EMILY KATZ and Adam Porterfield are living one version of the Portland dream. They have eclectic artistic backgrounds, they run their own creative businesses (hers: Modern Macramé, modernmacrame.com; his: Golden Rule Design, goldenruledesign.com), they're darlings of Instagram, and their cozy, light-filled home is often photographed. They're also adamant collectors—a hobby that can be both a delight and a burden, which is why they are opening their home this weekend as a pop-up shop. It's a rare opportunity to see the space IRL, as well as take home a piece of their tech-savvy neo-bohemian fantasy. Emily & Adam's Spring Pop-Up Sale, 4117 NE 6th, Sat-Sun 10 am-5 pm
MERCURY: What does an average week or month look like for you? Is there such a thing?
EMILY KATZ: There really is no such thing. I've been working on commissions, interior design projects, and organizing an upcoming [macramé] workshop tour in California this May. At the studio, I spend my days working on macramé pieces, posting on Instagram, and emails. Music and clothing are currently in the background, though inspiration can come at any time, and I might end up doing a new album or collection at some point.
Adam, what current Golden Rule projects are you excited about?
ADAM PORTERFIELD: One of the best parts of having an almost entirely word-of-mouth-driven business is we're genuinely excited about all our projects. One rad client almost always yields another. In terms of in-house design, we're working on a set of screen-printed tumbling block toe kicks for the stairs in our house. It's been an idea for a long time so it's fun to facilitate its evolution.
To what extent are you involved in projects together?
EK: Adam screen-prints the tote bags I designed that come with my macramé kits and are gifts at my workshops. We have collaborated on pillow designs with some of my macramé patterns on them, too. We are always scheming on project ideas for screen-printing collaborations and interior design projects. We jokingly started a practice called Friday Fuck Around, where we spend Friday afternoons working on random project ideas. Sometimes we invite other artists to come by too and make things together. It helps keep the practice interesting.
AP: I don't contribute much to the macramé side other than the occasional screen-print project and a lot of "holy cow that looks awesome." Emily is constantly helping me brainstorm and edit on the Golden Rule side. We love the process of designing and building together. I'm much more workflow focused and Emily is amazing at considering the details.
What is the appeal of macramé as an object and as a skill? What makes it timeless?
EK: People love learning how to make macramé. Ready-to-buy pieces are available on my website, but the classes sell faster than anything else. I think it's the new look of it, [in] cream cotton, airy modern pieces, clean shapes, and the feel of the rope itself. Macramé is all over Pinterest in beautiful modern homes. I didn't expect I would love teaching the craft as much as I do. People come to my workshops to learn a new skill but also for inspiration and an afternoon of connection with others in a beautiful space. I think people take a lot of pride in creating something versus buying it.
What is your approach to creating an appealing living space?
ADAM PORTERFIELD: I think the biggest thing is that it's never done. The house is an ever-evolving, organic member of the household. Emily and I are both collectors of things, plants, furniture, art, and pets. We're always growing and changing as people, why wouldn't the house work the same way?
EK: At this point the rule is, it doesn't come in unless we love it. Our home is a good mix of cozy, well-designed, and wabi-sabi. Nothing is perfect. The house has been featured in many Japanese design magazines. They really get it, and they want to see the imperfections. It is just slightly under-styled, AKA actually lived in. We are exceptional at collecting and acquiring all sorts of things, and historically terrible at getting rid of them. That is why we are having the sale!
What is your collecting style like? What might we find at the sale?
AP: Housewares, men's and women's clothes and shoes, a little furniture. Ceramics, some fabrics, accessories, artwork. Maybe some plants. Years of thrifting. It's all too much. As far as where we discover stuff, the inlets are infinite. Personally, I enjoy getting obsessed and searching Craigslist. Emily and I drove to Bellingham a few months ago to buy an amazing, giant, super-heavy custom skylight for a building we're not even building anytime in the foreseeable future. That's my favorite stuff.
EK: I used to buy vintage shoes because they were beautiful, even if they didn't fit me. Also the ceramics collections are a bit out of hand. At thrift shops I first look at the ceramics and then the shoes, still. Adam and I flew down to Arizona two years ago to visit his parents, and drove back home in a truck. We stopped at as many thrift stores as we could from Tucson all the way home through California. We are really good at finding the one special thing and then getting out of there.
As for new products, I learn about new designers on Instagram. It's wonderful to follow their process and evolution. And we are designing our own home goods for ourselves, from sheets to light fixtures.
What kinds of music, media, and cultural experiences do you feel inspired and influenced by?
EK: Travel is huge for both of us. I made a trip-a-month resolution more than two years ago and have had excellent success. Adam and I have been able to see so many places together, and we are both constantly inspired by spaces we visit and the feeling of expansion that hitting the road or exploring a new culture always brings.
It has also made me consider all of the "stuff" we collect. On one hand, everywhere we visit I love to bring something home, whether it's a scent or beautiful object. I have gotten pickier about what those things are so our world doesn't get cluttered. On the other, when traveling I have only one bag, and I can live out of it for a month.
AP: One of the biggest aspects of our domestic life is the constant dreaming. It's a favorite to-do for both of us, whether drawing up plans for an imaginary [accessory dwelling unit] or lashing driftwood together to see if it makes a cool light fixture. What's the next project? Can we go horse camping?