A 1941 Colonial Revival Portland Home with Transitional Interiors


Transitional Neutral Bedroom Vignette with Crystal Lamp

A crystal-and-brass Currey & Company lamp sits on a Barbara Barry bedside table for Baker on her side of the master bedroom, above; the bedside table on his side is from Baker’s Milling Road series. A comfy Kravet chair rests in one corner.

Transitional Neutral Master Bedroom with Layered Draperies

To ensure a restful night’s sleep, the layered draperies in the master bedroom include blackout linings. The Century Furniture bed has a tufted headboard, as well as fine linens from SDH and Legna for maximum comfort. A Kravet bench upholstered in Osborne & Little chenille foots the bed.

Transitional Neutral Outdoor Entertaining Space with Bluestone Paths

The garden at the rear of the home is planted with tall evergreens for privacy. Hardscaping includes a fireplace from Stone Sculptures, Pennsylvania bluestone and gravel paths. Gloster seating in the foreground, from Fishels, wears weather resistant Sunbrella fabric. Leonard custom designed the furnishings by the fireplace, made by Terra Furniture.

Transitional Blue Breakfast Area Vignette with Armchair

A Kravet chair in Threads fabric beckons the owners in the breakfast area. Leonard designed the ottoman.

Transitional Neutral Kitchen with Bronze Inlay Backsplash

Designer Liz Murray custom-designed the kitchen cabinetry, made by Big Branch Woodworking. Marble with a bronze inlay forms the backsplash, and a mosaic from Hakatai lies below the Vent-A-Hood fixture; appliances are from BASCO.

Transitional Blue Breakfast Nook with Floral Wallpaper

Designer Jennifer Leonard conceived the dining table and bench in the breakfast nook; the Brownstone chairs are from Nest Showroom Portland. The wallpaper supports the fresh look with its pattern of wisteria and robins. A Visual Comfort pendant creates continuity with those above the kitchen island.

Transitional Blue Dining Room with Damask Draperies

An existing chandelier dangles above the owners’ dining table and chairs, complemented by an Artitalia Group sideboard. A tufted Schumacher bench offers seating by the windows, treated with Kravet’s brocade damask draperies, Fabricut sheers and Roman shades also by Kravet, trimmed with Lee Jofa’s silk pom tassels.

Transitional Neutral Living Room Vignette with Lamp-Lit Painting

A Currey & Company lamp lights a Victoria Adams painting from Murdoch Collections.

Transitional Neutral Living Room with Lounge Chairs

In the living room, a Kravet sofa and armchairs join Lee Jofa lounge chairs around a Barbara Barry coffee table for Baker, from Parker Furniture.

Transitional Neutral Foyer with Patterned Runners

A console from Stanley Furniture underscores a Hans Schiebold painting from Lawrence Gallery Salishan in the foyer. The bench wears a warm striated linen, and the carpets are from Kush Handmade Rugs. A Brass Light Gallery fixture illuminates the space.

Transitional White Front Elevation with Red Front Door

Landscape architects Steve Shapiro and Blair Didway developed a formal landscape to complement the traditional form and linear lines of the house. The front of the residence presents a regal welcome with low boxwoods framing the walkway and enlarged porch, which received an added touch of topiaries from interior designer Jennifer Leonard.

When the homeowner approached me, she was embarking on a remodel after nine years overseas with her husband and kids,” says designer Jennifer Leonard of the home she decorated for a family of five in Portland. The couple and their three sons had been living in Tokyo and hadn’t yet had the chance to do anything permanent. “This became our first opportunity to create a real home,” the owner says.

The 1941 Colonial Revival house had been well maintained and was in an established neighborhood, but it didn’t meet the needs of a modern family with teenage boys. “Connectivity is what homes of this age need,” says architect Celeste Lewis, who worked on the renovation with Cathy Hasenberg. “I wanted to make it functional for the way people really live.” The once-dark kitchen and separate breakfast room were combined through a cased opening to create a larger kitchen, with French doors and multiple windows that flood the space with sunlight.

In the rear, Lewis had a second staircase removed and incorporated a back porch to create a new family entry that connects the home to the garage and garden and branches into the kitchen and laundry room. Upstairs, what used to be a tiny maid’s room became an airy guest room, and the master suite was reconfigured and expanded.

But even with the modifications and additions, only a modest 360 square feet were added, staying true to the home’s original integrity while making it functional for the new family. “While remodeling, we took extra precaution with plaster walls, repurposed old doors and custom-cut new trim to match the original,” says Stephanie Lynch, project manager for builder Sam Hagerman. Indeed, preserving the integrity of the period house mattered to the homeowners as much as improving its overall circulation. “There are many places to find inspiring photos of renovations and décor, but it’s an undertaking to bring all your wishes into a cohesive story that flows from room to room,” says the owner.

Leonard tells that story through elegant yet family-friendly interiors. The owners had Japanese scrolls, vintage chests and other art and antiques that they wanted blended into their new environs; Leonard began the design process by selecting complementary carpets. “I really like Tibetan rugs because they aren’t chemically processed and retain lanolin,” says Leonard. “Rugs are like art themselves—an investment with longevity.”

Working within a palette of blues, greens and taupes, Leonard had rooms washed in low VOC paints and entrusted designer-friend Liz Murray with helping choose materials, finishes and tile layouts for the kitchen and master bathroom, Murray’s specialty. For furnishings, Leonard accumulated pieces that lend the appearance of acquisition over time. The result is a mix of new and antique wood furniture, with tailored custom-upholstered pieces.

Leonard and the couple searched for textiles that had a kid-friendly, sturdy appeal as well as visual beauty. Whether silk, linen or wool, the fabrics are mostly blends, which tend to be more durable, and they have been treated with stain-resistant Nano-Tex. “I also spent a lot of time on the window treatments,” says Leonard. “In a climate like Portland’s, they need to be both visually and physically warming. I like to layer them.”

The homeowners do take full advantage of good weather, spending time in their garden designed by landscape architects Steve Shapiro and Blair Didway. “We developed a formal landscape to complement the traditional form and linear lines of the house,” says Shapiro. The front of the residence presents a regal welcome with low boxwoods framing the walkway and enlarged porch, which received an added touch of topiaries from Leonard. The rear of the home gives the owners and their guests an idyllic outdoor living space that Leonard filled with pockets for dining and conversation.

Settled for the most part back in the States, the homeowners are delighted with the classic and comfortable family home that they can enjoy for years to come. Says Leonard: “The wife finally got the house she’s always wanted.”

—Charlotte Safavi