Places We Go : A Portland Craftsman


Happy Valentine's Day! Here's the story of a true love affair with an enchanting house and the heartfelt Valentine it recently received.

In a leafy green neighborhood in Portland, OR, sits a Craftsman house built in 1913. Since the early 1980's, its owners have been a very special couple, my brother and sister-in-law. As you can imagine, there's been forty years of renovation - everything that could be done has been done, some a few times over. This couple owns a construction business so over the years, all the work has been between clients - at night, over weekends and now, during the pandemic. Attention to detail is paramount. In recent years, the exterior was refreshed including applying hand-dipped dark green redwood shingles. All systems have been updated down to the smallest detail like period black iron vent covers. The upstairs floor with bedrooms and baths has been refreshed. And now, the main floor has just been, once more, lovingly restored. Let's take a look.

Let's start the tour at the back door entryway where a mudroom bench with a shoe cupboard is practical for grandkids and their puppy. Interesting wood wainscoting provides texture. Leading into the kitchen and lower level, glass doors bring in the sunshine.

A gleaming new kitchen includes high end cabinets, an induction stove top, quartz surfaces and a craftsman-style backsplash. And - oh, those gorgeous white oak floors!

Loads of storage and stainless appliances in the large eat-in kitchen.

The farmhouse sink, polished chrome faucet with all the bells and whistles and a sunny window that looks out to a large manicured yard.

Here's my brother, Tom, in his gutted kitchen. Tom's speciality is remodeling homes in keeping with their style and vintage while upgrading for the future. As one client told me, "Tom is an American craftsman."

In a corner of the living room, a built-in craftsman stye shelving unit has replaced a wood stove.

Around the corner is a hall leading to two bedrooms and the first floor bathroom which has a modern craftsman look including quartz countertops.

The new oak plank floors luxuriously run into the bathroom.

The view from kitchen to living room. I love the colors in these rooms. Over the years, they have seen quite a few transformations including living room walls in a wonderful green paisley wallpaper. The new wall color, the moldings, the oak plank floors all complement the exterior, both in color and craftsman design. The moulding style throughout the home reflects a 1913 sensibility. As do the lighting fixtures. As do the bands of windows repeated in many rooms.

The living room just got its first-ever fireplace. Love the craftsman-style tiles.

Both the entry and front door are glass, bringing in more sunshine.

And here's the other half of this special couple, my sis-in-law, Kim. Pictured here while painting, she and Tom designed the rooms. A one hundred and eight year-old house. Tom and Kim, caretakers for the last forty years. Now, the house has a new look - combining original craftsman style and 21st Century living. If this isn't a loving Valentine to this old house, I'm not sure what would be.


top photo : googlemaps


American Craftsman is an American domestic architectural style, inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, which included interior design, landscape design, applied arts, and decorative arts, beginning in the last years of the 19th century. Its immediate ancestors in American architecture are the Shingle style, which began the move away from Victorian ornamentation toward simpler forms; and the Prairie style of Frank Lloyd Wright.

The name "Craftsman" was appropriated from furniture-maker Gustav Stickley, whose magazine The Craftsman was first published in 1901. - Wikipedia


Portland is known for it's abundance of gorgeous craftsman houses. Portland has some pocket neighborhoods that are all craftsman style homes, but mostly they are scattered throughout the city. Identifying a craftsman home is easy with all of their extremely recognizable features. Craftsman's tend to feature front facing gabled roofs, full front entry porches, broad eaves, exposed beams both inside and outside and bands of grouped windows. Craftsman homes can also have belly bands in between stories, porches with thick square posts, built in cabinetry and prominent fireplaces. There are many beautiful Craftsman Homes in Portland. This was a thriving city in the early 20th century when Craftsman Homes had their golden era. - BrianPorter.com


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