When interior designer Tiffany Thompson bought this two-bedroom Portland, Oregon, town house in 2016, she was working at Nike and viewed its close proximity to the company’s headquarters as a major benefit. It also didn’t hurt that she had access to a community pool and tennis court, or that the drive toward her street was lined with towering trees. But the deciding factor, Tiffany remembers, is that it had a certain Pacific Northwest luxury. “What initially drew me to this place was the amount of natural light it received. It’s pretty bright all of the time,” Tiffany says. “Coming from Miami where it’s usually sunny, the thing that scared me most about purchasing a home in Portland was that it was going to be dark and rainy seven months out of the year.”
The challenge would be turning this cookie-cutter town house into a personalized haven. Tiffany was surrounded by a blank canvas. Luckily, her boyfriend, Julian Gaines, is a fine artist. “With all of the art, we want to evoke emotion and really let them be the highlight of our home,” she says. “Being with an artist is amazing because I have endless items to choose from.”
Tiffany couldn’t touch the exterior or overhaul its interior, thanks to a homeowners’ association and a limited budget, but she could reimagine its white walls. She pictured a theme of timeless and cozy beauty, punctuated by details that were functional yet exciting upon a closer glance. Tiffany considered her canvas for a year, figuring that it was best to take her time on “making this home feel like me.” And when she was ready, she landed primarily on a black-and-white palette. “It’s amazing how these two colors bring a sense of balance to a space,” Tiffany says. “There’s also so much greenery outside that the black-and-white palette grounded my home and makes the backdrop of the outdoors feel and look even more intense.”
She nailed oak slats to a wall in one-inch gaps and painted it all black as an accent in her living area, and then carried that shade into the dining room to complement a haloed subject Julian brought to life on an 80-by-80-inch canvas. It’s moody, an adjective Tiffany appreciates, and a distinct departure from the property’s more private areas. In the primary bedroom, for instance, a beige backdrop fosters relaxation while a framed jack-of-diamonds provides a rare glimmer of color along the floor. The second bedroom is awash in a shade of blue, with art that appears more lively than composed. “I have a hard time sleeping at night, as I think most creatives do, and just wanted it to be extremely calming,” she says. “Our guest room and office reminds me of the ocean. Its gallery wall is our rotating mood board—we get pieces in and move them around, either adding or taking things away.”
In the two years that Tiffany has been curating the canvas of her home, she’s also pursued design full-time as the founder of Duett Interiors. Meanwhile, the white walls she’s surrounded by have shifted into an exhibition of her style, where she’s welcome to simply stand back and appreciate her work.
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” she says. “It kept me quite busy over the years and now it feels perfect.”
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest