DIY City Guide: Portland

Portland remains an outpost of great design, bleeding edge technology, and fervent do-it-yourselfers. It seems that the rest of the country has finally caught onto to the sustainable lifestyle and eco-friendly transportation that Portland has long been known for. With help from Paige at Reliable Remodeler, we’ve gathered some of the top resources in Portland for DIY enthusiasts.
More from Paige:
When it comes to Portland I’m passionate about sharing our amazing local, independent businesses and resources that showcase what I love about this city: our unique sense of community, our love of being “green”, and of course our desire to support local quality products!

As with all of our DIY City Guides, please share any stores, vendors, or contractors you feel we’ve left out.
Hardware Stores
Hippo Hardware
1040 East Burnside, Portland, OR 97214, 503-231-1444
This store is a Portland favorite, and is often listed in tour books and guides of the city. A large building on Burnside, the main North/South Portland thoroughfare, Hippo Hardware is easy to spot. It’s the building with the dancing yellow hippos on the outside. Inside, there are no hippos, but you will find three stories of antique, reproduction and recycled hardware, moldings, and lighting fixtures. Have a project? The dedicated and creative Hippo Hardware staff is helpful and has lots of vision to help you find yours.
1100 SE Grand Avenue, Portland, OR 97214, 503-238-1900
Rejuvenation is the name that first comes to mind when I think of quality hardware in Portland. Lots of choices, and locally owned, this place is fun to visit, even if you can’t always afford everything you want. I am a big fan of their Satellite Modern series which I’ve even featured on my blog.
Antique Hardware
School House Electric
330 SE MLK Jr. Blvd, Portland, Oregon 97214, ph: 503-230-7113
Sometimes I get jealous that New York gets all the cool design and hardware stores. But once in a while I remember that while Portland can’t beat the sheer size of NYC, we sometimes get stores that even they would be jealous of. Schoolhouse Electric is one of those places. Their vintage reproduction lighting options are some of the most beautiful fixtures I’ve seen. They have a great online presentation, but in person, they truly stand out in a room.
House of Antique Hardware
802 N.E. Davis Street, Portland, Oregon, 97232, 888-223-2545
House of Antique Hardware manufactures its own line of affordable reproductions, complete with a hand-finishing process that replicates the timeworn look of the originals. If you’d rather have the real thing, the company’s hardware sleuths can get authentic antique pieces for you, too. They also offer custom manufacturing of mortise locks, escutcheons, and doorknobs.
Eleek Inc.
2326 N. Flint Ave, Portland, OR 97227, ph: 503-232-552
Eleek’s more than 100 fixtures designed by Eric Kaster, the vast majority can be wired for LED bulbs. The new lamping technology is far more energy-efficient than compact fluorescent. All of Eleek’s fixtures are handcrafted in their Portland factory.
Salvage Center
Rebuilding Center
3625 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, OR 97227, 503-331-1877
The Rebuilding Center is Portland’s premiere recycling and salvage center. Not only is the building an impressive, artistic, recycled masterpiece, but the inside holds every kind of material you would need for a home remodeling project: windows, doors, cabinets, sinks, and all kinds of hardware. The center also offers classes in making furniture, jewelry and other crafts from recycled materials.
Paint Stores
Powell Paints
5205 SE Powell Blvd., Portland, OR 97206, 503-620-7522
This paint stores offers a really great service called “Designer Saturdays” where you can meet with a color consultant for free. Reserve a spot online and come in with your pictures and fabric swatches to get some ideas for how to best design your home’s interior. Choosing the right color can be frustrating, and I love that Powell Paints offers this helpful service.
Tool Libraries
What I love about Portland is that we pride ourselves on community. Here’s a great example of cool neighborhood projects: our two tool libraries. As with regular libraries you can receive a free library card to “check out” tools from their arsenal, as long as you live within their geographic parameter. North and Northeast Portland is the home of fixer-upper real estate, so being able to borrow from over 500 tools for any of your weekend projects can be gods send, and a money saver. Weekend warriors rejoice!
+ The North Portland Tool Library: 2209 N. Schofield, Portland, OR 97217, ph: 503-823-0929
+ Northeast Portland Tool Library: 5431 NE 20th Ave, Portland, OR 97211
Nurseries and Landscaping
Pistil’s Nursery
3811 N. Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR, ph: 403-288-4889
Even if you don’t have major landscaping to do, this place is gorgeous and fun to visit. If you’re simply looking for a garden hose or cheap pair of gloves, this is not the place to come. It’s a boutique, with a thoughtfully chosen stock of beautiful and interesting things. All kinds of plants, mulch, fertilizer, terrariums, and you can even buy chicks for your own urban chicken coop. They hold inexpensive classes on bee keeping, chicken keeping, worm composting and even raising goats, as well as providing landscape design services. I always buy my veggie starters here.
Portland Nursery
SE Stark: 5050 SE Stark, Portland, OR 97215, ph: 503-231-5050
SE Division: 9000 SE Division, Portland, OR 97266, ph: 503-788-9000
A classic Portland resource, some might call the Portland Nursery the Powell’s books of the landscaping world. In the heart of inner SE Portland, this is the antithesis of Pistil’s. While still thoughtful and with great stock, this place is bigger and more reminiscent of a larger scale landscaping store. While it may be easy to go out to the nearest Home Depot, we Portlanders like to support our local businesses, hence our love of the two Portland Nursery locations.

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