Making Hostel Home

Heather Loeber thinks outside of the box to decorate her one-of-a-kind space

I worked with Barrett Made to gut and rebuild the entire structure, however the interior design was my own. While I didn’t really have a source of inspiration, my goal was to create a dynamic, comfortable and vibrant space and it came together organically by choosing things that appeal to me. I have always been a fan of patterns and wanted to differentiate the hostel from the institutional feel of a typical hotel. Designing the space came easily—I think the challenge for me will be to stop adding to it!

“I chose to add character and art to the space through the use of wallpaper. Unique wallpaper adds a lot of personality to a room and it doesn’t take up any physical space. Overall, I used 27 different patterns in the hostel—I am definitely doing my part to bring wallpaper back into our lives. It’s funny just how many guests come through here and announce, ‘I am going home, and I am putting wallpaper in my house!’ They are no longer afraid to take the leap; they’ve seen it work here, and know it will be awesome.

“I have an affinity for things that are very kitschy or tacky, and I worry they aren’t going to be loved by anybody else. The staff and I joke that the hostel is an Island of Misfit Toys. I adopt these weird things and when I put them together it creates a carefree, whimsical environment—it’s comfortable. I honestly feel that, if you clash enough pieces, they cease to clash—they end up balancing one another.

During construction, I hit Portland Flea-for-All almost every weekend and acquired little weird, random things as well as some large pieces of furniture. I found the daybed and check-in desk for the common space at Asia West. I had custom glass art made for the windows from an artist on Etsy. In the end it all came together, but I still have more to do. I could do this again and again and again and just keep going. I guess I like to design.”

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