This Tiffany Thompson Turned Her Cookie-Cutter Town House Into a Personal Art Gallery

“The biggest challenge was using what was already here but making it better,” says Tiffany (left). “This isn’t our forever home, so I had to be really smart about what I decided to spend money on and what just needed a small facelift. It’s way easier to bring your full vision to life without any restrictions, but the fun part is figuring it out with those limitations.”

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.”

“For the dining room art, Julian imagined himself being next in line on his way to heaven and seeing the person in front of him receiving his halo,” she says. The table is from Lillian August, and the surrounding chairs are from Design Within Reach. The Studio Eero Aarnio Mini Pony Chair in the corner was found at Finnish Design Shop.

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.”

“These types of homes have exteriors that all look alike, so it was important for me to have some features that were our own and fun,” Tiffany says. The accent wall is made of one-and-three-fourths inch oak slats that were nailed to the wall in one-inch gaps. The entire project was

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STEPHEN THOMPSON: Here’s a handy guide to spray-painting kitchen cabinets | Lifestyle

In the ‘70s and ‘80s, I sold a lot of Sherwin-Williams paint. Back then spray-paint machines were expensive, temperamental and definitely for professional use only. A lot has changed since then. Now the mystique and complexity of spray-painting has been vastly simplified. DIYers can easily purchase and operate an entry-level ($89 home-owner grade spray gun and compressor from Wagner Home Decor) for their difficult painting projects. OK, full disclosure, I have never used the Wagner Home Decor HVLP Stationary Sprayer I’m recommending here, but I’m very impressed by its videos. I strongly advise practicing on a small project before you tackle the large job of painting all your kitchen cabinets.

When you want a smooth finish, especially when using high-gloss paint, a sprayed-on finish is absolutely the best way to go. You’ll get a far more even, uniform surface by spraying than by brushing and rolling. Why? Because a high-gloss paint will literally highlight and accentuate every single one of your roller and brush mark imperfections in the finish coat.

Before spraying, the surface you are painting should appear as smooth as glass. That means 90% of any spray-paint job is time you’ll spend in preparation, with just 10% percent in actual painting. You might be surprised, but that amount of prep time for spray work isn’t much longer than prep time for brush or roller painting. However, what you gain by spraying is a huge savings in the amount of time spent painting.

So, what does the 90% prep work involve? First, remove all the hardware and take the doors off their hinges. Put up plastic and lay drop cloths to keep sanding dust and paint overspray from adjacent surfaces. Use a degreaser to clean throughly and to completely remove dirt, oils, grease and grime. Fill in all dents and scratches and sand smooth. Using a sanding sponge or sandpaper, lightly go over all the cabinet parts to ensure every surface has an even consistency – sanding with the grain of the wood to prevent any surface damage – and remove all sanding dust with a tack cloth or clean sponge.

If your cabinets have been painted many times, you can skip the cleaning part above, but you will need to apply a stripping agent to remove those previous coats of paint.

Depending on how dark your cabinets are and how opaque your primer is, plan on applying at minimum two to three coats of paint, the first of which should be a fast-drying primer. A quality primer will (1) help conceal imperfections, (2) block past cooking stains from bleeding through the finishes and (3) make it easy for paint to adhere to your cabinets. Let your base coat dry, use your sanding sponge again – just not too aggressively this time – and remove any sanding dust.

Let each additional coat of paint dry thoroughly (about 24 hours) before lightly sanding and applying another coat. Let the paint fully cure for about 48 hours before reattaching the doors,

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Bennie Thompson subpoenas Chad Wolf

House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie G. Thompson issued a subpoena Friday to try to compel acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to testify at a hearing next week, setting up a major clash of two branches of government.

Mr. Thompson has called a hearing on terrorist threats and has the FBI chief and the leader of the National Counterterrorism Center slated to testify. He has also demanded Mr. Wolf appear, but the acting secretary said he wouldn’t, citing his recent nomination to the secretary’s post.

Homeland Security says it’s tradition for someone who’s facing Senate confirmation not to testify.

Mr. Thompson said the times are so uncertain that the acting secretary must appear, and he accused Mr. Wolf of “evading” the hearing.

“From the coronavirus pandemic to the rise of right-wing extremism to ongoing election interference, there are urgent threats requiring our attention,” the Mississippi Democrat said.

The subpoena, issued 19 years to the day after the terrorist attacks that spurred creation of the department, pits tradition and courtesy against Democrats’ demands for answers.

They are eager to try to pin Mr. Wolf down on a series of matters, including ongoing immigration matters, a new whistleblower complaint that accuses him and other top department officials of shaping intelligence reports to benefit President Trump, and Homeland Security’s response to riots in Portland, Oregon.

Republicans complained that Mr. Thompson had previously promised not to issue unilateral subpoenas.

Rep. Mike Rogers, the ranking Republican, said the committee could have heard from Ken Cuccinelli, the No. 2 man at the department.

Instead, he said, Mr. Thompson is picking a procedural fight.

“We need to get our priorities straight,” Mr. Rogers said. “It’s of the utmost importance to hear from the Department on the threats facing our nation.”

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