Manhattan Nest: Portland Edition

Meet my friend Chandler.

While we’ve technically known each other since we were about 4, in elementary school Chandler was a little too cool, and proudly so, to give me the time of day. So we pretend that first decade or so of our relationship didn’t really exist. It wasn’t until the summer of 2006, after two years at separate high schools, that we serendipitously reconnected while attending the same one-month summer program in Paris. Since then, we’ve been two peas in a proverbial pod. Clearly she’s hot as hell and super hilarious—basically, my two qualifications for a long-lasting, meaningful friendship. This is only bolstered by the sometimes all-too-apparent fact that we’re essentially the same person, which tends to alienate others. Brotha from another mother, if you will.

The above photo was taken in 2008 as a part of our joint senior project in high school: a self-published book we created about, essentially, all our favorite things. The title pretty much speaks for itself.

Maybe I’ll talk more about it another time when I’m in the mood to relive the glory days, but it’s one of the physical masterpieces of our friendship. Just in case there was any confusion, that huge t-bone steak Chandler’s poised to chow down on is actually a red velvet cake. See? We’re creative geniuses.

But I digress. The point is, we’re besties. Here we are with some privateers at a war reenactment, just because I think this photo is magical. That man’s day-job? A realtor. You’re welcome.

Anyway, as you might have guessed, I’ve been home in D.C. for the last couple weeks for winter break. I’ve seen my family. We exchanged presents for Hanukah. Good food has been consumed. I’ve become newly obsessed with Glenn Close after catching up on the last three seasons of Damages. Overall, it’s been generally uneventful and as relaxed as I can really handle without getting twitchy to do something drastic.

ALL THAT’S ABOUT TO CHANGE. Because later today, I’m headed off to Portland, Oregon! For two full weeks. This isn’t just some jaunty winter break vacation, though. This is business. The business of getting Chandler’s new apartment set up, since she goes to school out there and is moving back after a summer abroad in Berlin and a fall semester in Rome. She’s a little like Carmen San Diego.

And I’ll be sharing it here! I’m aiming for daily posts, but given my commitment issues and the possibility of shoddy internet, we’ll see. Keep in mind it’s taken me months to get my apartment looking less like it’s inhabited by fugitives, but I think watching spaces progress and evolve is really exciting. And we’re aiming to do a lot of work in a very short period of time. Chandler’s also rented the apartment sight-unseen, so we basically have no idea what we’ll be working with.

And it’s going to be great. Chandler and I mutually, and genuinely, love to clean, organize, make lists, craft and decorate. I love to buy furniture. We’re both a little obsessive and have a hard time cutting ourselves off from finishing projects, and we both set unrealistic goals and then talk ourselves into thinking they’re totally possible. When homemaking is your drug of choice… talk about a toxic relationship.

Another thing about Chandler that should make these next two weeks interesting? I swear, probably more than anybody I know, weird shit just tends to happen to her on an admirably regular basis. I’ll leave you with this dazzling and seductive photo that she completely randomly received on her cell phone last night from an unknown number, much to the surprise and glee of everybody around. A roaring fire. A man clad in loungewear. Mimosa (or screwdriver?) in hand. A big-ass TV. Chandler’s response: “what are you watching?”

Manhattan Nest: Portland Edition. It’s going to be great. Stay tuned for the updates.

And Happy New Year everybody!!! Sorry I never chimed in for the holidays or to bid farewell to 2010 (I feel like I’ve violated some unspoken blogging rule), but know that you were all on my mind and I wish you the very best in 2011.

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 1.3.11
    Lena said:

    Really, really excited to see that!

  2. 1.3.11
    Seth said:

    What is he watching? Judging from the distinctive angular jut of the chin, I’m guessing Brad Pitt. Add to that the black clothing and the driving and my money is on ‘Mr. And Mrs. Smith’. Which, ironically enough, is a great movie to watch if you dig interior design… The house they blow up is sweet! Oh, and when you are in Portland, if you run into a dude who is obsessed with city planning and board games, say hi to Landon for me!

  3. 1.3.11
    Kathleen said:

    This is hilarious. Can’t wait to see how the apartment turns out and hear the stories that accompany.

  4. 1.3.11
    Mohamad Saleh said:

    Nice bit there at the end, was wondering what that photo was all about when I did the usual skim over pictures before I read tactic.. haha.

    Kinda sucks that there will be rain, rain, rain in Oregon, hopefully that doesn’t affect your shoddy internet.

    Thumbs up for Captain HOOK!

  5. 1.3.11
    Callista said:

    You’re coming here?! To Portland?! And you’re going to post about it?! There is a god. I can’t wait!

    • 1.3.11
      Daniel said:

      I’m so glad this is making your dreams come true! I’ll try to do it up right for fabulous Portland!

  6. 1.3.11

    hahah. everything about this is awesome.

  7. 1.3.11

    I did the same thing as Mohamad with the pre-skim, so it was fun to try to guess what that super-exciting photo at the end was all about before I got to that part of the story. I once received a similar photo of a dude in a bubble-bath.

    Anyway, this is exciting!! I can’t wait to follow along. Can you imagine renting a place sight-unseen?!

    • 1.3.11
      Daniel said:

      OMG no! She said there was one crappy picture of the corner of the living room on craigslist, and we know there’s a dishwasher and a shared washer/dryer with the tenants of the other part of the duplex. We Google-street-viewed the building… Chandler says it looks like a fortress, I think it looks like a bunker. Either way, it’s not giving much away.

  8. 1.3.11
    Monica said:

    Oh, this is going to fun! Of course, I am wondering if the guy answered back.

    • 1.3.11
      Daniel said:

      He did :-). Knew he had made a mistake. I wonder what tipped him off?

  9. 1.3.11

    Okay, so, we’ve been doing some in-depth photoanalysis here in the office today, and we have concluded that:

    1. The guy is drinking orange Alizé.

    2. He’s watching All My Children. The character on the screen is named…wait for it…JR Chandler. (No, seriously!!)

    • 1.3.11
      Daniel said:

      Incredible. Can I please be your intern this summer? Your office sounds like the funnest place on earth.

  10. 1.3.11
    Brandon said:

    I am always floored when I find a new post on Manhattan Nest. And this new post foreshadows more new posts…daily?!?! Happy new year to me! Can’t wait to see the place!

  11. 1.3.11
    Jinia said:

    Lurker just popping in to say can’t wait! I have been enjoying your blog for the last several months-Thanks!

  12. 1.3.11
    Nicole said:

    That definitely tops my “random text from a truck driver” experience. Once I cleared up that I was the victim of a misdialed number he kept trying to get me to chat anyway. I humored him for about four texts and then when I found out he frequented a truck stop I used to work at I stopped, a little freaked out.

    Maybe someone wrote my phone number in the bathroom after I rage-quit my cashier job there by screaming obscenities at one of the drivers and calling my boss a slimy bastard on the way out the door. I don’t know how this thought never occurred to me until I started writing this comment.

    I am so ridiculously excited for MH Goes Speedy. Will you come to Murfreesboro TN next? It’s a nice town and we have an entire restaurant here dedicated to fondue.

    And my apartment is a wreck. That too. But I’m not letting you take away my light-up-lawn-reindeer-used-as-a-bedside-lamp.

    • 1.3.11
      Daniel said:

      Actually, I’d love to! I’ve never been to Tennessee, but it’s been on my road trip list for a while. We can totally work around Mr. Reindeer, no problem.

      Also, respek for quitting with such pizzazz. I feel like that would be really empowering and exciting.

    • 1.4.11
      Nicole said:

      It was empowering and exciting right until I got home and realized I had no job =/

      All’s well that ends well though :) Come to TN some time even if you don’t, uh, have to figure out how to work a reindeer (and apartment carpet) into tasteful decor. It’s a great place and Nashville–I’m right down the road from Nashville–is the most awesome town. So much cool stuff hiding away in there (or out in the open, like the Opryland Hotel and the Ryman). There’s a famous bar/restaurant/listening room in Nashville that was once famous, during the country music heyday, as being owned by a violent harpy of a woman who would stab you with her hat pin if you were too loud during a performance.

      But we’re not all like that here, I promise.

  13. 1.3.11
    megan said:

    Did you say high school in 2008? OMG I’m officially a dinosaur and babies are taking over the internet. But, I’m totally excited that you get to spend time in Portland. Have you been here before? I am basically a self proclaimed, honorary hype girl for Portland, so if you need a list of places to check out, I can hook you up!

    • 1.3.11
      Daniel said:

      I’ve been to Portland a couple times, but only for a few days at a time. I’m so excited to be going back, I think it’s a great city! And PLEASE, any Portland recommendations (especially great thrift stores n’ things!) would be wildly appreciated! We have lottttttttts of shopping to do and, er, not that much money to spend.

    • 1.4.11
      Callista said:

      I hope you get this, but . . .

      I would definitely check out the City Liquidators on SE 3rd between Belmont and Morrison. The place is HUGE and AWESOME.

      Also, Modern Pink in Sellwood ( It’s my little secret.

      I also always have good luck at Hawthorne Vintage (

      Sellwood’s great for antiquing. Hawthorne’s great for vintage stores.

      I wish you lots of luck! If you guys need any more help or details, feel free to shoot me an email!

  14. 1.3.11
    Margaret said:

    The only thing that could make Portland cooler is you!

    I can’t wait to get back to P-town, though if school wanted to hold off starting for a few more weeks I would be a-okay with that. It amuses me that you will be in town when my only goal this weekend is to duplicate your fabric door coverings. Kismet, obviously.

  15. 1.4.11
    Shannon said:

    Dear Daniel,
    Can you PLEASE come to Denver be my bff too? I won’t steal you from Chandler or anything. She seems like the type of cool girl who’d be okay with sharing. I will provide you with room and board and delicious food and plenty of beverages (adult or otherwise), and you can help me make my house look good. Deal? Let me know. :)

    PS I am a longtime creeper, and this might be my first comment, but I promise I’m not creepy in real life.

  16. 1.4.11
    Alice said:

    I’m so jealous that one of your friend’s is letting you decorate their abode. I have been begging my friends to let me help them with their homes……and boom nothin’ :-( If anyone on this site lives in DC and would like a free VERY low-cost home makeover, you can contact me at

    Good luck in Portland. Here is a blog that features vintage furniture shops there:

  17. 1.4.11
    megan said:

    There’s no shortage of thrift shops here. There are a ton of vintage shops on Hawthorne, but if you want to do some more digging and search for those lucky gems I would head out to Oregon City. There’s a value village there, a goodwill, a place called red, white, blue (be prepared, it’s cash only), a place called the dig but that’s just clothes and if you’re feeling especially brave they have a goodwill outlet. If you go to the outlet, be prepared to question mankind and leave feeling like you need to take a shower in boiling water, but you might just find a diamond in the rough there.

    I’ve scored some great stuff at Value Village. They also have one in Vancouver, Tigard and in SE Portland on 82nd.
    I haven’t been to any of the Salvation Armys, but I’ve heard there are some good ones close in.

    Also, you might want to check out ReRun and William Temple House.

    Good luck!

  18. 1.4.11
    April said:

    I live in Portland! You’ll love it. Check out 23rd Street.

  19. 1.4.11
    Heather HS said:

    I’m super excited to read all about it! Best of luck!

  20. 1.4.11
    mina said:

    I feel sorry for that poor man. He was clearly sending that image to a (potential?) lady lover he was trying to lure to his abode with a glass of OJ. Now he is being publicly mocked on the internet. For shame, Daniel.

    I’m also looking forward to these daily posts you’re promising, your blog is amazing.

  21. 1.4.11
    Annika said:

    I’ll await the coming two weeks with great anticipation!

  22. 1.6.11
    Tania said:

    Your successes, failures and non events are always so entertaining.
    Please post more frequently… otherwise I have to get back to work.

  23. 1.15.11
    Meghan said:

    Holy shit, you are hilarious. And with a sidekick now. Love it.