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Main Homes Creative class: DIY design

Creative class: DIY design

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Written by Vivian McInerny   
Friday, June 29, 2012

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Dozens of clear containers filled with colorful legumes, textured grains and shaped pastas form an intriguing display in the kitchen.

“It’s my bento-box mentality,” says Christopher Giovarelli.

His entire loft in Northwest Portland, like a traditional Japanese lunch box, is precisely arranged to present the everyday in extraordinary ways. Old book pages work as wallpaper. A battered door serves as a breakfast bar. A cluster of light bulbs hanging on wires forms a casual chandelier. Even his big-box purchases have been personalized in some way for a unique look.

Giovarelli, a marketing professional with a funeral-services insurance company, has an eye for decorating on a dime. He’s created a distinct sense of home in his Pearl District rental using an imaginative mix of budget contemporary furniture and reclaimed and reworked vintage pieces. Fearless when it comes to home improvement projects, he has tackled painting, paneling and papering but leaves wiring to trained electricians after an unfortunate first attempt.

“Sparks came out of the wall,” he says.

Built for commercial use, the ground-floor space is a windowless rectangle except for a storefront wall of glass facing a fairly busy street. (The panes are partially frosted for privacy.) The main floor serves as Giovarelli’s living room, dining room and kitchen. Open stairs lead up to a loft, where he’s carved out a bedroom and second small sitting area.

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It takes a creative eye to gracefully mix traditional, contemporary and mid-century furniture in a commercial space and make it feel like home. Giovarelli likes the juxtaposition of vintage wingback chairs and modern white Ikea sofa, sleek glass dining table and reclaimed-wood paneling, and hair-on-hide rug atop zebra stripe atop a bare concrete floor.

Christopher Giovarelli scored a vintage velvet chair at a secondhand shop and made an end table from a broken hi-fi.

Artfully arranged food suits his “bento-box mentality.”

// Photos by John Valls

Click on any image to view larger



0 #1 Mrs.Crystalee Webb Beck 2012-07-03 11:12
Wow! I went to BYU with Chris and he never fails to amaze me with his talent across many fields. I love this story about his DIY bachelor pad!
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0 #2 DIY not?Vivian McInerny 2012-07-03 11:23
To Mrs.,

He is an amazing man I wouldn't be surprised to see him turn his design talents into a career in the future.

Glad you liked the story.
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0 #3 ImpressiveJen Harrington 2012-07-06 11:32
Great story! I've always been impressed with Chris but his home is amazing. And I love DIY stories. It's motivating! Thanks!
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0 #4 Re: ImpressiveVivian McInerny 2012-07-16 11:10
Chris has a good story to tell. It's so inspiring to see the result of a creative spirit who puts the focus on making beautiful surroundings.
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