Respect is the point of a colonial home, the ultimate in all-American traditional style. Sitting on a big lot up by the Oregon Zoo near the connected Parks and Rose Garden, this is the house in the spot that Portlanders identify with respectability. Yet somehow, this house was singled out for disrespect and neglect.
Obscene Graffiti, smashed windows, endless vandalism; it was neglected until the gutters rotted off and the roof was an unintentional green-roof, grown over with ferns and sapling trees.
We visited this magnet for crime when it came on the market. Throngs of house flippers blithered on their phones about fast returns as they walked through every room. and we knew that we were the only ones who would take this dilapidated place and elevate it far beyond what it had been, to lift it to the level of art.
In turbulent times, returning this icon of respectability from chaotic crime-scene to a reflection of our roots creates a stabilizing factor: the house becomes a bulwark of hope and beauty when the community is most in need. And though we have completed 1,000 homes and have a Portland-famous style, we are back to school to study Colonial homes, to synthesize the best of new design with the spirit of Portland’s bedrock history of hard-working individualism as embodied in the American Ideal of Colonial clean-lined, straight-laced symmetry.