Tag Archives: portland or

SPENCER MAIL: Janna in Portland, OR

Spencer Mail, Janna
Spencer Mail Portland OR

This month’s Spencer Mail comes from Janna in Portland, Oregon. We are deducing that Janna lives in Portland, because her postcard was from Portland cult classic landmark Voodoo Donuts, and the postmark identifies as local. Janna could also be a recent visitor to Portland. We may never know! (Janna…?!)

Found your blog through a friend + I’ve enjoyed reading it. Congratulations on your huge success so far! My question is: Can we see more pics of your tiny cottage? I love small houses!

Love, Janna

PS: The rhino is too cute! :)

Thank you for the mail! We are so glad your friend passed along the link. We hope to encourage more people through our honesty about our finances and the debt we have hanging over our heads.

Janna wants to see photos of our tiny house. We’ve been reluctant to post too many images online so we don’t place ourselves too precisely, geographically speaking. So, chemically imbalanced readers, please don’t try to stalk us.

The truth is, our tiny cottage is too wonderful not to share.

simple living tiny home portland orsimple living tiny home portland or
simple living tiny home portland orsimple living tiny home portland orsimple living tiny home portland or

We live in 364 feet of divided space, lovingly handcrafted by our landlords using upcycled materials, clever cubby holes, and a miniature version of almost everything. The floor plan is compact and every inch goes to good use. The open storage in the kitchen can start to look a little bit cluttered for my tastes, but the decor and warmth of the lighting and wood makes this place incredibly liveable. See our tiny countertop fridge in the bottom middle picture? We also only have two burners for cooking – and it’s FINE. Our bathroom sink is also very tiny. The swing on our front porch (bottom left) is a recycled Dairy Queen booth!

If you’d like a virtual tour, this Canadian feature was made in our house – skip to 10:35 for more on Sassafras Garden Cottage.

Thank you for your postcard and the encouragement, Janna from Portland! We are happy to be able to share more images with you and hope you enjoyed a peek into our domestic space.

And PS: we don’t think Spencer is cute at all. He’s super annoying. We hope you don’t become too attached to him because we want to get rid of him as soon as possible!

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READERS: If you have a story to share, or a challenge question for us, we’d love to hear from you! We’re accepting good old fashion letters and postcards about our project, and will do our best to answer your question, rise to your challenge, or share your story. You can reach us here:

Ali & Rachel H
PO Box 11506
Portland, OR 97211

Spencer Mail

Today, we bought a $60 book.

Mumsy is in town for a few days visiting Portland for the first time. We had a wonderful first day together – food carts for lunch, farmers market for fun samples, and walking Alberta to give mom a taste of local culture and people.

Along the way we visited so many delightful artisan markets. Alberta Street has a vibrant culture, rich in experience and flavor. I loved having an excuse to purchase a couple of Mel’s hilarious, whimsical, charming art cards from Redbird Studio and always enjoy the ambiance of the store – celebratory bunting, natural light, and beautiful art colors. I’m so glad we found them through Supportland! I also have a $20 gift certificate from an IHEARTARTpdx lucky win for collage so I was going in to check it out for the first time. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t expect a “scrapbooking” store to be so well curated. Lots of fun bits to spend out my prize in a future shopping spree. Well done, collage! And thank you, iheartart! Finally, we wanted to stop by Back to Eden vegan bakery for a cool drink on the way back to the car, but the line was too long and we didn’t see tea on the menu. Luckily, next door is Townshend’s Tea. (Follow them on twitter! Check them out.) Ambiance, comfy seating, natural light, mellow vibe, a huge tea list and ridiculously affordable prices mean that this is one establishment I will frequent. Thank you Townshends People — I am happy to meet you. Mwah.

The reason I am sitting down to write this post is that I recognized a brand from yesterday’s work-related research of Portland-area designers. I really liked the name and branding for Ampersand Vintage (Twitter here). Highly recommended, whether entertaining your mother or just out to explore.

In Ampersand, we bought a book for $60. I didn’t hesitate to spend that much money on a book, and didn’t even want to go buy it from Amazon for half the price. The reason I immediately, unhesitatingly shelled out the money is that as Ali was browsing the book stopped him dead in his tracks. Asking questions about the product, his voice quavered a little and he said “this is beautiful.” We often joke about Ali’s lack of accessible emotions versus my constant life drama. We balance each other well, but when he sees me tear up when I walk into Therese Murdza’s art studio or when listening to a poignant moment of a soviet-era symphony, I think he is a little bit jealous because he doesn’t really feel things like that. Today in that little curiosity shop, looking at a well-designed book about math theories, Ali was moved. And that $60 to our new curator friend is a small price to pay for setting the stage for my husband to get a little bit emo. Thank you, Ampersand, for your well thought collection and artful displays. You helped set the stage for a milestone.

the elements of Euclid

and, in Portland Rhino news…


photographer unknown

Pete, the Oregon Zoo’s black rhino, can expect some company soon. Zuri, a 3-year-old female rhino from Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, arrived in Portland last week on a breeding loan and will be joining Pete on exhibit sometime in the coming months.

“Black rhinos are among the most endangered mammals on the planet,” said Kim Smith, Oregon Zoo director. “We are thrilled and privileged to be given an opportunity to promote the survival of these amazing creatures.”

In the wild, habitat loss and poaching have pushed the species to the brink of extinction. The world population of black rhinos has plummeted from an estimated 65,000 in 1970 to fewer than 3,700 today.

Originally posted at Portland Observer by Mindy Cooper

settled in Portland, Oregon

It’s been awhile since we’ve posted an update, but I wanted to let everyone know that we’ve settled in Portland, Oregon. So far, so good and we LOVE the vibe of the pacific northwest. Ali is consulting for a technology company in Beaverton and we found the best little garden cottage to rent while we get our act together. We’re currently living out of 364 square feet… and loving it! It’s been a sort of trial of minimalist living. If you’re interested in seeing more photos, check our facebook albums.

minimalist workspace