Property Watch: An Immaculate Georgian Colonial on Vista Avenue
Editor’s Note: Portland Monthly’s “Property Watch” column takes a weekly look at an interesting home in Portland’s super-competitive real estate market (with periodic ventures to the burbs and points beyond, for good measure). This week: a stately, burnished Georgian colonial in the Southwest Hills with city views from almost every window. Got a home you think would work for this column? Get in touch at [email protected].
In the early 1900s, city commissioner John Annand wanted to build a house on a high-up lot on SW Vista Avenue, then called Ford Street, but the road was unpaved. So, seeing as how Annand was on the street committee, he drafted ordinances to ensure Vista’s structural reinforcement and grading, which just so happened to also benefit any builder trying to move materials up to his site.
The resulting home, finished in 1908 and now called the Annand-Loomis House for its prominent previous owners (Lee Loomis, founder of an armored-car company, lived there in the 1940s), is a treasure trove of historic detailing. To the untrained eye, it looks like a storybook home sitting on a grassy knoll with commanding views of the city and mountains, which might explain why it’s graced more than a few postcards over the years.
It’s hard to believe, but there was a period during the 1950s when the then-owners covered everything up with drywall, Formica, and linoleum, in a remodel profiled in the Oregonian. Luckily, many of the moldings, mantels, and built-ins were later discovered in scrap piles in the basement, and thus future owners were able to restore the pedigree in every room.
That’s not an overstatement—even a utilitarian spot like the back porch entry boasts floor-to-ceiling wood paneling and matching wood cabinetry. Open the door to an unassuming upstairs closet, and there’s a stained-glass window (one of many throughout). From the light fixtures and art glass to the decorative wrought iron and woodwork to the period-perfect La Cornue range that occupies a whole wall in the kitchen, this is a home with exquisite detail everywhere you look.
Some homes like this, despite all the gorgeous craftsmanship, can feel a bit cold—like trying to live in a museum rather than a home. But that's not the case here, due at least in part to the circular floor plan on the main level. A big foyer is flanked by the living room and a parlor, which segues into the dining room, with box beam ceilings and still-intact paintings above the wainscot thought to have been done by Clara Annand, John’s wife.
Wide doorways ensure easy flow between the spaces, and there are cozier alcoves, like the glassed-in library off the living room, and more intimate sitting rooms, like the one at the top of the stairs. On the second floor, bedrooms and baths have nice proportions, and the large windows in every room let in lots of natural light to balance the wood tones, with many offering a striking vista of the city. There are also the four fireplaces for warming things up.
Modernization has been stealth, and includes pairing the clawfoot tub in the main bath with a walk-in shower, finishing the basement into an independent, 2,628-square-foot unit and adding seismic retrofitting, and updating the gourmet kitchen with high-end appliances and vintage tile. But all of the preserved character is the true selling point—there’s even a ballroom on the third floor.
Listing Fast Facts:
Address: 1825 SW Vista Ave, Portland
Size: 9,751 square feet/.31 acres, 6 bedroom/3.5 bath/4 fireplaces
List Date: 4/1/2021
List Price: $2,795,000
Listing Agent: Tami Ferrey, Cascade Sotheby's International Realty
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.