Real Estate

Property Watch: A West Hills Home that Defies Its Challenging Lot

Complete with a backyard that has it all, from the hot tub and fitness studio to a bocce ball court

By Melissa Dalton July 11, 2022

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 West Hills contemporary hits the market for the first time. Got a home you think would work for this column? Get in touch at [email protected].

When a couple with three kids bought an empty West Hills lot in 2015, the site wasn’t exactly deemed “unbuildable,” like we’ve seen in previous Property Watch profiles, but with a thirty-foot drop from the street, it wasn’t necessarily a cake walk either. Architect Craig Wollen of Turn Design and contractor iBuildPdx took on the challenge, completing this contemporary home in 2017. It’s now on the market for the first time.

The resulting house cops a lean and low look from the street, sheathed in dark custom-stained cedar siding, with handsome natural-toned wood accents at the front door and privacy screens. In order to follow the topography of the lot, Wollen then instituted a 15-degree vertical bend at the center, so the back façade is something of a surprise: 21-foot-tall window walls shaded by a dramatically cantilevered roofline, with terraced decks and wide, stadium-style stairs leading to the yard below.

The main entry is at the upper level, at a foyer with tile floors and a black brick accent wall, and the home unfolds from there. The floorplan has a total of 4,921 square feet, including six bedrooms and 4 full baths/3 partial baths, with the upstairs dedicated to kids’ and guest bedrooms/bathrooms, a kids’ game room, powder room, and garage. The expressed post and beam structure is carried throughout those upper rooms, with several embracing the contrast between the hefty beams and crisp white drywall.

A staircase with floating solid oak tread connects the upper level to the main living areas below. There, the living room boasts vaulted ceilings and a towering black brick fireplace wall that climbs up beside the floor-to-ceiling glass, while the dining room and kitchen are tucked behind a slatted screen and have lower ceilings for a cozier feel. Both kitchen and dining have custom cabinetry and quartz counters, and the kitchen’s center island comfortably seats six. A strip of big windows on the sink wall cleverly opens to a serving and seating counter at the deck outside.

This is just what makes Wollen’s design so successful: for such a steep lot, the home connects to the backyard pretty effortlessly, with three sets of oversized glass sliding doors. There’s one between the kitchen and a built-in barbeque station, one at the dining room that feeds to the outdoor dining table, and a big set in the living room that creates a seamless path from the couch inside, to a massive, three-sided exterior sectional wrapping a firepit.

At the yard’s lower level, a lot of recreation bases are covered, with multiple lounging areas and another firepit, a hard-scaped hot tub with nearby outdoor shower, bocce ball court, fully-enclosed dog run, and standalone fitness studio with its own sauna. It’s quite pretty, too, thanks to all the landscape design done by Melissa Medeiros at LANDline.

With such sweeping volumes and all those big windows, there’s still plenty of alcoves inside and out for adults and kids alike to curl up. On the main level, in addition to the living areas, there’s a family room, powder room, pantry, study, and the primary suite with its own fireplace. We especially like how the en-suite bathroom has a private deck with its own path to the fitness studio, and a window at the soaking tub that looks into the trees.

Listing Fast Facts 

Address: 4112 SW Greenhills Way, Portland, OR 97221
Size:  4,921 square feet/6 bedroom/4.3 bath 
List Date:  6/6/2022 
List Price:  $3,895,000 
Listing Agent: Suzann Baricevic Murphy, Where, Inc.

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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