Nestled among the craftsman houses of its Alameda-Beaumont neighborhood, Heidi Beebe and Doug Skidmore, the two architectural minds behind Beebe Skidmore, built a modern 4,000-square-foot home expertly reflecting the rainy outdoors that surrounds it. The homeowners, a young family of four relocating from Chicago, decided on the muted forest green exterior after seeing a Burberry raincoat with the same woody color.
With a background in graphic design, the owners wanted to focus on creating a bold, sleek look, using traditional wood construction and detailing.
“The Siskiyou house is more of a thoughtful application of very common materials than a showcase for specialty materials,” says Beebe. This shows with a confident cedar entranceway that provides a natural welcome for guests.
The house boasts intelligent thermostats and advanced insulation techniques, but the main green feature stands in the open, zigzag design and large windows, seamlessly merging the interior with exterior. “The emphasis is more on a quality of open space, like that which might be found in a small art gallery,” Skidmore says. The home has both front and back access to fresh air. This includes a large accordion glass door that opens to a raised back patio, providing the perfect setting for a neighborhood barbecue. "The large corner windows are placed high on the wall to keep the house naturally lit and reduce the need for electric lighting," Skidmore adds.
With design beginning in 2011 and construction in 2015, the new owners waited patiently for their ideal Portland home to be completed. Beebe says the lengthy process can be attributed to their striving for perfection. “We put a lot of energy into framing details required to achieve the subtle cantilevers that create the shifted offsets in the facade," she says. "The house is a contemporary expression."
The Beebe Skidmore team aimed to create a home that stood out from the rest of the neighborhood, while maintaining complementary elements. “The house doesn't shy away from window trim, window sills, corner boards, and articulated siding,” Beebe says. “These elements ‘talk’ to all the wood houses in the neighborhood. We hope to have brought all these elements together in a way that is more sharp in appearance and coherent without being decorative.”