When the Santos family first bought their ranch-style Portland home 13 years ago, they knew a remodel was somewhere in their future. “Back then, we were still in that DIY place,” says Laura Santos, “but we quickly realized that this time, we wanted someone else to do it, and we wanted them to do it the right way.”

A phased remodel offers a lot of benefits. It’s easier on the budget, of course, and it can also make it possible to live in the home while the work is done. For the Santos family, those perks outweighed their desire for immediate gratification. Tackling the yard first, they then moved on to the kitchen and family rooms, and finally the “back of the house”—the master bedroom, kids’ bedrooms, and bathrooms.

Contractor JDL Development signed on to the project team for the final phase first. They recommended Portland-based Guggenheim Architecture & Design Studio to help with planning and design. “That was the best referral ever,” says Laura. “They worked so well together. It was a really good marriage.”

“When we came in, the home had a lot of different eras represented,” says Jenny Guggenheim, principal and designer at Guggenheim Architecture. “The homeowners wanted a really light, bright, fresh atmosphere, so we simplified the layout, defined more clarity of space, and created more spacious sleeping spaces.” The program also called for a small addition—about 300 square feet—which Laura says made an outsized impact on the feel of the home. “Our house lives so much bigger now,” she says. “The rooms just work better.”

The new master suite includes several features designed to make daily life flow more seamlessly and create a sanctuary-like space to start and end each day. The master bedroom contains his and hers closets to make morning routines less congested. In the master bathroom, dry and wet areas are separated by a glass partition, eliminating worries about overspray or drips and making it easy to move between the bathtub and the shower.

“From an aesthetic perspective, they wanted it to be very minimalist, clean-lined, and functional,” says Jenny. “One homeowner is a photographer and she really appreciates that clean background. The other is a police officer, so coming home to a tranquil, restful space was really important to him.”

In this case, tranquil is far from boring. Those minimalist surroundings focus attention on the judicious use of color and texture integrated throughout the home, amplifying its impact. In the gallery-like hallway, two vibrant paintings by Kristi Kohut infuse the space with juicy color. “The palette in the home is very neutral, so I felt the hallway just screamed for something in color,” says Laura. “I found Kristi on Instagram, and I thought ‘This is it. I’m going big, and I’m going to fill up this wall with color.’” A striking black and white photograph in the master bedroom is the homeowner’s own work.


JDL Development Inc.

Guggenheim Architecture & Design Studio

Bath Plumbing Fixtures: Kohler, Signature Hardware