The road to not only purchasing this 1980s home, but its eventual transformation, was a very long and winding one for this professional couple that dated back to 2013, when they left The Pearl District to buy this home with a yard for their children. “We knew the style wasn’t what we wanted,” recall the homeowners, “but it was a matter of deciding what style we liked.” Years later what began as a simple bedroom transformation swiftly moved to a full-on remodel and transitioned from various construction companies, interior designers, and architects to Tim Schouten of GSW Architects. “We immediately gravitated to Tim, whose work had gotten excellent reviews and who we were comfortable with,” say the couple.

Schouten recommended builder Jeff Johnson of JDL Development, Inc., with whom he often works and Betsy Brandenburg of Brandenburg Studio Design for the kitchen. Johnson praises Schouten as a very experienced, collaborative, creative architect who involves everyone in the work. The homeowner discovered interior designer Midori Karasawa’s work in a Portrait Magazine article that showed her ability to mix comfort and style.

“What was really important for the homeowners,” recalls Schouten, “was a complete transformation for the front of the house. Previously, the front elevation was too complicated with numerous gables, dormers and stonework that were too busy. We came up with a palette of materials and new roofline to simplify the front elevation, including a pattern within the windows.” Thus, Schouten replaced the lap siding with vertical smooth-faced T&G cedar. To open the dark entry that had inconsistent low windows and tall ceilings, he reframed the roof, removed the random stonework outside and reframed the entire entry. There, he designed a stunning slatted wood wall from McCoy Millwork that screens the staircase while bringing natural light into the entry through a striking, geometrically designed window. That, coupled with Michael Schultz Landscape Design’s handsome concrete entry steps and vertical, lush plantings makes a memorable entry, highlighted by Oregon Outdoor Lighting.

Schouten continued to clean up the front façade by creating an enclosed breezeway leading into a mudroom rather than having to enter the kitchen outdoors from the garage. Additionally, by removing an existing kitchen wall, he opened the sight lines to the adjoining rooms. Thanks to the decision to nix placing the range in the island, whose range hood would have prevented any visual flow, light now pours into the area from three directions. “It’s a very different house now,” says Johnson, who the owners call thorough, trustworthy, and always truthful. “There are no traces of the original house dating back to the 1940s that was destroyed in a fire. All the dated 1980s construction is also gone. As a company that does a lot of remodeling, it’s very rewarding for us to have contributed to the incredible transformation of that house.”

Karasawa was tasked with supplying the furnishings in a way that satisfied the homeowners’ divergent sensibilities. “The husband appreciates old Ralph Lauren, classic wood style,” says Karasawa, “while the wife was not afraid of color or more modern designs.” Consequently, the husband felt very strongly about the neutral, organic pattern found in the rug Karasawa recommended for the living room. The wife, however, was equally as passionate about the wallpaper she chose from the three Karasawa presented for the dining room. “It’s got drama,” she says, “peaceful colors and yet is soft enough not to overpower the room.” By tying it to a yards-long dining table and wood-backed chairs, Karasawa upholds her belief that furniture should be treated as art. “It’s important to know where and how the chairs are positioned in a space before deciding. In this project, the back of the chairs would face the living room. The same goes for the back of the two DWR Crosshatch chairs that face the Foyer. You want to make sure they are beautiful to look at from any angle.”

Johnson, who was involved early in the project regarding feasibility levels, budget vis-à-vis GSW design, and construction particularly enjoyed transforming the “Ho Hum woodburning masonry” fireplace by stripping it, then building it out with a steel surround and concrete trowel finish by Bravura Finishes.

The homeowners love it all. “There is no room you wouldn’t want to spend time in,” they say. “Stylistically, the whole is lifted up and flows!”


JDL Development Inc.

Giulietti Schouten Weber Architects

Style Guide Interior Design

Brandenburg Studios Design

Michael Schultz Landscape Design

Eastbank Contractor Appliances


Roche Bobois

SMG Collective

McCoy Millwork

Oregon Outdoor Lighting

Lakeside Lumber