The Great Escapes: Climb That Hill

A Modernist Home in the Gorge Aims High for Now—and Later

Rent it out today. Retire to it tomorrow.

By Zach Dundas August 14, 2017 Published in the September 2017 issue of Portland Monthly

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Mosier Elements, high in the Gorge

The house known as Mosier Elements, perched above that Gorge hamlet, owes its origins to parents, its eventual form to retirement planning. “Both our fathers were architects,” says Chris Cocker, a 62-year-old urban planner. “The house is sort of an ode to both of them.” (The other party: Debra Ames, a marketer for design and engineering firms, also 62.) A property ripe with birding, hiking, and gazing possibilities became available; the Portland couple connected with Daniel Kaven of Portland architecture firm William Kaven, who matched their modernist leanings.

The build-out, finished five years ago, featured adventures and victories—sourcing Minerit siding at a relative bargain, then navigating delivery, for example. “Things ... happen when you’re building a house,” says Cocker. “It takes a person who’s into detail.”

As work and life rolled on, the couple has rented the place out, short-term and long-term, and used it as a getaway. All that, however, is just a bridge to living there full-time once they retire. “It’s definitely designed for us,” Cocker says. “It was a chance to do something special. ”

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