unexpected guests: matt pierce.
brace yourselves, dear readers, we’ve got a man in the house! i’m always itching to share some guy style around here, and today on unexpected guests we’re popping up to portland to visit with matt pierce, handy-man extraordinaire! i’ve shared matt’s new blog and shop recently, wood & faulk, but ever since befriending and following him on on flickr a while back i’ve been pestering him to be a guest here. i want you to keep in mind, that many of the home furnishings here, as well as the restoration on his house, have all been done by the hands of matt. inspiring, no? yes! so here we go, off to matt’s world of wood working and restoration wonderment.
Where do you live, and what are a few of your favorite things to do in your neighborhood?
I live in the Concordia neighborhood of NE Portland, Oregon, in the Alberta Arts district. There’s lots of great restaurants, good coffee, dingy bars, bookstores and hangouts nearby so it’s hard not to frequent them often. My favorites have to be Pine State Biscuits for brunch, Monograph Bookwerks for finding interesting books & artifacts, the Bye and Bye for some Pabst and a Brussels Bowl, Together Gallery for a showing.
How did you learn to be so handy – classes, or self-taught?
I think it’s in my character… my dad was a carpenter in his youth, his dad (my Poppa Vic) was a carpenter all his life. My Mom’s dad, Poppa George, was always building with wood too. He would give me screwdrivers and shielded wire as a kid, which I used to remove cabinet doors and short-circuit wall outlets, respectively. Later in life, most of my handy-ness was mostly self-taught, due to an intense curiosity to take things apart. I read a lot of manuals, internet articles, old handyman journals too. If I get interested in something, I tend to dive really deep into it with lots of research. Though, sometimes it helps to have an expert mentor… in my 20s, my uncle taught me how to build engines and lots of auto mechanics, which has been invaluable.
What’s your favorite vintage possession?
Probably my Herman Miller 670 lounge. Charles Eames is a personal hero, and to find an early production lounge is a real treasure. Especially when I had a little bit of restoration to do on it myself. The attachment is so much stronger when you’re helping preserve something.
What five things can’t you live without?
My family foremost… then everything else is a distant 2nd. I enjoy ‘stuff’ so much, but I’m ok without it too. All of my stuff can be replaced… even that lounge.
If you could go shopping with anyone in the world, who would it be?
I’d wanna drop into Alameda Flea Market with you, of course! Then maybe vintage film camera shopping in Tokyo with John from toyko camera style?
What music do you like to listen to while you’re working on a project around the house?
Oh, I love music so much… but I don’t have a go-to for projects… usually just whatever I’m listening to lately. Recently it’s been Andrew Bird, First Aid Kit, Real Estate, SeaBear, Horse Feathers. The other day, A.A. Bondy came on and I wanted to stop my project and make pancakes. I don’t quite know what that means, though.
What bores you to death?
Bores me to death? I’ll say this… I welcome boredom! Those moments – I just sit in my chair, relax and let my mind wander about projects and ideas. If that leads to a nap, so be it.
• photos by matt pierce.