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Stumptown Rock

Even before construction was complete, the Stump House was turning heads. When its green-minded future owners learned of its shining environmental résumé, they knew they’d found a place to call home.

The Boglis love the self-reliance afforded by generating thermal energy and growing a garden on their roof.

Perhaps it was Jess and Jered Bogli’s colossal-but-cordial rottweiler, Oliver, who spearheaded their move to a highly sustainable home in Portland, Oregon’s Alberta Arts District. While walking Oliver one day, the couple spotted a contemporary-looking house under construction and got to talking with the builder, Darryl Erlandson, about its green features. They passed by the house frequently after that. “It was on my running route,” Jess recalls, “and eventually one of the builders yelled to me, ‘Come in!’ Another day one of them even said, ‘Throw out an offer.’ And we did.’”


Proud do-it-yourselfers who first met during high school in Connecticut as hardcore-punk aficionados, Jess and Jered originally sought an alternative space such as a warehouse or even an old church to fix up. “But it seemed pretty overwhelming,” Jered recalls.


The couple quickly became attracted 
to the home’s bold design, which was fashioned by architect Brian White of 
Architecture W. Renovated from a 1940s ranch-style home, with many of the original materials used in the reconstruction, the boxy form provides a stark contrast to the faux-Victorian homes across the street—–actually built around the same time. Yet the house’s scale and texture integrate well into the broader neighborhood of historic Craftsman bungalows. The design also packs a green punch. A well-sealed building envelope containing insulation 
made from recycled blue jeans means interior temperatures stay mild year-round. It also has a solar heating system that provides hot water and warms the radiant floor, using a set of roof-mounted tubes rather than the more common flat panels. “Compared to photovoltaic panels, solar thermal achieves around 70 percent efficiency,” Erlandson notes. “It’s not giving you electricity, but you get more bang 
for your buck because it’s already 
what you want it to be: heat. If you generate electricity and turn it back  into heat, there’s some loss there in 
the transition.”


Jered, a graphic designer, and Jess, a school-health-education consultant, are active volunteers in their community and passionate about living sustainably. Avid gardeners who grow much of what they eat, they have eagerly taken advantage of the large backyard by planting an array of fruits and vegetables, leaving plenty of lawn left over for tossing a ball with Oliver or entertaining in the summer months. The couple plans to reserve a portion of their garden for neighbors to pick from freely.


To capitalize on connections with the ample backyard, White’s design moved the kitchen from the front 
of the house to the rear, where glass doors fold back (without mullions) 
to reveal a huge unfettered opening 
onto the yard and garden. “Everybody hangs out in the kitchen anyway,” Jered says, noting a recent meal they cooked for 21 people, “but here you can be talking to somebody standing under the tree while you’re chopping food at the counter.”


Topping the kitchen counter is simple polished concrete that Erlandson assembled in the garage using crushed rock from a local quarry. 
This and other industrial materials complement the architecture’s 
clean lines. The front door and front-yard planters, for example, are made from raw reclaimed steel.


The adjacent living and dining areas, which share a large open space off the kitchen, are situated to the north, where most of the windows have been placed for optimum diffusion of daylight. The interior is decorated with kitschy vintage diagrams and charts. One displays the nutritional value of cheese pizza; another is an educational illustration of the heart. An old library card catalog in the corner once belonged to Jered’s father, a teacher, but could have come from the set of a Wes Anderson movie. Its drawers are filled not with library cards but with oddball items such as skeet-shooting medals and Pez dispensers.


Nearby, a light box displays Jered’s shadowy, film noiresque photo of Portland’s Broadway Bridge and Union Station, taken with his pocket-size Holga camera while cycling to work one morning. “I always keep it with 
me just in case,” he says. “And that day it felt as blue and foggy as it looks. It was enough to stop me in my tracks.”


Though the clouds and rain can often make days a little dreary in Portland, the Boglis’ house stays bright most of the time. Erlandson removed two fireplaces in the original house, so to create a similar sense of a hearth he replaced them with a light well extending from a rooftop skylight through 
the second floor down to the ground. 
The well is clad in handmade ceramic 
tiles that make it resemble a chimney. 
“It really is kind of like our fireplace,” 
Jess says, laughing. “I asked Jered, ‘Where do we hang the stockings?’”


Downstairs, the built-out basement houses Jess’s office and a conference room, but it could also become a separate apartment or in-law quarters. Upstairs, the master bedroom includes a balcony extending the length of the space; it also shades the west-facing kitchen and deck below. A sloping green roof tops the house with sod and native plants. There’s space for barbecuing above the garage, but they may choose to plant more crops. After all, Jered and Jess have learned Oliver has a taste for fresh produce.


“He ate all the raspberries the other day,” Jered says, rolling his eyes. 
“But he actually just picks the fruit that’s ripe. You end up finding all 
these green tomatoes with vampire marks on them. He can tell when 
they aren’t ready.”


Though not every dog in town has such a taste for seasonal produce, Portland’s residents are certainly aware that their city is a national beacon for sustainable living. The Boglis’ house was dubbed the Stump House by the architect—–perhaps as a nod to Portland’s nickname, Stumptown—–
but it might be more fitting to compare it to a sapling. The polished new home represents the beginning of another life cycle for the previously used 
materials that went into its creation, and the solar-powered heating system 
is a constant reminder of renewal.

  • bogli residence exterior yard thumbnail

    Totally Tubular

    On the roof, amidst an array of native wild grasses and shrubs, six banks holding 180 small thermal solar 
collection tubes provide hot water year-round. This new technology, made by Apricus Solar Company, is less common than the flat solar plates often used for thermal heating. is your online home in the modern world. Join us as we follow our team around the globe on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Want more? Never miss another word of Dwell with our free iTunes app.


Hi my name is Will Nielsen this past week I was looking for this house because I also live in Portland
Oregon's Alameda Neighberhood too but I could not find the house so can you please give the address to the house
sincerly Will Nielsen

I love this house. I grew up in CT, but was drawn to Portland due to reading about people and projects like this. I live in NE (13th and Shaver) and will make sure to walk by with my dog and take a look.

Oregon is also spelled "Oregan" up there in the location.

I would like to transform my home into one like this ... Help where do I begin... I just purchased a home in Denver.. My home is a solid one level brick home about 1300 sq ft... Help please...

We subscribe to the magazine and I left my copy at my brother's house. In the article about the Stumphouse, there was a web-site for the solar tubes. Can you please email the link to me. I can't remember it, and I don't see it in this article on your web-site. Also, there was a schematic for the tubes. Is it available on this web-site? I don't see it here.

Tony MacDonald

I walked by once a couple weeks ago and was very impressed. Kudos.

Tony, if you live in Portland, we have several friends who share a house just off Alberta and work for Mr. Sun Solar company, and last I knew they installed them. Here is their website:

Hi...wondering if anyone has information about the pavers/whatever it is that is in place for the driveway. I'd love to do something similar to replace a gravel driveway--any info would be much appreciated!

Hi - Love the materials used on the exterior! What type of siding is on the house? I am currently looking into building a house and am having a very difficult time finding a company that carries windows with black frames (inside and out)....any suggestions? Thanks!

Amazing house and good article. Send more pictures to me through Justin and Eveanne!!!

Talk about an epic teaser. So many little things I love about this house and would really like to see some more pictures.

Kitchen, roof garden, etc.

Very nice home.

This house may be smart and pretty but it is in a crappy area whose residents deem it "up and coming". Well that has been happening for over 10 years now and is worth what the structure appraises at and the market, in an over saturated state, will bear. Hence- this home is overvalued to the tune of about $200k! The people who purchased it should have stayed put. This place is 15 blocks from where it "could" have sold at that price. There's not even room to wedge a Habitat house on one side to recover some property capital as they placed it dead middle of the lot.
I assume the building and print frenzy created buzz, then their friend the realtor assured them that buzz equaled markup, in which they trusted his judgement to be correct. They will get hosed in the end, literally.