June 15, 2024


Designing done right

This Portland Home’s Design is Inspired by the Film ‘Beetlejuice’

7 min read



igh up where Hillsdale blends into Healy Heights as the roads increase toward Council Crest, there’s a all-natural drama developed into just about every residence. Each a person hugs the steep hillside and seems down on Marquam Hill, the Willamette River, and the metropolis past. A ton of the homes on these winding cliffside roadways increase a sprint of the cinematic, as well, contacting to head Endor from The Return of the Jedi or M’Baku’s mountain lair in Black Panther. These movie connections, even though, are all about the placing: the trees, the soaring views, the required feats of engineering and suspension. Inside, an Ewok or a citizen of Wakanda would not come to feel especially at house.

But the film lineage of one household on the edge of Marquam Mother nature Park would be distinct no make a difference wherever it was. We could plop it in the dullest suburb, make it a Marfa, Texas, artwork installation, or, most fittingly, perch it atop a treeless knoll in rural Connecticut, and any visitor would know they are in the Beetlejuice home. 


Now, it is not a re-development of the set or some kind of shrine to the 1988 Tim Burton movie. Except for the wrong wall on the upstairs porch, which experienced the staff examining pictures from the motion picture, it’s far more of a experience: a little creepy, a very little playful, and a good deal of temperament.

Ray Sepulveda was about 8 a long time outdated when he first observed the Tim Burton movie that still left these kinds of an impact on him. In it, a recently deceased pair (Barbara and Adam, played by Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) are altering to the afterlife in their traditional Connecticut farmhouse when New York artist Delia (the unforgettable Catherine O’Hara) and her designer pal Otho (Glenn Shadix) start out reworking it with a incredibly unique aesthetic. Desperate to get rid of them, the useless pair hire a crude Netherworld terrible-boy bio-exorcist named Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton) to assist, and antics ensue.

Even though the new owners in Beetlejuice differ on their goals for the renovation—“If you don’t permit me gut out this dwelling and make it my own,” Delia threatens her partner Charles, “I will go insane, and I will get you with me!”—Sepulveda and his partner, Jon Valiente, had been incredibly a great deal on the same website page. When they satisfied 17 many years back in Florida, their first date was at a Halloween horror residence. “I joked that … he wanted to get me afraid so I would maintain his hand,” remembers Sepulveda.

“Ever considering that then Halloween was like a detail for us,” Valiente says. His spouse provides that it’s “the finest time of the 12 months to acquire endlessly property decorations.”


Right after browsing Portland on their honeymoon, Sepulveda and Valiente—a visible interface designer for Apple and a freelance illustrator/graphic designer, respectively, who had been now doing the job from household prior to the pandemic—decided to amount up from their San Jose–area rental and obtain a roomier early-’90s box of a household in the hills south of downtown, relishing the trees and moss and dampness of Portland.

“Being from Florida, we like rain,” Sepulveda claims. They understood the household essential some do the job. Moreover possessing their hearts established on the Beetlejuice wall for the upstairs porch, they preferred to carry in a lot more mild by getting out the counter-lined wall that left the entryway in shadow and alter what had been downstairs kids’ bedrooms into their offices. 

“We both of those ended up performing from household, so we wished to make certain the residence functioned suitable from the begin as a spot that we could perform entire-time,” Sepulveda claims. “We beloved that we could divide it into sectors.” 


They ended up painting the entire stairwell down to the reduce degree daring yellow, guiding them down to the brilliant suggestions or up to the sunlit dwelling region. Also on the reduced amount and as soon as open to the hallway, the laundry place is now closed off with a door but includes a tunnel opening for their cat, Mr. Peepers, to attain his litterbox.

They also preferred to update some of the regrettable ’90s features, like the tiered-cake ceiling in the dining spot. The house was completed in 1993, “so not a specially stellar era for construction in historic terms,” claims architect Colin Jensen, principal/owner at Thesis Studio Architecture, which teamed with standard contractor Hammer & Hand on the undertaking.

What no a single realized at the get started, even though, was that there ended up “some troubles with how the house was weatherproofed,” Jensen suggests. 


“There was a great deal of injury to the exterior envelope of the home, ensuing in a full siding alternative,” states Daryll Fry, project supervisor with Hammer & Hand. “We ended up touching really considerably every single surface of the dwelling.”

Jensen says the dampness/dry rot news was like a bomb dropped midconstruction, but the pair took it in stride. “It opened up opportunities for some neat matters we weren’t wondering of,” suggests Sepulveda. All the home windows had to be replaced, for illustration, and some ’90s triangular-formed home windows and glass bricks experienced to be rethought, ensuing in a grand circular picture window earlier mentioned the front doorway, completely switching the feeling of the upstairs open den, which appears to be like out on the entryway and living area. 

“The fantastic matter is that the windows are way even larger than they were,” Valiente states of the innovations in the earlier 30 several years in window structure and insulation—modern home windows give much more inches to glass and significantly less to the casing.


Contrasting with the yellow, the stairway up to the bed room level is black, as is their bedroom wallpaper from New York’s Flavor Paper, patterned in Mylar with glossy knives, razors, scissors, box cutters, and broken bottles. It is interrupted by a portrait by Sepulveda of two headless figures in pink fits, a nod to their Beetlejuice-themed marriage ceremony. 

“The bedroom was our location for our dark humor to appear in,” says Valiente. It was also a spot for Thesis to structure tailor made cabinetry to fit the curved wall.

They took the pink and gold tile out of the adjacent bathroom, alongside with what Sepulveda calls “the huge whirlpool nacho-formed thing” that was all the rage for ’90s bathtubs. A sleeker new Karli tub (from Signature Components, but no lengthier readily available) leaves far more area for Mr. Peepers to delight in the bathroom’s heated floor.


Actions away from the bed room is the clearest Beetlejuice component of the dwelling: an open up porch with a freestanding “false gable” wall on a person conclude, the ground lined with fake grass that phone calls to Adam’s miniature town. On dry days, the few can usually be identified there with their laptops or Nintendo Switches.

It wasn’t as basic as it appears from a structural engineering level of perspective to make the freestanding wall safe and sound and code-compliant. “There was loads of scaffolding and craning of steel items into put,” suggests Fry, “definitely a exciting and specialized obstacle.”

“Basically, we had been creating a sail,” states Jensen. “There’s a keystone beam that punches via, and that was a direct homage to the film [but is also] a rather significant-responsibility structural ingredient that connects back to the property and retains all of that rigid.” The beam is painted with Benjamin Moore’s Yellow Flash, the similar shade on the decreased stairwell and the entrance doorway.

The couple gave their style and design staff a DVD of Beetlejuice as a Xmas current. The crew, meanwhile, welcomed the new Portlanders with tickets to the usually-spooky Lovecraft Movie Pageant at the Hollywood Theatre. 


“I appreciate the Tim Burton stuff, and I hadn’t at any time gotten to function on a little something that was so inspired by a certain concept,” says Fry. He describes the collaboration as Sepulveda and Valiente—“incredible designers performing in visible mediums”—bringing thoughts that ended up set in motion by Jensen and the Thesis team and then introduced into “tangible reality” with Hammer & Hand. Jensen calls the total partnership “a great healthy.”

“A lot of occasions clients can be sort of like Bambi on ice, and you’re assisting them with their seem and their aesthetic,” says Jensen. With Sepulveda and Valiente, “they know they’re inclined to be loud, they are eager to be edgy, they’re ready to have wallpaper with knives and switchblades and needles on their bedroom wall.” 

Just one of the ideal afterlife factors was not even intentional, Sepulveda states: the way the wind seems by means of the round opening on the phony wall. “We didn’t understand the oculus that we designed there varieties a whistle, and when the wind is at the proper angle the dwelling will whistle.” They can even hear it inside, he claims. “It’s like a minor ghost, wooing.” 


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