Name: Andy Nelson and Liz Castellon-Nelson, and daughters Penelope and Isabella
Location: Hood River, Oregon
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years lived in: 8 months, owned
After years of living life at a busy pace in San Diego, Liz and Andy were ready to slow down, both for themselves and for their two young daughters. The couple had lived in Washington state prior to their move to California, and they craved the outdoor lifestyle and green scenery of the Pacific Northwest. Andy was able to find a teaching position at a middle school near Hood River, Oregon, so Liz went to work hunting for a home that their family could settle into.
Liz recalls the day that she was in the car (with two unhappy preschoolers in the back seat) and saw a “For Sale” sign for the 1965 A-frame that would eventually be theirs. “We found this place—it was luck! I was driving with the kids and I pulled over because I saw a sign, and we thought, we love this little hobbit house!”
The house was in bad shape when the couple took ownership. Though the property was neglected (“it had green shag carpet I was afraid was alive!”), the couple was charmed by the rural location, the 2.5 acre parcel, and the quirky architecture. Liz confesses that updating the A-frame has been a huge project, “There have been a lot of late nights, and it’s been a lot of work, but it’s been fun. It’s been a motivator—we want it to be comfortable for our family.”
Andy’s teaching schedule and Liz’s flexible job allow the young family to travel for most of the summer, which inspired them to list their A-frame as an Airbnb when they are away. Liz has been pleasantly surprised by the reception the Red A-Frame has received on Instagram, and is passionate about using her growing following to speak out about the border detainment issue—she herself is an immigrant who was born in Mexico.
The family has big plans for the A-frame: They’d like to add another bathroom and a third bedroom at some point, and also want to plant a U-pick flower and pumpkin patch on the piece of their property that’s closest to the road. If you’re ever in Hood River, you should stop by—Liz would be thrilled to see you.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: I’m all over the place when it comes to personal style. Mid-century modern meets boho chic with a mix of farmhouse if that’s even possible! You see to be honest, I was never a fan of mid-century modern until we moved into an A-frame built in 1965, so now I can’t help but love all the inspiration from every angle of the home.
Inspiration: I am a big fan of Joanna Gaines so farmhouse has my heart. I love all the inspiration coming from what she’s got going in Waco, Texas. I also am inspired by the Scandinavian style of simplicity and all the neutral earthy tones.
Favorite Element: Our Serena & Lily swing in one of the nooks in the kids’ play area. Also, I can’t help but mention how much I love the views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams from the property.
Biggest Challenge: Having one bathroom for a family of four isn’t ideal but for now it works. Before moving in we put a new septic tank for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house, so when our daughters our teenagers hopefully we’ll have that second bedroom and bath.
What Friends Say: They love coming over and say it feels like a retreat or getaway because the property is so peaceful and relaxing.
Biggest Embarrassment: When we moved in the property was overgrown and cabin neglected so we desperately wanted to fix it up right away (it had green shag carpet I was afraid was alive, plywood floors, and everything screamed 1965). We had a very tight budget so we ended up doing most if not all the renovations ourselves with minimum experience and in some parts of the house you can totally tell. Don’t look too close because you will notice the unpainted floor molding, the misplaced wood floors, the bad paint job in certain corners, the uneven wallpaper placement, the fridge too big for the wall and I’ll stop myself right there before I get too embarrassed or overwhelmed!
Proudest DIY: The bathroom. It was hideous with a pink tub, toilet, sink and tile and outdated fixtures. We had never done a gut job like that before but my husband sawed in half the pink cast iron tub because it was the only way we could physically get it out of our bathroom. He did all the tile in the tub and floor and shiplap on the walls all thanks to YouTube videos. Need a tile guy? I might know one. 😉
Biggest Indulgence: Our bathroom tile was a bit over budget but since the space is so tiny it was justified. I’ve never seen anyone with the exact tile except a restaurant in Paris so I love it even more; it’s so unique.
Best Advice: Less is more. I claim to be simple but I have a bit of hoarder in me so when it comes to furniture inside an A-frame keep it simple. Keeping it away from the walls not only prevents you hitting your head every time you walk by but it creates more intimate spaces centered around the fireplace. Also, A-frames limit you on wall space so don’t use it all up and hang stuff on every flat surface, because soon enough the space will start feeling cluttered and therefore smaller.
Dream Sources: Instagram marketed small shops and businesses on etsy have been my go-to. I love supporting all the crafters and makers. I also visit the mothership Target and places like HomeGoods for must-have deals.
PAINT & COLORS
Benjamin Moore — Simply White
Valspar — Stone Age
Milland Mid-Century Sofa — All Modern
Couch Mud Cloth Pillowcases — Maewoven
Ivory Gull Pillows — The Ivory Gull
Rattan Tray– Opalhouse Target
NuLOOM Accent Rug— Amazon
Work Hard & Be Nice to People Print — SchoolHouse
Menlo Glass Globe Floor Lamp – Project 62 Target
Throw blankets – Seek and Swoon
Hanging Rattan Chair – Serena & Lily
Mini Pastel Triangle Wall Decals – Wall Dressed Up
Couch Bed — IKEA
Woven Cotton Kilim Orissa Area Rug – World Market
A-Frame Tent — Target
Ellis Tripod Floor Lamp Brass — Target
Wall Hooks — Grovemade
Pillows — Elma Home
Royalty Ceramic Field Tile — Wayfair
Thanks, Andy and Liz!
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