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: A landmark Ladd's Addition's manor home, opposite one of the neighborhood's iconic rose gardens. Got a home you think would work for this column? Get in touch at [email protected].
If you, by chance, happen to look up the history of close-in SE Portland neighborhood Ladd’s Addition, there might well be a picture with this house in the background. Called Mowrey Manor, it looks every inch its posh name, thanks to a grand, two-story Neoclassical façade, complete with Ionic columns supporting a pedimented portico with a detailed frieze.
The home sits on a quarter-acre lot facing the North Rose Garden, one of five dedicated park spaces that define the neighborhood’s unique design—done by Ladd himself in 1891— and accompanied by the uncommon diagonal through streets that run counter to the rest of Portland’s grid. (It’s practically a city rite-of-passage to get lost in Ladd’s Addition after moving here.)
Upon its construction in 1910 for A.C. Mowrey, then president of the East Side Mill and Lumber company in Sellwood, the home was declared by the Oregon Journal as “one of the best in the addition.” However, the Mowreys only lived there a short couple of years before his death, and the building became a boarding house in the 1920s. Upon entering this house now, it’s hard to believe there were no fewer than seven kitchenettes spread throughout the plan.
The most recent owners bought it in 2007 and spent three years on a top-to-bottom restoration, rendering the home a delight for historic architecture fans.
Inside, the once damaged millwork has all been rehabbed, from the dentil crown molding in the living room, to the box beam ceilings and wainscot in an antechamber off the entry. The latter would make a perfect office, with its own exterior terrace access, big windows, and a fireplace, one of three found throughout the house.
High ceilings and wide cased openings between the rooms make the first floor a gracious layout for entertaining. There’s a great big kitchen just off the dining room, with a professional stove that occupies a whole wall, a handy butcher block island, two sinks, and a checked linoleum floor. Hidden pocket doors allow the host to close it off as needed.
That flow continues on the second floor, which has three bedrooms, two updated bathrooms, a laundry room, and a library/study with handsome built-in shelves and a covered balcony. The primary bedroom has its own fireplace and windows overlooking the rose garden. On the third floor, there’s a comfortable family den and guest suite. In the basement, you’ll find plenty of storage, a shop space, and gym in the old boiler room.
And while the home definitely has its modern moments, like the backyard greenhouse with a hot tub and a seismic retrofit completed in 2008, it’s all of the care that’s gone into preserving the historic details that endures, much like the wallpaper in the living room, which was recreated from a scrap recovered during the renovation.
Listing Fast Facts
Address: 1718 SE 16th Ave
Size: 5,090 square feet/4 bedroom/4.5 bath
List Date: 9/16/2021
List Price: $2,280,000
Listing Agent: William Gilliland, 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.