There’s a 100-plus-12 months-outdated Chickering & Sons upright piano in the residing room of Mike and Robin Clark’s residence. It belonged to Robin’s grandmother, and she uncovered to engage in it herself. Sitting down on top rated of it is a Liz Phair album. The CD go over is signed, in reference to Robin, “To Mike, Continue to keep Her Content —Liz Phair.”
Robin, a designer, amazed Mike with each the piano and the signed album when he returned from tour in 2003—he’s the longtime keyboardist and guitarist for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, as perfectly as an accountant. Even though he’d been absent, Robin had satisfied Phair when she opened for the Flaming Lips on the band’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots tour at the Crystal Ballroom. That is also exactly where Mike and Robin had been married in 2002, nearly a 10 years right after they both graduated from Reed School.
Indeed, Mike and Robin are really serious about new music.
The piano is now, without having a doubt, the oldest-hunting point in their 1899 North Portland bungalow, in which they’ve lived for just about 20 a long time. Their home is an amalgam of tinted plexiglass, shiny black tile, some metallic paint, and a healthful dose of glam-rock-to-pop structure features that conjure up some of the coolest boutique accommodations on the planet. Modern day artwork and style and design infuse every single past element.
It was not often this way. In the 1980s, the residence underwent a funky transform that resulted in issues like an awkwardly developed rest room and a decommissioned wooden stove chimney and hearth chimney, encased flooring-to-ceiling in a six-foot square of brick, smack-dab in the center of the first ground. The latter built every thing sense compartmentalized and cramped. And so, they worked about these and other structure flaws—assembling low-priced Ikea and Fred Meyer shelving that overstayed its welcome, throwing on a further layer of paint—and imagined, “One day, we’ll make it suitable.”
In 2007, Robin was diagnosed with ovarian most cancers. For quite a few months, whilst undergoing intensive rounds of chemotherapy, she expended a fantastic sum of time at dwelling in a hospital bed. By 2009, she had beaten the cancer, and gained a sure clarity around her house and life style: “I truly had time to search around and consider, ‘Who life right here? What am I carrying out listed here? This could be so a great deal improved.’”
That in the vicinity of-death expertise propelled the eventual remodel, which fully obtained underway in 2015 when they at last had the cash to do it. At that place, the residence also experienced more than enough severe maintenance troubles that they decided they essential to either offer it and go or majorly renovate. They chose the latter, and they’re so happy they did.
More than the training course of four a long time, Robin created, Steve Ewoldt of Artifekt Architecture drew up, and contractor Todd Larios fully gutted and rebuilt everything—adding an upstairs lavatory and to start with-floor addition of about 250 sq. toes to the residence. As significantly as the general layout notion, “I came up with ‘dark glam bananas.’ It is the environment I was likely for, as opposed to French Region or Swedish Minimalism,” Robin clarifies. “Dark glam bananas is form of blingy, but it’s also exciting and amusing, long term current, and moody and grown.”
In which Robin’s medical center mattress once sat is now the whole-of-glow kitchen area with luxe black penny-tile and sparkly gold grout, and a custom “soul love” mosaic Robin dreamed up and established. Outside of that is a large-open up room, whole of contrasting coloration, spliced with a zigzagging carpet customized-reduce by Flor and positioned by Robin.
The beating heart of the residence is the cellular DJ station with vibration-evidence casters. Mike needed Beck’s “two turntables and a microphone,” so Robin developed it for him. Modular wall-mounted file cubbies line the partitions (for their just about 3,000 information), demonstrating off some of their preferred album artwork. Two other striking layout features include a sculptural, area age-hunting, tweed gray Tufty Time couch by designer Patricia Urquiola, and a larger sized-than-lifetime wall mural of David Bowie posing in that iconic, vertical-stripe Freddie Burretti fit. And that’s just the initial ground. Upstairs is their tremendous chill, seafoam palette, skylit, chrome-beaded-curtained bed room and what they refer to as their “disco powder room” with its mirrored-tile ceiling.
Although pre-2020 Robin and Mike lived for reside shows and songs in interesting clubs in Portland and all-around the globe, they did not go out each night time. Robin was identified, “Let’s make our home the destination we want to go to.” And so they did, with unthinkable foresight. In the course of the previous 12 months-furthermore, whilst quite a few of us have felt the really real boundaries of our houses, stretched to potential as we perform from household, university from dwelling, do just about anything at home—Mike and Robin have experienced an even further appreciation of their North Homosexual Avenue digs.
In accordance to Mike, “Since we can not go any where, it’s like, ‘Let’s get an espresso at the Gay Avenue Coffee Dwelling. Let us see a movie at the Homosexual Avenue Cinemas.’” A person of their most loved at-household venues has been the Gay Avenue Dance Club. Mike on a regular basis grabs a couple dozen information from their collection and spins dance music right until the wee hours. The seem process is both of those analog and digital many thanks to a Sonos + Ikea collaboration referred to as Symfonisk.
They’ve also been often streaming DJs from about the environment and pumping that seem during the house’s 10-in addition speakers. New music truly follows you upstairs as it usually does in resorts. They’ve tapped into some of their most loved dwell sets for the duration of the pandemic through United We Stream, which released as a COVID-times fundraising campaign for Berlin clubs and is now a global platform. They’ve also genuinely liked seeing and listening to Beck’s 2019 Hyperspace album paired with NASA visuals.
These times the Clarks can faux they’re examining out the DJ from a tunes fest catering tent or an Airbnb in Europe. “We’ll be like, ‘Maybe we should really get an additional evening at this location? Can we get a late check out-out?’” claims Robin. “We critically communicate like that. It is a actually great suspension of fact.”
Like lots of of us, Mike and Robin have been doing the job from dwelling through the pandemic. They normally stream Seattle’s indie, listener-supported station KEXP during the 7 days. When a specially fantastic music comes by way of, like “Music Can make Me High” by the Avalanches or “Free” by Sault, they’ll quit when one particular of them states, “Meet you on the dance floor!” And then they do just that—take a speedy dance split.
It is testomony to the strength of their romantic relationship that Mike and Robin lived in the dwelling all through the total remodel, a challenge they had to press pause on numerous times due to inadequate money. They’ll be the initial to notify you that it was not all sunshine and roses, and that chaos fatigue is serious when it will come to a main remodel. Several years put in dwelling lifetime within just zipper partitions, with all kinds of random holes in the few walls continue to standing, continual dust raining down, machines strewn about in all places, and dwelling out of people five packing containers not in storage is taxing, to put it evenly.
Just one early-on structure boon that softened some of individuals sanity-degrading edges was their full disregard for resale benefit. “People would say, ‘You need to have to set a railing below,’ and I would say, ‘No, I don’t,’” states Robin. “There are no canine, no young children. Why should not we have an overall space which is only for new music, that has no household furniture, that’s just for dancing?”
When asked if possibly has any regrets immediately after their painstakingly long three-calendar year residence renovation, the response is a resounding no. “It is hard to are living in the moment when you’ve blown up your property for a long run oasis that nearly no person can see,” states Robin. “But worthy things consider time, endurance, and relentless Scorpio-mounting electric power which I have. Further than that, it is all about embracing improve.”
Locate more aspects at hellorobinclark.com, wherever Robin blogged the complete home renovation procedure from begin to end.