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Main Homes Portlandia bungalow: That's my house!

Portlandia bungalow: That's my house!

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Written by Margaret Foley   
Tuesday, November 01, 2011

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ABOVE: Homeowner (and Fred Armisen lookalike) Frankeyh Legarza is ready for his home's closeup. "The shoot was fun," he says. "I was proud that my home was used as a set." BELOW: Frankeyh Legarza and Lauren Sheets with their 1-year-old son, Stanley.

//Photos by Eric Näslund

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At 7 a.m. on a hot September morning, Frankeyh Legarza and Lauren Sheets are straightening up while their 1-year-old son, Stanley, plays on the floor. “We keep our house organized,” says Legarza. “The biggest project in getting ready for today was cleaning the yard.” 

Their usually quiet Northeast Portland street is busy. Signs restrict parking, and several trucks are pulling up to the house. Ben Lipsey, the location scout for Portlandia, the Independent Film Channel comedy series starring Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, greets people as they report for work. 

Sheets and Legarza’s blue, one-story bungalow is making its television debut as the location for two Portlandia sketches: one shot around the backyard firepit, and one shot inside that involves a case of mistaken identity. “I think they chose our house because they wanted a home and yard that looked natural,” says Sheets.

Sheets dances with the Detail Dance Company and Legarza is an artist and musician. Their home has an eclectic look. Legarza’s colorful paintings hang on the walls. A bookshelf holds vinyl records, and a wooden case stores cassette tapes. Small cowboy boots top the piano. Reading material covers the eating bar, and a flat sculpture with white roses hangs above an entry. A collection of owl art livens the space next to the front door. “A lot of our things are from garage and estate sales,” says Sheets. “I love to find items and make collections.” 

Lipsey, a Portland resident, scouted nearly 100 houses to find the 20 used as locations. Lipsey, who is also a musician and plays lead guitar for the Verner Pantons, a Portland-based band,  met Legarza through another musician. “Frankeyh said he had a large back yard, and I needed to find one,” Lipsey says. “When I took the director to see the yard, he instantly fell in love with their house. We needed a house that wasn’t modern or expensive-looking — just an average place with a real aesthetic.”