Silhouette

Portland, OR

remodel

status: built

In early conversations with the owners, they expressed interest in a modern home comprised of open living spaces that jived with their modern lifestyle.  It was still unclear whether we could satisfy this program through a remodel or if the existing bungalow would need to be raised to add another level or razed entirely for a new structure. The particular challenges to the program were the existing footprint of just 32' x 24', a small 50' x 50' parcel, & 3 large fir trees occupying a corner of the lot, towering over the house.

 

There seemed to be a quiet dialogue between the little house and the fir trees - a romantic understanding.  With limited lot to expand the house and a desire to preserve the relationship with the fir trees, all options were considered. We concluded that if the basement level could be captured as living space and the house's compartmentalized spaces were completely gutted that we could successfully achieve the program as a remodel.

 

The simple gabled roof shape of these bungalows is charming  We found it contextually interesting to maintain the basic shape and scale of the house and pursued this project as a case study of how to modernize a small early 20th century bungalow while respecting its neighborhood made up of similar home types. A design theory of "silhouette" was developed, exploring the idea of simplifying a form's shape through its silhouette.  The result maintained a connection to its past shape, while simultaneously a new form emerged with a mysterious, alluring quality.  Images of "shadow dancers" came to mind.  As if the little bungalow slipped behind a translucent screen, it recalls its past and begins a new story.  

The black metal exterior cladding of the walls and roof unify the form and express its "silhouette", while cedar cladding punctuates the entry porch. 

 

For the interior, a continuation of alluring, textural, moody materials are used.  A cedar clad box clearly defines the kitchen giving it definition within the open living space. Raw steel was used for the casework doors, trimmed in walnut.  A raw steel panel art piece hides behind a sliding wall only to reveal itself when concealing the passage to the bedroom suite. The use of glass at the stairs & shower provide the necessary function while achieving lightness & transparency. An existing concrete floor on the basement level was renewed by way of a dark, inky hued stain, but the story of its life is still visible and celebrated.  

 

It was important to connect the interior spaces to the exterior, however possible, in order to expand the visual and usable space on the small footprint.  Generous amounts of glazing connect the new open, main-level living space to the outside.  The former plan disconnected the small, but usable, back yard.  The new staircase now directly connects the main level to the backyard.  Designed as a counterpoint to the open and bright main-level living space, the introverted basement-level living space has direct access to the yard by way of a cedar clad "portal". 

 

Careful discussion allowed us to arrange spaces to the owner's lifestyle while only adding two 20 sqft cedar clad bays to the footprint. Through efficient planning & considered spaces, the final plan arrived at a 3 bedroom; 2 bathroom house that includes 2 living spaces in just 1484 square feet within a 32' x 24' footprint.

Credits:

Design: Matthew O. Daby - M.O.Daby Design

Interior design: Angela Mechaley - M.O.Daby Design

Construction: Hayes Brothers Construction

Cabinets & casework: Red Bear Woodworks

Structural engineer: Willamette Building Solutions

Photography: KLIK Concepts