Portland-based interior designer Wendy O’Brien and founder of her eponymous firm, Wendy O’Brien Interior Planning & Design, has been working with Chown for 15 years to select hardware, plumbing, and lighting for a variety of residential projects. With a portfolio ranging from Hamptons-inspired kitchens to complete mid-century remodels, O’Brien collaborates exclusively with Portland sales expert Tara Dyer to accommodate her clients’ unique design aesthetic and budget. This past year, Dyer helped O’Brien select, order, and support the installation of two completely different home projects with very different budgets: A mid-century-inspired Bandon beach house remodel and a modern Tuscan farmhouse design for Portland’s annual Street of Dreams event.
“It is really nice to return to someone who knows how you work and understands your style as well,” says O’Brien about working with Dyer. “We can work quickly through the specifications for an entire home.”
Located along the Oregon Coast, O’Brien’s Bandon Beach House remodel blends vintage silhouettes with timeless colorways to create a transportive vacation retreat. Inspired by aeronautical design of the 1960s, the kitchen features a sleek Watermark kitchen faucet, a triangular double basin, and minimalist Top Knobs cabinet pulls, all finished in nickel. When it came to the main bathroom, the clients wanted to bring the zen of their beachfront view indoors with luxury appliances and wellness features. Luckily, we had exactly what they needed. We helped O’Brien specify a Mr. Steam iButler Steam Shower and a sculptural Crosswater Formoso Grande bathtub.
“Selecting the right look and function of the plumbing hardware fixtures is very important because it can inspire parts of the design and needs to meet the needs of the client’s lifestyle and usage.”
The Bandon vacation homeowners lived out of state, so Dyer worked with O’Brien to select a number of hardware and plumbing options in-person at our Portland showroom and show them to the client via video calls.
“Each client I work with has a unique process in how they approach the design of their projects and in how they need me to assist,” says Dyer. “It’s my job to develop an intimate understanding of each client’s individual process and give them support accordingly.”
In contrast, O’Brien’s 7,338-square-foot Modern Tuscan Farmhouse in Heritage Crest, Oregon required a very different design strategy. Complete with its own basketball court, all-glass wine cellar, and outdoor pool, this home is the epitome of luxury farmhouses. O’Brien planned to debut the project at Portland’s month-long Street of Dreams event, so Dyer called on Chown’s Regional Sales Manager, Joel Chown, to help specify hardware on a time budget. This project required a quick turnaround to make it into the show, but due to the pandemic, vendors were running low on product inventory. Chown and Dyer not only helped Wendy select products, they also helped keep track of orders and updated the contractors on the products’ arrival at Chown’s warehouse.
“I love working with Tara,” says O’Brien. “She knows the ins and outs of all of the products and finishes and how different components work together. She is on top of everything and is great at communicating with the builder when necessary.”
The completed project is a spectacular blend of industrial textures and modern flare. Chown provided hardware and plumbing in nearly every room of the house, including the open-concept kitchen and six bathrooms. O’Brien selected a Waterstone Modern PLP Pulldown kitchen faucet along with a Julien Double Bowl Fira sink for a simple, uncluttered feel. The bathrooms were a fun mix of tiles and wallpaper, tied together with Crosswater London faucets, handles, and shower trim, and a BainUltra tub in the main bathroom.