Sharon + Dana

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Meet the couple who thrive on the love of a well-cooked meal, but had nowhere to even store the pots. 

Sharon and Dana — Laurelhurst, Portland OR

Our Portland house, mine and Dana’s, is actually a second home. We spend a good deal of our time in Washington out in the country on a ranch, but we have the Portland house when we need to put our feet up, relax, and enjoy the city for a while.

Our home is a place of beauty, a place of refuge and relaxation. I told somebody one time I wanted a little jewel. Slowly but surely over the years, I've been creating that.

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The biggest challenge for me was undoing some of the things that had been done to the house over time that marred the original charm. It had great bones and a great design, but had been through eleven different owners since it was built in 1923.

Probably, the biggest offender in the kitchen was a giant honking brick fireplace that somebody had added in. That sounds really lovely and romantic, but it was completely impractical and not very attractive.


It was weird. Just weird.

And there wasn’t any space next to the stove to put pots or anything. I had 12 inches of space. As an avid cook, the kitchen did not work for me at all. The space planning was just bad.

Knowing how strong my opinions are, the challenge for me was to find a professional designer and a professional architect who was willing to work with me and listen to my ideas.

That was one of my biggest hesitations. The psychological match had to be right.

How did I find Joel? He came recommended as someone to talk with. I'll tell you what sticks out in my mind though. I went to meet him at his office, and I loved the fact that he had a dog in the office.

Fraley + Company were wonderful, and I really enjoyed my experience with them. I felt immediately comfortable. I felt like Joel was somebody that I could really talk to.

Joel and his team work like a very professional team, but they also sort of work like a family.

We spent quite a bit of time getting the design to work around me, and to work the way I was hoping the kitchen would work.


Once we finally got the floor plan the way we really liked it, I got really excited.

I can easily envision things and as the plans began to take shape, it looked very much like I expected it would be.

It actually exceeded my expectations. That was very cool.

It was putting things in reach where they needed to be.

It was giving me the space I needed to work.

Things like where are we going to put the trash can and where were we going to put Cassady's (our dog’s) toy basket?

Where was somebody able to sit down and talk to me while I cooked?

Where would my island go? (I couldn’t cook without it)

Cooking is a way of life for me. I love to cook and I love to travel, so whenever I travel, I always take cooking lessons in the country that I visit. That's how I see countries, is learn how they cook, and then I bring those ideas back and try them in my own kitchen.

A year later, it’s a pleasure every time I walk into the kitchen. I love the way it looks and feels, and it's my favorite room in the house.

Before I did the kitchen, I would walk into the kitchen and I would just see all of the things that it didn't do.

Now, my friends come over, they sit down, they chat with me while I work. Every person who has ever been in my kitchen makes a comment about it, about how beautiful it is, how comfortable it is. For me, cooking in it is just a joy.

Redesigning your home is a big step, but it can be one of the most joyful steps you take. I just wonder why I didn't do it even sooner?

You only have so much time in life, and I think you owe it to yourself to surround yourself with things you love and feel great about. That's what happened for me when I took that step.

Just do it.

My home in Portland is a place that I really love having people come into, and I love being here. I am just so glad that I did what I did.

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Nice To Meet You!

We're Fraley + Company

We create beautiful and intuitive spaces that work the way you need them to. Our process begins by listening to our clients and responding with innovative solutions. Whether it’s your home or your business, our designs will meet the needs of your life and inspire you every day. 

 ( or give us a ring at 503-758-2797 )


Michelle DeMers