When we scout locations to shoot for our catalogs, we like to keep things in the family and often feature employees, friends and neighbors.Our team is small but scrappy and we've always taken pride in our ability to take real spaces and give them that Schoolhouse touch. For our Fall catalog, as per usual, we didn't have to look far. Say hello to Summer and Patrick, residents-of and makers-behind the beloved Portland venue Union Pine. We photographed them and their adorable dog Arly in their loft home - right above the event business they built from the ground-up - and mere blocks away from our original Schoolhouse building.
Inspired by their passion and willingness to roll up their sleeves and get to work, we love what their story represents and who they are individually and as a couple. In addition to their Union Pine duties and expansion, Patrick has also founded Goodwell+Co, a subscription-based service offering sustainable alternatives to plastic toothbrushes - just another notch in their collective maker belt. After our catalog shoot, we spoke with Summer to share a bit more about their (completely cute) love story and what "making home" - our fall theme - means to them.
Tell us a little about you + Patrick’s love story:
"We actually met when Patrick was looking for a tenant here in the building and I was looking for a place to live. We shared the dream of renovating an old warehouse into a loft apartment and immediately bonded while planning a way to make it a reality...as friends. We’d be roommates upstairs while we started a business hosting events and meetings on the main level. As life would have it though - a month after meeting - we were a couple, and I was moving in.
The business took off and our relationship thrived, despite our unconventional situation. We lived in a constant construction zone for a solid 4 years, first in the venue, and then in various locations upstairs with plastic for walls. We always found a way to make it work, building a little at a time ourselves until last summer, when we finally had the big build-out completed. It all wrapped up the week of our wedding, just over 5 years after I’d answered his Craigslist ad."
Tell us about the loft space you two renovated together!
"Local Portlanders know our home as the former Meow Meow, an all-ages club that they saw Death Cab for Cutie or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or another amazing band back in the early 2000’s. We know it as our labor of love that we poured puddles of blood, sweat, and tears into while we battled with the Fire Marshal, the City, and five separate architects. We are so proud of all we overcame to get here, and so honored to be carrying on the legacy of this amazing building."
What does “making home” mean to you?
"No matter how much chaos surrounded us in the building, we made it a priority to have a clean and cozy bedroom. It usually had piles of wood and various construction debris in it and for years it didn’t have actual walls but we always made sure to keep that space for ourselves. To us, that room where we would crash after a 14-hour-day of sweaty, dirty labor was home. It was a challenge to not have more than that for so many years (especially all those dinner parties we hosted with a single hot plate). But we made it through together!"
Say you and Patrick have an open day on the calendar – what might you do for fun?
"Any chance we get we spend the day in the woods with our dog, and then the evening at a brewery. Nature is our favorite place to disconnect and talk through ideas together, and we certainly have no shortage of options for here!"
What advice do you have for other couples who might be making their first home together?
"Make the bedroom a special place for you to get away from the work together. Don’t take the stress out on each other. Remind yourself of the end result when you’re on the verge of freaking out. Set goals you can hit, make plenty of lists, know your limits - and stick to them."
What’s the best decorating decision you made in your loft space? What about a decision you wish you could do-over? And, besides becoming first-time parents this Winter - What’s your next big project?
"As far as the actual design goes, I’m really happy with our idea of how to provide the bedrooms with natural light despite the building’s restrictions. We designed the master closet and pantry without ceilings, which allowed us to have windows into the master bedroom that are open to the loft. I appreciate how items collected from travels, made by family, or made by Patrick and I together blend with the modern and vintage decor we’ve selected. There are some great stories behind certain pieces, which bring our hearts and our history into our home on a very personal level.
As far as doing something differently if we could, it’d have to be doing the ceiling and the floors earlier, since it would have been much simpler to sandblast the beams and polish the concrete before we built walls. Fitting that project in now that the space is done is certainly more of a challenge! The good news is, we will be able to get that work done in the next phase, which we hope to do in 2019 - two more stories that will become a handful of 1 & 2 bedroom loft apartments. We’re excited to spend these next couple of years settling into this chapter of our dream and starting our family. By then we should be ready for some construction chaos again."
Thanks to Summer & Patrick for letting us shoot our Fall catalog in their incredible space.