When Portland-based designer Mel Hignell purchased this 1957 home in 2017, a four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath ranch on the Willamette River, nicknamed “Cabana,” she saw improvements to be made. A lot of room. âI remodeled a lot of it,â says Hignell. âStructurally, it required a bit of work. The decking was collapsing. The rooms on the first floor were really terrifying – the blue 70s carpet doesn’t smell so good. It was really gross – lots of popcorn ceilings and really filthy.
Hignell, the founder of a full-service, Airbnb vacation rental design and management company called White Spider that owns / manages six homes across New Orleans, San Francisco and the Portland area, said she relied on her own instincts for reshaping. First, she painted the non-functional exposed brick fireplace in the living room upstairs white and fired it with gas, and threw a black and white Marquis De Mod painting over the sofa. Then she sprinkled the religious iconography and added leopard wallpaper in the bathroom.
“I was taking a shower one day and I was like, ‘You know, I don’t want to line an entire wall. I just want a sheet of paper, âshe recalls.
On the side deck, Hignell installed a stone gas fireplace, framed in dark wood and bright green decorative plants, with an outdoor bar fashioned from a vintage True drink cooler. Notes of green (velvet chairs), red (patio umbrellas) and blue (a kitchen wall) break up the otherwise black and white scheme. Hignell decided not to deviate too much from the original aesthetic: âWhen we walked in it was black, cream and gold,â she says.
She however gave up the blue shag carpet and replace it with “magnificent Berber. âThe second living room sports a five-foot sofa, white walls accented by a black Z side table, a framed leopard king painting and a refash sculptureionized with a flash of gold, a nod to the immortal Ziggy Stardust. “It’s kind of a mix of Hollywood Regency glam and postmodernism at this point,” Hignell said.
This signature style ended up including a saltwater pool, jetted tub, and “vertical dance pole” outfitted with fog machines and strobe lights on the outside. A major draw is the Cabana Dance Cage, which was salvaged from Embers, Portland’s iconic gay dance bar and club that closed in 2017. And the neon cross “SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT”? Custom made by Carousel Lights for Pusha T’s Darkest Before Dawn: Prelude to visit. A more recent addition to one of Cabana’s bathrooms: a pop art painting of Madonna as the Virgin Mary, captioned “Get Naked” in neon print.
While Cabana is Hignell’s main house as well as an Airbnb (the price varies according to demand but can be around $ 1,000 one night in high season), its scorching poolside and neon lights make it a must-have for music video shoots.
âWe have a ton of videos shot at Cabana all the time,â says Hignell. On Cabana’s Instagram, you can spy Tox! C, the self-proclaimed “pop-princess” artist from Portland, posing in front of Pusha T’s cross, promoting her song “Tastes Like Summer”.
While not a “party house” per se (under the auspices of Airbnb’s sacred rules), Hignell says the house is made for a small bacchanal labeled Airbnb.
âEvery part of my house is designed to be comfortable. I want people to relax, bring friends, break bread, drink wine, have a glass of tequila, whatever. I just want people to be really comfortable, âHignell says. “That being said, people are falling asleep all over my house.” And with four king beds, two massive sofa beds, upholstered living room furniture scattered throughout every room, and handy condoms in candy dishes or a vintage condom dispenser on the deck, make yourself comfortable. to Cabana is pretty easy.