Life in Portland

Monthly Picks | November 2017

Photo by Richard Harris on Unsplash

November 2nd-30th | Lan Su Chinese Garden
The Chinese have long been masters at chrysanthemum cultivation; they developed more than 20 cultivars by the 10th century and 2,000 by the early 19th. Lan Su Chinese Garden will display more than 750 potted chrysanthemums to celebrate this beloved flower during the month of November.

November 10th, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM | Various Locations
From Litquake and the creators of the ever-popular Wordstock comes Lit Crawl Portland, an event that pays homage to the literati’s love of booze with an event that encourages wandering from one pub to another in search of keynote speakers, book readings, and enough alcohol to keep things interesting.

November 12th, 4:00 PM | The Old Church
Steven Mead (Euphonium) and Jamie Hood (Trumpet) will be joined by Mr. Douglas Schneider (piano) for an evening of spectacular music benefiting the Salvation Army music programs. Proceeds from the event will go directly to support and continue their brass education program in Portland.

November 18th -19th | Montgomery Park
Mingle with famous authors and artists, meet beautiful birds, and bid on fabulous artwork and gifts for your favorite naturalists in a silent auction. The Wild Arts Festival is an annual fundraising event for the Audubon Society of Portland and a celebration of nature in the works of national and regional artists and authors.

November 24th-26th | Willamette Valley Wineries
Every year wineries in the Willamette Valley open their cellars and tasting rooms over Thanksgiving weekend to celebrate friends, family, and the completion of harvest. Each winery celebrates the festive weekend with its own flare and provides its own experience with special tastings, food pairings, live music, holiday discounts, and more.

Urban Nest Design Tip of the Week: Upcycling Old Candle Containers


Candles Burn Away and Then... What About Those Containers?

In this series, we share simple DIY solutions for maximum design impact, brought to you by our very own Agent Andy Barlow.

I think we can officially say fall has arrived in Portland. The cold and rain is among us and as we transition into the new season, I’m excited about many things that this weather brings: boots, jackets, cozy nights at home under the blankets, being able to drink a hot coffee without sweating, and of course, being able to burn candles all day and night without fear of adding any more heat to the house. 

But what do you do with all those candle containers once you’re done burning through the candles? This is exactly where this week’s design tip comes in. Turn them into plant pots!

I’m sure you’ve all seen the rising trend of candles in cement containers. They tend to be a little more expensive, but they also bring you the most bang for the buck (because they tend to have soy wax, which has a much longer burn time, and then their ability to create very stylish plant pots). 

Turning Candle Holders Into Plant Pots: The How-To

How to do this: Burn the candle for as long as possible - and enjoy the scent!

Once you’ve hit the bottom, it’s time to remove the remaining wax. If there isn’t much left, place the candle in the sink under a heavy flow of hot water. Let it run for a couple minutes and then you should be able to easily wipe out the wax. Or: turn the oven on to its “keep warm” setting, place the candle upside down on some paper towels or a rag (on a oven sheet) and leave in for a few minutes. The wax should melt out of the pot onto the rag, and then just needs a wipe clean. Super easy! 

From here, you just need to grab the right-sized plant, pot it, water it, and you’ll find yourself with a cool new plant for your bookcase.


Candle Pots Seen Here in This Image

Grey cement pot: Munio Candela, from Mantel, $28. 

Grey and white cement pot: Urban Concrete, from Ink & Peat, $28.

Black cement pot: Quiet About, from Mantel, $32.

Urban Nest Design Tip of the Week: Goin' Thrifting in the SE

All Image in this post courtesy Lounge Lizard's Website!

All Image in this post courtesy Lounge Lizard's Website!

Getting to Know Portland's Great Selection of Thrift Store Shopping for Furniture and Decor

In this series, we share simple DIY solutions for maximum design impact, brought to you by our very own Agent Andy Barlow.

I love finding a good deal. And I also love finding unique pieces and items with history when it comes to decorating my home. Thus, I am a bit addicted to thrift shopping, and Portland has a bunch of great places to help fuel this addiction. So, this week, I’m going to highlight a few of my favorites so that you can get into it, too. (Just don’t take all the good stuff before I get there!)

Lounge Lizard – 1310 SE Hawthorne.

Probably my favorite spot. There are actually two locations (just a block apart from each other) so it’s almost like having 2 in 1. (TIP: park at the location more to the east – it has a parking lot instead of street parking). Lounge Lizard is literally packed with vintage, groovy, and retro home stuff – furniture, lamps, décor, everything. They always have a great selection and have good prices. They also make their own furniture and you can customize the wood stain (usually for no extra charge) and get it within just a few days. Plus, their staff is super friendly and helpful.

Lounge Lizard photo courtesy of the Lounge Lizard website!

Lounge Lizard photo courtesy of the Lounge Lizard website!

Vintage Pink – 2500 SE Hawthorne.

Just a bit up the road from Lounge Lizard, you’ll find Vintage Pink (hard to miss its retro pink-colored exterior). This place is a goldmine for midcentury, retro, vintage, industrial, and Danish furniture, and tons of décor. Their prices can sometimes be a little higher, but you often find legit designer pieces here. You’ll find a parking lot just to the west of the building, so turn on the street immediately before the shop if you’re coming from Lounge Lizard.

Asylum – 3713 SE Hawthorne.

Just stay on Hawthorne a few more blocks and you’ll come across Asylum. They are the smallest of the shops, but they specialize in midcentury furniture and always have some really amazing pieces. Again, prices are a little higher than an average vintage store, but these are quality pieces and real designer finds. They also have a lot of small gifts and fun items to look at. Parking here is all on the street, and as this is in the heart of the Hawthorne shopping strip, expect to park a few blocks away.

Lounge Lizard Photo Courtesy of the Lounge Lizard Website!

Lounge Lizard Photo Courtesy of the Lounge Lizard Website!

Urbanite – 1005 SE Grand.

Where do I begin – this place is huge (almost an entire city block) and has anything and everything from any different style you could think of. Give yourself some time to wander through it all, and I’m sure you won’t leave empty handed. Recently re-opened and renamed under new ownership, Urbanite has come back with a much more curated selection than it used to offer. You are sure to find something you never knew you needed here, and chances are it will be a pretty reasonable price! There is a huge parking lot to the east of the building, and plenty of street parking surrounding it.

There you go! I could probably list another ten stores but these would have to be my most frequented. And remember - inventory changes daily, so be sure to check back often! 

Urban Nest Attends the 6th Annual Home Performance Conference

Portland's New Energy Performance Scoring System Is Coming

Home Energy Score Portland

As part of our ongoing professional development here at Urban Nest, we are constantly sending our agents out to learn more about the market and the industry in which we operate. Recently, we were honored to attend the 6th Annual Home Performance Conference, hosted by the Home Performance Guild of Oregon.

Urban Nest agents Wren, Susan, Dill and Rachel attended the annual Home Performance Conference, hosted at the White Stag building in downtown Portland. Rachel notes, "It was terrific and focused on the new Energy Performance Score (EPS) rating that will, as of January 1st, become part of each real estate transaction." 

As part of this development, a seller will soon be required to have an Energy Performance assessor come through their home, before they list it, in order to determine the house's EPS score. That score will then be posted on the RMLS listing so that buyers will be able to see how energy efficient the house is. 


The assessment will focus on everything from windows to solar panels to attic insulation and more.  Each report will include a section also listing out energy efficient upgrades that could be done to improve the score. The scoring system is based on a rating of 1 - 10, with "1" being the lowest and ten the highest. 5 will be considered average. You can learn more about the new scoring system here at the City of Portland's Department of Planning and Sustainability office website.

By attending the 6th Annual Home Performance Conference, we were able to expand our professional network, engaging with other like-minded PDX businesses currently working with clients to buy and sell homes here in our community.

A Few FAQs About the New Home Energy Score

Will the policy apply to accessory dwelling units (ADUs)?

ADUs that are part of the primary residence will automatically be captured in the home performance energy assessment, which is based on all the rooms within the outer envelope of the home. Detached ADUs will not be covered by the policy.

How much does it cost to obtain a home energy performance report?

As of July 2016, the market rate cost to obtain a home energy performance report is between $150-$250. This is the cost of having a trained, certified home energy assessor conduct a 45-minute, in-home assessment and generate the report based on the data gathered from the home visit.

Read more FAQs on the new policy and get answers here.

Details About the Home Performance Conference

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017
7:30am – 6:00pm
University of Oregon’s White Stag Block

From the site:

"The City of Portland Home Energy Score program will begin on January 1, 2018. The program requires sellers of single-family homes to obtain a home energy report, including a home energy score, from a licensed home energy assessor. A home energy score provides an easy to understand and comparable method for understanding how a house uses energy. What difference does that make? To begin, approximately a third of the costs required every year for the operation of a home is related to energy, so it makes good business sense to have information regarding a home’s energy use and efficiencies when purchasing a house. With that knowledge, potential buyers can make better decisions for their own particular needs."

More About the Home Performance Guild

According to their website, "the Home Performance Guild of Oregon is a group of dedicated, experienced Home Performance Specialists, committed to working together to educate and serve homeowners, companies, and policy makers."

"Our mission is to change how people throughout our region think about the health of our homes. We believe that when we understand the 'house as a system,' we are able to deliver integrated comfort, safety, efficiency, and indoor air quality."


[Photos via: Urban Nest, Dept. of Planning and Sustainability/City of PDX]

Urban Nest Design Tip of the Week: Still Looking For the Perfect Sofa? We Found It.


Affordable Flat-Rate Shipping and Plenty of Style from Article Sofas

In this series, we share simple DIY solutions for maximum design impact, brought to you by our very own Agent Andy Barlow.

A couple weeks back we posted a design tip on sofas, what was on sale, and what my favorite ones were. I also mentioned in that post that I was shopping for a new couch myself. Well, my new couch arrived this past week and I am so overjoyed with the entire experience that I had to share the entire story for this week’s design tip. 

After all the hunting, I actually found a brand that I didn’t even mention in that last post, called Article. I had seen some Article ads pop up on Instagram and decided to finally check them out. They are online only, so I was initially nervous about placing an order, but once I saw the Olive Green Chester sofa I was in love and was determined to find out more about it. 


I emailed Article asking more about the sofa, the assembly, and if they could send me a fabric swatch. Within just 3 hours I had a personal response back from Rosalind (a customer service rep) and was told the fabric swatch was on the way.  She explained how simple the assembly was, and told me a couple things about the feel of the couch, which was really helpful.  I was impressed. 

What impressed me next was that they had the sofa in stock and I was going to be able to receive it within just about a week. If you have been shopping for sofas you know this is usually not the case. Many take 8-12 weeks. Article also has super reasonable shipping costs. While most other retailers charge around $150-200 for shipping, Article’s base shipping was only $49. For this price they deliver the couch to your porch, but if you did want a more inclusive service you could get interior delivery for $99 or full unboxing and set up for $169. 

I received the fabric swatch a few days later and it was BEAUTIFUL.  I was ready to pull the trigger. I placed the order and quickly received my confirmation email telling me a range in dates that I would expect the sofa to arrive. I patiently started the waiting game. 

Four days after placing my order I got the email that the sofa had left the warehouse. A few days after that I got a text saying that the couch had arrived in Portland and to schedule a time for the delivery.  I followed the link in the text and was led to a site where I could choose a day. I made my selection and was told I would be contacted the day before with a time frame. 

The day before delivery I got the text that it would be delivered between 10:30am-12:30pm. I confirmed and anxiously made it through the rest of the day, both excited but nervous that maybe it wouldn’t look as good in person or would not be comfortable. I was hoping I wouldn’t have any buyer’s remorse. 

The next morning around 11:30am I got a phone call that they were 10 minutes away. Eeek! The time had arrived! The truck pulled up and one of the deliverymen came up to ask where I wanted the package. I told him anywhere on the front sidewalk was fine as I had a neighbor coming to help bring it in. He then asked if I’d like them to have it brought up onto my porch (which is about half a flight of stairs up). I told him that would be amazing but that I hadn’t paid for the more expensive service. He told me it wouldn’t be a problem and that it would make it easier for me. I gladly accepted. 


A few minutes later my neighbor/always helpful friend came over and we dragged the box inside. I opened it up and flipped it on its side and screwed the legs in. We then put it upright and unwrapped it. IT LOOKED AMAZING! The color was perfect, and fabric was soft and rich, and I could instantly tell that this was a quality sofa. We moved it into place and the room instantly felt complete, and perfect. 

A few days later, after some movie nights, entertaining friends, and a couple naps, I was completely in love. I could not imagine a more perfect sofa. It’s stylish, comfortable, and sturdy. It’s the perfect length to stretch out for a nap, and since the seat is only one cushion you have no fears of losing something in the crack or falling into the crease yourself.  And, as soon as anyone walks through the door they are stopped in their tracks by its beauty. 

Long story short: do yourself a favor and check out Article. If you’re still hesitant, just give me call and I’ll let you come check out mine.