She was only in third grade when Amanda Laird knew what she wanted to do when she grew up.
“Design was what intrigued me,” she said. “It stuck with me like nothing else.”
Amanda Michelle Laird is a born and bred Seasider. She grew up in Sunset Hills and graduated from Seaside High School with the Class of 2005. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in architecture. While still a student, she bought and renovated a house in Eugene, which was her first major project.
Returning to the coast in 2011, Laird was first was employed by Tolavana Architects in Cannon Beach where she was hired to work on the Mo’s renovation. It was a rough time for architects and instead of hiring, most firms were laying off. Undaunted, she next found work as a designer for Sesame & Lilies.
“I did kitchens, staging, we did a house in Cannon Beach,” Laird said.
In 2014 Laird began doing her own thing. Her first company, which is still going strong, became Brass & Ink, a luxury tags and label business. She also started two other businesses, Amanda Laird Design and Pacific Lux Homes.
“Brass & Ink was my focus,: Laird said. “I threw myself into building that business.” An opportunity arose to purchase and renovate an antique home in Seaside on Ninth Street.
Although she started out with a contracting partner, Laird soon determined she’d be doing a lot of the work herself.
“I laid tile. I caulked. I did all the interior painting,” she said. She was no stranger to physical work having done so much of it on the Eugene house.
HGTV flew out in 2010 to film her working on the Eugene house, Laird said. She got the idea to purchase and renovate a house because she had her college costs covered by scholarships. “Obama was offering that first time homeowner tax credit,” she said. “I missed the deadline by three days, so I wasn’t able to take advantage.”
Undaunted, she got her father to co-sign a loan; not long after she caught the attention of producers for a DIY Network show called “Renovation Realities,” an HGTV sister network, who gave her $3,000 which she used to pay for a wood floor. The production company filmed an episode of her working on the kitchen. For the show, Laird and her then-boyfriend gutted a nasty kitchen and rebuilt it in a week. When the Eugene house was completed, she rented it out before selling it, eventually using that money as seed money to purchase the Seaside house. She said the Seaside house was built in 1906, and at one time was a brothel.
The Ninth Street house was a beautiful wreck when she bought it, but it’s completely transformed now. As a nod to its history, Laird left the original numbers from its brothel days on the bedroom doors. The house is listed with a vacation rental company, but it’s also available as a location for commercial film shoots. While maintaining a classic beach house aesthetic, the Ninth Street house is a masterpiece of clean, modern, Scandinavian design. A friend of Laird’s from high school who shoots for the Hanna Andersson children’s clothing catalogue, saw the house and immediately saw its potential. “She said it would be perfect for them,” Laird said.
The house became the backdrop for the company’s spring 2018 catalogue. Laird’s two young daughters, Olivia and Charlotte Rose, became models for the project.
Laird is already dreaming of her next design job. “I am for hire as a home stager and I welcome new design work,” she said. She loves taking a place down to the studs.
“I love a clean slate.”
Amanda Laird can be reached at 503-440-5506.