You’d be more likely to find the Navajo-hued stucco building where John and Jen Vitale reside along a Mediterranean coast than in the Oregon city of Portland. Step inside and you’ll find the dark wood paneling, architectural charm, and attention to detail that the Pacific Northwest is rife with. Filled with plants, records, books, natural objects, and a copious collection of kitchen items, the Vitale’s home exudes sensitivity to the simple and quotidian pleasures of life. Lining the hallway of their second floor walk-up is John’s cache of skate shoes — the only prominent indication that he makes a living owning and operating a skateboard company. His workshop and office hide in the building’s basement, but the apartment is far from the frenzied pace you might expect from a life-long skateboarder. Instead, the Vitale’s home serves as gallery and sanctuary, inviting guests into the quiet calm, that Jen — a freelance stylist — and John have fashioned from both created and amassed treasures.
Hailing from Northern California and Georgia, respectively, Jen and John have recently found Portland to be an ideal locale for their little family that also includes their yellow Labrador Retriever, Sammy, who they claim to as their “first child.” True to their coastal-hippie and Southern origins, the couple are laid-back, love laughing, and are quick to make guests feel impossibly at ease.