Editor’s Note: Welcome to Portland Monthly’s “Property Watch” column, where we take regular looks at interesting homes on the market in Portland’s super-competitive real estate market (with periodic ventures to the burbs and points beyond, for good measure). This week: An historic property in Portland Heights with unbeatable views. Have a property you’d like to suggest for this feature? Get in touch at [email protected].
In 1905, Portland held its only world’s fair, the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, in order to bolster its reputation and economy, and compete for business and residents with big league cities like Seattle and Denver. During the planning, there was a debate about where to locate the festivities to best showcase the city; eventually, 400 acres on the west side of the river won out. Organizers featured exhibits from 21 nations and 16 states, including a “log cathedral” that celebrated the Northwest timber industry and new-fangled technology like “moving pictures” and electric lighting.
High up on Hawthorne Terrace in the Portland Heights neighborhood, they placed the Lewis and Clark Observatory and Cafe, a tower boasting the “most magnificent panorama on the American continent,” per an advertisement from the time. In 1933, on the very same lot, the architectural firm Roald and Schneider designed a four-level, English-style home that enjoys those same incredible views, now for sale by the second family to ever own it.
It’s a fluid balance between old and new at this house, thanks to the most recent design-minded owners, who modernized from top-to-bottom while keeping the home’s historic charm intact. A handsome brick exterior with an arched wood front door leads to a gracious foyer, highlighted by a double-height circular staircase with an elegant iron railing. To the right, there’s a generous living room capped by a soaring wood ceiling and two large windows depicting those coveted city views, as well as Mount Saint Helens and Mount Adams.
The front hall is wide and welcoming, yet balanced by cozier rooms, like a charcoal-painted paneled study, and a dining room with peekaboo views of Mount Hood. A new, seamless addition at the rear includes an eating nook, television snug, and gorgeous marble-clad kitchen, with access to the backyard for easy indoor-outdoor entertaining.
There are lovely historic details preserved throughout, and then there are the quirkier aspects that speak to how people once lived, like the fully-functional elevator that spans three floors and a folding iron gate in the upstairs hallway, which was used by the original owners to seal off the bedrooms and ward off potential kidnappers.
Comfort is key, and every bedroom has its own bathroom, each updated with modern amenities and traditional good looks. Take the main suite, which is ensconced in marble tile, and has a steam shower and a streamlined soaking tub tucked under the window. The owners also installed new AC systems, so even the attic bedroom stays deliciously cool. The lowest level has a family room with a basalt stone fireplace, gym, wine cellar, two-car garage, and a laundry room that can double as a caterer’s kitchen for more formal shindigs.
Being in such a winding, high-up neighborhood means the home lots can be steep, but this one has a nice flat lawn at the back, complete with a patio for firepit lounging and outdoor dining, all surrounded by tall hedges granting privacy – a pleasing counterpoint to the expansive vistas elsewhere.
Listing Fast Facts
Address: 1740 SW Hawthorne Terrace
Size: 5,160 square feet/0.51 acres, 4 bedroom/4.5 bath
List Date: 5/14/2021
List Price: $3,250,000
Listing Agent: Suzann Baricevic Murphy, Where, Inc.
Melissa Dalton is a freelance writer who has focused on Pacific Northwest design and lifestyle since 2008. She is based in Portland, Oregon. Contact Dalton here.