Heylen Thienes of Tricorn Black

Balancing Act

Tricorn Black adds personality to a young family’s home in Bend.

Photography by Zee Wendell | Prop Styling by Traci French

Heylen Thienes knew the instant she saw the home of her Bend clients that she would have something to bring to the project. The cute, classic Pacific Northwest, builder-grade home located between Bend and Mt. Bachelor was fresh and new — and very, very gray. 

“That’s not really who they are,” says Thienes, the designer behind the Bend-based interior design firm Tricorn Black. “They really needed those subtle details that fulfill a desire for more without making it feel like it’s too much.”

Balance was the key to making this blank slate of a home into a haven of personality for a couple with a newborn who needed it all — stat. He’s an introvert; she’s an extrovert. He prefers minimalism; she’s a maximalist all the way. They both love color — rich, saturated colors and even gem tones that go against the prevailing design aesthetic in Oregon’s High Desert. And they needed it in 1,500 square feet.

“Everything was happening for them all at once,” Thienes explains. 

Thienes started by getting to know them and their needs for this next stage of life. She quickly determined that everything was going to have to do double-duty for the smaller space, and she put together a furnishing plan that worked with some of the larger pieces the couple had brought to the home and had decided to keep. 

“A side table had to also be a stool, a coffee table had to have storage, a sofa had to be a fold-out for guests,” Thienes says.

But her greatest feat was balancing the two personalities of the couple, whose design requirements seemed, in the beginning, at odds. 

“They really wanted to meet in the middle of their preferences for color and texture,” Thienes says. “And we thought a lot about soft corners for future toddlers.”

Thienes might have been the best person to accomplish this. The designer, also a mom, spent seven years flipping houses in the high desert before going back to school at Heritage School of Interior Design. Now she is establishing herself as a color maven in a market where many designers work in neutrals.

“People used to be so focused on keeping things neutral and not doing anything that would affect the resale of the home,” Thienes says. “But at the end of the day, this is your home and your space — it’s important to bring that personality into it, because it’s going to make it more comfortable and more you.”

Original art by high desert painter Richard James Yozamp, of Fort Rock, is a daily reminder of the couple’s love of the outdoors. 

One way the team accomplished this was by working in the living room, where a fireplace took up a lot of the space. Thienes toned down the size of the feature by using a dark, moody color on the walls and adding an original art piece of Fort Rock State Natural Area by Richard James Yozamp.

“Instead of being this giant fireplace, the entire area becomes more unified,” Thienes says.

She also brought in the couple’s personality through a curated selection of objects and by incorporating one of the homeowner’s knitted works, which are soft and bright and add a great pop of color. The couple got a fun new Zoom background when Thienes added the Cole & Son “Forest” wallpaper to a bedroom. 

Small changes added up to a big impact for the couple, like in their dining room, where all they changed was the light fixture and the dining room table.

“We kept the penguin decals on the windows,” Thienes says. “I love keeping things like that — this is really how we live.”

Wallpaper on one wall creates a cool Zoom background in a bedroom while not overwhelming the entire space.