Home is where the heart is. However, over the past couple years it’s been where work, school, and everything in between is, too. When we first spoke with Tiffany Thompson, the Portland-based interior designer told us all about how the pandemic has changed the way we interact with our living space. Now, she's telling the whole country.
The Duett Interiors owner is now co-starring on the Discovery+ series Remix My Space. On the show, Thompson - alongside host Marsai Martin and carpenter Joanie Sprague - helps impactful teens remodel their bedrooms. We recently caught up with Thompson, to dish on her TV debut and get some fresh tips on remixing our own spaces.
Portland Monthly: What were your initial thoughts when the opportunity for Remix My Space was presented to you?
Thompson: Essentially the alignment felt so right for me, because of my relationship to home. I always talk about this, but I'm adopted, and space is like a safety net for me. So I was that child that didn't have their own room and had to curate my own space; it was so important. So, to give back to teenagers that are doing remarkable things in that space just felt like it was aligned. I'm kind of giving them an extension of my story and creating these unique spaces with some amazing people.
Portland Monthly: Tell us about the chemistry between you and your co-hosts, and what it was like designing for teens.
Thompson: We went out to dinner prior to the show coming out and it felt like we all had a version of one another within each other, along with having our own distinct personalities. We meshed so well. I felt like ‘okay, this is the group of people that I'm supposed to be doing this with.’ As for working with teens, I was surprised to find out teenagers are a lot less emotional than adults and they very much know what they want. It's just a matter of how they can make it happen under the constraints of having — or even sharing — [just] a room. This is the only space in the house that they have. So, it was just a matter of how do we bring those wants to life?
Portland Monthly: What about working with adults, especially those who are on a budget? Can you give us some design tips for folks working with limited funds?
Thompson: Paint is always the easiest and it can completely transform your walls and add some color and depth into the space. People should really start exploring different types of paint like line washes and Roman clay. You can also add some wallpaper to interesting places. For the series we did wallpaper on the ceiling. And the price point can vary. You can get temporary wallpaper that's easy to come off if you have an apartment or a rental situation. Art is also a way that you can transform your space. We like to move our art around seasonally at home. Also, you don't have to get art from a museum or from an artist, you can create your own art. If you have kids, put your kids’ art in a frame. Last but not least, I would say reupholstering if you have the ability or the time. It’s a great way to change your big pieces around. But if you want to change out the fabrics in your couch, slipcovers are great. I'll go to a local place called Mill End Store —which is in Portland and Beaverton — and source new, cozy fabrics. It’s between $300-$400 to make and I basically have a whole new couch.
Portland Monthly: What are some of your other favorite local shops?
Thompson: I'm obsessed with vintage shopping. I always go to Urbanite and Monticello. Both of these places are massive, there’s probably like 10,000 square feet of goods. And Urbanite is just so cool because you never know what you're going to find. I go there every Thursday. They have everything from furniture to decanters and vintage teacups to records. Then there’s Spartan Shop, a small store where the owner curates different ceramics and really unique, one off pieces of furniture from people all over the globe.
Portland Monthly: With Portland being your home for the foreseeable future, what are you looking forward to the most in the coming years?
Thompson: My partner and I are super excited about the potential for what Portland has to offer and the growth of this city. I think it is a little scary for some people to see it evolve and transition at the pace that it's coming along. Portland is one of the most creative cities that I've ever lived in, and I've lived in a lot of places. I think that it's time for people to notice Portland and the people that are dwelling here and the reasons that people are staying. It's ultimately so important for me and my partner to create space for people that look like us, for other creatives to stay and to build a community and network so that people feel comfortable here.