to Portland. One visit to the PSU Farmer's Market changed all of that. My favorite thing to bake are seasonal desserts, which currently means strawberry rhubarb pies. Hood strawberries are so heavenly."
Finally, summer is upon us, which means people in Portland are going to be getting out and exploring more than ever. Where are some of your favorite places to spend a warm summer evening in Portland?
"Summer time is magical in Portland with its long days, cool breezes and bug free outdoors which are perfect for picnics. My favorite spots are Skidmore Bluffs, Peninsula Park, and Cathedral Park."
Photography by Jamie Jones