amy azzaritointerior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: charley wheelock of kapow designs

by Amy Azzarito

this portland home of , wife jessica and kids madeleine (7) and leo (5) must be one fun place. after-all, charley is the creator of this amazing soapbox derby motorcycle, which makes him a pretty cool dad in our book! charley, , moved with the family to portland from nyc nearly five years ago. they put their roots down in this southeastern portland home, which they’ve been making their own piece by piece! {thanks charley, jessica, madeleine and leo!}amy a.

[The house is old and we have made some great changes to it.  With our stuff and our collective touch we are striving to achieve the perfect balance between lean and cozy and dammit if we aren’t getting close!  We love our house.

We completely renovated our kitchen last year with hardly any budget.  We opened it up by getting rid of the hanging cabinets and replacing them with open shelves made from fir 2 x 4s my neighbor hauled out of an old house.  We love the beat up wood and nail holes next to the clean white subway tile from and the bright white trim.  We joined a couple of oak butcher blocks from IKEA to make the countertop.  We love to cook and eat so it is nice to have everything where we can see it, for inspiration.]

We got rid of the cabinets over the range and replaced them with more reclaimed Doug Fir shelves.  These shelves were designed around the dimensions of the IKEA range hood.  (We try to disguise our IKEA stuff)  The cool spherical tea pot was a wedding present from Jessie’s good friend.  We purchased the painting off  of the wall of a restaurant in Moscow where President Clinton and I both ordered the sturgeon (separate times).  I am wondering where our cool, stone mortar and pestle is. It usually lives next to the white Eva Zeisel bowl? Hmmm…  LEO!!!

This is our entrance/mud room/micro office.  We get dramatic natural light in here that changes throughout the day.  The Sirch scooter and the Kaiser desk lamp are both from our favorite furniture store in NY, Regeneration (regenerationfurniture.com). The bench is one of a line called Skuk (http://www.kapowdesign.com/skuk1.htm) that I made from a pile of exotic wood pallet stickers that I bought from a wierdo through Craigslist.  Jessie and I found the mirror on the street in Williamsburg and fixed it up with some shellac, wax and love. We were horrified to find that the old mercury mirror antiquing effect was caused by the secretion generated by the cockroach nest we found behind the glass!.  We evicted the roaches but still enjoy their mirror antiquing technique.

Our living room is painted a warm, soft grey.  We have this color all over the place.  The hues change drastically with the light so we go for less complicated furniture and splashes of color that can hold their own, anytime of the day.  I made the coffee table, part of my Gravity line, and Jessie made the cougar pillow for Leo using Marimekko fabric.  It sits on a Pottery Barn couch.  And, yes, the inevitable IKEA side table. The Artek poster came from Finland via ebay!

CLICK HERE for the rest of Charley’s peek!

The bookshelves are a system called Booxes that I first made for Birdseye Building Company in VT (http://www.birdseyebuilding.com/).  The painting of the freaky gal is by my  pal Gretel. We studied industrial design together at Pratt.  And that would be a real Eames chair.  We love the Eameses.  Not just their stuff but them.

We just remodeled our bathroom and it was the nightmare everyone told me it would be.  We completely gutted it and opened it up.  Although we only really gained a few cubic inches of space, we made it feel much bigger and brighter and cleaner than it did.  The tub and pedestal  sink were Craigslist poachings. The mirrors and curtain material are, you guessed it…IKEA.  We went with a hardwood floor and are going to hang some big wooden shelves in there to warm it up aesthetically and make it feel closer to Finland, geographically.


We have all three bedrooms upstairs.  Our room is very calm.  The bedside tables are a flea market score from Cobble Hill and we have been meaning to restore them for about ten years.  The rice paper Japanese prints were passed down from Jessie’s Grandmother.  We hang long, white curtains and let them billow like they are at the Delano Hotel in South Beach.  The bench was made by my dad back when he was in high school and the barrister cabinets were his also.


Leo gets the socialist summer camp poster we obtained at the flea market  in Moscow.  Lucky boy!

Madeleine is very organized, like her mother.  She was pleased when we gave her that vintage dresser we got on Craigslist.  This is not staged, she really keeps her room like that.  The balloons come and go.

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  • I really like the desk in the micro-office/mudroom/entrance. I’m assuming it is vintage; it sure looks like it is.

  • This house looks like a really fun place to live, but *very* cool at the same time.

    The text on this one is almost as good as the house!

  • I moved into an apartment with open kitchen cabinets (also in SE PDX!) and I will never go back.

    I LOVE the contrast of the wood with the subway tile in the kitchen. The whole house is beautiful.

    Great commentary and fabulous style!

  • The entire house is amazing – so well assembled. If the home owner could share how they built the open shelves in the kitchen I would be most grateful. I want to pull out one of my wall cabinets and do a similar treatment.

  • Love the dresser in Madeleine’s room. And I’m impressed by how neat she keeps it – hilarious! Overall, a very beautiful home.

  • could anyone weigh in regarding open shelves and cats? I love the look but don’t want to regret it when my bebes have taken to sleeping on the plates. Do you notice your stuff gets dusty quickly?

  • I could totally live in this house! I love how friendly it is, and the eco-conscious choices they made in the kitchen re-do. Any chance you could share what shade/make of gray paint was used on the walls?

  • i love all the wood in this house! it’s just the right amount and with beautiful colors too

    i feel like your bedroom would seem taller if you painted the curved part of the ceiling.. if that makes sense at all.. having the molding sitting right on top of the door makes the room feel.. short? just a suggestion.

  • What a great entrance! I love all the natural light and I never thought of putting a desk and laptop right in front like that, very cool. Love that light, too! Is that Ikea?

  • I would just love to wake up in the bedroom with the billowy, gauzy floor-length curtains and that latticed window!

    I inadvertently stumbled on something that cleaned up a big old antiqued mirror, though I’m not sure if the antiquing method was the same. ;-) After we moved, I hung it in a bathroom that was lacking a mirror, and it often got all steamed up in there. After a while (a few months maybe?) I noticed that the mirror was as clear as new. Not sure if it works on all of them, or even if you want to change yours, but maybe the idea will help someone out there!

  • Oops, sorry Eva , Thanks KP, that is a Eva Zeisel bowl. I must have had Hesse on my mind.
    Thanks for all the nice comments. You should all come over for dinner sometime! I will get the paint colors on here tomorrow. Cheers!

  • Beth, I am also wondering about open shelving. I would love to rip out all my upper ktchen cabinets and install shelves, but wonder about having to dust my dishes before using them. Thoughts?

  • I must admit I’m still staring at the first photo, I thought that I was the only one with that espresso pot.

  • I love your little place, i wish i could see the outside because it looks like the same little bungalow as mine…so fun! Love what you’ve done with yo ur place :)

  • This is a gorgeous series of photos. Your home looks inviting and real, and the decorations are beautifully edited. The Cathrineholm bowl caught my eye in the first photo!

  • It looks great, Charlie, but you come by that talent honestly. The billowing curtains must be beautiful. I am very impressed that Madeline is so tidy. How did you accomplish that?!

  • the gray in the living room is Glidden Southern Shadow. The wall in the entryway is Yolo Stone .03 and the bedroom and kitchen are Yolo Leaf .03.
    I did a quick diagram of how I made the kitchen shelves on my blog for you nativeson77. Thanks again for all the great comments. We feel cool. My wife is really responsible for everything. I just do the grunt work. She made me paint the living room 11 times! Well, maybe not 11.

  • Hi Charley, your Ma sent this to me in Costa Rica. I just love your house and hear great things about your projects.

    Give my best to Jesse and the kiddies. Suzy Nagel

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