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: the house that an iconic Portland baker built. Got a home you think would work for this column? Get in touch at [email protected].
The story goes that the people visiting Ken Forkish’s house never entered through the front door, but rather a bright blue door that leads directly into the kitchen. That tracks. After all, Forkish was one of Portland’s well-known restauranteurs—a baker and author famous for Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Ken’s Artisan Bakery, and the cookbook Flour Water Salt Yeast—before selling the businesses and retiring this year. Now, Forkish’s house in the Homestead neighborhood near OHSU is up for grabs, too, making it possible for the next owner to cook in his footsteps.
The house, built in 1904, sits at the end of SW Bancroft Street before it dips into SW Homestead Drive, on a sloped, treed lot with peekaboo views of the city, river, and SW Terwilliger Blvd below. The front façade does indeed have two doors, the main entry and the aforementioned bright blue kitchen door. Inside the main door, there’s a nice-sized foyer that feeds into the living room: a comfy spot with fireplace, wood floors, bookshelves, sunny window seat, and wood beams crisscrossing overhead. Large windows look into the trees, and there’s a generous covered side porch accessed through a glass door.
The living room segues easily into the dining room, which has the piece de resistance of the main floor: a wood-fired Le Panyol oven built by local mason Timothy Seaton, that’s a smaller version of what can be found at Ken’s Artisan Pizza. According to a 2019 Oregon Home article, Forkish added on to the house in order to make space for the oven, and used it often, cooking for lucky guests, or himself. It’s banked on either side by more windows looking into the trees, with a bookshelf lining the top of the casework, and a bright blue ceiling, making for more cozy appeal.
The kitchen, of course, is no slouch either: it looks good, and it’s super functional, as you might expect. There, simple white cabinets are topped with thick marble counters—a baker’s favorite for working with dough—and open shelves ensure essentials are within an easy grab. A large copper sink pairs well with the copper cabinet knobs and old-school light fixtures above, their shades decked with a thick red stripe. In the corner, a red banquette and pedestal table are tucked under a window, making for a comfortable spot to chat with the cook.
Upstairs there are three bedrooms and two baths, with some unexpected details like the curving window seat nook in the primary en-suite, a hot tub on an upper deck, and clawfoot tub in the hall bath. The lower level is a bonus, as it has its own entrance, kitchenette, and bathroom, giving it future rental potential.
Listing Fast Facts
Address: 348 SW Bancroft St, Portland, OR 97239
Size: 2,896 square feet, 4 bedroom/3.5 bath
List Date: 2/26/2022
List Price: $795,000
Listing Agent: Sarah Knight, Scout Realty Co.
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.