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.