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Introducing Our Portland Fixer Upper

Welcome to our new Portland, OR, fixer upper folks because I was desperately in need of something to do (ha). Here’s how it all went down – my brother and sister-in-law were looking to invest in real estate and I was looking for an investor in which to do more high-end projects with no client, for content. So we struck a deal – they would buy the house, I’d design it (with the help of the wonderful Portland-based designer/project manager Jenna Sheingold) and document the whole thing – with complete creative control!!! No client = faster, more beautiful work and more transparent blog posts. YAY. Then after we are done with the content (and maybe an event or two) we’d put it on the market, sell it to someone very lucky, and I get a portion of their net profits. We just entered the big time, and it’s terrifying but so fun. There is a lot to tell you. Let’s start with the basics:

1. It was3,500 square feet but will be 4,800 sqft when we are done with the addition. It sits on .69 acre on a very private street.

2. It’s in the Dunthorpe area of Portland (in an amazing Riverdale school district, and one of the most beautiful older neighborhoods in all of USA).

3. It’s a mid-1980’s house that needed a complete re-haul and a big dose of soul. It was originally cheaply done.

4. They bought it for $850k. (update: the original amount that was estimated to put into it was hilariously under estimated so i’ve edited that so buyers don’t think we only put $500k into it – more to come on that). To call it a flip would be inaccurate. I mean, who buys an $850k flip?? (Ken and Katie, not me :)). I’m doing it to create a showhouse of my work – a set for content creation that isn’t in my own home, and the profit is a hopeful bonus. But since we need to sell it I also have to make sure that I do something with mass appeal, that is timeless, classic and worthy of the neighborhood. But still ‘me’. It’s so exciting and it’s a style that I really haven’t ever done before. Our LA house is traditional but more cottage-y and casual. This is going to be more formal and yet modern (duh). Think mosaic tile and copper hoods …. but with modern lighting and art.

These are the types of houses that are in the neighborhood:

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Dunthrope Estates 02

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Dunthrope Estates 03 Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Dunthrope Estates 01

They are generally older, they are almost always big (3500 +), they have beautiful landscaping and they typically feel really grand, more formal and have a decent sized property.

So I have an opportunity to do something special, design-wise and use splurge-y finishes that would typically be outside our budget.

Oh and one of the best parts is that my brother is learning EVERYTHING about renovation along the way, so someday (soon) he can be the GC and I can finally live out my dream of having someone in my family be a contractor (Brian refuses).

Despite looking fine, this house is a total gut job. So let’s take a tour of it, shall we?

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos Front Of House Edited With Copy Note

The exterior is pretty basic with fairly inexpensive finishes, for now…

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos Front Of House 02 Edited With Copy

It needs new windows, doors, siding and just a better purpose in life. The landscaping is full of missed opportunities but the property is big (almost an acre) and it’s set back off a street and feels super private. The potential is absolutely there.

Here is the original floorplan, with two floors – an entry level floor and a basement level (that opens to the backyard).

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It originally had 3 bedrooms, with the master being right off the family room and the other two in the basement. Totally fine for a normal house, but since it’s in this neighborhood with really beautiful larger ‘estates’ (not really but that’s how they feel) we need it to be bigger and better.

Here is where we are headed:

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Here are the major changes:

  1. Turn the master bedroom into a large formal dining room.
  2. Add stairway to the new 3rd floor.

We essentially gutted the entire thing (my brother demoed it himself because he’s just that cool and strong) but I think it’s still fun to see the before photos. Just know that virtually every single thing is changing. I didn’t even see it before it was gutted (I’m in LA, the house is in Portland) so these are just the real estate photos. Ken worked directly with an architect and a general contractor to get the plans, and then I hired a designer/project manager (the lovely Jenna Sheingold) to help me with it and be on site when needed.

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos First Floor Entry Edited With CopyEmily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos First Floor Living Room Edited With CopyEmily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos First Floor Master Bedroom Edited With Copy

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos First Floor Master Bathroom Edited With Copy 01

The trickiest room is going to be this room below – what was and will be the family room – which opens up to the patio and the new formal dining room.

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos First Floor Family Room Edited With Copy

It’s always a bit tricky trying to put a seating area in the middle of a pass-through room, but we can do it.

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos First Floor Kitchen 01 Edited With Copy 01

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos First Floor Kitchen 02 Edited With Copy

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos First Floor Bathroom Edited With Copy 01

Below is the office, which will be the new office (with pretty built-ins).

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos First Floor Office Edited With Copy

Now to the basement which we are renaming the ‘ground floor’ because this floor will not feel like a basement anymore.

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The storage area was HUGE, so we moved the bedroom, to make a HUGE media room and wet bar. And I’m putting in my fantasy laundry room. Someday I’ll have a huge laundry room that doesn’t also have to house the cat box…

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Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos Ground Floor Media Room 02 Edited With Copy

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos Ground Floor Media Room Edited With Copy

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos Ground Floor Bedroom1 Edited With Copy

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos Ground Floor Bathroom Edited With Copy

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos Ground Floor Bedroom 02 Edited With Copy

Gone, gone it’s all gone!!! A total redo in every way and it will open into the backyard which you’ll see below.

On to the second floor (the new addition), which will all be new construction obviously. We are adding 3 bedrooms, 2 baths a small laundry room and a big walk-in.

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UPDATE: there is a small laundry room/closet on the 3rd floor! (right next to master).

Now to the side yard.

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos Backyard Garage Edited With Copy

It’s a big pretty property with a lot of mature trees (which you know I love) that just needs some TLC. The garage will be dual purpose – for cars, obviously but we are pimping it out to be a dope rec room in the winter. My brother has all the ideas for that (something about a basketball hoop, rock wall … some sort of workout thing … I don’t know, but stay tuned for that.)

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos Backyard 01 Edited With Copy

We are making the deck much bigger (big enough to have a living and dining room with a huge outdoor TV – which my brother is insisting on having) and then adding another covered patio that spills out of the giant media room.

Of course, when Ken told me that he already chopped down trees to give the house more natural light I had flashbacks of my traumatic tree-cutting episode, but then he reminded me that in Oregon there are TONS of trees and there is a huge lacking in natural light. And if there is one thing I like more than a shady LA yard, it’s a naturally bright house. We are adding all these amazing skylights (with blinds) from Velux to maximize it even more.

Emily Henderson Portland Fixer Upper Traditional Before Photos Backyard 02 Edited With Copy 01

This house would likely be a family house so we want the yard to be more usable with some more flat grassy space and some space for entertaining, too.

I was going to show you inspiration images but honestly, the design of it is still in the beginning stages and I want them to be accurate. Of course, you can troll my Pinboard to see where I’m headed.

We are looking to put it on the market in May and I’ll be creating a ton content around it, essentially living in Portland that month. I’d love to do a big event there before it’s listed and create some buzz and meet a bunch of you. We have some great sponsors on board and I’d love to work with any local companies for staging. We’ll need everything – like EVERYTHING to design and style every single room. The idea would be that the new owner would likely purchase a lot of it, but regardless there would be an opportunity for press, PR and professional photos of your work in the house. While the style of the house is more grand and formal we obviously want it to feel a little modern and edgy. I think anything too boho won’t work and as of right now the art direction isn’t terribly rustic. As the design direction gets formalized if you think your art could be staged in this home, let us know! Since the house is so traditional I’ll be looking to edge it up for art (aka I might use vintage portraits, but I don’t really think so as of right now).

Meanwhile, I have to go because I (and Jenna) have SO MUCH WORK TO DO. Both this house and the mountain fixer upper need design plans ASAP and yet I don’t want to rush and make mistakes or miss opportunities.

Wish us luck. We look pretty confident here …. right? Also yes, we look a lot alike. The Starke’s have VERY strong genes …

Emily And Ken High Five Gif 1

Any questions, comments or concerns? It’s a lot, I know…

I think the real question is…are we going to love it so much that we sell our place in LA and finally move back to Portland to our newly designed huge house on a lot with gorgeous old trees 2 blocks away from my brother?????

P.S. As we get closer we will need help with the installation so if you are looking to get some experience on that and want to help out, let us know. I’ll likely fly up a few of my people here, but it’s a big job … 🙂 Email and we’ll keep track and reach out as we are closer to the shopping/styling and shooting portion of the job.


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239 thoughts on “Introducing Our Portland Fixer Upper

  1. Wow. Just wow. So many thoughts!
    The financial side obviously. You’re doing the work, but also getting free content and a chance to expand your portfolio so you’re getting more intangible benefits. Not expecting you to tell us how you’re working that with your family but I guess I hope that both sides feel happy with the decision. And I’m sure you’ve thought of this but maybe for others out there, even though you love your family and absolutely trust them, some form of written agreement is probably a good idea. I’d be curious about whether you have a declaration or trust or other agreement in place.
    I’d also be curious if you could keep us posted on decision making. Does complete creative control actually turn out that way?
    This feels like it’s going to be a more aspirational read for me, a little like the way your current house has been going. I feel like the cabin will be more real for me. That’s not a criticism by the way, just the way I’m feeling. I’m really looking forward to see whether you theme rooms with so many available bedrooms, and how you keep such a large space flowing together. Completely see why you’ll be aiming to high end in every space but this feels like an opportunity to link to your series on styles for different budgets. So show us what a designer can do with a high budget and sponsored products, then show us a couple of lower end ways to get the same feel (obviously not everything can be done more cheaply so not expecting miracles!)
    Thanks for bringing us along. This feels interesting and somehow a more human way of creating content and less waste, rather than constantly changing your actual house. I want new content as a reader, but also can get annoyed at the third new wallpaper in 6 months in your own house, if that makes sense? Anyway, good luck. Looking forward to it.

    1. Amen to the contract suggestion. After a few experiences with family and (good chunks) of money, I actively try not to mix the two anymore.

    2. Also Amen to the note about being aspirational! Also not a criticism but to say this blog hasn’t changed a bit recently would be a lie. Still and everyday read for me, just a different read. Good for you, Team EHD!

  2. Did you guys consider laundry on the third (master bedroom) floor? Can be nice not to schlep it all to the basement, have seen that a lot in nicer newer houses

    1. I was going to ask the same thing… this is what jumped out at me immediately when I saw the floorplan. I recommend you talk to some real estate agents in the area and see what potential buyers’ expectations are re. laundry rooms in this market… I live on the east coast in a neighborhood of larger homes in this same (target) price range, and here no one I know would buy a house with a basement laundry room. First floor/near the kitchen is acceptable (and what I have), but these days most people have in their minds that they MUST have second floor/by the bedrooms. Also, everyone I know will prioritize LOCATION over SIZE… i.e. they’d rather have a much smaller second floor laundry than a spacious basement one.

      Otherwise I think this is such a neat project, and I can’t wait to see it unfold!!

      1. there is a laundry closet up there, rest assured. I thought i mentioned that. Its in the hallway. its right by the master.

        1. So there’s going to be a laundry closet and a laundry room? That seems weird to me. Is that normal in big houses? (I live in a tiny townhouse and schlep my laundry to the basement.)

        2. This type of house is fairly typical in the area that I live in (outside of Chicago) – i.e. 3 stories, including a lower level / basement. People never (!) want their main laundry room in the basement / lower level. I realize that you have placed a small laundry upstairs (yeah!), but that is where the majority of the laundry will originate, and, I suspect, that small area will grow tiresome to use, while the big, lovely laundry downstairs will never be used, or only used to wash the sheets and towels of the guests that stay down there occasionally. I would never walk down two flights of stairs to do the laundry of my kids or myself that originated on the 3rd floor. My friends have paid big bucks to move their laundry rooms from the basement to the second floor, even if the basement is lovely. You may want to reconsider that as I don’t think the laundry situation as presented is the best for your resale.

          1. I also live in the Chicago suburbs – agree 100%. Also, the master closet (in our market and that price range) would need to be way bigger or have a his and hers. Another thing – the first floor bathroom off the kitchen I believe should be reprinted so you enter from the mushroom. Just never been a fan of bathrooms off of kitchens.

            But cannot WAIT to see what you do design wise. This will be fun to follow!

          2. I agree completely. Same living situation, there’s absolutely no way that basement laundry room will get used if there is a laundry closet closer to where the clothes are stored.

        3. I definitely understand that the laundry room is an issue of space being available on the ground level and not as available upstairs, but it makes so much more sense to try to swap the two. Having a small space for downstairs laundry (guest linens, maybe include a chute for kitchen towels) would be perfect. But the bulk of the laundry comes from the bedroom and bathrooms–upstairs. Having the machines upstairs will be helpful, but not having a place to keep hampers, fold, or hang dry means that’s going to end up overtaking other spaces. Even trying to add a dumbwaiter would be so helpful to make it simpler to do laundry.

          1. i too want this type of a sweet house for my wife i will give her such a beautiful house on this valentine. also wishes her happy valentines day with this gift

        4. I agree with the others who think the upstairs laundry will be the only one that ever gets used. Honestly, if I walked through a house with this floorplan, I would be making a plan to immediately change it to 3 bedrooms in the basement (maybe with a small laundry closet down there), 2 bedrooms and big laundry room upstairs. The way it is set up right now just seems way less convenient.

      2. This jumped out at me too. I only have to walk my laundry down one flight of stairs, but man is it difficult on my knees (and I’m not even that old yet!). 🙂

    2. I thought the same thing. Or maybe a laundry chute to the ground level (do those even exist anymore?). Would love to hear the reasoning behind the decision. SO excited to see how this turns out!

      1. I have a basement laundry and a chute and I LOVE (x 100) it. BUT- its because we have an older home. Modern fire codes don’t allow them.

      1. My washing machine is in the walk in closet right next to my bedroom and I STILL HATE DOING LAUNDRY. hahaha

        1. It almost makes more sense to have one less bedroom upstairs and move the fantasy laundry/craft room/wrapping room on the third floor. I think it would be much better for re-sale

          1. Yep…that’s what I’d do. Have an upstairs master suite, a single bedroom with attached bathroom and a craft/laundry space.

            Also I kind of think I’d prefer having the dining space right off the kitchen instead of across a family room.

  3. I agree with the above comment about a written contract. Not because anything shady would happen, but it’s better to get it all in writing before anything potentially goes wrong – or just to keep a clear understanding and avoid any miscommunications.

    I had the same reaction to reading this as I do to reading people’s birth stories. My adrenaline started pumping and I got really excited. The lot is beautiful and the potential is almost too much to handle. This whole project is rumbling with grandeur! Can’t wait to see it unfold.

    1. Yes that’s the sort of thing I was thinking of. Not expecting anything shady but it would clear up the potential for “wait, when you said 10% I thought you meant of the profit, not the sale price” or “when I said full creative control I didn’t mean $10k for a desk” type stuff.

    2. Also, as a tax advisor, I agree that you need everything in writing, especially when you’re dealing with a related party. Not doing so can result in some nasty and unexpected tax consequences, especially in the realm of gift taxes. The IRS is much more likely to respect the way everything is being set up and divided between related parties if it is in writing and if a lawyer has been involved. Also, lawyers are great at so many things, but they don’t always do a great job of thinking about tax consequences or explaining them to a client, so it’s always a good idea to have a CPA read over your contract before it’s signed.

      I’m optimistic that Emily has considered all of these things (or talked to the right legal and tax counsel) before starting, since she is running a business, but I hope my comment saves someone else a major headache down the road!

  4. This is awesome, can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

    We just bought our forever home and are about to put some major investment into it. It’s a similar (ish) situation – run down house in a fantastic area on a big plot, which needs £100000s throwing at it (large extension/landscaping/new everything!). I’m thinking the style of this house will be similar to what I’m planning for my house 🙂 so excited to follow along.

  5. As someone currently less than 2 weeks out from COMPLETING a whole home 3.5 month gut renovation job, I am SO excited for you and your family. As you know (probably better than most) it’s a wild, wild ride, but the payoff and getting to appreciate the end result is so worth it in the end. As soon as you see the finished space you quickly forget the stress and challenges you encountered along the way. It’s truly like birthing a child… without the unfortunate physical recovery!

    Best of luck and can’t wait to see what amazing design ideas you come up with!

  6. I’m SO EXCITED to see this whole process unfold on the blog! This house reminds me so much of one that I considered when I was buying (except the one I looked at was in the Boston ‘burbs, minor difference), right down to the bedrooms being on the lower floor and the huge trees all over the yard. I love that you guys are adding a second story, and the new first floor layout makes so much sense. This is going to be good!

  7. I am so excited to follow along with this project! As a fellow designer, I can only imagine your excitement to design client free, but also not for yourself! (Us designers can be our own enemy at times!) This is an awesome opportunity and am so ready to follow along. I’d love to know how you got to the MUCH larger, new and improved layout/addition. How you worked with an architect, contractors, your brother, as well as Jenna and her team to get the plan to where it is today. There’s so much planning and coordination work on projects before anything physical actually happens. I think would be great content and would love to see how the collaboration worked in this instance! Best of luck!

  8. 4800 square feet?! For a probably older couple?! My first reaction was surprise. It seems like such an American thing to do, make the house huge to fit into the neighborhood. I can hardly complain, I live in a 3500 square feet but there are two adults and 5 kids in it.

    1. Why are you assuming the house would be for an older couple? Emily said in the post that she figures it will be a family home. She even mentions the school district. If it’s the price that makes you think that then I’m thinking you live somewhere much cheaper than I do – in my neck of the woods, our 1800 square foot starter home cost over $1 million 🙁

    2. She said it’ll probably be a family house – I imagine most of the houses in that neighborhood are family houses.

  9. Really cool house! Can’t wait to see your plans come to life!! I just did a similar reno last year and did enough floor plan analyzing to last a lifetime. I’m sure you have considered all of these things, but I figured I’d put in my 2c anyhow.

    If I was a potential buyer, especially in the 1.5-2m price range, I wouldn’t want to schlep my laundry down two flights of stairs. Is there a way to fit in a laundry room in the master closet or somewhere on that floor? I also think an elevator shaft might be something to think about. At least where I live, most of the people with that kind of budget are around 50 years old, and they are starting to think about aging in place. We used to live in a neighborhood with a rather wide price range (it was on a lake and home value had a lot to do with your lot and views) and many of the neighbors had built large closets on each floor so that it would be easy to install an elevator if the time came. It seems to really increase your property value too (at least here). Just something to think about. While you are doing all of these changes you could also consider making doorways/showers, etc wheelchair accessible. Also, I don’t know why it bothers me, but I would prefer the freestanding tub not to be on the diagonal. IDK why, I just don’t love things on an angle. Probably just me!

    Last thing…I had some thoughts on the main floor design. Where is the breakfast area/informal eating area? It seems like a long way from the kitchen to the dining room. Would it be possible to make the family room the dining area and then do a long front to back family/living room on the left side of the home? In our area, no one really uses their formal living rooms except as an office, and you have already added an office. But Idk your market, the formal living room could add a lot of value.

    Anyhow, good luck!!! This project is going to be beautiful and I’m looking forward to following along!

    1. There is a laundry closet on the top floor! (I had mentioned it but too briefly). And man that middle family room between the kitchen and the dining is TRICKY. Of course the island will be eat around, but we are definitely trying to put some sort of ‘kitchen table’ in there … but yah, its HARD.

      1. Is there any way to move the kitchen to the dining room side? Then the dining could be where the formal living room (I don’t care how traditional a home is – families don’t use them). Then the original proposed kitchen area and family room become a much larger, less awkward family room where you can put a large sectional and TV. I fully understand there’s a media room downstairs but, as you know, most people conglomerate in the kitchen and parents like to keep an eye on their kids. Oh which brings up a whole house camera system that can be viewed from the kitchen. Most newer houses in our area and the same price range have them. That way mom can check in on a sleeping baby or be sure everyone is behaving in the media room.

      2. I like the reader comment on shifting the first floor bathroom door so you enter that bathroom from the mudroom; disconnect the bathroom from the kitchen. Now that the bathroom door area no longer exists in the kitchen, you have more wall space. You could use this wall space for additional kitchen cabinets (pantry, bar area, etc), which will help visually extend the kitchen without really eating up the family room. Maybe now there will be room for a long skinny dining table (benches on one side, or both?) that can run parallel to a long kitchen island?

        We have an island that is 10×5 (OMG, it’s heaven – solid marble top, waterfall edges), that is the crown and gathering hub of our kitchen, which open to a huge family room. I ended up extending my kitchen into the (old) dining room (major struct wall gone), which left a dining “area”. There’s a 60″ round dining table, which we use all the time. I love having both the island and the table. As a family of four (young girls), a proper dining table (drink you milk, stay in your seat until everyone is finished, carry your plates to the sink) for dinner time is crucial.

        1. I agree – I don’t care for the first floor bathroom opening up into the kitchen. I entertain a lot and we all gather in the kitchen area so it is just uncomfortable having the bathroom open up to where all of your guests are. I also did not purchase a house because it had a dining room so disconnected from the kitchen area – not sure how that would work especially with small children if there is not room for a decent size table in the kitchen area. I would swap the dining and family room.

    2. This is gonna be awesome! My $0.02: I think it oughta have two masters if you’re shooting for that price point. Maybe make the full bath part of a 2nd master in the basement and squeeze in a powder room or 3/4 bath to the giant laundry area.

      1. Yeah having a second master in the basement would be an awesome idea, and a half bath could be added town there. But maybe I’m a sucker for bathrooms 🙂

    3. I was thinking the same about the dining room and the family room location. Will there be enough seating at the island in the kitchen for every day hangout/snacks/breakfast? I’m very excited for you and looking forward to see this beautiful house come along. I’m sure it will be stunning!!

    4. I love your suggestion and my sister did exactly as you suggested and opened up the wall between her “family/living” rooms and made one large room with multiple seating areas – tv/lounge, and cool round table (works for food), etc. The multi zone room feels modern, inclusive and totally works!

    5. Yes, I immediately felt the same about dining room/family room/kitchen order! Could be a deal breaker for anyone who cooks real meals for a real crowd! Awkward…..

  10. I’m so excited for this! This house is similar to the style of my own fixer upper, and I can’t wait to steal your ideas!

  11. Two thoughts: First thought—which you’ve already addressed in the comments…laundry in basement—laundry closet on second floor…it would be a deal breaker for me if I had to schlepp laundry up and down…ain’t nobody got time for that, so pimp out that second floor laundry closet and it will have all of my heart eyes! Second thought—the dining room separated from the kitchen by the family room…I would hate taking food through another room to get to the dining room. Might just be my personal preference though. Are dining rooms a thing anymore? If I have a dining room, it better be used or it just becomes a walk-through/never used/wasted space. What about flipping the dining room with the family room and making the family room/living room a huge first floor chill space or library/music room/chill space? Or is having a dining room connected to the kitchen not a thing anymore either? I’m assuming you’re planning on using that huge island as a casual eating space for quick meals like breakfast and lunch. Just my thoughts…I love everything you do, so I’m sure it will be amazing!

    1. I thought some of the same things as you. The formal dining room seems far in the floor plan. I’m sure in reality it’s really not as far as we think. However, I *think* I still agree with the floor plan with having the formal dining separate. *Think* being the key word. They aren’t used as much nowadays so I get having it separate. We just purchased our “forever” family home and one of my requests was to have a formal dining room. (I’m 30.) I just don’t really love eat-in kitchens/islands as much as most people. I don’t want to be staring at the mess in the kitchen when eating. However, our formal dining room is still only 2 steps away from the kitchen and it’s super convenient!

  12. How exciting!! I can’t wait to see what you do with it! It will be fun to see you add some glamour to the project. My one big concern is the only downstairs bathroom opens to the kitchen. I’ve been in houses like that at parties and the mingling smells can be pretty offensive. That would turn me off as a buyer. Can you close up that door and just have one entrance through the office? I get the convenience of it but It could be a regret later.

    1. I’m with you Amelia- bathrooms directly off the kitchen are terrible. It could also open through the mudroom but that would be a bit of a hike from the main living areas. Not sure exactly what the perfect solution is, but definitely not off the kitchen. Another critique that has also already been mentioned is older buyers definitely look for a main floor master bedroom. I’m currently helping my parents look for a new home and anything without a master on the main floor is instantly ruled out.

    2. What about having the powder room open to the mud room? It’s tucked away for guests & convenient when you walk in the door. It would also give you an opportunity to create a larger pantry…critical imo to get you as close to the 2m mark as possible. Could you consult a few realtors in your area that specialize in your price range & neighborhood? They may Be able to help you learn more about your target buyer.

      I’m so excited to see this come to life! I just Love down to the studs Renos and the creative thinking and problem solving that is involved in working within an existing structure. Thanks again for sharing with us!

    3. Agreed. I had a friend with a house that had a powder room on the first floor that was surrounded by the kitchen, the family room, the dining room, and the hallway. It was in the center of everything and I HATED using it because it just didn’t feel private (the soundproofing wasn’t great either). Luckily, we were close, so I could run upstairs.

  13. This sounds exciting and a little bit insane but still doable for you and your family. My comments are the following:

    1) In response to “Our LA house is traditional but more cottage-y and casual. This is going to be more formal and yet modern (duh).” – I am surprised to see this written down because I’d never describe your LA house as casual. It seems formal to me, or at least, more formal than 95% of the homes I visit (of my friends and family). I totally get that this flip is aiming to be more formal, but maybe a reno (or a one room three ways series) that leans more casual could be in the cards in the future?? :: begs with puppy-dog eyes ::

    2) Regarding the proposed main floor plan (the level with the kitchen on it), I am surprised that the office is getting down-sized. I believe that working at home (at least part time) is the new luxury that we all dream of, more so than having a formal living room, or a formal dining room, etc… Part of it might be that I live in a congested area, but everyone I know either teleworks at least part time (if not full time) or DREAMS of doing it from the comforts of home.

    3) Regarding the second floor plan, I am not crazy about the angle of the standalone bathtub. I think it should be parallel to the windows, not angled diagonally.

    1. Hiya Jess
      1. I feel its more casual because all the surfaces are kinda soft and besides the tufting on the sofa, its pretty simple (we have a pine dining table after all). but yes probably more formal simply because it is pulled together.
      2. the office is still pretty big and due to location of the stairs and the fact that the living room was sunken, we did have some limitations. its not a new build so we couldn’t just do whatever we want.
      3. it is DEFINITELY not on an angle and we need to update the drawing. it was like that because the joists underneath caused some issues, but I saw it and was like – nope, gotta fix that and we did. so it will be parallel, don’t worry 🙂

      1. Just a concern. I have a 1980’s 3000 sq ft home in Puget Sound area. Our house has a sunken living room and we just hate it. My son recently did a large remodel and they had their contractor bring their sunken living room floor up to the rest of the house. It is 100% better.

        1. We raised two rooms that were 6″ “sunken” – a family room and a living room, both rooms are big. It made a HUGE improvement. Both these rooms also have vaulted ceilings, and I will say at first it was noticeable (slightly) that they became “shorter”. Also, we had the option to raise with a wood structure, or concrete – the concrete would have been about $5k more (each room with the wood framing was $3k). Since these two living areas are connected by what was once a hallway/walls/near kitchen and dining – but now it’s all open, one HUGE space, there is a slight sound difference when you walk from the raised floor area to the (old) hallway area, as the hallway floor sit on the concrete slab. Looking back, considering we spend over $150k on that reno, I wish we would have done concrete (not wood frame) for raising the floors….BUT it’s not a big reno regret or anything. We have just started decorating, and I know getting some rugs down will help with sound (the whole space is pretty loud, especially during parties!).

        2. Diane: I live in Seattle and my house has a sunken living room too and everyone (including friends and family) love it! It adds so much interest, particularly with our vaulted ceilings. It makes the space seem so dramatic. I couldn’t imagine it any other way. A sunken living room would be a selling point for me!

  14. Looking forward to seeing the progress. But adding 3100 sq ft for $500K seems to be on the low side especially as I’ve heard (no first-hand knowledge) that additions/remodels tend to be more expensive than complete tear-downs. One comment on the design: personally, I wouldn’t want to go through the family room to carry the food from the kitchen to the dining room. But this may just be my lifestyle as we always use the dining room for eating and the eat-in table in the kitchen is used for homework and stuff.

      1. So excited about this project! In fact, I waited until I had a good hour to read the blog AND all the OTHER comments. Today that happened and I am now ready to give you my comments (you did ask….).
        1. From first hand knowledge, I’m pretty sure that a $500,000 “project budget” won’t make it – unless ALL finish materials and soft goods (FFE – Furniture Fixtures Equipment) are donated/comped/sponsored. I have LOTS of experience with value engineering (a construction term) – so if you need help on cutting back scope you have my email address.
        2. The EHD style is why I follow your blog (along with your great writing style). While I may not always agree with every little decision you make, The decisions are always well thought out. I am very excited to see your take on what the EHD ideal PNW up-market home will be.
        3. I have to agree with the comments on: the functional aspects of a laundry room in the basement; a dining room on the other side of the family room; no bedroom on the main level; and the powder room door off the kitchen. I think from seeing your Insta-story you may be too far along in construction, but if not, PLEASE consider making these modifications to your plans. If you choose NOT to change one or all of these items – I would love a follow up blog about why not (please see item #2 above).
        4. Back to the budget – if your goal is to provide content to your brand versus staying within a budget, as a reader and fellow “flipper” – I would love to know. The decision of content over budget will give me a better context for this project.

        1. I’m fascinated, why would you want a bedroom on the main living level? Maybe it’s a UK thing but that would never be the ideal here! You do get it in barn conversions and the like, but they’re always just guest rooms that never really get used properly or often get turned into studies instead. What’s wrong with doing your living on one floor and having your private space separate?

  15. I am curious about why the dining room is not next to the kitchen. It seems to me like the family would have to carry food/dishes, etc. back and forth through the family room in order to use the dining room. Or perhaps the intent is to have a family dining table in the family room and the “dining room” would only be used for dinner parties, etc.

    I can’t wait to follow along with your project! Dunthorpe is an absolutely gorgeous neighborhood. I am lucky to have been through a handful of open garden tours in that area and I am anxious to see your landscaping plans for the property when you get that far.

    1. My living and dining area is open (no walls) and I recently moved my dining table six feet closer to the kitchen. Guess what? It made life so much easier for me in terms of picking up after a meal. I mean, the garbage can is going to be in the kitchen, right? So taking table scraps and used napkins from the dining room through the family room to the kitchen is going to get real old real fast. If six feet can do that much good for me, I wonder what flipping the dining and family room spaces could do for the future occupants of this house?

  16. I’m excited to see a new style from you! I am in the process of selling my mid-century house and buying a 1920’s traditional house and the change in style is throwing me for a loop. So watching you merge a traditional home with modern style is perfect timing for me. I like seeing designers with a strong point of view tackle something a bit outside of their normal look. Good luck!

  17. So this project sounds amazing, almost as amazing as the purple plaid coat you are rocking in the final photo. Please share the deets in an upcoming fashion post — maybe Emily rocks the Portland look while working on her Portland $$$ flip?! Such exciting news and looking forward to hearing about the process…

  18. Only suggestion is not to put the laundry in the basement. I grew up in a house with a laundry room in the basement (with 3 levels and laundry shoots) and my Mom still hates it! A main floor laundry room is so nice or 3rd floor!

  19. This is an exciting scope and project! In the basement (or first floor…that seems odd to me, a walk-out basement is still a basement) – it looks like you need a pocket or smaller width door into the second area of the bathroom. Currently it’s going to be hard to get in there and close the door. In Bedroom 3 you should soffit the ceiling of the area between the closet and door so the room reads as square and not L-shaped. Probably no easy way to fix that in Bedroom 4 since the door sits forward of the closet wall.
    On the “3rd” floor I would do the same soffit idea with Bedrooms 1 and 2, and probably rearrange the master bath layout for a bigger shower. The angled tub is inefficient, and a better design choice is to have a shower that’s 3’x5′ so you can have a built-in seat and shelf.
    This project would be a cool opportunity to talk to readers about maintaining appropriate details in a more classically designed house. For example, in the upstairs master suite hallway opening to the master bedroom, that should be a cased opening (trimmed out like a door would be) rather than just a cut-out in gyp board. This is a mistake I see so often in traditional houses and I think some level of education would be really helpful for people.

    1. I agree – that would be really educational (I personally don’t know what some of those words mean!) and fun. Perhaps use your three current properties to compare and contrast some choices made for each: i.e. these windows could work in the LA house / these in Portland / these at the lake house. I lived in a series of historic homes through my childhood and young adulthood — now live in a small house in the woods build in 1987. I struggle still with stylistic choices whenever we do something structural to the house.

  20. Can’t wait to follow along on this journey. So exciting! Not knowing the Portland real estate market, I’m astounded that the house listed for $850,000. A house like that in my town wouldn’t sell for more than $350,000 probably. This is going to be super fun to watch unfold.

    1. Haha, it’s a funny world. I was astounded to see a decent house like that on a huge block being ONLY $850k. I live in Sydney, Australia. And something like that would sell for north of $4 million (I weep!)
      I think I need to move to Portland!

  21. A friend has a similar setup in that her ground floor has two bedrooms and a bath and a media/living room area. Has worked out great for her college children to be there as needed, so this setup would be very attractive to buyers with older children. Would consider that wet bar area also having the ability to be a small kitchenette of some kind for both Media Room functionality as well as someone (such as post college returnee) living there.

    1. I second the comment about kitchenette v. wet bar. If you do a kitchenette, you can always propose this as an in-law suite, which is really sought after where I leave (bay area).

  22. I’m confused about the bathrooms on the first floor – it appears from the floor plan that you’re taking out the full baths on the main floor (which makes sense to me since there are no BRs on that floor) but there are photos showing changes to the bathrooms (larger showers, etc) – are they out of order? is that really the main bath on the second floor?

    1. Hmm. not sure what you mean …. there is a powder room on the main, 2 new full baths on the top floor and 1 full on the ground floor. maybe they are out of order! the new floorplans show them, though. hope that helps!

  23. Just a suggestion about the laundry closet, which seems to be a hot topic. Our machines are in the basement and I’m actually glad because they are loud sue to the super fast spin cycles (couple year old mid-end top loader). Since my husband likes to catch up on laundry on his nights off, if it were right by the bedrooms it would definitely wake up the little ones. I’d recommend some kind of sound proofing in the laundry closet.

    1. Great idea. I really like how we’ve set up the laundry. closet on the 3rd and HUGE pimped out laundry in the basement. the people who buy this house will likely have a cleaning service do bedding/towels but having one on the top services the folks up there.

      1. There is special noise insulating drywall. Your contractor could use it around the laundry room and first floor powder room.

      2. Why don’t you put in a laundry shoot. We had one growing up and it made life so easy with the laundry in the basement.

  24. I am so excited for this! I wish I lived in Portland and had the budget to buy it when you’re done; it is going to be gorgeous! Best of luck!

  25. I love this idea…except”chop down a few trees” and “more grassy space”. Today’s trend is toward more natural-scaping and I suspect fans of your interior design work (which feels natural and organic) would also appreciate the modernity of a natural outdoor design that honors location and native plants. Speaking as a kid who grew up in the PNW, we didn’t need grass to play out of doors. I bet skylights and removing the covering over the porch would do wonders for bringing in additional light. Best of luck on this exciting new project!

      1. I also agree! It looks like there’s plenty of lawn space in the front yard, and those backyard trees are so beautiful! Plus, shade cuts down on air conditioning needs.

        1. In the PNW you have to worry a lot more about heating costs than air conditioning 🙂 I live in western Washington and we get full sun on the back of the house, which this time of year isn’t that often. It’s normally gloomy enough out that I wouldn’t want a house in full shade. Plus all those trees right by the house means lots of branches/ pine needles on the roof. Part of our gutter is perpetually clogged because of that.

          1. Trees are beautiful and I love them as much as the next person but they are also incredibly scary during storms – which you get a lot of in the PNW. We live in a wooded area in Seattle and we have had two trees fall on our house in the 9 years we have lived here. Minimal damage both times but we were incredibly lucky. Just sayin’.

  26. I can’t wait to follow this! We just renovated nearly our whole house and have built another time & I love looking at house plans! As I looked at these I couldn’t help but wonder if the pantry is too small. Our house isn’t half that price point and my pantry is about 4x bigger. Seems like the mudroom could be reworked a bit…or maybe my family just eats a lot! Just a thought!

  27. So exciting! As an Oregonian myself, I’m really looking forward to follow along with this fun project! I loved the other commenters idea about doing an Oregon style fashion post while you are spending time up here. This looks like such a beautiful neighborhood and like a private piece of forest. And how fun to get to do a project with your brother. If you need treats for an open house, I make custom cookies, cupcakes, and other sweets 🙂

    1. some places its fine, but since it really only exists in a few rooms and its not awesome, they wanted to just start fresh so the main floor could all be the same flooring and we weren’t restricted to match the original.

  28. No bathroom on the main floor? Can you explain why you chose to keep a family room between the kitchen and dining rooms? It doesn’t make sense to me for flow, but I’m sure you have good rationale so I was hoping you could explain further. Can’t wait to see this unfold!

    1. Yes, I would love an explanation on the family room placement too! I was thinking it was odd to place it in between the kitchen and dining spaces, but I’m not a designer so I don’t know. Ha. Would love to hear the rationale behind this?

  29. Wow! What an exciting project! I can’t wait to see the whole thing when it’s done! Please check out my mom’s paintings at she has some great large scale landscapes that would be perfect in a large house surrounded by trees like this!

  30. I will never buy a house without a bedroom and full bath on the first floor. You’ve got a “bedroom” with the office space but are replacing the existing full bath with a half bath. I know you did the same in your own home so it’s clearly not a concern for you but it is for many people.
    I sold my last place because my parents couldn’t visit me because of issues with the stairs. Even if a resident is only temporarily incapacitated due to injury or surgery, having all facilities on a single level can be key.

  31. I am SO EXCITED! This is going to be awesome and I can’t wait to watch it unfold. My heart actually started beating faster and faster as you gave more details! The only question I have is the tub placement in the master? Is there a reason for it to be diagonal? The tub in my bathroom was also placed on an angle and every time I walk in I mentally try to straighten it (not to mention, it is super awkward to clean around but I guess the lucky person who buys this house probably will have someone for that ?).

  32. I love everything about this proposed reno – but do you HAVE to tear out those lovely hardwood floors on the main level? It could be that they’re in rough shape, but based on the pics they look great!

  33. This is so exciting. Also the houses in that neighborhood are INSANE. Who are these people and what do they do?!

  34. Will your brother be physically performing the renovation? What are CGC licensing requirements there? Just curious bc I know some States are more lenient. Here in Florida my husband (and my father and brother and FIL and BIL) had to pass grueling exams that they studied over a year for, get engineers and CGCs to sign off on/vouch for years of experience on a wide variety of huge jobs, credit and background checks, etc. Not to mention the req. to hold millions in insurances. It is a 5+ year minimum just to get it. I hear of people in other states (Vermont, for example) where people just declare themselves GCs and that is cause for pause

  35. So exciting! Don’t know if you’re interested in floor plan suggestions (was so relieved you have a laundry room upstairs, too), but I would rethink the door situation for the powder room off the kitchen. I would put the pocket door on the outer wall by the kitchen where you currently have just an opening with no door, and a regular door where you currently show a pocket door going into the bathroom. That way, the pocket door from the kitchen could be open most of the time, but when people come over or there is a party, the people using the bathroom can have actual privacy with both doors closed and a REAL closing bathroom door. I don’t know if you’ve experienced pocket doors in bathrooms, but they are never quite as “secure” feeling as a real closing bathroom door. I have the same layout in my bathroom as you have shown in the powder, and the real door stays open most of the time and does not seem awkward at all laying against the wall in front of the sink.

  36. Can’t wait to see what you do to it. We have the same type of project on a lake house in MN. Still in the planning stages. SO fun.

  37. This house rocks! Your plans are dynamite.

    Except for the formal living room. At this point, would it be possible to bring the formal living room up to the same level as the rest of the first floor? That dropped room thing has so many drawbacks, including safety (I know one person who was saying goodbye at the front door, stepped back, fell down an unnoticed step into the living room, and badly broker her ankle) and accessibility for the disabled.

    I’d be interested in a thorough discussion of the tax implications of sponsored products to your financial planning for the project.

    1. An addition to this comment, is that the secret to a long and happy marriage is never sharing a closet with your spouse, so in the master, please do whatever it takes to have two closets, roughly equal.

  38. First off, congrats! I agree with other commenters about having something in writing with your brother. It helps set expectations to avoid hurt feelings/anger/disappointment later. 1.3 million investment + closing costs means your break even will be pretty high. You’ve got the blog to serve as great promotion and your personal brand which will help. I’d save some listings of comps that sell in the price range you’re looking for to help prepare in advance of putting the house on the market.

    As for the design, I think you’ll need to add some sort of a breakfast area. I worked in homes of similar size/layout/value in CT and they all had breakfast tables for informal eating and kids meals. If you’ve got to steal some space from the formal dining room, I think it would be worth it.

    Also, for the ground floor, consider radiant heat. I stayed with family over the holidays near Chicago and the basement was warm and comfy because of radiant heat flooring.

  39. Hi Emily, love your posts as always! I’m confused however by the siting of the stairs in the new top floor – they seem perpendicular to how they are on the lower floors, or am I not properly envisioning how the new level is going to be laid out? Is the new master bedroom going to be on the side over the old MBR and living room (new living & dining), or on the back over the new covered porch?

  40. I would like to see projects that showcase your ability to create well-designed solutions to help us live on this planet more lightly and with more respect for its gifts.

    I love the work you’ve done on your own homes–you have a real gift for bringing out the best in what’s already there and I’ve never thought you ripped something out without a good reason. But more than doubling the size of house (4,800 sq ft!) and chopping down 100-year-old trees for “more light,” all to create some sort of design showcase? That isn’t something I’m interested in and isn’t what I thought you were about.

    Oh, that sounds harsh. I love your work and don’t mean to offend; but these arecrucial issues and need to be looked at squarely because you influence a lot of people.

    1. I’d like to second your thoughts on sustainability. Although I’m still very interested in what’s going to happen to the house…

    2. Hey Michelle, it isn’t actually doubling. It’s actually closer to 1,400 S.F. being added (home was about 3,500 S.F.). Regarding the trees, almost all of the trees that were cut down were unfortunately diseased and would have needed to be cut down at some point. I’m a native Oregonian and I love trees too so I totally understand what you’re saying. 🙂

    3. I couldn’t agree more. I would cheer from the rooftops if Emily and team spoke honestly and openly about sustainability. Like fashion, design is always bound to trends. Even styles dubbed “traditional” or “timeless” when they’re hot are rapidly outdated. (Think of all those dark granite kitchens of a decade ago…and now many have been ripped out for all-white marble kitchens…which will be replaced in a few years with something else. Meanwhile, granite and marble are meant to be used “forever,” not to be discarded like cheap plastics.) I don’t blame Emily for this, obviously—it’s an industry-wide issue. There aren’t any easy answers. But it’s a crucial subject, and Emily’s frank, mainstream, stylish persona could be a real force in bringing this topic to the table. 🙂

  41. I for one am super appreciative of the $$ figures because it shows me what can be done with a certain amount. Love it, it’ll turn out great <3

  42. Oooo, can’t wait to see it all unfold. One thing I have learned from flipping a few houses in partnership with my brother in the Dallas TX area is, A) you ALWAYS go over budget and B) you never make as much profit as you plan to make. Of course, you are lucky enough to have access to amazing partnerships and deep discounts so that will def make a big diff. I will say, for me, it is the most exhilarating process ever! I love my clients but having total creative control is the bomb. Hopefully I will learn a few things from your experience that I can take with me to my next flip. Best of luck! 🙂

  43. I am so completely excited to see this project unfold! We moved to the Bay Area after six years in Seattle and could cry thinking about how much we miss the PNW! And Salt & Straw ice cream in Portland. 😉 YAY! Oh, definitely sell your LA house and move to Portland.

  44. Very excited for this project! It’s going to be gorgeous.

    My request would be “smaller” posts on this project that come more often rather than long big ones infrequently. In particular decisions that you’ve made (things ordered?) before the whole room or set of rooms is decided on/finished.

  45. I love this! It will be like HGTV’s annual Dream Home, only with all the juicy background information. I love seeing all the latest vendor stuff in those homes.

    Perhaps you can donate the old things to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in Portland.

  46. Looking forward to seeing the big reveal. I understand the need for more light….but I can’t help but feel sad at the thought of cutting down any tree that doesn’t have anything wrong with it.

  47. Exciting project. I couldn’t imagine gutting a home to the studs and leaving a sunken living room (and even ADDING more stairs down into it). It’s so easy to raise the floor in a gut reno and would look and function so much better.

  48. I have been in a lot of larger Portland homes, and this layout will fit right in! I look forward to seeing the end result!

  49. So glad you are taking something on in PDX! I’m local and would love to hear about any great contractors or trade specialists you uncover;) One of these days I will accomplish my dream remodel on our little bungalow in SE Portland, and I’d love to have a few good names in my pocket. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with this gem!

  50. How exciting! We live in Portland, and have good friends just a few blocks from that house. By the way, they’ve also done some tree removal on their property recently due to the risk of these older trees falling and damaging homes. Cutting down trees feels horrible and un-characteristic of our PNW souls. But, several in the neighborhood have been hit (badly) with downed trees in wind storms (one requiring a months-long roof and room re-do–they were very lucky nobody was killed!). So, as much as this Portland native loves her tree canopy, I’m all for the removal of the ones closest to the house that could be a potential risk.

    Looking forward to seeing the progress on this house!

  51. Love the location and am soooo looking forward to all the content! It will be a beautiful home.
    My only comment is the location of the dining room/’missing’ eat-in. We are a family with young kids and eat at the table a lot (and then get up a million times to get things for them while they eat). I would personally prefer to have the table closer to the kitchen (unless you plan to have island seating to accommodate the entire family). We recently moved into our home and I love having the table just steps away. Other than that, can’t wait to see it and congrats!

  52. Wow Emily, just wow. What a spectacular “spec” house you chose!!! I can’t wait to see what you do with it, especially if you create a more modern traditional look!! Just looking at it, I don’t see rustic and boho doesn’t really fit either. Will there be blue and blush in the house?? I’m super excited about the landscaping, because that’s near and dear to me!!

    SO daunting…you have a short time to do all of the design, construction, installation, and content!!! I do NOT know how you will do it, but I have faith that you’ll pull it off effortlessly! Your bro looks JUST like you and no doubt the Starke genes will flow through to a magical home!!

  53. What about, instead of cutting down the trees, just cut off the lower branches that hang near the house? That’ll let more light into the house, but keep the pretty tree canopy.

  54. First Floor comments:
    With a lot that pretty, I would like the front door to open up to the view through the house all the way out through the covered porch, so I would move my front door to the left of where it is now (you can move your coat close to that other space on the other side of the living room). To balance out the placement of the front door, enlarge your front porch to the other side of the living room window. Big front porches sell houses!
    I would keep a / the fireplace and add openings on either side. This gives you a little more wall space for a tv over the fireplace if this area is the family room, and an extra fireplace is great for resale. The fireplace doesn’t look centered; I would center it since symmetry in this type of house conveys a sense of formality, even if the vibe is equally parts woodsy and modern.
    I would switch the dining room and family room placements, keep the fireplace and have a wonderful and beautiful table centered between those 2 porch doors. Keep the fireplace (as noted above) and make this a beautiful keeping room with a few cozy chairs in front of that fireplace. If this is to be a family house, a big table in the center of the room will be homework, eat, play central.
    I would never buy a house where the bathroom opened up to the kitchen. I had one, and it’s just uncomfortable for everyone. Eliminate those two closets in the kitchen and make the powder room bigger overall. Close up the wall to the kitchen and have the entry to the powder room through the mud room. Privacy for all, and better for those times the family is out in the yard and needs to run in to use the bathroom. To compensate for the loss of those two small storage closets, design an awesome built-in for the staircase wall. If it starts to get too cramped in that mudroom, extend the wall towards the front of the house.
    I would consider adding a 3rd, and even 4th-car garage in this price point and this square footage of house. I would think at a minimum, a 3rd car bay would be expected.

    1. Paragraph 2 – Oops, I meant I would keep the (or a) fireplace in the area you have designated as the family room. I realize there is another fireplace in the LR. I now see the fireplace is centered.

  55. Love it and it’ll be amazing!

    Did you consider adding more of an in-law unit for parents / nanny / au pair on the ground floor? The 2 extra bedrooms are nice for guests or grumpy teenagers but doubt any parents would put kids under the age of 12 down there. It would be cool to make the space feel more like a small separate apartment (and still keep the media room, laundry room, storage). Maybe pocket doors or walling that is more “flexible” between the 2 bedrooms so they can be opened up if a Nanny is down there or separated if the family needs those 2 extra bedrooms?

  56. I think the kitchen needs to have a dining area at that price point–esp if the dining room is so far away. I’m up and down enough to get extra cheese/napkins/milk, etc. for my kids during dinners–crossing the living room each time would be soooo annoying. And not everyone likes to eat at an island. Islands are for when you feed your kids separately and don’t sit down as a family, ya know?

  57. Agree with other comments, the laundry room in the basement is a waste. That room could be an exercise room or more storage. The mud room should be converted to the second laundry room.

  58. Yea!!! So excited about this. Totally not by style, but I don’t care I’m going to be so engaged with this series 🙂 Adding my 2c…

    – definitely move the door of the 1/2 bath to the mud room. It’s only a few feet more to walk but it doubles the privacy as you now would have 2 sets of doors to close if needed. I have a 1/2 bath that opens directly to our DR/LR and it’s fine when it’s just my family, but can be super awkward when we have guests over and dream of moving it every. single. day.

    – the DR, family room, kitchen layout doesn’t bother me at all. I’m assuming you’ll have seating at the giant kitchen island which is where all informal family meals happen. I always prefer the family room to be closer to the kitchen bc, sadly and truthfully modern families are eating dinner either at the island or on the couch. There is just generally more traffic flow between the family room and kitchen and to me, it’s the dining room that gets in the way… especially if it’s a formal dinning room (which I’m assuming it is). And then the 5 nights a year when you actually use your formal dinning room… you can deal with schlepping dishes across the family room. I seem to have a minority opinion here, but maybe others agree? dunno, don’t care, I think it’s good as is 🙂

    – I second all the comments about putting in a kitchenette in the basement as opposed to just a wet bar. Especially if this is for a family with older kids getting ready for college. At the very least you need a microwave (for popcorn!), and a bigger-than-mini-fridge for the drinks (drinks take up so much space in a mini fridge)

    – I’m also very confused by the top floor stair orientation… but I’m assuming there is an easy explanation here… so, can you please explain?

    Thanks so much Emily, you are going to ROCK this!

  59. This looks like it will be a great project!!! I will say the only thing that made me go hmm……..was the decision to put the family room next to the kitchen and the dining room beyond that. It seems it would make more sense and be more comfortable if the dining room was right off of the kitchen and the family room was in the new dining room space. Obviously with spacial lines so you could still see into the family room to see the kids as you are cooking. This makes the family room more cozy and usable instead of being an awkward space in the middle.

  60. Love it! For us though, we cook and entertain and it would drive me crazy to not have the dining room next to the kitchen. Just waking through and around kids in the family room to get to dining would be a deal breaker. I love everything else though! And relieved to hear the tub will be straight not angled!

  61. In terms of financials, I’m surprised by the potential target profit – 850k to approximately $2m with a 500k spend is unusual, but I know you’ll have done the sums!

    Personal thoughts on the plans – I would go much larger! I would extend the ground floor to make a seriously impressive kitchen/dining/family area plus formal lounge, TV/play room, dining, laundry and office (maybe music room too), get 4 bedrooms on the top floor (minimum 2 ensuite, the others Jack & Jill, no family bathroom) and maybe reduce spend on the basement – 2 good levels beat 3! I think the similar houses you showed in the area are much grander and still in another league, but presumably cost more (3m+?)

    Really looking forward to watching progress – well done and good luck! So exciting!

    1. Actually, I think some of the other houses will be 5 Bedroom (on one level.) I think 3 is too risky for your financial goals. And of course it’s a flip, price doesn’t come into it! ?

  62. I’m so excited for this content. We are also about to embark on a total remodel/additional in Seattle. I know I’ll get some great ideas from this. If you ever need a third fixer, come this way (I kid, I kid…well kinda).

  63. There are so many historical, architectural details in these homes surrounding your new buy!! Would love to see that carried into yours. Maybe brick/stone on outside, beautiful moldings inside, a coffered ceiling….oh, I’d about die to see a gorgeous coffered ceiling!! A grand fireplace (or two….or three) in your house. I can think of so, so many of these gorgeous details that will set off your interiors and yet keep the history of the area.

  64. Love your blog, love your style, this is not my favorite thing. House to be is so big! Only a large family could really need that much space, or a family in which both parents work at home, I suppose. I feel like our planet is hurting, and although I’m sure it’s going to be beautiful, are big luxury houses where we really really want to put our focus? And are big families ethical any more?

    Ah, it’s your blog, your business, I can see how this is a great opportunity for you and your family, and for tradespeople in the Portland area. In fact I’m surprised by my reaction. I will have to go reread the comments – at first glance I didn’t see anyone else who felt this way.

    1. You are not the only one who feels this way. Thank you for posting. It helped me to feel brave.

      1. Thank you for replying. I was hesitant because I like Emily and her blog so much, but I decided I would speak up. I am glad others had some of the same reservations.

      1. I took it as commentary on the large house size while the average household size in the area in 2018 is only 2.3 people. I don’t want to get into people telling other people to have or not have babies.

      2. May, I loved that you raised the ‘are big families ethical anymore’ question! Thanks! I was wondering if I was the only person left on the planet who thought that. There was a big push back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s that more than the ‘replacement’ number of kids (2) was bad for the planet. Seems to not ever be mentioned anymore, and wealthier families seem to have an attitude of ‘well, we can afford it.’ I have a friend who has six kids and is wealthy enough to send them each to private schools/colleges but damn – each of them has gotten a car when they turned 16 and I think about all the emissions….

    2. “Are big families ethical any more?” If I want to commit part of my life to a large family, and have the resources to pay for it, there isn’t one thing unethical about it. If you don’t want any children, more power to you—you won’t catch my musing about the “ethics” of your decision.

      1. I did mean that big families pose ethical questions. Each additional person on this planet burdens it. That may change, I hope it does, I hope we find ways of living more lightly. But at the moment, I think everyone should consider very carefully whether they feel OK about the stress they put on the systems that support life on this planet. Life, that is, for all living creatures and for all the people here. Not just their own well-resourced family.

      2. I don’t think there are any ethical questions about choosing not to have children. That said, I have two. And love them with all my heart. And probably would have had more, if that had been open to me, simply because of the rush of love. But now, in retrospect, I do have these concerns.

        1. I think it is an ethical question, but there are loads of (hot button) topics that go with it because maybe Lisa should have more children because she is better educated. On the other hand, one of the greatest mathematicians came from the poorest family in India. And if we look at Lisa taking a decision not to have children, should we stop someone else having children even though they want them? Should IVF be allowed given the overpopulation of the planet? The conversation always ends up with the question of eugenics and most people are not capable of thinking about it dispassionately (understandably).
          Really not the right conversation for a design blog though!

  65. Oh Emily! I am so excited for you! This looks like an amazing project. My cousins bought an 1100 sqft home in a beautiful neighbourhood in Calgary, Alberta for the same price point. They added a second story and have turned the home into 1.2 million dollar listing. It is just gorgeous. So fun to take a home that needs some love and breathe new life into for a future family to enjoy. Good luck! Looking forward to following the process. Wished I lived closer to help with the installation : )

  66. I know that backyard habitat isn’t a big deal to most people who buy houses like this. However, it would be cool if you could include some backyard habitat principles in the landscaping. Nature doesn’t really like all those heavily shaped plants. Birds and other wildlife expect things to be a little messy and natural. On a lot that size you should be able to include some more natural spaces. [I manage it on my 4000 sq ft city lot after all.]

  67. Super exciting Emily! I am keen to see how you create a living room off the kitchen, as it feels more appropriate for the dining room to be located here. Best of luck and can’t wait to see the progress!

  68. Oh my God, your last name was Stark(e), this whole time? And there are no Game of Thrones references anywhere?

  69. You should check out Bryce Lafferty. He’s located in Alabama and just did a show at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. His collection is inspired by the Pacific Northwest and he has a really original and thought provoking take on landscapes that I think could work so well with what you’re describing!

  70. So excited to see this transformation here in Portland! Amazing neighborhood! I think ….yes! This will be the one to get you back to Portland!

  71. This is exciting! I wonder if switching the kitchen and the family room (so the kitchen is between the dining room and the family room) would help the flow in that area. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  72. what an ambitious project! Such a great neighborhood. Are you guys concerned at all about the impact of tax reform on real estate prices without the SALT deduction? Oregon has some of the highest state taxes (I think its ~10%) plus their real estate taxes are high (and obviously get a lot higher when a high end renovation raises property values). Without the ability to deduct those, people that might afford this house would see a massive increase in taxes no?

  73. Hi Emily!
    Next time you’re in Portland, how about coming back to AM Northwest to tell our viewers all about your big project? We’d love to have you back on the show!

  74. This is so exciting! Congratulations to you and your brother/sis-in-law. Can’t wait to see where you decide to go with this. I have no doubt it will be beautiful!

  75. I don’t like the bath tub at an angle. This would drive me crazy! Why not have the bath tub straight, and instead of putting the toilet into it’s own closet like space, have it as part of the bathroom, facing into the room? I personally have never been a fan of the separate, small separate toilet space. It always feels claustrophobic. Best of luck! Super excited to follow along.

  76. Do you have any inspiration photos that will be similar to the new exterior? I’m trying to picture the vertical addition, but I can’t figure out how it will look. If there’s just a tall section in the middle, won’t it look odd? Like a chimney or something? I don’t think anyone else mentioned this, so it’s probably just me not understanding the mock-up.

  77. This is so exciting Emily! Thank you so much for always sharing everything with us, we are so lucky to have you!

  78. My goodness. Can this really be considered a “fixer upper”? It’s very beautiful as is. Yes, it could use some updating, but it seems overkill for a total gut job. I’m curious why so much of that hardwood has to be replaced. Maybe it’s not as pretty in real life??

  79. Can’t wait to see . My main li ing room has big doors at either end, so I can’t wait to see how you do yhe seating in that through area. Looks like lots of fun!

  80. Would never want to go through the family room to get to the dining room… The whole design of the house would not fit our life style. If I had to design this space I would have had the dining area next to the kitchen and a library/media space in the dining room space. Would have used the large media space to create a separate ‘next gen’ / guest space. This house is planned to be very large but does not feel ‘human scale’ to me.

  81. We just finished demo on a new house and waiting for permits to move to next step. Exact same lot size and very similar floor plan. (But laundry room on the second floor and dining room next to kitchen – we were going to do a similar kitchen – family – dining but changed it.) Sooo excited to be following along!!!

  82. Hi Emily! I’m a huge fan and this project looks super interesting. I am a Portland native and have had the chance to tour some of the gardens in this neighborhood.

    Idk if readers would be interested, but the Riverdale school district is the third richest in the nation. This is a very exclusive neighborhood. Portland is known as a progressive city but in truth has a long way to go with inclusivity. Portland is still the whitest “big city” in the US. A 2011 audit found that landlords and leasing agents here discriminated against black and Latino renters 64 percent of the time, citing them higher rents or deposits and adding on additional fees. In area schools, African American students are suspended and expelled at a rate four to five times higher than that of their white peers.
    What does this have to do with a beautiful design blog? Well I thought people should know the other side of coin when they ooh and ah over the beauty of Portland Oregon. I still love my city, but there are many of its citizens that could never dream of living in a neighborhood like this one, or even know where it is. Would you ever consider bringing your awesome design style to low income-multi family dwellings for people of color in Portland? Navy have been recently displaced from their traditional neighborhoods due to sky rocketing real estate prices. Thanks Emily for listening !

      1. Thanks for posting Lauren. My not-white husband is from LO and I have some thoughts along these lines. Can you can see my post. It says that it is in moderation?

        1. Alysa, I think yours was deleted, along with mine. I was not tying to be critical, just honestly wanted to know Emily’s thoughts on the topic since she said she’d consider moving to the neighborhood.

          1. What? I’m sad my comments were deleted. I wonder why my comments on racism were so controversial? Maybe I should have used facts I could cite instead of personal experiences?

    1. I like your idea of doing design style in low income-multi family dwellings. She did her nanny’s apartment and that was very good. She also did the shelter very nicely.

      I’m sorry if your and Alysa’s other comments were deleted, I didn’t get to see them. I think this above comment is thought-provoking and articulate. I feel that Emily is someone who DOES care and it’s important for her to know that her readers care too so that she also produces that kind of content too.

  83. This year is going to be SO AWESOME on your blog. So much great content with the cabin and the Portland reno!

    I have a suggestion that may not have been mentioned yet about the laundry: this is a big enough and nice enough house–what about laundry on the 3rd floor AND in the basement? (You said “laundry closet” on the 3rd floor, but I don’t know what that is). One of them (basement?) could be a smaller set (so nice for when guests are staying in those downstairs bedrooms and want to do a load of their own stuff), and the main laundry location (probably 3rd floor) could be the fuller laundry room area.

    1. D’oh! I just re-read the post and see you updated it to explain the W/D on the 3rd floor. Great call! 🙂

  84. I am reading too much into this post but here goes anyhow. I’m sad that you’re designing a house for the 1 %. I can admire houses in Architectural Digest, but I don’t usually love them. This feels more potential AD than what I think of as EHD… something a little funkier and scrappier, though still lovely. Wasn’t one if your mottos to keep things a little weird?

  85. Oh my gosh this is going to be so beautiful! My bet is that you love it so much you guys will move there!!! I can’t wait to see the ideas you come up with. We’re doing a refresh on our home now that we completely renovated 10 years ago (it was a 1950’s time capsule.) I love seeing what is new and fresh!

  86. So excited for this!!! Love the new projects and seeing your work in different spaces. I have two small kids and have no idea how you manage all this!

  87. Will you be sharing where you get the new windows and doors from in the reno? I’ve been searching your archives for help on choosing windows/doors and haven’t found anything. I’d really like to change my home’s doors (which are perfectly fine fiberglass doors) but what I really want is an old farmhouse look, but then I think that antique doors are likely not energy efficient and the paint would likely be lead. So if antique is out, I’m wondering what would be a great fiberglass door and are those easy to paint if you want to personalize it to your color. With windows, where do you find these beautiful iron windows with pretty latches that are in all these Pinterest homes? Clearly not the big-box stores, but I’m wondering where you look.

  88. I like your outfit in the last post. I would appreciate if you did an outfit post about what you are wearing in that shot. Also, your brother is ADORABLE! Too bad both he and I are taken already. Next life…

    This is an exciting project. I know that I will LOVE the content so I hope everyone involved makes money so that you can do it again.

    Also, even though it’s high-end, I love when you use Target to style so I hope you do that too!

  89. Emily,
    Okay, so I’m going to offer a little constructive criticism along with some suggestions. Well, I hope constructive. But I don’t want to be a total Debbie Downer, so first I’ll start with my positive comments to cushion it a little.
    First, I love this house and this idea. I love your ideas. The property is beautiful, and I am very excited to read all the future posts about this. I have been following your blog for about a year now and it’s one of the things I look forward to every day because you do such an amazing job.
    Second, here’s the thing about the post I didn’t love. I kinda hate the part about cutting down trees for extra natural light. Yes, Oregon has lots of trees and it’s just a few trees. BUT, if all of your readers each decided to say the same thing and cut down a tree for more light, that’s millions of trees gone from the world. In this time of climate change (you can see all the devastation from “natural” disasters already all over the news), cutting down trees is the worst thing we can do. The trees are the only thing we have to absorb the carbon in the air that’s causing this. All the deforestation of the rainforests is a huge factor in this because that’s the only thing we have to absorb all the pollution going into the air every day.
    In one of your recent posts, you said that as an “influencer”, you want to do more good. Well, I think it would be a good idea to think about your environmental impacts. As an alternative to cutting down trees on the property (which look big and old and beautiful), could you instead just add sky lights? That would add lots of light! I absolutely love design and making things beautiful, but I only care about doing it in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
    Speaking of something you could do to be more environmentally friendly, what about adding solar panels on the house? I’m sure that would only increase the value of the home. Plus, the BEST part would be that you can show your readers how easy that would be. That is really using your influence for good. I think a lot of people thing getting panels would be a hassle or are intimidated by the process. If you were to show this in your project, I think it would be AMAZING and you would have such a big positive influence on millions of people. And I bet you can get a solar company to gift you the panels.
    These are things to think about. Okay, the end. 🙂

      As an “influencer” it’s vital that the goo stuff is shown; like solar panels and keeping trees 9isn’t that why people choose to move there in the first place?. Also, maybe selecting or sourcing suppliers that will showcase their low emmissions products (washers, dryers, dishwasher, etc.) in the project can help others see how we can CHOOSE great products that make a difference tot he environment.
      Being and “influencer” comes with great responsibility.

  90. Hi Emily & Team! As usual, your content has me on the edge of my seat hoping each morning to see an update. I would like to second (or third?) the request for frequent posts even if they are shorter. Love the balance you strike between beautiful design and diving into the nitty gritty details of the process. The explanations of how you come to decisions are both interesting and informative. There are many people who do work that I admire and enjoy, but your blog is absolutely at the top when it comes to eagerly anticipating every post. So much so that I even read the comment sections…yep, true (this one is starting to get time consuming – ha!). This house is going to make great content for us as readers over the next few months. Thanks for taking the project on and letting us come with you behind the scenes!

  91. So excited for this! Love content like this! Please update us soon on where things are at in the construction, what tiles you’re looking at, what exterior color, etc. Can’t wait for more!

  92. A big payday on a project like this, from advertising revenue from the blog posts & revenue from the sale of the home is going to create a whole lotta income that given her past actions, will allow Emily to hire more people for her team & gift makeovers back to the community. I’ve been reading this blog for many years, and Emily has proven herself time & again to be a giving and generous person, designer, & business owner. I simply think its unfair to fault her for trying out a new avenue to grow her business.

    I live outside of Atlanta, and there are many, many, many homes in the 3,500 sq ft + range that only sell in the $300-$400k range (which is still a pretty penny, but certainly more attainable). I know that there are many affordable homes in Texas, North Carolina, and other southern states with similar square footage, so I think there are a lot of people that will find inspiration in Emily’s design.

    Emily, this is a super exciting project, and a new experience for you, and I hope that the few readers who think the house is too big or that the neighborhood is too ritzy don’t get you down. Thanks again for sharing and putting yourself out there and I hope this project is creatively satisfying and financially fruitful!

  93. I’m very excited to see you do traditional with modern flair!! That’s my vision for my own home (but without the millionaire budget). My only question is that I can’t figure out what type of buyer would want three bedrooms upstairs and two that are two floors down. I guess two guest bedrooms in the basement if family lives far away? Or one guest bedroom and one bedroom for a live-in relative or adult child living at home? I just can’t imagine putting any kids that far away. I wonder if some buyers would prefer just one bedroom downstairs then some kind of fun room. Workout room? media room? poker room? play room? etc.

    1. I am imagining this family has two children and both have bedrooms on the same floor as the master. The downstairs bedrooms are for guests or possible live in nanny. I would want two separate bathrooms for guest rooms though. Unless the family is from the same side I think sharing bathrooms is kind of icky.

      1. That’s such a weird comment. Do you not use public bathrooms? Talk about first world problems!

  94. I love all the comments about the laundry. They are making me chuckle. My parents bought a house that was built in the very early 1900s. There is a laundry chute from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor – maybe that would be a fun addition. 🙂 Also did you say mosaic tile?! 🙂 So curious to see how this will look – excited to see the content come together!

  95. I am sure other people have commented on it too, but I would recommend first floor laundry and possibly a third stall for the garage. I’m married to a custom home builder and laundry in the basement is going to be a huge negative to buyers.

    1. I agree completely – the home I grew up in had a first-floor laundry, right off of our family room. SO convenient, to just walk a few steps during a commercial break to switch your clothes from the washer to the dryer. The home my husband and I have now is from 1905, and the laundry is in the basement. I hate it, and I would imagine high-end buyers would also (I have fallen carrying laundry down the stairs and I am not remotely old so it can only get worse from here).

      I read the comments higher up and have to agree that the nicest, largest laundry room should be on the first or second floors, not the ground floor. If it were my house I would only use the one up by the bedrooms, and silently resent that the ‘nice’ laundry room is down in the basement. If you want one that the guests can easily use, put a small one down there. Or do like a [rich] friend of mine did and have a super-nice one in each location!

  96. I think the answer to your last question is probably yes…

    IDK why but I’m feeling herringbone floors ala Paris in here.

    If the entry is large enough with high enough ceilings. a round table.

    On the covered porch, a long skinny low fireplace with log storage, all at the same level to not block the view.

    Instead of traditional french doors, folding glass sliders so you can enjoy the weather when you want it.

  97. Wow, that’s an exciting project! It’s crazy to me how big some US homes are – I reckon I live in quite a big house, definitely above the UK average of 818 square feet, so I can’t imagine 4800 square feet! That’s a good job, I don’t want to imagine hoovering and mopping all that floor…

    I hope you won’t mind if I say that having the dining room on the other side of the house from the kitchen seems like a serious downside to me. I do cook a fair bit, and we eat together as a family, but even if you don’t, carrying all the food from the kitchen, drinks for everyone, and then popping back because you’ve forgotten the butter for the potatoes, oh, and hang on, I do want ketchup with this…all that walking backwards and forwards time adds up.

  98. What am incredible project! I’m really excited for you and can’t wait to see how it turns out. And hey, can I offer up the possibility of using my art? Maybe you’ll find something that fits in, or a commission could do the trick –, or on instagram @emilytingeyart.

  99. I stalked the pinboard. Couldn’t resist. I’m super drawn to the images that lean a little deco/Parisian. Those marble tiles with the skyline! Did I see those correctly? Either way, I’m very excited for you and your family to work together. You can’t leave LA yet, I’m dying to see what you and Orlando do!

  100. I just get such a kick out of reading all the comments… Oh boy!

    I’m thrilled about this project and love how you and your team are always bringing us fresh ideas! I can’t wait to see how this all turns out and my bet is that someone makes you an offer before you are even finished with the house because it is going to be that good!

    Enjoy that fabulous coffee shop/food scene in Ptown while you all are there and see you at the open house!

  101. I do some investing and real estate with my brother and love it. Enjoy working with someone you enjoy, love, and trust completely as you work towards a common goal. Can’t wait to see the progress.

  102. I do some real estate investing with my brother and I love it. Enjoy working with someone you love, enjoy, and trust completely. Have fun! Also, in a perfect world, and in my opinion, these large homes would all have a bedroom (or an office with a closet that could be used as a bedroom) with a full bath on the main floor for aging owners or guests.

  103. Basement laundry- I would not want to lug laundry up three flights of stairs. If there is a laundry closet next to the master and kids rooms (assuming the downstairs rooms are just two spare guest rooms) why would someone need a pimped out laundry room down two flights of stairs? You already have a decent size mud room for cleaning stuff storage. We have an oversized master bedroom closet where my husband keeps a full iron out to use.

    At a $2 mil price point, I would expect at least a three car garage. Looks like you still have a two car in the plans with plans to make it used for fun. We have a two car garage on one side and single car garage on the other. My husband converted the single car to an in home workout space.

  104. Second post. Took me a minute to understand what was going on with the upper floor. I am excited to see how the front and back exterior changes. There’s ample room for skylights. This is going to be fun.

  105. For what it’s worth, and I don’t think it is much, I feel very disconnected to this post. The size of this house is ridiculous, imo. I don’t care how much money one has. I just feel I can’t follow this blog anymore. I know I won’t be missed and this certainly isn’t a judgement but just an expression of how I feel.

    1. Seriously? Not following because she is working on a large house? I don’t get it. As a parent of 3 young kids, who moved from a tiny 1,000 sf house to a “ridiculous” (your words) large house, I will tell you the extra square footage is a godsend; we all have plenty of room to move around indoors during the dreary Portland winters. Not everyone wants to live in a tiny house, nor should they. A tasteful, large house will be an asset to our community and the families who live there.

  106. I’m just so happy you’re not ruining the kitchen island by installing the sink in it. Also, the master closet and bathroom are separate. Where I live, it seems to be the norm to have to walk through the bathroom to get to the closet and I HATE IT. So glad yours are separate!
    I also agree with all the comments regarding the laundry. If there’s any way to build a larger laundry room on the top floor, or even somewhere on the main floor, it would totally be worth the investment. Then maybe you could do something else in the basement. Craft room? Wine cellar? Home gym?

  107. I’m surprised that no one has commented on the very hot topic of housing in Portland….outsiders may not be aware, but natives are being priced out all over the place in this now-hot city. There is a major influx of Californians (especially LA and SF) coming in. Which is fine – I’m not a native Oregonian, but there is a lot of stigma attached to that. In the years we’ve lived here, our home value has risen dramatically and there is a huge housing crisis. As someone from LA doing a very pricey flip in a trying-to-stay-small Portland, be aware you might get attitude.

  108. Congrats! I can’t wait to follow this! I have two kids and like that your design has three bedrooms on the second floor. Just to chime in on the laundry, we’re in a two story house of a similar size. While it’s not the most attractive, our washer, dryer, and sink are on one side of the main floor mudroom. (Our mudroom is small and we don’t use it as an entry point into the house, so I also have a drying rack set up across from the washing machine.) I like to fold laundry and iron while I watch tv, so I don’t need a big laundry room. Good luck!

  109. This is the first post I’ve commented on and now I have a second comment. 🙂 We installed a nice pocket door in the bathroom at our cabin, and I wouldn’t do it again for a main bathroom. Too many people can’t figure it out, or don’t close completely. Kids (or maybe just my boys) can’t be bothered to close a pocket door completely, and I don’t want to be seeing them on the toilet while I’m in the kitchen (or have people walk in on guests who can’t figure it out). I wouldn’t mind it at all for an office, closet, or even master bathroom. Now aren’t you glad you don’t have a client to deal with?

  110. So excited for you and your team, I think this will be such a fun project. Of course we’re all bringing our dreams and wishes for our own perfect house to these comments, so sorry for adding to the influx of suggestions! However, something I’ve seen mentioned and I agree with whole-heartedly is a main level en suite bedroom. Most people I know are dealing with aging parents and many people looking in this price range will host guest in the 70 plus age range. What if you turned the dining room back into a bedroom and also put the half bath over there. Then you could turn the office and half bath and mud room into a dining room at the front of the house near the kitchen ? A lot of posters have recommended a three car garage and if you reconfigure the garage you could add the mud room into that area. I might have disorganized friends, but home offices rarely make a great first impression when I walk in the house, despite so often being the first room off the entry! Put the office in the basement and no one has to avert their eyes from the stack of bills, multiple computer screens and post-its! Just a few ideas! Good luck, I can’t wait to see it all come together!

  111. I never leave comments because I feel silly offering opinions to a professional when I’m an amateur. I prefer to sit back and observe, even when your projects may not fit my budget/taste/lifestyle. But, this project has caught my attention and I’ve decided to offer up some opinions.

    There is always something to glean. I moved from a very expensive market (San Diego) to a much less expensive market (Indianapolis). The town I live in has very similar demographics to the neighborhood you’re building in: top tier school district, highly affluent, highly educated, not ethnically diverse. Here are some of the features I am seeing in modern homes that you might want to consider for this one (realizing that while the style of the home may be traditional, the family that occupies it lives in the near and now):

    (1) Integrated technology (this is more than having an Alexa), it’s actually building in server units and rewiring the house for 5 TVs, 8 iPhones, and 6 iPads running at the same time; and having lighting, blinds, heating/ac units that Integrate seamlessly. This is not sexy, designer stuff, but it’s in sync with modern lifestyles. Also probably opens up another sponsorship opportunity.

    (2) Space that can serve as a live-in guest suite with an accessible shower, small living room and dining space (important for live-in grandparents, recovery from injury, college-aged kids, or even a live-in nanny or housekeeper). Your current plans for the daylight basement could be adjusted to accommodate this without taking away from the family-centered space (media room).

    (3) Multifunction mudrooms: many of the new high-end homes use this space as butler’s pantry, include pet wash stations & kennels, craft spaces, and washer and dryers. It looks like you have a great amount of space with the current mudroom and office, you might consider making this your pimped out laundry space and using the planned laundry space for a home office space (BONUS: the office mess is hidden from the main living space.

    Good luck to you and your team. This is a big project with a tight timeline!

  112. Emily–when you are ready to plan the event to showcase this home, I highly recommend working with The Nightwood Society in Portland–an all-female collective of amazing talented women who put on unique events with fantastic food and drinks. I wrote about them for Travel Portland (article coming out later this month) and this would be a fantastic collaboration. (They have a venue but also create events off-site.) Here is their site: Can’t wait to follow this project!

  113. How exciting! What a wonderful way to work with family and a great excuse to see them more often! I am just returning from my youngest brother’s wedding and am catching up with last week’s content – so I apologize if this comment is redundant. I loved looking at the new floor plan! We are purchasing a larger house for our family on land a few hours out of Portland so this really struck home with me. After looking at potential houses for about a year now, there were a few things I would suggest as a potential buyer. Enlarging the mud room would help the house feel grand, asone of those luxury spaces our previous inner-city home lacked. Also, switching the family room and dining room. I know I am probably being LAZY, but I enjoy cooking and hosting so I prefer the kitchen easily accessible to the dining room. I am often times in the kitchen while the party is going on, refilling this dish and getting drinks for so and so. I like being close to my guests so I don’t feel like the hire hand. Maybe the people who buy this house will be much fancier than I and actually hire a Downtown Abby kitchen and butler crew for their parties!
    Good luck and thanks for listening!

  114. This sounds super fun and a great way to get some bigger goals started for both you, and your brother. All the fun (redesign), none of the headache ( you ARE the client). Win win.
    I did note immediately, that I had a visceral reaction to the new kitchen layout. Not that you are asking … lol, but what about a few tweaks?
    1) Make the current window with uppers on either side a wall a wall of windows (no uppers) and CENTER that sink. That sink looks all squinchy pushed over. Gives you better workability too.
    2) Turn that island one rotation. It feels very awkward to have the short end facing the family room
    And you’ll fit more stools for casual eating facing into the kitchen. Stove can become a gorgeous focus.
    3) Move fridge to chat pantry closet and instead of where fridge is, build a great walk in pantry into that bit of garage. My walk in pantry set exactly like that is stupendous.
    I need less uppers and it stores a ton of bulky serving dishes, pantry staples and cuisinarts/mixers etc. Your kitchen becomes prettier, and more useful imho.
    I’m sure of course (!) whatever you have planned is super cool, but that layout felt unbalanced a bit.

  115. Another native Oregonian here, chiming in about the trees… I understand the need for tree removal if they are diseased or damaged, especially that close to the house. We live in the country and recently removed several from our 5 acres. They were surrounding the house and all tall enough to hit it… and they were all dying. (Yes, we’re going to replant.) That said, be careful removing too many trees from a “stand” or grouping because if you leave a few, they are likely to be weakened without their friends. They trees that grew up together act together in wind. When you remove some of them, the remaining trees often don’t do well on their own because they don’t have the other trees as a buffer. It depends on how tightly spaced they are. (My koalafications: Husband is a third generation logger.) I’m certain you consulted a certified arborist because you’re smart like that. Just a word of caution! I love the house, I can’t wait to see what you do with it. Also, to those suggesting skylights… well, skylights aren’t always the best idea in Oregon, long-term. They are a heat-loss area and often the main point of water leakage over time. We actually removed some of the skylights from our last home when we re-roofed it.

  116. Such a great neighborhood. Such a great plan. My immediate thought is when it’s done, you need to sell your LA house and move in.

  117. so, both you and your bro appear to be well off… and plans to donate some of that hefty profit.. esp after sponsered gifts to charitty and help others more in need//

  118. I’ve never seen a 2nd laundry room, I think there is great appeal for the 2nd floor to have it, however, is this preferred over a laundry shoot to the basement? I’ve always heard the biggest pain was taking it down the stairs. Can you let us know how and why this is a great option? I’m curious and I am sure you have some great insight I am not aware of, so please let me know.

    Thanks! Cannot wait to see the progress!

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