Postwar America saw the creation of the modern suburb, and in California especially, a new style of architecture to go with it, one that blurred the boundaries between inside and out. Consider Joseph Eichler, a California-based developer of tract housing that brought modernism to the masses between 1949 and 1966, via low-slung rooflines, walls of floor-to-ceiling glass, and an expressed post and beam structure. Portland builders weren’t immune to this so-called “California Modern” style, as this 1958 home in the Maplewood neighborhood attests. Luckily for the next owner, it’s been both lovingly maintained and updated, delivering modern function while preserving its midcentury charm.
Perched on a sizeable corner lot, the home has undergone about $385,000 in updates over the last decade, though visitors may be hard-pressed to pick out what’s new and what’s original. The living spaces are lined with floor-to-ceiling glass that stretches twelve-and-a-half feet high, immediately pulling the view out to the backyard. Here, the outdoors really do feel part and parcel with the house. Look up, and see why: that exterior glass wall terminates at the roof’s peak, creating a generously covered outdoor lounge on the other side. Thanks to five skylights and in-ground planting beds outlined by the concrete, that patio also brings sunlight and a sense of greenery into the interior.
The remodel took an unobtrusive approach. Numerous existing features were preserved, from the original windows and wood-clad ceiling, to the globe pendants and mahogany kitchen cabinets, and the oh-so-midcentury wood-burning stove outside, still sporting its bright orange hue. Smart revisions sync the new with the old, as the owners removed crusty “-oleums” in favor of more enduring selections. In the living room, the linoleum was swapped for Brazilian cherrywood, feathered in to match what was already in the kitchen. There, a Marmoleum counter and backsplash was replaced with quartz and era-appropriate handmade tile.
Other improvements include converting a leaky sunroom into a spacious, light-filled master bathroom. An exterior door there provides direct access to the completely re-built pool and landscaped backyard, where Garden Diva Design created the perfect combination of Palm Springs meets Portland plantings, with a towering Palm tree sitting amongst the rehabbed Tiki torches, and a serene weeping blue cedar set against an eight-foot-high custom concrete privacy wall.
It’s truly a secluded oasis, but should the need for getting out of town strike, don’t worry: there’s also a fully restored 1955 Crown trailer that could be included in the sale, ready to take all that vintage love on the road.
Listing Fast Facts
Address: 6215 SW California Street
Size: 1,748 square feet, 3 bed/3 bath
List Date: 6/6/2021
Listing Agent: Deb Kemp, The Agency, Inc