This Portlander gives vintage furniture a Pendleton-style upgrade

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manda McLeod had a lots of Ikea furniture, most of which hasn’t survived disassembly and reassembly, three moves across the country and life with young children. But after her husband finished college and the family landed in Portland 14 years ago, she had more time to put her DIY skills to good use (she went to high school just before they quit to teach sewing, she says), restoring second-hand finds from savings. stores and real estate sales. The house they moved into six years ago offered even more space to fill and drew much inspiration from its mid-century architecture and warm woods.

Friends took an interest in the pieces McLeod brought back to life. She said she’s started to “gain confidence that I can make things that look good, I can change parts, kind of redesign them, if I feel like they need to. “.




Soon others took an interest in it as well, and since then she has sold her work to Urbanite, Vintage Pink, the Portland Flea Market and Red Snapper in Milwaukie, as well as on Instagram, where followers of @twicerefined sometimes weigh on the choice of fabrics.

To upholster some of the retro pieces, McLeod was drawn to the woodsy, geometric fabrics she saw at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store in Milwaukie. The combination of the two vintage elements, she says, “brings the mid-century look to the next generation.”

His mid-century fascination made him an instant fan of Mad Men. “I have to watch this show with my mouth shut,” she says, “because I’ll keep interrupting to tell my husband who the furniture maker is in the background.”




As McLeod tries to honor the integrity of a piece, sometimes it will completely transform an object: a coffee table becomes a bench, or a sewing table becomes a vanity or a mini bar. In between are the serious things of cleaning, sanding, stripping, staining wood, removing staples (lots of staples), and recreating upholstery patterns with new fabrics.

“Keeping the best of the design element but adding more modernity to it, more relevance, more now,” McLeod says of the changes she’s making, “that’s how furniture survives.”



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