Remodel: Forever Home

Photography by Josh Partee

Emily and Benjamin Hackett’s three bedroom, mid century ranch in Southwest Portland is the sort of home where everything belongs and everything has a place. Emily, a CPA for Intel, and Ben, a financial analyst, value clean lines and order, the way small decisions affect the big picture. A homey, minimalist approach alleviates the eye’s need to roam. Rooms open wide, framing space like a good conversation. The energy flows. It feels vast and open inside, with spaces flooded with natural light. It all adds up.

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“We love how the designers married the idea of formal design with keeping in mind the functionality of everyday family life,” Benjamin said of working with Wise Design, the company behind the project.

In an age when modern domestic life can seem overripe with abundance, the Hacketts, who renovated their entire home in just a four-month process, show how far you can get with a vision, defined needs and applied pragmatism added to the equation. In many ways, the family’s home needed the qualities many busy families desire: rooms to gather, multipurpose spaces and an interior design that suggests “Serenity now!” But kid-friendly does not always equate to sophisticated living. The challenge for the Hacketts’ project was to make choices that would support both of those ideas.

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Having already been through one big renovation project — their previous home was a tiny one-bedroom, shared-loft fixer in Multnomah Village — the Hacketts had realistic expectations about taking on such a major project. They started dreaming of a place that checked all of their boxes, including ideas they had for a setting to raise their young daughter, Lauren, and entered the frenzied Portland housing market.

“We have always wanted to move to the West Hills,” Benjamin said.

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Yet their new home had cosmetic design challenges and desperately needed an update. The bones of the house were beautiful, but the beauty felt hidden under the surface because of the dated design. One of the full bathrooms and the home’s kitchen needed complete overhauls. The bathroom, for example, was once a colorful mockery of pink and blue tiles, like a bad gender-reveal party. The rest of the spaces required design tweaks to match the main spaces.

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Enter Wise Design, the team behind the renovation project. The designers of Wise Design helped the couple achieve their goals for sophistication and kid-friendliness: sleek-lined furniture made from durable materials, spaces comfortable for spending time with family and a decor scheme with a sophisticated retro feel. But the most important detail? Hiding technology to encourage real connection. Now the family is set for letting home life happen.

“We spend our time saving the world as various princesses and superheroes,” Benjamin said.