The Patio House - A Hidden Portland Gem
Portland is known for lots of things, such as having great public transportation, being abundantly green and of course keeping it weird. Portland is a city that embraces its residents, making it a comfortable and stylish place to live. There are the obviously chic neighborhoods with charming tudors, craftsman homes and bungalows like Irvington and Ladd's Addition. Many miss the hidden neighborhoods with the unsung heros. The homes that speak to people, the homes that are in the up and coming areas, the homes that need that one special person to bring them back to life. That is what this series of blogs is about. That one house that needed someone so badly, that has been lived in and loved for years, but still needed that special touch. The house that once was the talk of the town and will be again. The “Patio House” is the best kept secret in Portland.
Tucked away on a quiet tree lined street with wide sidewalks and well manicured lawns sits the Patio House. It is located in a picturesque neighborhood in NE Portland named Lorene Park. Lorene Park was developed in the 1950’s and boasts ranch after ranch that seem untouched from the outside. Driving through Lorene Park brings you back the the 1950’s and 60’s when life was simpler and mid century modern was in full swing. From the outside the Patio House is unassuming and misleading to what lies behind the large front door. Getting on the inside is what this blog covers. We will be walking through room by room with the new owner to help capture what the home was like when he purchased it and what it will be like once he has breathed new life into the good bones of this Portland classic.
The Patio House was designed by the famous architect Warren Weber and was built in 1961. Warren Weber is well known for his church designs, but also designed homes for 40 plus years in Portland. Weber worked under other architects Wade Pipes, Richard Sundeleaf and Pietro Belluschi before breaking out on his own. The Patio House is one of Weber’s modern, functional designs that we are lucky enough to have in our beautiful city. The Patio House is a true mid century gem that is simple and clean with a design to encourage inside out living. From the street there is only one window and a door amongst the strong brick facade. The Patio House is Portland’s best example of a butterfly roof and showcases modernism like no other.
Once you walk into the Patio House it becomes obvious that this home is a destination within itself. The entry is grand with an original stone floor and multiple hallways and doors that lead you into the labyrinth that is the Patio House. Right off the entry is the formal living room with large floor to ceiling windows that lead out to the first of 4 patios. This home was designed with the outside landscape in mind and gives you a sense of living from the outside in. The large sliders allow the room to extend onto the massive private patio that is all brick. It looks like something you would see in Palm Desert, a modern playground for America’s elite and Hollywood Stars. Original features are abundant in this gorgeous home. Original brick, windows, built-ins, bathrooms, media room and more. The kitchen is the only part of the home that is no longer original as it was updated by the previous owners. The Patio House will soon be what it was once again. The process has started and the renovations are in full swing.
A before shot of the formal Living room with floor to ceiling sliders and stone fireplace:
A before shot of the patio off the dining room:
A before shot of the already remodeled kitchen:
Some of the first updates being done by the new owner, Dr. Richard Mercer, include adding air conditioning to the radiant heating system (currently the home has radiant floor heat), replacing the laminate floors with designer carpet tiles, painting the exterior that is not brick and redoing the once magical pool / cabana area outside on one of the many patios. The list of what will be done to this mid century beauty is long and the estimation is that completion will take a few years, but in the mean time the home is being lived in, renovated and loved.
The Patio House is 3554 square feet of one level living at it’s finest. It includes 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 4 patios, one media room, kitchen, living room, dining room, family room, 2 fireplaces, butler pantry /laundry room, pipe room, pool house, solar panels and a rubber membrane roof. The Patio House sits on a 0.32 acre lot, allowing for an urban oasis in outer NE Portland. Each bedroom has an entire wall of built in closets with mirrors and the main hallway is lined in floor to ceiling closets making the storage in the home amazing. There truly are too many special things in this home to mention in a blog post so we will focus on just a few to get started.
Photo of the original built-ins in the bedrooms:
A before picture of the Pool / Cabana area and the view from the family room out to the pool:
The air conditioning was added in a way that it is unnoticeable and doesn’t affect the significance of the architecture by using a ductless system that resides on the roof. The carpet tiles are being installed soon and will be a great nod to the 1961 birth year of the Patio House. They are a neutral beige color with a pattern that will be laid in alternating ways to create a quirky, fun throwback to the 60’s. The pool area is being completely restored to its former glory with new everything. The mechanics are being updated, the diving board and slide replaced, the gunite repoured, tile redone and much more.
Mercer is passionate about home renovations and has undergone renos in the past. His last project was a 1912 home located in Irvington with 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms that took 10 years to complete. The new owner is tied to this house in many ways including the fact that his grandparents lived behind the Patio House for years. He remembers looking over the fence at the pool as a kid and thinking that it was a beautiful property, not knowing then that a huge part of his life would be lived in this amazing place.
This series of blogs will follow the process of the Patio House coming back to life. As each item is completed we will write about it to document and share this incredible process. The Patio House is a significant piece of Portland’s history and we are very excited to share the story of the Patio House with you.
Written by Amanda Folkestad