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
After: The Dining Room
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
After: The Family Room
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
After: The Casual Dining Room
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
After: The Kitchen
Before: The Living Room
After: The Formal Living Room
Before: The Master Bedroom
After: The Master Bedroom
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