Thursday, February 9, 2017

It's a Portland Bungalow, Says Eric

Portland Bungalow
Photo copyright Eric Adams

What Kind of House is This?

That's a question I asked myself often when I first moved here. I still vividly remember how I felt when I saw all the old neighborhoods, full of old houses with such character and style. The neighborhoods felt almost magical. I'd heard the terms bungalow, craftsman, and tudor before, but I wasn't really quite sure how to differentiate them. After living here for awhile, I got familiar with those terms and a gained basic understanding of the styles of homes that fill our neighborhoods.

It wasn't, however, until I met Eric Wheeler of Positively Portland Walking Tours, that I began to grasp all the subtleties and details of all the varying architectural styles here in Portland. I've also come to appreciate how some styles are even unique to Portland. So, I'm starting to send Eric a series of photos of homes in Portland and asking him to answer some basic questions about it to share on this blog.

Portland Bungalow

Here's what Eric Wheeler had to say about this house:

The pictured house is a single story “Portland Bungalow”, built in 1928 in a high-density residential district in SE Portland. Typically houses of this style have 2 bedrooms, one bath, full basement and less than 1000 sq ft of living area. This modest house type was very popular with builders and buyers in the “between the wars” period of the 1920s because of its ease of construction and affordability. The small footprint of the house also fit in well in subdivisions with 50 foot wide lots in the “streetcar” neighborhoods on the east side of the Willamette River. 
Like many bungalows of this time period this house has Craftsman-influenced clipped gable ends (also called “jerkingheads”) on each side of the main roof and at the top of the porch roof. The multi-paned transom window over the picture window on the left side of the house is another Craftsman element in the Portland Bungalow. 
But unlike true “Craftsman Bungalows” built in the first three decades of the 20th century, the Portland Bungalow has a wide front with a rectangular foot print parallel to the street, as opposed to most Craftsman bungalows that have a narrow front with a rectangular foot print perpendicular to the street. The central entry and evenly spaced windows of this house type are more typical of Cape Cod or Colonial Style houses. 
Because of key differences in appearance and floor plan and the popularity of this style in the early 20th century Portland streetcar neighborhoods, many in the real estate profession are calling this house type a “Portland Bungalow”. Look for this modest, but charming residential style as you walk, drive or bike around old Portland neighborhoods.

Thanks Eric!

What type of house will we discover next?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Old Portland Hardware & Architectural - A Home For Discovery

Photo credit: Paolo Ferraris of ALOR Consulting
Walking into Old Portland Hardware & Architectural is kind of like walking into a museum, but you can buy the stuff on display. It’s a place to spend time and explore and learn. Bret Hodgert, the owner of Old Porltand Hardware & Architectural, specializes in collecting historical architectural hardware and collectibles that you can use .He also re-purposes some of the items he collects and turns them into new, usable items for your home.

Hardware Beauty

When I arrived at Old Portland Hardware to speak to Bret, I first embarked on an exploration of what the impressive store has to offer. I was immediately entranced by the collection of old door knobs, door knockers, door hardware, and other hardware. I felt taken back to a time when you walked into a hardware store and found beautifully handcrafted items for your home, giving you the opportunity to personalize and decorate your space in a style unique to you. The selection and variety were almost overwhelming, but also beautifully displayed in the store.

Photo credit: Paolo Ferraris of ALOR Consulting
After taking multiple photos of the first section of the store I found, I meandered on. I found more eye candy! Every step and turn delighted me with a new discovery. Bret told me to take pictures as I explored, and to ask questions later. I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by that at first, but it became clear as I toured the space. I quickly eyed several beautiful long square tubes with narrower openings at the bottom that were hanging on the wall in one corner. I had no idea they were old organ pipes until Bret told me later during our Q & A session.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bike Love from Jim Rowley

I will now be sharing and featuring photos that express the spirit of Portland taken by photographers in and around Portland. If you'd like to contribute photos, please contact me.

I recently collected these wonderful bicycle photos from Jim Rowley. You can find more of Jim's photos at

Portland Bike Love from Jim Rowley

Photo Credit: Jim Rowley

Photo credit: Jim Rowley

Photo credit: Jim Rowley
Photo credit: Jim Rowley

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ski Tabor Rising

Ski Tabor appears magically, sometimes when you least expect it. A sudden snowfall, and the streets Mt. Tabor come alive with children, adults and canines playing in the snow.

Cross Country Skiers Enjoying the Pow

Skis Are A Great Way to Get Around


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Katy Hadad and the Joyful Spirit of Tati & Me

Clothing for spirited girls
Photo courtesy Katy Hadad
In her clothing line tati & me, Katy Hadad designs and creates beautiful and joyful clothing for the spirited girl. The dresses of tati & me immediately catch your eye, and I couldn't help but smile at first glance. Seeing the dresses hanging in Katy's studio brought back the feeling of joy I had as a girl wearing a special dress for a special event. I could easily imaging a girl twirling to show off her new dress. These dresses are not just brilliantly colorful, but also masterfully sewn and amazingly designed. I am not surprised. Each dress reflects the spirit of the woman I met.

Joyful Energy and Design

From the moment Katy answered the door and invited me up to her studio, I felt her warmth and joy. She was bubbling over with it. Katy is obviously passionate about the clothing she designs and the space where she works. It's as if her spirit, the dresses, and the space are inextricably intertwined, all moving together in one joyful force of energy to share and empower that passion and joy of life with the girls who wear her clothes. I felt it too.

Katy says tati & me started in her kitchen about seven years ago. One day she hauled out her old sewing machine and made her daughter a skirt. Her daughter loved it and twirled around as she wore it. Soon, people starting asking about the skirt, and Katy was sewing and designing in her garage.

Clothing for spirited girls
Photo source: Katy Hadad; tati & me

Katy's talent and passion for design go back many years. Not surprisingly, she attended the Portland Art Institute and was an adjunct instructor there for 10 years. Additionally, Katy tells me how her grandmother was a talented seamstress and would sew Katy dresses. The two of them would pick out a piece of fabric, and Katy's grandmother would then sew up a dress with it. Katy's eyes lit up even further as she told this story. I sensed that these moments with her grandmother were joyous times and made a large impact on who Katy is and what she does.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Peacock Lane 2016 - A Portland Tradition

Peacock Lane
Photos by Aya

The Joy of Peacock Lane

It's not the holiday season for me without a visit to Peacock Lane. I think a lot of other Portlanders feel the same. My favorite time to visit the Peacock Lane holiday light festival is on one of the car-free nights. It just seems more festive without cars and exhaust. People own the street. Christmas Carolers wander in and out of the crowds of people. You can even buy hot cocoa.

Peacock Lane
Photos by Aya

I was happy to see the car-free night return this year. I went out there Saturday evening, and it was the first time I'd seen the street also adorned with snow for the holiday lights! The snow and cold evening added to the spirit of the street. The street was busy and full of an air of excitement from the little kids and a sense of enjoyment and peace from the adults. It just felt like Christmas.

Peacock Lane
Photos by Aya

Peacock Lane has been a Portland tradition it seems since 1929 - that's pretty amazing. It was so much fun sharing this tradition with the Japanese student who has been living with me (and who also took the pictures).

Peacock Lane
Photos by Aya

She says there's nothing quite like this in Japan. While they celebrate Christmas, she reports, it's a bit more subdued. She fell in love with all the Christmas lights in the neighborhood, so I knew she couldn't miss Peacock Lane. It didn't disappoint.

Peacock Lane
Photos by Aya

Nestled just one block east of Cesar Chavez, between SE Stark and SE Belmont, Peacock Lane is also accessible by a few bus lines. We took the 15 down from Mt. Tabor, and it was the perfect way to get there. Just hop off the bus and enter into the amazement of Peacock Lane. I can't wait for next year.

Peacock Lane
Photos by Aya

Friday, December 9, 2016

Ugly Mug Coffeehouse: Quintessential Portland Coffee Shop

Photo Source: Ugly Mug Coffeehouse
The Ugly Mug Coffeehouse is a Sellwood classic. In fact, it's a Southeast Portland classic. Ugly Mug is one of those coffee houses where you just know you're in Portland. It's the atmosphere. It's the great coffee. It's the friendly service. But mostly, it's the feeling you get while you're there - like you're in the heart of what you always imagined Portland would be and is.

Ugly Mugly Spirit

Ugly Mug was actually the first coffee house I visited when I moved to Portland over 9 years ago. I'd only been here a few weeks, and I met a friend there. I remember thinking "coffee houses like these are why I moved here." It was a warm summer evening, and dogs were sitting outside with their people. Patrons were inside reading and chatting. And boy the place had character. Plus, Ugly Mug sits in a very cool, old historic neighborhood. Coffee houses like this were very hard to find in my old stomping grounds in California.

Cole and Cheryl Akeman purchased Ugly Mug a few years ago, but the ethos is the same as when I visited the coffee house over the years. In fact, I never really noticed it changed hands until someone told me recently. Cole tells me they plan to keep it that way. Cole believes the "Old Portland vibe," as he calls it, makes the place special and sets it apart from many other coffee houses in the area. I tend to agree. Ugly Mug is not pretentious or trendy in its decor. Yet, it serves some of the finest coffee in town and is truly a place where you want to spend some time.

Photo Source: Ugly Mug Coffeehouse

The Art of Coffee

Cole Akeman is not new to coffee. Cole explains he's always been a foodie and watched a lot of food t.v. while he was a stay-at-home-dad. But his history with coffee goes back even further. He was working in the coffee industry over 20 years ago for a boutique coffee company as a coffee roaster. He eventually got involved with the Northwest Roasters Group and got to know local and international coffee people. Cole even worked as a barista for a Starbucks while he lived in Southern California.

Cole also took coffee roasting home. At one point, he had his own little table top coffee roaster at home and enjoyed making his own roasts and blends. Cole points out that it only takes about 8 minutes to roast coffee. "It's a bit like popcorn," he says. Apparently, you just need the right moisture content for the beans to swell and crack and roast. But, roasting equipment is very expensive, so it's very difficult to roast at home on any kind of scale other than for personal use.

Before Ugly Mug

Before owning and operating the Ugly Mug, Cole and Cheryl owned a food cart in one of the food cart lots downtown. They popped up all kinds of Kettle Corn. After owning and operating the cart a few years, Cole and Cheryl decided to sell it and move on to something else. A few years ago, they saw an ad that Ugly Mug was for sale, and they bought it.