Property Watch: A Color-Blocked Classic by William Fletcher
Editor’s Note: Welcome to Portland Monthly’s “Property Watch” column, in which 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: the home of a founder of Northwest Modernism hits the market for the very first time. Got a home you think would work for this column? Get in touch at [email protected].
In 1956, several local architects set up offices together in an old Victorian house at SW 14th and Columbia. They practiced separately and sometimes collaborated, influencing one another’s work, and came to be colloquially referred to as the 14th Street Gang. In time, they were seen more formally as the next generation of Pacific Northwest modernists, taking up the mantle of John Yeon and Pietro Belluschi, and producing a lot of good-looking, now much sought after, midcentury modern houses all over the city.
One of these architects was William Fletcher, and this is his very first full house, completed for himself and first wife, Joyce, three years after he finished architecture school at the University of Oregon in 1950. It hasn’t been seen by anyone other than friends and family until now, and has never been on the market.
The home sits on an almost two-acre forested lot off South Riverside Drive, rectilinear in shape, with a flat roof, and no fuss. Upon walking past an entry courtyard to the front door, there are the expected hallmarks of its era, like floor-to-ceiling glass, and then the unexpected: blocks of vivid color, such as an aquamarine blue panel on the façade and a purple front door. Immediately inside the foyer, the palette skews to more natural materials, with wood-encased ceilings and walls throughout, and cork tile floors.
The plan is moderately open, with the living and dining room clustered together at the center. Wrapped in Douglas fir and glass walls, this area has a cozy reading nook off to one side, access to a deck, and integrated custom-designed furniture by Fletcher, including the couch, a wall-mounted light fixture, and a swanky record console. The fireplace wall is composed of basalt pulled from Rocky Butte, a generous concrete hearth, and a custom fabricated metal chimney hood. Many of the partition walls here don’t meet the ceiling, enhancing the sense of openness and fluidity.
The kitchen is on the other side of the fireplace, its wood cabinets and white laminate counters punctuated with pops of blue, green, and pink. There are two bedrooms and a bathroom on one side of the house, and a primary suite on the other, the latter added as the family expanded. The carport, originally beneath the house and now a separate structure on the property, has also been refinished into a glass-encased studio.
Fletcher took care to keep the lofty Douglas Fir trees that surround the house. Glimpse the textured trunk of one right beside the primary bedroom window, an expansive view of another from the living room couch, and still more captured in a band of glass in a bedroom.
Listing Fast Facts
Address: 10803 S Riverside Dr, Portland, OR 97219
Size: 2,298 square feet/3 bedroom/2 bath
List Date: 4/25/2022
List Price: $1,250,000
Listing Agent: Lance George Marrs, Portland Modern Real Estate
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.