Before & After: An Enchanting Craftsman Home in Portland Is an Ode to Local Flora
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Before & After: An Enchanting Craftsman Home in Portland Is an Ode to Local Flora

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
A remodeled home in Northwest Portland pays homage to the region with moody green tones—including a kitchen wrapped with a hand-painted fern mural.

Originally built in 1907, NW Johnson Street is a Craftsman-style home in Northwest Portland, Oregon, that had undergone many changes over the years, including having been subdivided into multiple apartments, before it fell into the hands of Jessica Helgerson Interior Design (JHID). Though it had been converted back into a single-family dwelling, "there were still clear signs of its former incarnation," says Mira Eng-Goetz, the project lead. "Namely, an awkwardly placed back staircase that made for unnecessary circulation, and an odd phone booth space just off of the main stair landing." 

The homeowners, who had been in residence for seven years, contacted JHID with a small bathroom remodel in mind. "It was a malfunctioning bathroom that led them to first reach out," recalls Eng-Goetz. "I think this is often the case with renovations—a malfunction such as a leaking plumbing fixture prompts one to think, ‘What else could be improved?’ and before you know it, a whole-house renovation is underway." 

Before: The Dining Room 

Before: The dining room was used as an office space. JHID opened up the space and added natural light by inserting glass sliders. 

After: The Dining Room

Architectural elements like coffered ceilings and columns were added to the dining room to give the space the charm and character that is usually associated with older homes.

The first priority in a larger remodel was improving the home’s circulation. The firm removed the awkward back staircase, making way for a new family room, an informal dining room, and a project area. Next, the designers worked on reconfiguring the kitchen and opening it up to the dining room, updating it and adding shelving. Another major issue was that the master bedroom was lacking an ensuite bath, so JHID reimagined this space as well, inserting a generous master bath where a covered balcony had been. 

Before: The Family Room

Before: Multiple uninspired renovations over the years had left the home bland and without a definite sense of style. 

After: The Family Room

Once the awkward back staircase was removed, the designers made way for a new family room downstairs.

Custom-made by JHID in collaboration with The Works Construction and Trio Upholstery, the wraparound sofa features emerald-green, cotton velvet upholstery by Maharam. The wall sconce is by Allied Maker, and the ceiling mount lighting is by Illuminate Vintage. 

They also took the opportunity to return period-appropriate details to the home that years of uninspired renovations had stripped away. "We layered on architectural elements like coffered ceilings, columns, and ceiling rosettes to dress up the house because it lacked a lot of the charm and character that we typically associate with older homes," says Eng-Goetz. 

Before: The Casual Dining Room

Before: The dining room had the potential to be so much more. 

After: The Casual Dining Room

The kitchen was reconfigured and joined with the casual dining room, where a BDDW dining table is joined by chairs from Artisan. They also replaced a solid wall with double-sided glass cabinets. The chandelier is from Apparatus. 

The aesthetic direction for the house was to create "an ode to the Pacific Northwest"—an apt choice, considering the home sits on the edge of Portland’s 5,200-acre Forest Park, one of the largest urban forests in the United States. This native greenery influenced the home’s material palette, which the firm describes as "moody, green, lush, mossy, and heavy on the western walnut." This contrasts with decorative lighting and playful furnishings that bring in hints of pale pink and mustard yellow. "It suits the youthful, forward-thinking character of our clients and their kids," says Eng-Goetz. 

The highlight of the home—and Eng-Goetz’s favorite part of the entire renovation—is the unexpected detailing in the kitchen. Working with Tempest Tileworks, Eng-Goetz hand-painted a mural of sword ferns across the walls, creating a forest view in a room where the windows overlook a neighboring apartment building. The painted tiles even continue over the built-in fridge to create a seamless landscape throughout the kitchen. "I enjoyed the entire process and am grateful to our clients who saw the value in doing something artful and unexpected," she says. 

Before: The Kitchen

Before: The crowded, dated kitchen was in need of updates. 

After: The Kitchen

Eng-Goetz hand-painted a magical mural of sword ferns around the kitchen to give the room a "forest view." The tiles are from Tempest Tileworks; the wall sconce and sink pendant lighting are from a collaboration between JHID and GKA Lighting. Adding another metallic accent, a brass faucet from Waterworks rises from a rich western walnut countertop. The room is painted with Benjamin Moore’s Storm Cloud Gray. 

The ferns encircle the kitchen and even camouflage the refrigerator. "I worked with Tempest Tileworks here in Portland, who made each tile by hand and gave me guidance on how to paint with glaze, which I'd never done before," says Eng-Goetz. The green range is from Lacanche. 

Before: The Living Room

Before: The formal living room before the renovation. 

After: The Formal Living Room

A ceiling rosette and a chandelier by Neri & Hu add some much-needed pizzazz to the formal living room.  The lush velvet sofa is by JHID in collaboration with Master Furniture Makers and Trio Upholstery; the coffee table is another collaboration with Master Furniture Makers. The fireplace features surround tiles by Pratt and Larson. 

Before: The Master Bedroom

Before: The master bedroom was functional, except for the lack of an ensuite bathroom. 

After: The Master Bedroom

In addition to adding a master bath where the covered balcony had been, JHID gave the master bedroom a  moody green hue and a distinctive sense of style. 

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