Renovation in Brighton, England

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This Edwardian house, built around the year 1900, is fundamentally sound. But as found, the interior has a terminal case of beige. Michael Dant Architect LLC was hired to update materials, finishes and equipment to bring the interior of this house into the 21st century while maintaining its historic character.

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By British standards, this home is generously sized. Ample windows and through-corridors give the home a spacious, open feeling. The entrance hall, above, gives a sense of the home’s historic features.

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The main entrance stair, above, occupies a generous, well-lit space. However, its fussy detailing and suffocating oatmeal carpet were not appealing to the new owner. Updating this staircase and extending it up to a new bedroom in the attic became one of the main program elements of this home’s renovation.

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I studied the renovation of the existing stair in three dimensions, using renderings to convey a sense of the new stair design to the owner. One of the key elements of the renovation, new wood flooring, is shown here both as flooring planks and as stair treads.

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On the first floor (second floor in the US) the existing stair terminated. In order to reach the new bedroom in the loft, a new stair was needed. My goal was to make it feel as though the new stair was a natural part of the house, like it had always been there.

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The view from the top of the stair shows both the spiraling path of the stair and the open column of space the stair wraps around. A new landing bisects the existing window, sharing its light with the new stair above and the renovated stair below.

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One of the more significant elements of my work on this project was assembling the material palette of the renovation. The owner was interested in rich, clean materials. The wood sample in the lower right corner is Dineson natural oak flooring, which will be installed throughout the house. The grey stone sample is Bianca Eclipsia, a natural quartz stone that resembles marble. It will be used for counters and bathroom floors. The remainder of samples are finishes being considered for the Bulthaup kitchen, including lacquer cabinet finish, solid oak breakfast bar and glass backsplash.

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Bathroom design was a large part of this project. With three existing bathrooms and one new one in the loft, much of the project budget will be spent in the bathrooms. Duravit Happy D.2 fixtures and Dornbracht Meta.02 faucets were chosen for their harmony with the home’s traditional features. In the drawings above, the elevation rendering (upper drawing) shows Ann Sacks glass tile in relation to the Duravit sink and the Dornbracht shower, while the floor plan in the lower drawing shows the scale and texture of the floor relative to the vertical elements.

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As a US architect working on a project in the United Kingdom, I limited my role in this project to its design. I assisted the owner in hiring a local firm, HUUK of Brighton, England, to be the architect of record. They will ensure that the project meets all relevant codes and planning regulations, and is detailed in accordance with locally practiced methods.

I created all the photographs, drawings and renderings in this post.

 

Portland Mixed-Use Project

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The sustained growth of Portland’s population is a mixed blessing. While the city’s compact nature, combined with strict control over expansion, give it much of its charm, there remains a need for more housing. Unfortunately, much of this new density comes from large, monolithic slab-like buildings that don’t contribute to the appeal of their surroundings.

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This project is designed to animate the new density. These types of buildings are usually on the city’s east side, on busy arterial streets like Division, Hawthorne and Alberta. The ground floor is occupied by retail – stores, restaurants and services. The upper floors are apartments, either rental or condominium.

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The surrounding neighborhood is typically retail, small industrial and apartments on the main street, with single family houses beyond. There’s usually a mix of older buildings with more recent development, and often there are large clashes of scale.

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In this project, I’ve attempted to break down the scale of the building by articulating the units on the face of the building. While there’s an underlying order to the scheme, it’s casually developed, allowing a feeling of individuality to come through.

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This has a direct impact on the quality of the units. They’re all somewhat different, to the point that a resident could stand on the street and easily point out where they live.

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The units range from studios and one bedrooms to two bedrooms with a den. Some have outdoor terraces and floor to ceiling glass, while others are more cozy. This allows the building to embrace a variety of tenants.

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The modulation of the building’s face also helps it relate to its neighbors. Its articulated volumes reflect the varied forms of the houses nearby, and avoid the image of a bluff cliff.

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Within the units,  the articulated volumes create dynamic spaces. In the two bedroom unit pictured above, the open living area maintains a strong feeling of defined space for the living and dining areas. The outdoor terrace extends the living space outside, and into the neighborhood.

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Befitting the top floor corner location of this one bedroom unit, the living space is wrapped with view and light. The generous terrace is ideal for people who want to live outside, even if it’s raining.

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This building’s composition reflects the diversity of Portland itself. As laid out, this building has 24 units – 12 studios, 6 one bedrooms and 6 two bedrooms with dens. There are twelve off-street covered parking places. The generous ground floor retail space offers multiple possibilities of subdivision and unit size.

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I designed this project, and created all the drawings and renderings in this post.

Portland Backyard Retreat

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This little structure, nearly 200 square feet of enclosed space, offers respite from daily life. Its simplicity is meant to engage the senses while providing shelter for contemplation.

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Indoor-outdoor space, with glass walls that open wide, and wrap-around views. The roof continues over the veranda, providing shelter in the rain.

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Light comes in on three sides, including generous north-facing studio windows. Northern light is generally even and cool, which may be just the thing every now and then.

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The space is simple and open. A wall-mounted cabinet captures the clutter, freeing the floor for whatever. These renderings show the space as it might be used to listen to music. It could also make a great studio for painting, yoga or meditation.

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The view out is expansive. However, the side facing the main house is kept free of openings. This reinforces the removal from daily life, furthering the feeling of getting away for a while.

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From the outside, the retreat is simple and rustic. Its dark, rustic wood siding will deepen with age, becoming part of the surrounding landscape.

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The north-facing entry is modest, with a sense of departure as one steps from a grounded stone stoop to its entry bridge.

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The floor plan is very simple and flexible.

If this design stimulates your ideas about your own retreat, I’d be delighted to talk with you about it.

I designed the project, and created all the drawings and renderings in this post.

Portland Phased House

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This project is designed to make new home construction affordable for more families. It eliminates the need for owning two properties at the same time, or expensive temporary housing, and allows the homeowner to proceed with construction when it fits their budget.

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Phase One of the project starts as soon as the family has closed on their new property. They move into the existing house on the site, and proceed with the demolition of the existing detached garage. In its place, a new garage is built. This garage includes an Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU), located to the side of, and above, the garage.

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The ADU is built to the maximum size allowed by Portland’s ADU program, and can be rented out for additional income when the main house is finished. While the ADU is a one bedroom unit, additional space in garage can be utilized by the family while their new home is under construction.

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The ADU has a generous entrance and stairway, with its bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, and open living space on the second floor.

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With the living space on the upper level, views and light are enhanced. The living space opens out to a roof garden.

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The ADU is treated with similar architectural features as the main house. This maximizes the family’s enjoyment of their  temporary home, and allows a higher rental price down the road.

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The main views from the ADU are oriented away from the future house.

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In Phase Two, the existing house is demolished, and the new house is built. As can be seen above, the two buildings form a cohesive whole. A large, south-facing courtyard is defined, and indoor-outdoor living is developed.

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The street facade captures the entire buildable width of the lot. While the house is a simple rectangular volume, varying levels of openness and enclosure interact with light and shade, developing a lively engagement with the neighborhood.

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The entrance from the street is brought to life with light, shadows, reflections and transparency.

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The living and dining room are animated with light filtered through trees.

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The living room is open to the east and west, with ample light throughout the day. The home’s terrace is seen on the right.

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While somewhat open to living and dining, the kitchen is a clearly defined space. It opens onto the terrace, and has a western view of the back yard as well.

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The stair to the second floor is enlivened with a generous skylight, and open construction.

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From the second floor master suite, the upper part of the stair is glimpsed, along with a view of the roof garden.

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Indoor-outdoor living in the master suite. Should the owner desire, the roof garden space could easily be converted to a third bedroom.

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The home’s grand exterior space, defined by the house(right) and its garage/ADU (left).

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Focus on the terrace, with dappled light and filtered views. A generous glass covered walkway shelters access from the garage to the kitchen, and creates an outdoor space that can be enjoyed in the rain.

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An overhead view clarifies the overall composition of architectural elements.

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The north face of the home’s two parts.

Site Plan

The site and floor plans above show the house in its finished state. The main house is 1,600 square feet, with two bedrooms; and the ADU is 790 square feet with one bedroom.

This house is designed for a typical Portland east-side lot – 50′ x 100′, relatively flat, and with an existing house and detached garage. Its principles can be applied to other lot types as well.

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When designing this house, I was inspired by the idea of helping architecture lovers of moderate means achieve their dream of building their own house. I’m looking forward to getting to know your particular dream.

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I created all the designs, drawings and renderings for this post.

Southwest Hills House

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The challenges of building in Portland’s Southwest Hills can be great. Steep drops from the street call for creative solutions, and can lead to spectacular results. This four-bedroom, 3,300 square foot house is designed to maximize its inhabitants’ enjoyment of their hillside, while minimizing construction costs.

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I’ve designed this house to address its sloping site in two ways: Concentrate the living spaces into a three-story tower with a compact footprint, and bridge to the street with an entrance deck, garage and driveway.

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Given the vertical orientation of this house, stairs play an important role in its use and enjoyment. This stair, which connects three and a half levels, is located in a glassy bay. Scaling the stair brings dynamic views of inside and outside.

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The main living space is located on the house’s top floor. I’ve capitalized on the freedom afforded by this “up top” location to explore terraced floor levels and varied roof forms. The space is open, and centered on a massive chimney.

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The south facing elevation shows the glassy enclosure of the living areas. In addition to the living, dining and kitchen areas of the third floor, the southwest corner of the second floor has an intimate family room. Both the living and family rooms have outdoor terraces.

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The floor plans show this home’s compact nature. Third floor living spaces cap a family room and the master suite on the second floor. And the first floor is filled with bedrooms at ground level.

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The second floor family room offers a cozy retreat, and has ample connection to the outdoors.

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This axonometric view gives a good idea of the house’s overall organization, especially the staggered terraces of the living and family rooms. It also shows the large skylight located above the fireplace, and the entrance bridge.

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This view of the main living space shows its terraced floor levels and soaring ceilings. Views and light wrap around the space, and light from the sky washes the fireplace’s brick.

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Set five steps above the living and dining level, the kitchen has commanding views. Yet it remains a subtle presence in the living space.

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The kitchen is designed to be practical and enjoyable. It’s located steps from the garage, has ample counter and storage space, and dramatic views in all directions. The sink area is located in a bay that projects outward from the house, surrounded by views and light.

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Looking back toward the living spaces from the kitchen give a good feeling for the sweeping living space of this home.

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A slight turn to the west shows the connection of the kitchen to the entrance level. You can also see the fireplace chimney’s second skylight, illuminating the home’s highest level.

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The view from the southwest gives a good idea of how the home’s terraced living levels interact with site’s steep slope.

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Inside, the ever-changing sweep of light animates the space.

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The design of this house is rooted in classical systems of order, energized by asymmetric elements.

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The house’s romantic massing is especially clear from its sides, where the disjointed roof forms interact with the projecting bays of the stairs and kitchen.

I designed this house as a speculative study on a non-specific site. I created all drawings and renderings. I’m excited to see how we could work together to make a home like this on your own hillside.

Church to Home Renovation

These renderings were created to help visualize how an existing, 100 year old church can be transformed into a desirable home. Located in McMinnville, Oregon, the former Christian Science church is perfectly located in a prime residential area, within a couple of blocks of the thriving downtown.

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The proposed home’s main living space is to be in the former sanctuary of the church. While the space is quite modest by church standards, with its  seventeen foot ceiling, it is very grand for a residence.

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The neoclassical design of the original structure is enhanced with placement of new kitchen elements, and existing, arched openings are subtly altered to facilitate their new uses.

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This focus on the kitchen sink, with a new fireplace beyond, give the potential homeowner a good feel for the kind of living this home inspires.

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Light from the grand arched windows animates the formal arrangement of space.

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I developed this design in collaboration with the property owner, who appreciated my ability to translate his thoughts about how this little neoclassical temple could make a great home. I created all the renderings in this post.

Portland Kitchen

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This goal of this project is to open up the existing kitchen in a 1960’s daylight ranch. As seen above, the living room gets a filtered view of the previously enclosed kitchen and dining room.

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This view to the entry area gives a good idea of home’s flow of space.

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View from the house’s main passage, giving a glimpse of the kitchen and dining, along with a side view of the new wood screen.

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The kitchen and dining areas flow together in one large volume, a real departure from their previously tight compartments.

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Light wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances and counters balance warmth and efficiency.

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Focus on the wood screen, a new element replacing a previously solid wall. While its decorative and view modulating properties are interesting, it’s also a structural element.

Portland Access House

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Designed to enable long-term living in one’s own home, the Portland Access House combines single-level, barrier-free space with low-energy use comfort and extra income.

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The 1,500 square foot owner’s space is capped with a 795 square foot, one-bedroom apartment. This additional dwelling unit can be used for rental income, a family member, or a full-time caregiver.

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The house wraps around a south-facing courtyard. With generous windows and outdoor plazas, indoor-outdoor living can be enjoyed all year long.

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The view from the kitchen shows the visual connection to outdoor dining, raised planting beds and a reflecting pool. Even during Portland’s cool months, this outdoor amenity can be enjoyed, with the water’s surface reflecting moving patterns on the kitchen’s ceiling.

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The kitchen has been designed for maximum enjoyment and minimum obstruction. Counters are lowered and pull-under work spaces are provided at the sink and cooktop. The dishwasher and oven are raised to eliminate the need to bend over, and a cooking island is provided at counter height to facilitate social food preparation.

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Turning from the kitchen toward the living and dining rooms, the warmth of the space is combined with ample light and views. Radiant heat in the floors and massive brick walls maintain a warm equilibrium, eliminating the temperature swings of typical lightweight construction.

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The living space is wrapped with light and views.

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The bedroom can be left open to the living areas, yet privacy is gained with sliding doors. It also benefits from the animated light provided by the reflecting pool.

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The courtyard, viewed from the back yard, is a combination of nature and architecture. Raised planters cater to gardeners with limited mobility, and level, paved paths enable access to all parts of the garden.

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Viewed from the south, the courtyard combines openness to light with structured space. The veranda-style roof overhanging the south-facing windows blocks summer glare while welcoming the warming winter rays.

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Upstairs, the one bedroom apartment creates a generous home for renters, caregivers or family members who provides a helping hand.

The Portland Access House is designed for a typical Portland 50′ x 100′ lot. While it addresses mobility needs, it emphasizes the enjoyment of an unimpeded life, rather than treating a medical condition. My goal in designing this house is to enable long-term joy in living by opening up space and maintaining flexibility. I would be pleased to speak with you about how these ideas might apply to your own life.

Mount Tabor Houses

These two houses, located on the north face of Portland’s Mount Tabor, are designed to capitalize on their sites’ dramatic slope. The houses are located on individual, adjacent lots, where there are currently no existing structures. Each house is 2,460  square feet, and shown in these drawings with three bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms and 1 powder room.

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Each home’s footprint is compact while the space is expansive. With living spaces located well above street level, views are open and privacy is guaranteed.

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Following the natural slope of the site results in the eastern house being nine feet higher than the west house. While its driveway is a bit more dramatic, so are the views.

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The plans for both houses are simple and easily adaptable.

The home’s living space is generous, and while the open space keeps everybody in contact, there’s also a sense of definition between the living room and the kitchen and dining.

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This section perspective clarifies the spatial relationships.

Looking from the living room back to the kitchen and dining, one gets a sense of how light and nature wrap around this house. The sloped site is present as well.

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Just enough definition in the kitchen keeps messes from spilling into living spaces, yet visual connections are strong.

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Two sides of the kitchen are wide open, and a third wall is filled with full-height cabinets. These provide ample, easily accessible storage, as well as a built-in refrigerator. The kitchen has its own terrace, perfect for barbecue.

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The master bedroom, part of a master suite on the mezzanine.

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This open space, shown here as an office, is easily tailored to the owner’s needs. It would also make a great library, workout space or media room.

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On a sloped site, level space like this roof terrace is at a premium. Partially covered with a glazed roof, this flexible outdoor room combines fun living with fantastic views and light. Definitely a must have in Portland.

Why not make one of these houses your home?

 

Portland Courtyard Community

This development of five houses, built on a 100′ x 100′ lot, is designed to engender community. Houses 1 and 2 address the street in a typically Portland way – porches, yards and interaction between inside and outside.

The architecture is open and inviting. The five 1,600 square foot houses are similar, but not identical, and laid out around a casual square. Each home has three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms.

Four of the houses are linked through their carports, while the fifth house is free-standing. Each house has a front porch  and a roof terrace, giving ample opportunities for indoor-outdoor living, and all five share a common courtyard. This area, composed of permeable paving and green, landscaped yards, maximizes social interaction for children and adults alike.

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Courtyard entrance.

The view above, from  the second floor of House 1, gives a sense of the community space.

The floor plans for House 5 (above) are similar to the others in layout; with an open first floor, space-efficient bedrooms on the second level, and a flexible fun third level.

The living room of House 5 and its front porch, accessible through a large, sliding glass door, create an interaction space for the family and the community.

The open ground floor keeps the family in touch.

House 5’s intermediate stair landings project into the courtyard, and bring light into its core.

On the third level of each house, a play room and roof terrace give ample opportunities for your family to do what they enjoy most. Covered outdoor space keeps your options open in Portland’s ever-changing climate

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The living space of House 2 faces the neighborhood.

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House 2’s kitchen includes the family dining table.

This community design  balances the benefits of shared living with the retained identity of an individual home.

All designs, drawings and renderings in this posting were created by me. While this specific layout is intended for two 50′ x 100′  lots, joined to make a 100′ x 100′ lot, I’m sure it could be even better tailored to your specific property.