This was the last Street of Eames Tour and by some accounts, their best. Eight homes were featured- six on the west side and two in NE Portland. One of the requirements to be chosen on the tour is that the home is architect designed, and several of the architects represented on this tour are quite well known for their local early mid century design including John Yeon, John Storrs and Warren Webber. One of the homes was built by Robert Rummer, perhaps an exception to the architect rule.
I had several personal favorites: beginning with the 1961 Storrs house for it's livability and authenticity. It is beautifully sited in a forested area in the Green Hills neighborhood and is spectacularly private. Lovely original details include the hemlock walls and ceilings and the kitchen's glass globe lights. The extensive use of wood in the house reflects Storr's view of wood as "an understandable, romantic material". Unlike the cheap heavy handed paneling used in many homes of this era and later, the hemlock feels both rich and somewhat inconspicuous at the same time and gives a modern home the warmth and texture that may be needed when stripped of the embellishments such as moldings and ornamentation used in the homes of the past.
One such home on the tour, which I found personally to have all the appeal of a prison with a great view was the 14 House by Seed Architecture. While striking on the exterior, and boasting fabulous territorial views, I couldn't be pleased beyond that. While the home was obviously still in progress, the extensive hard surfaces and lack of ornamentation was spartan to the point of being punishing. To make matters worse, two of the three bedrooms only had room for a twin bed, furthering my sense of the prison analogy. The owners previously had a loft in the Pearl which this home may emulate. The home had expansive wall space that is perfect for hanging large pieces of art- it would be very interesting to see the difference in feeling once the owners make their mark.
Architect Warren Weber's White House" in the Bridlemile area features a very private yard area adjacent to the "L" shape of the home and a structure containing an indoor pool that begs for family and friend gatherings. The home has lovely territorial views from the upper level and gorgeous light pouring into many of the rooms. For a home built in 1949 it was quite ahead of it's time in terms of it's great use of space and it's access both visually and physically to the outside.
The Park Box or Path House by Corey Martin was a huge favorite of my group of five and won the award for the favorite of the new contemporary homes. Though it looks like one home, in actuality there are two residences- and both were open for viewing. Both featured a floating wooden tread staircase and kitchens that opened to a great room. The bathrooms had gorgeous partial wall of privacy glass as well as pale glass tiles that continued the feeling of light that was one of the best features of this extremely well laid out, light filled home. Decks off of the living rooms extended the living areas to the outdoors.
I chatted with Sherrie Nee, one of the originators of the Street of Eames about the future of the tour. She shared that there would be smaller events in the future, including dinners hosted in architecturally significant homes- homes that perhaps would never have agreed to the larger tours but would make themselves available for fundraising on a smaller scale, and speakers at venues such as Rejuvenation. The next event will be hosted at Rejuvenation- you may sign up here.