Life as Story

A careful eye and meaningful keepsakes make a masterpiece of a Dolphin Park bungalow.

By Anna Sachse May 19, 2009 Published in the May 2009 issue of Portland Monthly

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Bryce Dugan (left) and Charles Froelick in their bedroom

Bryce Dugan and Charles Froelick have a thing for chairs. The good ones can imbue a room with personality. An oak office chair from the Oregon State Correctional Institution, circa 1950, for example, gives the guest room of the couple’s Dolph Park bungalow more than a little intrigue. Such furnishings are functional, of course, and occasionally double as art, but some beloved objects also become means of explaining ourselves—our history, interests, and way of life.

A passion for possessions with purpose shaped this design-savvy couple’s style from the moment Froelick moved in with Dugan, around 2000. “He had the furniture, and I had the art,” says Froelick, who owns a Pearl District art gallery. But it helped that the two shared a certain aesthetic, including an emphasis on clean sight lines and a preference for contrasting textures rather than pattern or color.

They’ve mixed original art and contemporary furnishings with collectibles arranged in vignettes. From the plaster squirrel lamp to the dishes of popsicle-colored marbles that Dugan inherited from his aunt, everything has a story. “Life should be about experiences, outlooks, and intentions rather than just possessions,” Froelick says. “I’m eternally grateful for what we have, but I’d like to think I could feel at home in a cardboard box.”

Dugan, who dabbles in interior design, is a bit less blithe. “Charles is the one with depth,” he jokes. “If the house was on fire, I’d probably burn up trying to take everything with me.”