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.

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.