Design

The ‘Little Gay House’ in Portland, Oregon

Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

If you live anywhere near Kat van der Hoorn (above, left) in Portland, Oregon, you’ll know her home as the one with the rainbow stairs. “We call it ‘the little gay house,” she says. “I want it to be a celebration of love and humanity in all the possible ways.” Here, Kat gives us a look inside…

LIVING ROOM
Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

Rug: Overstock. Basket: vintage, similar.

On starting over: I moved into this house in October 2019 — after I came out as gay and separated from my wonderful, supportive and loving ex-husband. I live here with my two boys — Ethan, almost 6, and Pax, almost 4. My partner Michelle and I consciously don’t live together — we have kids who are very different ages, so for now we’ve decided to live separately but very devotedly.

Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

On a safe space: The woman who lived here before us was a single mom and she wrote me a note — saying ‘this house has lived through 100 years of storms both inside and out.’ It has always felt like a very safe place to me.

Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

Sofa: Ikea. Coffee table: Cost Plus World Market. Floor lamp: Target.

On family routines: When I’m home with my kids, we spend 95% of our time in the living room — and the floor is covered with hot wheels. The house looked clean for this photo shoot for 25 minutes!

On family artwork: When my father passed away 19 years ago, the painting above the sofa was in his house, so it was a piece I got from him. He was a very vibrant person, so it matches his personality. It’s really special to me.

DINING ROOM
Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

Paint: Adriatic Sea by Sherwin Williams. Dining chairs and table: Craigslist. Credenza: Target. Rug: Wayfair.

On choosing colors: I wanted this house to feel like a jewel box. Because the house is small — less than 800 square feet — I tried to make the spaces feel separate and dramatic. The living room is the calmest room in the house, but you can still see this super dramatic room with blue walls and a chandelier; that was a fun way to have color but keep the main living space feeling peaceful.

Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

Chandelier: Cost Plus World Market. Mirror: Family heirloom. Painting of Black woman: Habiba Abdul Rahim. Sketch of woman in flowers: Sarah Gowun Park. Illustration of women embracing: Kaethe Butcher. Photo of older woman: Terry Berenson.

On celebrating the queer community: From the moment I moved in, I had the vision to make this a wall of queer and POC artists, mostly local. I hoped to celebrate women and non-binary bodies and people. Every time I see this wall, I feel so happy and connected to things that are bigger than I am.

KITCHEN
Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

On kid-friendly meals: I do lots of pasta and tacos and grains, and I try to hide vegetables in them. I recently made a grilled chicken pizza with parsley on it, and my youngest was like, ‘It’s good but I don’t like the salad.’ [Laughs] We also do snack plates, which is literally whatever is left over from the fridge, chopped up and put in sections.

Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

On displaying personal photos: I wanted more photos of my kids up and was trying to figure out how to present them. Suddenly, I was like, this is ridiculous, just tape them up! Because they live here only half the time, I love seeing them all the time. And taped up photos are really easy to change out.

KAT’S BEDROOM
Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

Bed frame: Target. Pink wall paint: Naive Peach by Sherwin Williams.

On a significant realization: When I started dating after my marriage, the first person I dated was non-binary. Because they were very masculine-presenting, I expected their house to look like a bachelor pad. But, instead, their bedroom was covered in twinkle lights with fluffy blankets, and I realized, gender identity doesn’t have to cross over with outward expression. It gave me permission to be in the world however I wanted to be. There are no rules, which is terrifying but also really freeing.

Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

Triangle shelf: Portland Saturday Market, similar. Bar cart: Tuesday Morning, similar.

On expressing yourself: When I was living with my ex-husband, our house was totally different — classic, Scandinavian, minimalist, very elegant, what I thought being a grown up should look like. Neutrals! Lovely plants! Leaving that marriage and coming out and coming into myself, I was like, I don’t want to make a house that looks like a grown up, I want to make a house that looks like myself. I really asked myself: what would MY space look like? How can this house be an expression of myself? I wanted my bedroom to express my feminine side and feel like this nest-y nurturing place.

Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

Mural: Michelle McCausey.

On a meaningful mural: My partner, Michelle, who is a fine artist, painted this mural. I was gone for a week and she said, can you trust that I know you and that I’ll surprise you? And it was definitely a trust exercise but I love it so much. The mural is all Pacific Northwest plants, and I’m a big hiker — that’s my therapy (as well as regular therapy!) — and in one corner is a full fern and two small ferns which represent me and my little kids. I cried when I saw it. It made me feel so seen.

Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

On affordable artwork: These black and white drawings are from a wonderful French art art book — which I cut out and framed. That’s one of my favorite things to do — framing pages from art books. It’s an affordable way of getting to see a lot of artists and artworks, and the art can also change with relative frequency.

BATHROOM
Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

Paint: Cyberspace by Sherwin Williams. Mirror: vintage, similar. Shower curtain: YoKII.

On a moody bathroom: The bathroom is very influenced by the interior designer Shavonda Gardner. When I saw her house tour, I was like someday I’ll have a black bathroom! It’s such a small room, and I’m never going to make it look bigger, so I thought I’d embrace it and make it a sexy, dark, moody bathroom. It’s probably my favorite room in the house. Everything is from Ikea or Goodwill, so it was affordable, too.

Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

Painted waves: Michelle McCausey.

On bringing in a nautical feel: I was like, I’d love my bathroom wall to feel like a silver ocean. And Michelle was like, okay, I can do that. She painted the wavy wall with paint markers. Everyone thinks it’s wallpaper!

KIDS’ BEDROOM
Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

Grey paint: Fleur de sel by Sherwin Williams. Green paint:  Lucky Green, Sherwin Williams. Rug: Wayfair. Chandelier: free from a Portland mom’s group, similar. Bunk bed: Wayfair. Bookshelves: Ikea.

On choosing colors: I wanted my kids’ room to feel gender neutral but also full of color. When people talk about gender neutral, they think the color beige, but everyone I know who is non-binary or gender queer, are very not beige! So, we went for a vibrant green.

Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

On sleep rituals: Since their dad and I live in separate houses, we decided to have the same type of bed for the boys in both places, so that going to sleep always felt the same. We ordered the exact same bunk bed for their dad’s house.

Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

On dreamy artwork: I found these panels in an antique store and immediately knew they’d be really lovely in the kids’ room. They make the room feel celestial.

OUTSIDE
Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

On a passion project: When we moved in, I had another contractor, and I told him that I wanted to do rainbow stairs. He said, You should be really careful because that’s a flag that you’re gay. And that, of course, made the stairs priority #1. They were inspired by these incredible stairs in Italy, and I showed Michelle a photo and was like, can you do that? She did an amazing job. The stairs have become something that people come to look at; people will take walks here and take pictures.

Colorful house tour in Portland Oregon

Doormat: Letterfolk.

On discovering your true self: I came out late in life. I was scared because I didn’t want to lose my whole family. I loved my ex-husband dearly, and the only thing I knew about divorce was that it could be horrible and incredibly painful.

I had actually come out as gay when I was 16. My family was very supportive but said they were worried I would get hurt and have a terrible life. And I was like, okay, you know, it’s not worth it for me. So, I put myself back into the closet. I told myself, I was just experimenting. When I went to college, I exclusively dated men. When I was in my 20s, I moved to New York and met my ex-husband, and we had a really fun time together, and everything was great except sex. And that was the challenging thing to navigate. For more than a decade, I just thought I was frigid. I sought therapy. No one ever said, maybe you want to look at your sexuality. I thought there was something physically wrong with me, especially because I was crazy about my ex-husband.

Those years with my ex-husband were full of running from myself. We moved from New York to Australia and then back to New York and then Oregon. I always felt like I couldn’t get comfortable, I just needed to get out of there.

When we moved to Portland in 2016, I joined a gym — simply because I had two very little kids, and it had $3/hour childcare. It turned out to be the world’s queerest gym. Almost all the coaches were queer, and mostly queer women worked out there. It became this instantaneous home for me, which I didn’t totally understand or analyze, but it was a place I really felt like myself.

Then there was a non-binary person at the gym. I kept thinking, why am I thinking about this person all the time? What is happening with me? Fidelity was very, very important to me, so I talked to my husband and said, I’m developing feelings for this person, and if I don’t explore them, I don’t know if I’ll know who I am. My ex-husband is literally the most supportive human being, and he said, I get it, I wouldn’t want you to be hiding who you are. Those few dates with that person were like, ok, cool, this isn’t a person for me, but I’m definitely gay. There was this missing puzzle piece my whole life, and being with this person shoved this puzzle piece into place.

Honestly, it was freaking horrible — my entire identity was wrapped up in that I’m a New York Jewish girl who grew up thinking, you are going to get married and have kids and have a nice house. And I had all that. Two beautiful boys, a husband who worshipped the ground I walked on, a beautiful house in Portland. But I was like, I cannot be in this life, this life is not mine.

I had a huge, huge emotional falling apart. It was really bad for several months. After a few months, we were like, let’s separate, but we still loved each other; so I was dating with his blessing but we were still married and sharing a home. After a year, we were like, we both need more than this; we both deserve relationships and not just being friends who are living together.

We separated in July 2019 and I moved in here. I identify as gender queer. I dress and present very masculine until I start talking, and then people are like, oh, you’re a girl — and I’m like yes, I’m all of the things. I acknowledge the extraordinary amount of privilege I have to be a well-educated white person in a loving family with access to therapy; I had the privilege to explore this with support and space. And even with all that, it’s still excruciatingly painful. But I don’t feel like I’m running away anymore. It’s a wonderful gift to wake up in this life.


Thank you so, so much, Kat!

P.S. More home tours, including a colorful Seattle house and a high-rise apartment that looks like a cabin.

(Photos by Christopher Dibble for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Possibly my favourite home tour ever! Loveliness at every turn… also loved reading Kat’s story. Would be interested in learning more about Michelle too – what a talented artist!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much! Michelle is just the most amazing person I’ve ever met, so I totally understand wanting to learn more about them. Kind, deeply compassionate, a Buddhist and a builder and such an incredible artist – definitely a human worth knowing!

  2. Rupal says...

    I love this house tour-the colors! I love the story of owning your true self even more. But seeing how Kat took the time to respond to so many comments-wow. Thanks for the reminder of how much light there is in our world.

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Rupal! Thank you so much. With so many people offering such words of connection and love, it is such a delight to reply and thank you and connect with such amazing humans! With deepest gratitude!

  3. Tazza says...

    This a beautiful story and home!

    The previous owner’s comment about the home weathering 100 years of storms inside and out made me tear up.
    Also, wow, Michelle’s art is stunning!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Tazza!! And I agree, Miche’s art is so magical – even more so in person!

  4. I’m a mid-30s woman who realized my queerness later in life and began dating women while married, then eventually divorced from my husband (for a few reasons). It just took me a while to realize that being attracted to women and men was totally okay and that I can do whatever I want! It was a sometimes-confusing, but totally liberating process and now I actually know what the term “weight off my shoulders” feels like.

    But despite all the things I personally identified with, it was the thing that I really can’t identify with that struck a chord– I found it SO incredibly thoughtful and smart that y’all chose to have the same beds for your kiddos. I’m childfree by choice and typically glaze over when it comes to kid stuff. But that literally made me go “Wow, that’s so sweet and smart” out loud.

    You’re a shining example of a tuned-in human who is raising other very aware little people. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

    • Zara Rafferty says...

      Love this comment, and felt the same way as a fellow childfree by choice gal.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much for sharing your story Dean! I feel so honored by your words. I’m so glad the beds made you smile!

  5. Annie says...

    I adore this house and everything about her story! I love that she and her ex bought the same beds for their kiddos – that’s so thoughtful of their boys and shows how well they work together post-divorce.

    I also REALLY love how affordable everything in here is! I always get frustrated when I saw a charming, eclectic home but everything in it costs $1,200 – this is so great! Thanks for sharing!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much for your sweetness, Annie!! I am very grateful for my sweet family and how much we support each other. Also, thank you for the compliments about the house – it was so fun to decorate, slowly over the year, and find pieces that work both for my heart and budget.

  6. Heather says...

    Thank you for sharing – everything about this is beautiful.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank YOU, Heather! Have a great one!

  7. RR says...

    those stairs look so friendly!

    • Kat v says...

      I like to think so! Thanks, RR!

  8. Emily S says...

    Absolutely loved this post. Beautiful story. So appreciate your honesty, Kat.

    And YES (x a million) for normalizing therapy! After years of putting band-aid solutions on my struggles, therapy is the thing that has made all the difference.

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Emily! Thank you so much. As a future Clinical Psychologist, therapy is my JAM. I am such an advocate for counseling, and my only wish is that it was more accessible and affordable for everyone to be able to get the benefits.

  9. Heather says...

    I am appreciating this question of whether you’re decorating for yourself, or for someone else, or to convince yourself you’ve got it together b/c your home LOOKS like grown-ups live there. There’s so much personality in this house – but it’s, maybe ironically, ALSO a house featured in a home tour, for other people to see. I find myself often, when visualizing a room in my house, thinking about how it would look in a picture. Maybe in the era of social media, it’s hard NOT to do that? Especially if you’re a person drawn to visual beauty? Kat, you make it sound so easy to separate what feels good for you in your home from external expectations or standards. What is your advice on fully shutting out all other voices but your own when decorating your home?

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Heather! I love this question so much! I actually wouldn’t say I shut out all other voices shut out all other voices but my own. I just sought the work of designers whose work truly inspired me – Shavonda Gardner, Mikel Welch, Emily Henderson, a billion COJ home tours – and followed my heart in how to combine them in ways that speak to my heart, even if they didn’t follow “design rules” or trends. I’ve also made hundreds of choices that I didn’t end up sticking with. For example, I bought two pieces before the Target credenza that I ended up either selling or moving around because the proportions didn’t work. The light fixture in my bathroom was originally in my living room and looked ridiculous. Those were all really helpful learning experiences, and part of why I try to buy things as affordably as I can (usually second hand, when I can find them) – so if it doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the earth, and if they don’t work for me, know they’ll work for other people! Hope that’s helpful!

  10. nadine says...

    Love everything about this. <3
    The way Kat tells her story is so sweet. Thank you so much for sharing!!!
    And the house is gorgeous, the style and the colours are beautiful, it feels so cozy and welcoming.
    I love how this house tours aligns the holistic approach of the beauty uniforms of this blog. It's not only about aesthetic choices but also about introducing the real person and lives behind them.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much for all your kind and sweet words, Nadine! I feel so grateful for Joanna’s tender and gracious writing of my story, and Chris’ amazing photography – it made me feel very seen and heard. Such a gift.

  11. Lindsay says...

    I just loved everything about this. What a beautiful and vibrant home and life you have created, Kat. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much, Lindsay! I am so grateful for your kind words, and for all the support this community gives so freely.

  12. NN says...

    Love Kat’s story so much and I relate so hard. I also came out as a teen, was terribly bullied by my parents back into the closet, and am just finally coming out as a lesbian, again, at 37 – which means leaving my hetero marriage. I’ve been so lucky that my husband has been supportive.

    I’d love to read more late-bloomer queer stories if CoJ was ever willing! Not so much for myself, but because it feels so important to begin to normalize it. It can feel quite lonely at times. Thanks for sharing, Kat <3

    • Elena says...

      Have you read Molly Wizenberg’s The Fixed Stars? Her story feels very similar to Kat’s.

    • Elle says...

      Oh, my story is so similar. I wish deeply I’d gotten support from my parents earlier on — I feel like I hurt a lot of people in the process of coming out later (myself, my deeply kind husband, the close friends I lied to over the years). Know you are not alone. <3

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much NN. I hear your pain and send you so much love and joy as your path unfolds! All good things to you and your family.

  13. Julie says...

    I love all of this.

    • Kat v says...

      Thanks Julie!!

  14. Hilary says...

    What an incredible story about bravery and self-love. So inspiring. Thank you for sharing your journey and your home!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you Hilary!! I appreciate you and your kind words <3

  15. Jay says...

    Popping in to say that I’m currently reading a fascinating novel. It’s called “Detransition, Baby” by Torrey Peters. It’s about two transgenders and their desire to become parents. It’s a debut, too!

    I’m right-of-center and don’t agree with the political ideals within the book but, regardless, it’s a very interesting glimpse into the world of non-binary identity and the subcultures that exist around it.

    Surprised to say I highly recommend it!

    • Aine says...

      I can’t find it but I’ve seen a really cool interview with Torrey Peters where she talks about her writing ethos and wanting to explore what gender means to her. I haven’t read any of her stuff yet but she’s got a few novellas out already as well, if you liked the book.

      (FYI, it’s “transgender people” or “trans people” , not “transgenders”.

    • Kat v says...

      Thanks so much for the recommendation, Jay! When you’re finished with that one, you might very much enjoy Casey Plett’s Little Fish – it’s another story about transgender experience that is very compelling and fascinating. It’s a dark read, but also highly engrossing.

  16. Rusty says...

    Wot a mighty story!
    I’m deeply moved by the humanity shown by both parents in loving their children together, after divorce.

    Kat, Wow! You are clearly a human being, who’s being very human in sharing this beautiful story. Just like a tree in the forest, the most beautiful ones are those with twists and turns and marks from weathering storms and sunshine.

    I’d love to read more from you.
    Sendingyou hugz from Australia.
    Rusty 🤗

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Rusty! (Is this the same Rusty who comments on Emily Henderson’s site? If so, Hi! If not, Hi!) I am so moved by this gorgeous comment. I love thinking of my life as a tree in the forest – makes some of the dark times seem more grounded and elegant. All good things to you!

  17. Arianne says...

    The comment about ordering the same bunk beds for each parent’s house so going to sleep felt the same made me (kid of divorce who switched houses my whole life) tear up! So thoughtful and loving. Beautiful home, beautiful family.

    • Lisa says...

      Me too. Everything about this story is so beautiful, but the bunk bed comment really got me. Am also a kid of divorced parents who never felt at home, so maybe this is why.

    • Anna says...

      I would love to see some more frank discussion about how now-adult children of divorce were affected by the choices of their parents.

    • Kat v says...

      I am so glad it’s so moving to you. I feel really lucky to have such a supportive co-parent who is really one of my best-friends, which makes this whole parenting thing a thousand times easier.

  18. Anne S says...

    I think one of the best things to come out of quarantine for me was the realization, because we couldn’t have anyone over and had to spend all our time in the house, that making my home look a certain way for other people is dumb and I should focus on making it mine instead. So I really appreciate what Kat said about her decision to stop with the minimalist “grown up” look and make her bedroom look like HER. We’re moving soon and I’m really looking forward to making a bedroom that looks like me!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you, Anne! Have an amazing time unfolding your space – I know you’ll just love it.

  19. Heather says...

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story, family, and home. It fills my heart with happiness.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much, Heather! I appreciate you!!!

  20. Agnès says...

    I love the stairs!! and the blue on your walls and all the artwork. Thank you for sharing so much and I am so glad I was born in the 70s because now, so many of my friends can live a life, with their wives, husbands, childrem, or just being who they are, with much less pain than in the 50s and before. There is still so much to do. But still, things have changed because laws have changed…

    • Kat v says...

      Agnès!! Thank you so much! Things have changed because laws have changed and because so many wonderful people have worked so tirelessly to change them. For that, and the ease of my life, I am forever grateful.

  21. Lilly says...

    This was so, so lovely. Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Kat v. says...

      Thank you so much, Lilly! I’m so happy you enjoyed it.

  22. Denise A. says...

    LOVE Michelle’s wall paintings!

    • Kat v. says...

      Hi Denise! Isn’t she wonderful? :-D

  23. Kristen White says...

    Love the vibrancy of the home & also it’s key inhabitant! Thanks for sharing!

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Kristen!! Thanks so much – I love the word vibrancy, so I am so glad it spoke to you that way. All good things!

  24. Mina says...

    I just loved reading Kat’s story. Would love to read more more more “finding-yourself” stories, please!

    • anni says...

      Yes, I love these stories!

    • Maryn says...

      Amen to this!

    • Kat v. says...

      Thanks so much Mina! And here’s to more “finding-yourself” stories – what can be better than uncovering your path, braving it, and then sharing it?

  25. Christina M says...

    What a beautiful home! And Michelle sounds lovely, like someone I’d love to know in real life. Thank you for sharing your home and your life with us.

    And I need that mural in my house! It’s gorgeous!

    • Christina M says...

      I’m sorry, I meant Kat. Kat sounds lovely!

    • Kat v. says...

      Hi Christina! thank you so much! And I assure you, Michelle IS lovely, so I also understand wanting to get to know them :)

  26. Malissa says...

    I can see why this is your favorite. The home is stunning. But – that story? That life journey? I got full-body chills that lasted for, like, a minute. How beautiful.

    • Kat v. says...

      Malissa, thank you so much!! I so appreciate that the story resonated for you so strongly. All good things!

  27. Charlotte says...

    I love CofJ, and totally support your site needing to use advertising to make ends meet in this unsteady environment. But is there anyway possible to discontinue the use of the pop-up ads? Every 10-15 seconds, an ad pops up from the bottom cutting off half my screen. It’s incredibly distracting, especially when I’m reading a very interesting piece with gorgeous photos like this one. Surely your ad partners must have other formats your site can use?

    • Maureen says...

      Hi Charlotte! Thank you so much for your note. We are always looking for ways to improve our ads, so sorry to hear they are distracting you. If you’d like, you are of course always welcome to use an ad blocker which will remove them for you. Again thank you so much for your feedback- we are learning!

  28. Kimberley says...

    The dining room blue speaks to my innermost soul! Divine.
    Thank you Kat and CoJ for this fab home tour xx

    • Kat v. says...

      It’s such a good color! Thank you Kimberley!

  29. I love everything about your home! Saving it for future inspiration.

    • Kat v. says...

      YAY!!! Thank you for such a lovely comment!

  30. JJ says...

    Like so many people posting, Kat’s story resonates with me so much and I fell so relieved and inspired to see this happy ending. I just came out about a month ago to my very wonderful husband, and every day is hard in a different way. I’m so excited to finally live authentically, but also panic over what this means for our and our kids’ future. I feel so lonely in this experience, so it’s amazing to read Kat’s story and also hear about the brave steps that so many others have taken as well. If only there support group led by Kat and all the other people in the comments who are going through something similar!

    • Kat v. says...

      Hi JJ! Congratulations on coming out. While I don’t lead any support groups, they do exist. If you message me on instagram, I’d be happy to tell you more (they are very private and protected for the safety of their members so I won’t write much about it here.)

    • JH says...

      JJ, I canceled a wedding and ended a 6-year hereto relationship in the course of coming out about four years ago. It was an awful, excruciating time in my life but the calm I felt (and the end to daily panic attacks and terribly painful efforts to suppress this fundamental part of myself) after coming out and eventually ending that relationship was how I knew I was doing the right thing.

      I hope you’ve gotten to feel even a smidge of this calm and clarity, and I wish you so so so much good luck and happiness. Also, congratulations. :) It is not easy to be true to yourself. And I hope you can know you are not alone. Welcome to the LGBTQ+ family!

      Also thanks to Kat for sharing their wonderful story and beautiful home!!

  31. Samantha says...

    The gorgeous bedroom mural took my breath away and then add on the intention behind the design, made me pause and think “there’s so much love here”. And then the choice to have matching beds in each house – my word, what a thoughtful detail. The apartment I’m renting has a dark blue tiny bathroom and it immediately drew me to the place – love seeing other ideas for a moody bathroom. And framing art book pages, and bursts of color ahh such lovely inspo throughout! Thank you for sharing your home and your journey to being able to create it.

    • Samantha says...

      Also obsessed with the “survive, chuckle, show affection” pillow :)

    • Kat v. says...

      Thank you so much, Samantha! I am so glad so much of the house brought you joy. Sending you all the happiness! And the Survive, Chuckle Show Affection is from Strange Planet, one of my favorite instagram illustrators!

  32. Lisa says...

    This post was what I needed today. Reaffirming life is messy and beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing so much Kat. Two things: I vote Kat becomes a regular contributor (co-parenting , living your truth, building an authentic life) and second can we please have a house tour of her very talented partners home? I mean that mural, the stairs, the bathroom. Thanks CoJ for always knowing when we need to read a hopeful, loving piece.

    • Lisa says...

      Yes, would love to read regular pieces from Kat.

    • Kat v. says...

      Oh my Goodness, Lisa. What a kind and lovely comment. Cup of Jo has always been a home for me on the internet, so having my story here is truly a dream come true. And Miche’s house is indeed a truly wonderful space. Thank you so much for your wonderful vote of confidence.

  33. Sarah says...

    Oh my gosh Kat responding to all of these comments all warmly and graciously is so sweet. She seems like a real treasure, and her ex-husband and Michelle, too.

    Forgive such a trivial comment on an important post, but I feel like Target really nailed it with that credenza in the dining room.

    • Kat v. says...

      Sarah, thank you so much for your sweet comment, and your second part is NOT trivial – that credenza is my favorite piece of furniture in the house! It holds shoes! It holds art supplies! It holds dog jackets for Michelle’s dog who needs lots of jackets! It is like the cupboard to Narnia.

  34. Lesley says...

    This post was so, so awesome.

    • Kat v. says...

      Thank you, Lesley!

  35. Sophia F. says...

    I rarely comment on home tours but need to say two things: first, this home has so much life and personality in it that it’s just a joy; and second, as a child of an extremely rough divorce, I am blown away when parents divorce cooperatively and lovingly. What a phenomenal gift you are giving your children, of stability, and love, and showing them that big changes can be handled with maturity, care, and compassion. Kudos to you and your ex.

    • Kat v. says...

      Thank you so much!! It is very easy to co-parent with love with both an amazing co-parent and an amazing partner, who has also travelled this road before me and has guided me so many of the hardships and challenges of navigating successful, caring co-parenting.

  36. Nicole says...

    Thank you so much for sharing. Your home is lovely and fun and all the best things!

    • Kat v. says...

      Thank you so much Nicole!

  37. Sarah says...

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, and for sharing your amazing blue dining room!

    • Kat v. says...

      Thank you Sarah! I’m so glad you like it!

  38. What a stunning story, Kat. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

    P.S. Fellow Portlander, love your stairs! <3

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you Marian! So grateful and yay Portland folks! We rock ;)

  39. Stacey S says...

    What an inspiring story, home, person. I love it when someone grabs their life with both hands!

    • Kat v. says...

      Thank you so much Stacey! It’s been quite a ride.

  40. Deana says...

    Thank you for sharing your lovely home and your story. I too thought it so nice that the children have identical beds at both homes. And Michelle’s artistic skills are wow!

    • Kat v. says...

      Thank you so much Deana! And I totally agree, Michelle’s artistic skills are just magical.

  41. Shannon says...

    Oh, the mural ❤️

    • Kat v. says...

      💖💖💖

  42. Em says...

    Michelle’s murals are so beautiful! I would be so happy to wake up and see the flower mural everyday.

    Thank you for sharing this story.

    And this house tour just makes me ache for Portland. We moved to the east coast last year and I’m still so homesick. sigh.

    • Kat v. says...

      Thank you so much!! I hear you on the homesickness – I get homesick for Portland even if I travel! I hope you fall in love with your new home.

  43. LJ says...

    i so resonate with your story, kat. i wish i had more friends with a similar experience to have coffee with (zoom with?) and just talk about all the nuances involved with leaving a hetero marriage, coming out, dealing with divorce while coparenting, and entering a new queer relationship. it’s a lot!! you make it look graceful- i still fall on my face every day. but becoming my authentic self is worth it :)

    • Kat v says...

      Oh LJ, I can describe my journey in many ways – graceful is not one of them, but huge thanks to Joanna for making it look that way! Also, I can highly recommend seeking out a support group – there’s one in Portland through the Q center which was really profound and held me through coming out, etc

  44. em says...

    I loved this. thank you for sharing your story with us. also, THE ENERGY in your home – so fantastic. I love all the thoughtful touches (I always sleep terribly on the first night of travel) and omg !! the drama of your bathroom !! and !! your bathroom mirror !! I’m moving to portland later this year so we’ll be neighbors – hope everyone’s as cool as you :)
    ps, the stuffed animal party on the lower bunk reminded me of this print by lucy knisley: https://topatoco.com/collections/lucy/products/lk-wlb-pr

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much!!! I LOVE that print, it is so precious!

  45. Kirsten says...

    Thank you for sharing your life, experiences and your house- so beautiful- also Michelle’s murals are amazing!

  46. Briel K. says...

    What a beautiful home and story you have! Thank you for sharing with us. I moved to NE Portland a few months ago and, though I have no idea which neighborhood you are in, I’ll be keeping an eye out for those cheerful rainbow stairs!

    I love the murals that Michelle did, especially the bedroom one. So gorgeous!

  47. Amy says...

    Lovvvvve this. Such a positive, inspiring story.

    Thank you!

  48. Rachel says...

    I wanted to publicly appreciate the detail about Kat and Michelle living separately with devotion. I have two young children as well and just divorced. I want to be in another relationship someday, but am not interested in EVER cohabitating with another adult, at least while my children are under 18. Kat (and Michelle) sharing this detail gave me a lot of hope for my life. Thank you!

    • Kat v says...

      Thanks so much Rachel! It was important for me to see that written too – Miche and I have been very conscientiously forging our own path since day one, and while that is amazing, it’s also nice to have someone who has tried it before you and succeeded.

    • Lynn says...

      Echoing this detail as profoundly affirming!

    • Stacy says...

      I agree! It was very affirming to read about other couples (Kat and Michelle) who are living separately but “devotedly” (swoon!). My partner and I have been together for six years and we do not have plans to move into a shared space. We both endured divorce and have made a conscious decision to maintain interdependency as part of our connection. He also had younger children when we started dating so it was important to maintain a space that belonged to them as a family unit. We are often met with confusion when we share that we don’t have any intention of living together (usually it’s assumed it would be something I should want).
      The dominant culture/society is constricting and Kat’s LOVELY words and home, reflect how having the bravery to live outside of the “norm” can be very fulfilling and beautiful! This article made my day!

  49. Alex says...

    Wow, this is so touching. And that plant mural! What a wonderful gift to have someone see you like that!

    • Kat v says...

      It’s amazing to wake up to every day!

  50. Sharon says...

    Kat, thank you for sharing your lovely home and your story. Your journey to self-realization and happiness certainly shows in every room. Best wishes to you and your whole family!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much, Sharon! All good things to you!

  51. Kara says...

    My son looked over me as I finished reading this with tears in my eyes so I said, “I just read something that made me cry.” He asked why, and I said, “Because it was beautiful.”

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Kara, that is such a beautiful comment. Thank you so much for sharing. My sons are with me tonight as I read this, and I am brimming with gratitude.

    • I had the same thing happen last night! (And now, fresh tears as I re-read (but no one but the laptop to ask why)). This was such a generous window into your life, Kat — thank you so much for sharing it. (And those stairs!!! They are really making me rethink our plain-jane stone ones.)

  52. Emily says...

    I really appreciated the house tour and the story. But I wish that the descriptor of ‘Jewish’ hadn’t been attached to the idea of having the perfect life and perfect (expensive?) house. I’m sure it was intended to be part of their individual story and experience, but I do feel it’s important not to reinforce stereotypes at a time of rising bigotry including anti-semitism. There are lots of ways to be Jewish and it is certainly not defined for everyone by needing to have a certain identity or price tag on their home. I worry about how that could be read by someone who doesn’t really know any Jewish folks or has no experience with Judaism.

    • Cass says...

      Let’s remember we don’t get to decide which part of another persons identity are the source of their internalized homophobia. It’s not a reinforced stereotype, it is Kat’s personal experience which we have be blessed to be shared on.

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Emily! Thank you so much for pointing this out, such a good point, and I hadn’t seen it that way I intended that comment as “part of my Jewish culture was a focus on marriage and children” which I will say has been a pretty huge part of my experience with both my family and larger Jewish community, although I also am aware that that trait is in many close-knit, and particularly religious, communities. (My grandmother asked my ex-husband and I when we were going to have a baby before we were engaged, saying over her martini, “I’m not getting any younger!”) I totally read now how that line can be read as the “Jewish American Princess” stereotype which is both dangerous and pervasive. Thank you for pointing it out; I’ll be more mindful of my language in the future.

    • Lainey says...

      So we’re not allowed to share our authentic life experiences unless they happen to not fall in line with stereotypes? This comments feels like gaslighting. This is Kat’s personal experience and not a broader commentary on Jewish values. (Signed, a fellow Jew who also grew up with similar markers of identity).

  53. I love everything about this! Kat, thank you for sharing your bright and beautiful house, and your heartfelt story too. Three cheers for making queer families that fit us — kids and exes and all! I’m so glad you’re ‘home,’ in every way.

    And Joanna, thank you for showing us readers, over and over, that there’s no one way to be a family.

    • Kat v says...

      Three cheers indeed! Thank you Molly!

  54. Kelli says...

    I love this so so much. Her attitude is so life-affirming!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you Kelli! Cheers to you :)

  55. Caitlin says...

    This was…beautiful in every possible way. Honestly, felt like a privilege just to read this. Thank you for sharing your story and your home with us Kat!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Caitlin. It was such a privilege to share my story with such an incredible human as Joanna, and such an amazing group of humans as the COJ readers!

    • mado says...

      Exactly this. And omg those stairs. So good.

  56. Cara says...

    Love love love your house and your story Kat. It’s an amazing feeling to come into your truth and so life-affirming to witness others living their truths as well. From a fellow queer person with a 4.5 year old and an almost 2 year old (and lots of Ikea furniture plus a pandemic play-loft my handy wife made). XOXO.

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Cara!! Pandemic play-loft sounds amazing. It didn’t make it to the blog post but Miche also made me an office in 1/3 of my garage which has been a GAME CHANGER. May the universe bless our handy loves!

  57. Lynn says...

    I think that bunk bed just solved a longstanding question in my brain so now I must ask….. do the kids like it? And the parents?

    Less selfishly, thank you for this peek into your heart and home. Killing it, COJ. KIL-LING-IT!

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Lynn!! In answer to your question:
      The kids flipping LOVE it. They play on the bunk-bed all the time. It’s short enough to leap off (it’s a great bunkbed for little kids because there’s no space under the bed, so it’s very short) and they do all sorts of games, etc. up there. It’s technically the almost 6-year-old’s bed, but it’s low enough to the ground that I’ve always felt comfortable with the 3 (almost 4) year old playing on it since we got it a year and a half ago.
      The only downside (for the parents, and anyone who lives under the kids room, as my ex-husband does) is the aforementioned leaping off the bed. It probably took 10 times of hearing that “THUMP” before I stopped having panic everytime I heard it. But that’s a fine trade-off for this mama!

    • Lynn says...

      I love you, Kat V, thank you!!!

  58. Karen T. says...

    This is exactly why I come to CofJ. Beautiful. And Michelle is so incredibly talented. Thanks for sharing this.

  59. Christine says...

    What a blessing that you are able to fully live your life as you deserve. Too many queer people don’t get the opportunity. Congrats on creating such a beautiful life!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you Christine! I feel grateful and deeply privileged to get to fully live my life, with the full awareness of how many magical elements of luck have given me that gift.

  60. Susannah says...

    I love this so much. You can see and feel the joy in this house.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Susannah!

  61. Lindsay says...

    So much to love here! Kat’s home is filled with thoughtful touches from the books filling the built-ins, the dining room chandelier, Michelle’s gorgeous botanical mural & the Start With Yes sign. What an emotional journey Kat has been on. Kat if you read this, I wish you a life filled with happiness & self-love.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so, so much Lindsay. I wish you the absolute same!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Lindsay! I wish you a life filled with all the same!

  62. Adie says...

    I love the feel of this house, very comforting and happy. And as another fan of Shavonda, the black bathroom is mega “heart eyes!”

    • Kat v says...

      Shavonda is so amazing, both as a designer and a person. I messaged her when I was first finding my way out of the closet but was scared and confused. She messaged me back paragraphs of support and love, to a total stranger. She helped me so much during that dark time!

  63. Nicole says...

    Oh my– Kat’s story brought tears to my eyes. Kat I don’t know you but I have so much love for you! Thank you for sharing your home with us.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you Nicole!! Feeling the love here in Portland :)

  64. Kim says...

    Love this bright and beautiful home! The colors and art are wonderful. My husband and I just moved into our first house a few months ago. How do I get Kat to come to Wisconsin and help me decorate?! 😀

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Kim! Thank you so much for the compliments! And apologies for stereotyping your state, buuuut…I will happily work for cheese :-D Have a great one!

  65. A says...

    Wow! As a nonbinary person who is in the process of coming out (I’m in my thirties), thank you SO much for this tour. It made my week. I so appreciate Kay’s journey and her bungalow (I live in a bungalow, too!) is so thoughtful. Love, love, love.

    • Kat v says...

      Congratulations on your coming out journey, A. It’s always a journey and happy to send support and encouragement however I can. All good things.

    • A says...

      *Kat’s…sorry, autocorrect :/

  66. Ellie says...

    Beautiful house and beautiful story. I love how vibrant it is and I love your bedroom especially. I really resonated with what you said about your home being a reflection of you, not what you think a grownup space needs to be. As a 27 year old lesbian who came out a year and a half ago, that’s something I’m working on now! I’m always trying to determine what makes me feel most at home and going after that.

    Your story reminded me of a memoir I read recently called The Fixed Stars by Molly Wizenberg. She lives in Seattle and the book is about how she wondered about her sexuality as an adolescent, married a man, had a baby, and then met a woman she was infatuated with, and they ended up splitting up. It’s worth reading!

    • Kat v says...

      YES! Molly’s blog post about her coming out was actually a tremendous part of my coming out journey. Her post was the first thing I saw that helped me know there was light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you so much for your kind words, Ellie and wishing you all the joy!

    • Meg says...

      I was going to mention Molly and her book. It and she are just lovely!

  67. Ramona says...

    Michelle’s murals are M✨A✨G✨I✨C✨A✨L.

    • Kat v says...

      Aren’t they just amazing?! I can’t believe I am so lucky as to get to be with someone who is so creative and talented (not to mention the most incredible human I know.)

  68. Kristen says...

    This story. This strength. This love is what we all need more of. Thank you for sharing your heart and home and family. You are appreciated. Beautiful.

  69. Cecile says...

    So true! And I’m looking forward to the stories from persons who chose not to have children. (+ extra idea, in the same area but different: I’d love to hear more from people who tried to have children, but had to move on. When did they know it was time to let go? How did they mark or honor this decision? What are their ideas about a positive childless identity? Etcetera. Sorry for the awkward expressions – not a native speaker)

    • Cecile says...

      (Sorry, this was meant as a reply to Megs comment below, about CoJ kicking off 2021 with so many inspiring stories and observations)

    • KJ says...

      Grace at The Stripe has written about this – but yes, would love to see this discussed more.

  70. L says...

    my friend came out when he was turning 30. we had one major conversation about it a few years before that, but then he didn’t mention it and i never pushed.

    when he “officially” came out to me, he mentioned that he actually told his mom he was gay when he was a teenager, and his mom didn’t seem to react either way. but then a couple years later when he was leaving for college, his mom, seemingly out of nowhere, said, “please find a girl to marry” and i think that made him retreat back into the closet mostly for several years.

    he also did mention the bittersweetness of coming out, and what if he wants to raise a “normal” biological family, it just wouldn’t be possible. he also said this thing about not coming out to his female friends in order to have them as backups just in case he wanted to have a “normal” family.

    i don’t share any of this with any judgement but rather to observe that we all have our battles in life that are often compounded by a mix of culture and societal norms and familial personalities as well as our own preferences as individual flawed humans. we don’t always get what we want exactly the way we want it. but hopefully it makes us stronger, and we do overcome whatever unfairness we’ve been dealt, to live as true to ourselves as possible.

    • AN says...

      Hi, L, I really, really hope that your friend will see how very possible it is to have a “normal” (his word) family, as hundreds of thousands have, as a gay man. Most of all, I double-dog-hope he won’t deceive any woman he cares about. Not sure whether to label it an opinion or a judgement, but in my humble one, that sounds horrific and cruel.

  71. Claire says...

    Such a perfect Portland house (fellow Portlander here!) I haven’t seen these stairs, but now I hope to one day! Loved the part about making your house “like you” and not how you think an adult home to be. As a gal approaching her 30’s in her first 1 bedroom, I find myself constantly balancing those two feelings. Loved the tour!

    Claire

    • Kat v says...

      Yes! Home design is such a journey of exploration. Enjoy the process! Have a great day, fellow Portlander.

  72. Amanda says...

    “Gender identity doesn’t have to cross over with outward expression.”

    I love this so so much, and it’s something I have been thinking about a lot lately. I’ve always felt most comfortable in queer spaces, but never felt that I was gay or bi or pan. Over the past two years, I’ve learned more about the gender spectrum, and this past weekend, I came out to my partner as being non-binary. Two years ago, when I first started to think of myself as non-binary, I felt I needed to present more androgynous (something I’ve felt my whole life, but never felt super comfortable with), and shaved my hair and changed my wardrobe a bit. Now that I am out and comfortable with it, I’ve realized that being non-binary and androgynous are not mutually exclusive, and I have started to reconnect with my femininity. My experience has been very positive so far, but hearing this story was also really affirming. So, thank you, Kat.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much, Amanda! I’ve had a total journey with my hair and wardrobe that has evolved and is still evolving. It took me time to realize that, if I’m always changing, it makes sense my sense of style will, to!

  73. Betsy says...

    What a lovely vibrant home! I had that exact same blue in my house for years. People were always shocked when they took the house tour. I loved it so much. Made me super happy. The blue has since been replaced, but I am tempted to try it again in my tiny bathroom. Kat seems like an amazing person.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you Betsy! A bright blue bathroom sounds like so much fun!

  74. K says...

    I’m gonna go buy me some paint markers and get to work on my walls. That idea totally blew my mind!

    • Kat v says...

      DO IT! Michelle does a ton of murals and often works with paint markers, and they’re always gorgeous so I’m a fan!

  75. Lis says...

    Kat’s story brought tears to my eyes. Like so many of you in the comments, my coming out didn’t truly begin until my late twenties. It is so affirming to read others having a similar experience. And to see Kat finding all of that joy and authenticity just makes my heart swell. Thank you for sharing!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Lis! That is so kind and lovely. It’s so nice to hear I’m not alone in my late coming out – it sure felt lonely at the time! Wishing you all the joy and happiness.

  76. Andrea says...

    More deets on the stairs, please. Is it just paint and sealant? If so, what kind?

    I painted my mom’s porch and used porch paint and it wore off and looks terrible.

    Also, love the dining room color!

    • Kat v says...

      Just asked Michelle: It’s Behr Ultra Exterior paint, with no sealant.

      So far it’s stood up in pouring rain and scorching sun (not to mention, me scrubbing the daylights out of the stairs with a scrub brush when I knew Cup of Jo was on the way) beautifully! That said, the fact that it’s two layers with irregular patterns might make it more forgiving to scratches or removal than if it was one solid color, so your mileage may vary.

    • Andrea says...

      Thanks for the info!

  77. Rae says...

    Absolutely A+ paint color choices and lovely, moving life story. Thank you for the images and the words!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much, Rae!

  78. Sarah says...

    What a beautiful home and story! Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much for reading, Sarah!

  79. Lizzy says...

    Beautiful house and story! Thanks so much for sharing. I want, want, want to copy the gold-on-peach mural! So pretty, and what a wonderful gift to go on a trip and come home to that.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much! The mural is even more magical in person!

  80. What a joy filled home – thank you thank you for sharing Kat’s story <3

  81. Kai Basner says...

    :) I think I spotted Glennon’s book “Untamed” in the bookshelf!

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Kai! You certainly did. I actually have two copies, one to keep so I always have it (just in case I need some G in my life) and one to lend out. Fun fact no. 2: My cats are named Glennon and Abby!

  82. Katy says...

    This house is perfection. I have always wanted a bookshelf / fireplace exactly like that. The stairs are amazing. I would 100% take a photo walking by.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you, Katy! The bookshelf/fireplace hybrid definitely fills my cup of cozy.

  83. Megan says...

    I’m a long time reader and have always enjoyed your posts but have never commented, until now! This is one of my favorite posts/stories I’ve ever read and just made my day hearing Kat’s story and seeing her lovely home. Thank you so so much for sharing!!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Megan! I appreciate you!

  84. Sara says...

    I love the house tours, but this one is your best yet. We got a look inside a beautiful and thoughtful home AND a look inside a gorgeous and wonderfully human person. Kat – you’re an inspiration! Much love to you & your family.

    • Kat v says...

      Oh my Gosh, Sara, thank you so much for this amazing comment! What a lovely thing to say. All good things!

  85. isavoyage says...

    one word : love.

  86. AL says...

    Thank you Kat for sharing your story and for Cup of Jo for featuring:) I have come out later in life after a hetero marriage and kids. Im currently in the messy part but it gives me great hope to see this story after the storm so to speak.

    • Sheri says...

      Hugs to you, Al! I’ll be rooting for you and your family.

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Al,
      Just hope you feel all of us holding you through the middle part until you come out (no pun intended) on the other side.
      Big hugs,
      Kat

  87. Amy says...

    This story (and home) is so beautiful. Thank you so much Kat for letting us inside.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you for reading, Amy!

  88. Hannah says...

    Thank you for sharing your story, Kat! I started crying reading the part about discovering your true self! I also came out as queer when I was younger and then was like, well, maybe not….!! and only dated men until I met my current partner.

    I finally came out as nonbinary at 29 and it’s been such a great discovery. Like I can’t believe all of the possibilities available to me since I’ve given up my narrow idea of adulthood.

    Thank you for sharing a story that isn’t cis!

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Hannah, thank you so much for this comment! When I was coming out, it felt like I was starving for stories that felt like mine. It feels wonderful to be able to share my story on such a warm and welcoming platform as Cup of Jo!

  89. Charli says...

    I’ve read this twice already because holy cow does it resonate! Your story mirrors a lot of my own and I guess I will never get over how validating it is to find someone out there with a similar experience. Thank you so much for letting us peek into your home and into your life!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Charli! I really wanted to share this story to create more stories of happy queerness. Big hugs to you!

  90. Simone says...

    Houseplant game strong!

    • Kat v says...

      Oy, this comment made me first think, “wow, thank you!” and then “wow, I really need to water my plants.” Poor lil plant babies! Thanks Simone!

  91. I’m feeling so much gratitude reading all of this love and support for my sweetest heart Kat ❤️

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so, so much my love. I am so grateful for you holding my hand every moment of every day that has gotten me and us here. You are magic (and your murals are even more spectacular in person but you know that already.) 😘

  92. What a joy it is to read these loving and supportive comments for my sweetest heart Kat❤️

  93. Maclean Nash says...

    Thank you so much for sharing!
    What a lovely home! Their bedroom is so cozy and the mural is stunning!
    My partner and I are moving into our first home (yay-no more renting!) in a month and I am constantly reminding myself that we want our space to feel like us, and not what we think the space should look like because we’re “adults” now.

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Maclean! Congratulations on your first home!! Enjoy the journey of your home design – I hope it unfolds for you deliciously. All good things,
      Kat

  94. Thank you for sharing!

  95. liz says...

    Love this post and home, particularly their story! Friendly feedback: It felt like their cool house was the predicate to tell their story. Their story should have been its own post, it’s so good and important! xo But yes, their house is also very very awesome! Thank you for sharing : )

    • Katy says...

      I agree with this.

    • Cecile says...

      I, on the other hand, love it when house tours are really about making a home, carving a path, finding your tribe(s), taking care of yourself and each other… and not just about colour schemes and thrift store finds. So this is the perfect house tour for me.

    • liz says...

      Cecile: what I meant, is that I wasn’t in the mood to look at a house tour because sometimes I need to not focus on how much nicer some random people’s materials things are than mine (or any other reason some people might not want to read about a person’s home design choices), I would never have seen their story buried at the bottom. That’s all!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much for the kind words!

  96. Elizabeth says...

    I love this home tour and Kat! What a testament to finding freedom in authenticity, a continual journey for me. And YAY for CoJ Portlanders :)

  97. Sarz says...

    Ahh, a home tour is getting me all misty-eyed! 🥺 Your house is lovely, Kat, but my take-away is how lovely *you* are! I’m so glad you’ve reached the point of living authentically to yourself. You deserve every happiness.

  98. Kate says...

    My new favorite horse tour! This is such beautiful, colorful home and Kat’s story made me a little teary. Thank you for sharing something so inspirational at a time when the world feels pretty dreary.

    • Andrea says...

      I would honestly love horse tours.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much, Kate! And Andrea, heck yes I’d like a horse tour too. Let’s just have more horse tours in 2021 :)

  99. Vicki says...

    Such a beautiful home and story! I adore that bedroom wall Michelle is so talented!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you! Isn’t Michelle amazing? ;)

  100. Brooke says...

    This family sounds like Glennon Doyle, but actually real! The house is beautiful, but Kat’s spirit was the real gem here. What an incredible way to raise your children, and what a wonderful story of becoming who you are meant to be.

    • Kat v says...

      OMG this is the best compliment ever. My cats are named Abby and Glennon, so my Glennon love is real.

  101. Heather says...

    Wow to the house – that bedroom is amazing! I need to find a room for the peach paint one day and would love to know where the striped pillow is from.

    And even more wow to Kat – this line especially resonated with me “I’m all of the things”. Thank you for sharing!

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Heather! Thank you soooo much for the sweetness! If you mean the striped lumbar pillow, it’s from Cost Plus World Market (as are basically all of my pillows that weren’t handed down from my mom) from when I first moved in, so I doubt they have that exact one but they have lots of gorgeous throw pillows always.

  102. Grace Farris says...

    This is beautiful. “100 years of storms”— I just love that.

    • Kat v says...

      OMG Grace Farris! I love your work so much. You are the quintessence of gracious realness. Thank you!

  103. Julie says...

    I love the house tour but I’m mostly really glad I got to read Kat’s story. Thank you!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much, Julie!

  104. Jackie says...

    This is EVERYTHING!!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you Jackie! Cheers to you!

  105. Amy says...

    What a happy home! I really identified with what Kat said about making your home speak to who you are, not who you think you’re supposed to be. Loved this home tour and Kat’s story!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much, Amy!! I am so glad it resonated. All good things!

  106. Molly says...

    Obviously there are more important things going on in this house tour, but can I also just say three cheers for a house with affordable furniture? Target! Wayfair! This is my kind of aspirational.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Molly! That means a lot to me; I was definitely nervous my house wasn’t “designer” enough, and also know how much it feels like a “score” when I see something I love on COJ that fits into my budget! PS My Target dining room credenza is probably my favorite piece of furniture – its were allllll the shoes go! Except, of course, when they’re in a pile by the front door.

  107. Erin says...

    Wow! What a special person to exude such welcoming energy, even through a computer screen. Cheers to making the life you want!

    • Alison says...

      I had the exact same reaction! Beautiful!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Erin and Allison! I am so happy you feel welcomed; my whole goal is always to welcome in kind souls. All good things!

  108. Kelsey A says...

    Wow, how incredibly brave and inpsiring.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Kelsey!

  109. Andrea says...

    I love absolutely everything about your story, your parenting and your house. Thank you for sharing.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Andrea!! Its all a work in progress and I’m grateful for the support.

  110. C says...

    I don’t know why, but this is the first time I would have loved a house tour on video; like the other person said, it would be great to see it in person and to feel the vibes.

    I cannot overemphasize how much I appreciate the sentiment behind this house tour and relate so, so much. Despite always wanting to not just follow what I was “supposed to” do as an adult, I also found myself in a 13 year relationship, married, and in this conventional life that checked the boxes, was supposed to be all right, and felt all wrong.

    At 31, I just had to break it off and start over, divorce and all. A piece of it was sexuality (I’m in a new hetero relationship, but explored dating more broadly, as I am bi, and married very young), but the big piece was shaking myself awake to ask what I really want–I don’t have to be an adult, or fit within these subtle social norms; I have to be me. It led us to selling almost everything, starting a vintage clothing business, and living in a vintage motorhome (though I’ve decided to keep my corporate job, as well–I can be both!). I feel the same way as the author, and sometimes I wish I’d had the wake up call sooner, but really, it was like I needed my past life to truly know what was right now.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much for your generous and vulnerable comment, C. One of the reasons I wanted to share my story (trust me, it was a little scary) was for the gift of others having what I was starving for – stories that were relatable and real of both coming out and growing into yourself. I’m rooting for you!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much for sharing so vulnerably, C. “I needed my past life to truly know what was right now” – I love that so much. Also, seeing the house in person would be seeing a pile of muddy boots near the door, stacks of art work on the dining table, and random socks…everywhere. It’s much nicer when styled for a photo shoot :)

  111. Erin G. says...

    This was the best home tour you’ve ever done! It felt like a big warm hug to read Kat’s story and see into her comfortable, beautiful, special home. Thank you for sharing with us, Kat!

    • Kat v says...

      That’s such a beautiful comment Erin!! Thank you! I love that my story and home feel like a hug – what a dream come true!

  112. Brooke says...

    I didn’t know it was possible for a house tour to make me cry…but it did. Just beautiful! Thank you for sharing, Kat <3

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much, Brooke! I’m so glad it brought you some joy.

  113. Emily H says...

    One of your best home tours! I love how welcoming the home feels – no matter who you are, how you identify, what mistakes you’ve made, you’re welcome here. I feel the love from the photos.

    I also love that so much of the home’s décor is thrifted/from Craigslist/family heirlooms and then pieces from accessible stores like Wayfair, Target, IKEA. It feels more relatable to someone like me who loves design but can’t afford so many of the pieces usually recommended.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Emily! I’m a PhD student with the blessing of a loving and generous family, so I feel soooo blessed to have such amazing pieces (like the gold mirror from my mom and step-dad) and have access to more practical and affordable furniture to fill out the rest.

  114. celeste says...

    Cobalt blue is my favorite so I saved that paint color, and the stairs are wonderful. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you, Celeste!

  115. Laura says...

    Cup of Jo, you make me cry happy tears ALL THE TIME! Thank you for sharing this house & life & beautiful human with us.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you Laura! And I agree, COJ holds the key to my heart, always!

  116. florencia says...

    I love everything about this so much! What a lovely house and human. I was so touched by the thoughtfulness and love shown by both parents in getting the kids the same bunk beds. What a supportive crew, all the way around. Thank you for sharing! Beautiful.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you Florencia! I’m very proud of our little family :)

  117. Frankie says...

    The big fern and the two baby ferns…*sob*. Isn’t that all anyone wants (and needs) – to feel seen and understood?

    • Kat v says...

      I feel the same way. Thanks Frankie!

  118. Cynthia says...

    What a beautiful house! I fell in love with the steps right away! I guess I’m naive, but if I saw those steps in my neighborhood, I would assume the family liked color, not that any one living there was gay. The built-in bookcases in the living room set off the fireplace, and I like her use of color and art. The black bathroom is a novel idea, and bathrooms in old houses are small. I know because our house is old and the bathrooms are small, but they work for us. This is one of my favorite house tours.

    • Kat v says...

      Funny story about that, Cynthia – when we first painted the steps, an older male neighbor stopped me and Michelle and introduced himself, said he liked the steps, and said that he and his partner were gay and was happy to have more gays in the neighborhood. As we walked away, I said to Miche, “wow, it seems a little weird from the steps he assumed I was gay.” Miche looked at me and said, “well, it could also be because we were holding hands as we walked down the street…”
      So I hear you on not assuming anything based on the steps!

    • Abesha1 says...

      I felt this way a little, too… I have a child who adores anything rainbow colored, and I keep wondering how long it will be til the world tells them that rainbows “mean” one thing aside from pure joy in the colors, and their love dies a little.

  119. Julia says...

    I love love this house and the paint color in the living room— that almost white blue— is making my eyes so happy. Can Kat share the paint color?

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much for the kind words, and of course! It’s Sherwin Williams reflection. Heads-up, it’s way more gray in the card/bucket than it turned out to be on my walls, which could be because there’s so much blue in the other room. So, YMMV with the soft blue that shows up here.

  120. Shannon says...

    This so uplifting, thank you for being so honest about your journey.

  121. Totally obsessed w this story and house tour. Three cheers for being who you are.

  122. SC says...

    Kat, I cried. I hid from myself for a long time and upsetting my world was incredibly painful. But I’m happy now too. You deserve that beautiful home and your children are so lucky to grow up with a present mother who isn’t afraid to self-actualize (recognizing there is privilege in being able to do so, but you’re brave and strong for doing it nonetheless!)

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much, SC. It’s been hard and joyful and I wouldn’t trade a thing. All good things to you.

  123. Courtney says...

    Oh my goodness. Love you Kat! And DAMN your home is so well thought out and gorgeous. I am bummed I didn’t get to hear this entire story in person, but someday soon, we’ll chat again over kombucha at a kid-friendly reproductive rights protest. <3. Until we work out together again at the queerest, bestest gym ever. Hugs.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Courtney!!! Miss you and our protest adventures (and delicious snacks). Big hugs!

  124. Liz says...

    Wow, what a stunning story, family, and home! Thank you for sharing, Kat! And Michelle’s murals have seriously inspired me–I think this might ignite a weekend project!

  125. A says...

    I love this home and person. Beautifully thought out and designed – huge fan of the bathroom!

    My partner is gender queer and is going through a lot of what you describe having experienced. I really appreciate you sharing about what it’s like – it’s helpful to hear it in other peoples’ words as well. Thank you for letting us in <3

    • Faith says...

      Same here, A. <3 You are not alone.

  126. Annie says...

    WHAT an amazing story…thank you so much for sharing with such heart and candor, Kat. I know so many of us can relate to this. And…beautiful, personal, inspiring home!

  127. J says...

    This is amazing!!! What a lovey house! And your story… I also came out when I was younger, then back in he closet, and just out again (at 35!). Even dealing with so many hardships, I truly felt and trying to live by your last sentence: “It’s a wonderful gift to wake up in this life.” Thank you for sharing and for your voice. Also, Joanna, thank you… I really felt like you read my comment on one of your previous posts asking your community what we would like to see here!!! :)

    • Kat v says...

      Congratulations on your journey, J! Big hugs!

  128. Julia says...

    So inspiring. Thank you Kat for sharing your story!

  129. kate says...

    A beautiful home paired with such a meaningful story. Thank you! The shelf at the top third of the sunny window? As soon as I have a window where I can do that – YES! Would solve all my plants on bookshelves issues. And I’m daydreaming of redoing my son’s room right now – that paint marker art is fabulous.

  130. K says...

    I love e v er y t h i n g about this. Thank you so much for sharing, Kat.

  131. Anna says...

    I love love love that the art in this home is so personal. Crafting, thrifting, and displaying heirlooms makes a truly meaningful space!

  132. This post was a balm. wow. thank you so much.

  133. Lauren says...

    Kat! Thank you for sharing your home, story, life, and love with us. What a beautiful space and life you’ve created for yourself.

    From one queer person to another, I really appreciated how honest you were about the many painful steps, “coming out of the closet” can include, and the fact that it happens not as a one-time thing, but time and time again. People will sometimes need to set their initial assumptions aside about a human presenting one way, or a way they view as a certain marker for that person’s identity, while that human may feel another… and that all of those feelings, self-expressions and identities are valid.

    Congratulations on being able to feel comfortable in your life, body, mind, and heart, all at once. Sending so much love from San Francisco. -L

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you Lauren! It’s soooo true. Coming out is always a roller coaster, that has yet to end. All good things and sending lots of love!

  134. Robbin says...

    Thank you for this. As the mother of a trans child I love seeing queer adults who are living their best lives & being fully themselves. Visibility is so so important. Love to everyone!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much, Robbin. Part of the reason I wanted to share the fullness of my story is to create more stories of queer joy. My life is full of blessings and I am grateful to be able to share them.

  135. Maggie says...

    I love this house – great colors – and really appreciate the (accessible) source list! Thank you!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Maggie!!

  136. Caitlin says...

    Wow. I have never been so moved by a house tour. What an incredible person and home. There is so much more to a house than the stuff inside it. Thank you, Kat, for inviting us inside and sharing so much of yourself and your journey. I’m truly blown away.

    • Katie says...

      The house is lovely (I love the happy green and the murals and front steps!), and Kat’s story is so powerful. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much, Caitlin. It’s such a pleasure to share with COJ readers – everyone always feels like friends I just haven’t met yet.

  137. Such a Fun House! Awesome ideas too! Loved that you have the same bedroom set up as your EX for the kids,so important for them. Good Luck in the New house.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you Susan! It’s nice for both the kids, and the parents.

  138. Miriam says...

    What a beautiful, expressive house and such an inspiring story!

  139. Elise says...

    Love this home tour so much, and Kat’s willingness to share her story with us. Beautiful!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Elise! It was such a pleasure to share it.

  140. Meg says...

    From murals to backstory, one of your best home tours ever.

    Kat’s home, Alexi Pappas, Shaina Feinberg+Julia Rothman, bedtime meditation, a gazillion new topics to discuss… 2021 might be off to a rough start, but on COJ it’s looking pretty great. Thank you.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much, meg, that means a lot to us xoxoxo

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Meg!! It’s such a tender thing to share your story so I am so grateful for your comment. Also, How amazing was Alexi Pappas’ sports bra and tulle skirt outfit, and Shaina + Julia’s article and artwork! I totally agree, it’s a fantastic COJ New Year!

    • Lauren says...

      I second this wonderful comment. CoJ is absolutely knocking it out of the park already this year. Thank you x millions for creating this incredible online space.

    • Cecile says...

      So true! And I’m looking forward to the stories from persons who chose not to have children. (+ extra idea, in the same area but different: I’d love to hear more from people who tried to have children, but had to move on. When did they know it was time to let go? How did they mark or honor this decision? What are their ideas about a positive childless identity? Etcetera. Sorry for the awkward expressions – not a native speaker)

    • Claire says...

      Agreed! This month has been terrible out in the world, but on my happy place COJ it’s been one of the best months ever. Grateful as always for this blog, Joanna. And I’m glad I get to take a little piece of it (my blue COJ keychain) out into the world with me as a reminder.

      Back to the post: what a beautiful house and person. The tenderness for your children’s experience after the end of your marriage was so touching. I loved the sentiment that your home should feel the way you want it, not look the way you think it needs to look. Thank you for sharing your story and I’m so happy that you are now able to live the life you were meant to. Reading these comments confirms that it’s resonated with so many. :)

  141. ERP says...

    Wow. I loved this. Good for you for being so open about your journey and for not giving up until you achieved happiness. Thank you for sharing!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much! That is so kind.

  142. Colleen says...

    What an amazing journey. So happy you’re finally feeling at home.

    • Nicola says...

      Love this whole tour, but man, those steps . . . They are SO beautiful! What a magical, warm welcome to a home! ❤️

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you Colleen, that really means the world!

  143. Sarah says...

    “Yes, I’m all of the things.” This is all that matters. We are all of the things and it’s ok not to fit one specific image.

    • Sarah Issaelkhoury says...

      Also, thank you for mentioning Shavonda here! Her design is my favorite and I loved seeing your black bathroom! More Shavonda please!

    • Kat v says...

      Shavonda is such a gem of a human and an artist! Thank you for the kind words.

  144. Caro says...

    Wow! Stunning, all of it. Thank you for sharing! I remember seeing your comment on a previous house tour and hoped this would come to fruition. Yes!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you Caro!! It was such a dream come true.

  145. Ashley says...

    You’ve made such a lovely home, Kat!

    As an adult child of divorce, I am so touched by you and your ex-husband’s choice to buy the same beds for both houses. It’s such a thoughtful gesture to your kids’ experience of a very difficult thing. 💕

    • EMMA says...

      Agreed! What a wonderful idea. I also love that she explained a bit about the complications of their separation. A lot of people I know think of divorce as a failure, when in fact it can be the healthiest choice. And loving someone doesn’t necessarily mean they are the right person for you.

    • Carla says...

      Same, Ashley. I would love to hear more about Kat’s approach to co-parenting through divorce. I realize it wasn’t the point of this story but that little note made me think the approach must be unique and innovative! As another adult child of divorce, I think my parents did their best with what they had back in the early 90s, but I’m damn sure they didn’t want to coordinate on furniture purposes! We can bring so much more sensitivity to this process now.

      Also, Kat: your home is gorgeous, so personal and inspiring. And I love love love the stairs!!

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much Ashley, Emma and Carla. I would love to write and share more about the journey of our co-parenting – it’s been an intense but very joyful adventure.

    • Hilary says...

      Totally agree – I’m the child of not just one but three divorces, two of which were super dysfunctional and painful. I’d love to hear more stories about how people are doing it well, so I can shift my lens a bit and realize it’s not always as awful as it was for me (and many times is actually really good!).

  146. Hawley says...

    Three cheers for being true and making your own magic :)

  147. Katy says...

    Thank you for sharing your home! I have a VERY similar story (came out at 20, went back in and married a man who was like my best friend at 31, had 2 amazing kids, got divorced in 2019 because I’m [still] queer.) Your home is lovely and so personal! Side note- I live in TN and met someone from Portland last summer and they moved to TN 2 months ago so we can be together. Can’t wait to go back and visit Portland and all the queer things when it’s safe!

    • Kat v says...

      Congratulations on your love story, Katy!

  148. Gemma Burgess says...

    Absolutely love this house, style, and person!! I want a home that weathers storms, inside and out. Thank you for sharing, Kat.
    xxx
    PS can you share where the dining room chairs are from? I love them!

    • Kat v says...

      Hi Gemma! Thank you so much for your sweet words! Unfortunately, the chairs were vintage and from Craigslist. However, I just did a quick google and these are quite similar from Overstock and a great price! https://tinyurl.com/yynzckqw

  149. France says...

    I love everything about this house!!! Kat is so down to earth, open and honest about herself, and I feel her home really reflects this. The murals are gorgeous – I wish I could commission Michelle to do the floral mural at our place! I’m so happy to hear she’s in a place in her life where she’s so loved and supported!! *insert giant heart emoji here*

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you so much for your kind words France! I’m so glad you like the murals – Michelle is a phenomenal artist and my favorite human.

  150. Courtney says...

    Beautiful, beautiful share Joanna. Love this home tour and Kat’s story.

    • Kat v says...

      Thank you Courtney!