Home Truths visits with Isabelle Baeck, graphic designer, who moved into her home in Laurelhurst last year.
As a single mom you are constantly busy with work and raising your kiddo. If you had a day off from both, what would you do?
I’m tempted to say sleep, but the reality of a responsibility-free day would have me up at the crack of dawn. I’d likely hop out coastside or head up to Forrest Park for a long run. Neahkahnie Beach is a personal favorite on the coast with the Saltzman Road entrance to Forrest Park being my go-to cityside. There would be lots of coffee. A long, late lunch (add a beer and a book). Hopefully a show — there always seems to a be a great show here! — and cocktails to round things off.
This actually sounds quite a bit like one of my normal days off with June (minus the long run and show). She’s the best co-pilot I could ever ask for and is ever anxious to try any and all of the new things Portland is offering up.
What is your favorite room in the house, and why?
Oh this is an easy one: the kitchen. Having grown up in my parents french restaurants and inns, the kitchen has always been the heart of things. Days begin there over coffee and breakfast at the counter, afternoons in the reading nook (cookies, of course), homework and art projects tend to spill over to the garden that the doors open up to. It’s the most central room in our home, it really is the heart!
You have done quite a few projects since you closed on your home. What has been your favorite change you have made?
I am tied between the finishing of the basement and refreshing the front and side gardens…
Fully completing the basement allowed for our family room to be it’s own private space and for the main room to become our dining room. Dinner parties are a weekly thing, so having the space for a full table of guests was dang important.
Having been a renter my whole life, my love of gardening has always been tempered to small planters and pots. By working with Bethany Rydmark and AutumnLeaf Landscaping, I was able to get the gardens into a form that I can care for on my own, and expand throughout the seasons. June and I are beyond excited to be growing some of our favorite veggies and flowers… in our own garden!
What is the next project on the docket?
No more major projects. Well, for now at least. Really, I mean that. Ok, does painting count?
From here on out I plan to lean about how to care for our home and garden. Having been a lifetime renter (thought I always would be!), I’ve never had to do anything outside of calling a landlord. I officially have a hammer now… open to suggestions about what else I need.
What is your best kept secret you have found in our fine city?
Hands down it’s the people.
Before moving to Portland in December of 2013, June and I were in Stockholm, Sweden. Before that, Palo Alto, California. In both places, we lived for years and the opportunity to interact with our neighbors and community were basically non-existent. Upon arriving in Portland we had neighbors coming to check in within hours! The community here in Laurehurst — extra emphasis on our awesome school — has been extremely welcoming to us both. Here on Ash Street, I can only say we have hit the absolute jackpot!