The Greenhills House
From Craig Wollen
A Portland Home Embraces Indoor-Outdoor Living on a Challenging Sloped Lot
A creative family of five wanted to build a functional home that catered to their teenaged kids while also giving the owners an adult retreat with entertainment-ready living areas. Portland’s Southwest Hills became the focus of their lot search, where the few remaining building lots often come with challenges. They ended up purchasing a lot in an established close-in neighborhood with 30’ drop from the street to a natural bench that was in a perfect location for a substantial back yard. The resulting house, designed by Turn Design and built by iBuild PDX, followed the topography to nestle comfortably into the hillside.
The main entrance to the house is on the upper level, along with the kids’ and guest bedrooms/bathrooms, kids’ game room, powder room and garage. A floating solid oak staircase leads the main living level, which includes the master suite, kitchen, dining room, living room, media room, powder room, pantry and study. Three sets of oversized sliders—from the kitchen, dining and living rooms—and a glass wall create an inviting threshold to a series of terraced decks that ultimately lead to the back yard.
The 4479 SF home was designed with a 15° bend at its center, helping it conform to the lot characteristics while also enveloping the outdoor decks. The south and east rooflines cantilever dramatically, helping shade the 21’ high windows in the summer. The post and beam structure was built using a 8’ grid and is proudly expressed with both windows and trim.
The finished house unveils itself in layers. The front facade is low-key and welcoming. The entry reveals a house that opens up with a vaulted living space with a dramatic massive black brick fireplace and large windows. The back decks and yard become a natural terraced extension of the house, despite the steep slope. The result is a home that works and lives beautifully from the outside-in and the inside-out.