The exterior of the landmark Envoy building.

Editor’s Note: Portland Monthly’s “Property Watch” column takes a weekly look at an interesting home 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 oh-so-Parisian condo (Emily from Netflix knows what we mean) in a landmark Portland building. Got a home you think would work for this column? Get in touch at [email protected].

Since 1929, the pink-hued Envoy building has crowned the top of West Burnside and Northwest 23rd Avenue, and has the lore to prove it. The building was part of a wave of construction aimed at accommodating Portland's population boom after the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition. Decades later, it joined the National Register of Historic Places for being exemplary “transitional architecture.” That is, its Mediterranean-style elements echo the decorative flair of the buildings that came before, but it has a pared-down aesthetic that foretells the emphasis on function that would come in the 1950s.

A view from an interior landing at the Envoy.

Designed by Portland architect Carl Linde, who worked for many of the preeminent firms at the time, the building is a stretched-out rectangle composed of steel and concrete. It sits high up on the Southern edge of the Alphabet District, with Washington Park at its back, and the flagship Zupan’s market in the shopping center below. Its pink stucco façade is adorned with rows upon rows of black, steel casement windows, and a massive penthouse with large terraces that gilds the top.

The unit's snug kitchen, anchored by windows that overlook the tree canopy.

One notable past resident of the penthouse was Fred G. Meyer, of grocery store fame. In 1942, the building had another noteworthy inhabitant when a monkey escaped from the nearby zoo and slipped inside the lobby before zookeepers came to claim it.

Historical details abound throughout the unit.

The Envoy has about 40 condos, converted from apartments in 2005, including this sixth floor, two bedroom-one bath corner unit that's now for sale. Entry is into a long hallway, which neatly separates the bedrooms from the main living spaces. The vintage details are delightful, from the preserved parquet wood floors, arched doorways, and picture moldings, to the brass knobs on every wooden, raised panel door.

The home boasts huge windows and parquet floors.

Generous steel casement windows dot every room, with two flanking the dining nook, and many looking into the green leafy branches of surrounding trees or down on quiet Cactus Drive. The cute-as-a-button bathroom sports classic subway and penny tile, while the two large bedrooms have more closet space than you’d ever expect in an old Portland home. 

An old-school pedestal sink and classic subway tile in the condo's bathroom.

It feels about as close as the city gets to those drool-worthy Parisian apartments that proliferate on Pinterest—just add some romantic, flowing drapes, an antique chaise, pick up a café au lait at one of the 14 coffee shops within a half-mile radius, and you’re all set. 

Listing Fast Facts

Address: 2336 SW Osage Street Unit 606
Size: 1,014 square feet, 2 beds/1 bath
List Date: 8/1/2021
List Price: $372,500, with $896/month HOA dues
Listing Agent: Rick Cravens, Windermere Realty Trust

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. 

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