Property Watch: A Curving Brick Abode in Laurelhurst
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 historic home in the Laurelhurst neighborhood that overflows with period details. Got a home you think would work for this column? Get in touch at [email protected].
In the years after Ladd’s Farm, a 464-acre dairy farm on the east side of the Willamette River, was sold to the Laurelhurst Company in 1909 to form a neighborhood, there was a heavy marketing push by said company to appeal to prospective buyers. After all, the attractions were plenty, like a newly dedicated park and multiple streetcar lines. There was even a little real estate sales office in Coe Circle, right at the center of the neighborhood, before the golden Joan of Arc statue was installed in 1925.
Steps away from Coe Circle, on NE César E. Chávez Boulevard is this house, built in 1913 during the first wave of the neighborhood’s construction. Houses at that time tended to make statements about the status of their residents, and although this one doesn’t have any particular name attached, it’s certainly distinct. (And, we think, appears in some of those aforementioned marketing materials as one of the early neighborhood standouts.)
For starters, it’s brick, reaching three stories high to a pert mansard roof. Its defining feature though, is a curving sunroom off the side, which may have been an open-air porch at some point but now features decorative details around its base and a whimsical vine growing beneath the eave.
The front door is flanked by two sidelites composed of decorative stained glass—a pleasing motif that’s repeated throughout the interior. There’s no shortage of decorative, period embellishments, like the inlaid wood floors, mahogany columns flanking entrance to the living room, and coffered ceiling in the dining room. That stained glass appears several other places, like the living and dining room windows, and in the cabinets beside the fireplace, as well as a built-in serving hutch.
The main-floor layout flows easily. The living room is to the right of the entry foyer two steps down, with woodburning fireplace and a raised dais in front of the windows facing the street, with arched wood and plaster built-ins. The curving sunroom is through double glass doors, with its beadboard, gently rounded windows, and tile floors.
On the opposite side of the foyer, there’s the dining room, and a useful butler’s pantry connecting it to the kitchen. That has a classic farmhouse layout, with room enough for a table and chairs at the center, herringbone wood floors, Shaker cabinets, stone counters, and a lovely range with its own flair. From the kitchen, it’s easy enough to access the home’s only outdoor space, a protected patio, as well as a cute-as-a-button little powder room, and the garage. The latter offers something of a mystery: a plaque mounted to the brick wall that states “Designed and Furnished by Riblet Tramway Co” of Spokane, Washington, which was a ski lift company that installed early-generation lifts on Mount Hood. Such are the questions that old houses raise.
On the second floor, find two bedrooms and the primary suite, this one with a fireplace, dressing room, and a vintage bathroom with that enduring tile color combo of pink and maroon. The third floor has a big room with inset bunks and another bathroom with clawfoot tub. Lastly, the basement has a dedicated wine room with a fourtop for enjoying tastings with friends.
There isn't much outdoor space, but Laurelhurst Park is just a few blocks away. Also, William Mead Ladd originally tapped none other than landscape architect John Charles Olmsted—son of Frederick, who designed NYC’s Central Park—to guide the street layout wherein the streets “unfold” in a curvilinear fashion, so there’s much to appreciate on a casual stroll in any direction.
Listing Fast Facts
Address: 610 NE César E. Chávez Blvd, Portland, OR 97232
Size: 4,682 square feet/6 bedroom/3.5 bath
List Date: 7/21/2022
List Price: $1,060,000
Listing Agent: Aryne Blumklotz and Dulcinea Myers-Newcomb, Living Room 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.