Photos by Fred and Holly Stickley | Olson & Jones Construction
An extensive remodel of this Colonial Revival-style home in Portland changed little to the historic façade and instead transformed the interior to match the refined beauty of the exterior.
If you could wind the clock back just a decade and step through the front door of this grand Colonial Revival-style home, the discontinuity of its interior might take you by surprise.
Situated in Portland’s historic King Hill neighborhood, the three-story home’s exterior — featuring a symmetrical front facade with an accented doorway and evenly spaced windows on both sides — hints at Georgian and neoclassical styles, all the rage when the home was constructed more than 100 years ago.
A number of misguided remodels had lost sight of this home’s period charms. After a significant renovation, the interior reflects the simple sophistication of the original Colonial Revival style, creating a new home in the footprint of the old.
But over the past century, several generations of misguided homeowners have left their fingerprints on the home’s interior, employing well-intending designers to diverge significantly from the refined elegance that once defined the original Colonial American style.
Jeff Jones, project manager at Olson & Jones Construction, puts it in more honest terms. “The home’s interior had lost sight of the original design vision,” he says. He points out that the master bath, which had been redesigned in eclectic Mediterranean style, and the ‘90s kitchen remodel were inconsistent with the Colonial Revival style. “It deserved a complete restoration, and that’s exactly what we set out to accomplish.”
Having recently acquired the property, the two new homeowners desired to return the home to its original charm while updating it with the features they needed to entertain their close-knit family, including busy children and young grandchildren. The couple turned to Olson & Jones, a locally owned construction company brining more than 30 years of experience in historic restoration and high-end remodeling. The crew knew well that such a project would require an unsurpassed attention to detail. And for this reason, they teamed with architect and designer Jeffrey Miller, a Portland native whose firm has completed more than 500 residential projects on the West Coast with a commendable portfolio of historic renovations to its name.
With Miller’s period-appropriate design as a guide, Olson & Jones set about completely restoring the home to its former glory while modernizing it with contemporary conveniences. “We aimed to use the original language of the house,” says Jones, “so that if the first homeowners were to walk into the restored home, they might only notice new furnishings or different colors on the walls.”
The refreshed design features an inviting kitchen—perfect for entertaining during the holidays, and an expanded master bath that’s luxurious and refined.
Jones and his crew renovated the entirety of the 5,200 square feet of living space — in essence, building an entirely new house in the footprint of the old. Take the kitchen as a key example. The previous homeowners had the space remodeled in French country style with an overbearing hearth and bread oven crowding the space. The entirely new kitchen features top-of-the-line appliances, cream-white cabinets and an open floor plan — all while remaining in the boundaries of the original kitchen. Upstairs, the newly remodeled master bath sheds its imposingly dark blue tiled walls for creamy marble counters, glowing light fixtures and a luxurious bathtub. The rest of the home follows suit, featuring period-appropriate colors, simple furnishings and a carefully curated art collection. Olson & Jones also carefully reconstructed much of the upper floor to better match the original design, all while creating a closet and enlarging the bath in the master suite.
And just as Jones hopes, a time-traveling Oregonian from a century ago might think the home has lived through the decades untouched, a testament to Miller’s design and the construction team’s skill. With that said, a number of modern touches do bring the home into the 21st century. For example, to meet the need for off-street parking in the densely populated neighborhood, the underutilized basement was converted into a garage with enough spots to accommodate dinner guests without having them worry about parking tickets from pesky meter readers.
Ever sensitive to the nature of restoring old homes, Olson & Jones have carefully balanced historic sensibilities with rejuvenating and modernizing the infrastructure of the house. Now, whenever you enter the front door, the interior style seamlessly reflects the exterior aesthetic, all while providing the conveniences of a new home built for entertaining.