The Enchanting Cottage

At the intersection of World War I’s end, and the mass enchantment of the new automobile and moving pictures, the English Cottage was the sudden favorite of the “Roaring ‘20’s”. Once upon a time before World War 1, Portlanders would often not travel more than 10 miles from home in a lifetime. Veterans returned with tales of exotic places they had seen overseas, among them, jolly Old England.

Project Details


Spring 2021


Irvington, Portland, Oregon

You are looking at the Stanton English Cottage, built in 1925. In that year, with 70 percent of Portlanders going to the thrilling new phenomenon of movie theaters weekly, a mania for exotic looking homes was the rage.  

The cottage style is not pretentious, but is the sweetest house style.  It is a romantic view of English County Life as quaint and picturesque,  conjuring images of tea, firesides, books, cooking, and warm family and friends. This is the quintessence of what home meant to the English, and inspired Tolkien’s home-loving hobbits, conceived of in about this time.

English Cottage style is  identified by its rolled or storybook roof, the rounded edges of which are meant to emulate the thatched roofs that were a staple in England, even to pre-Roman times. The little arched, or eyebrow windows developed because the thatch could only be put on in a gentle curve for a dormer.  The most famous cottage is that of Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s wife, built in 1463.

The movie “The Enchanted Cottage“ was a box office sensation in 1924, the year before the house was built. It described a magic English Cottage where lovers found each other and lived happily ever after.  The idyllic, romantic cottage was in the public imagination of Portland when this house was built.

The 3 Generation House: An idea whose time has come . . . again! Ellis Lawrence, Oregon’s most famous architect, built and lived in in a multi-generational home most of his life here in Irvington.  We have created two master suites, one on the ground floor serviced by a lift. The second master suite is upstairs with two additional rooms and two upstairs baths for family.

When the house was built, outside of the glass doors would have been a wooden deck for folks to sit on and invite their neighbors up to socialize.  However, newly mass-produced automobiles brought strangers. Suddenly, sitting out on a wooden stage for strangers to lookout was undesirable, and most decks were allowed to rot.  We replaced the long missing terrace after almost a century. Forming friendships through this visiting terrace is ready once again!

We redesigned and reimagined this house from the ground up.  Our work included: converting the unused attic space to three beds including a spacious master suite, two baths and laundry; adding an entertainer’s kitchen, sustainable features, the terrace, the sunken garden with outdoor theater, opening the floor plan, and creating a home theater, guest bed, etc.  Our plan is to wrap late spring / early summer ‘21.

The stats: 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, 4,000 plus square feet counting closets, 3,200 without the closets.  Open floor-plan.  Large eat-in kitchen, four fireplaces, optional lift for stair-free living, light and bright spaces, two furnaces, attached garage, smart house technology, period cottage detailing, eight skylights.  Heavy insulation.

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