Gretchen spotted this glorious 1948 time capsule home, which was recently for sale (now sold) in Portland, Oregon. The house was listed by agent Kathryn Madison, these amazing photos — which Kathryn took – were originally featured on her blog Go Beyond the Ordinary. This house is particularly interesting in how it seems to bridge the Streamline Moderne and mid-century ranch eras. On the outside, it’s pretty ranch-looking, although you can see some hints of international streamline style. Inside, it’s a Streamline Moderne wonderland — starting with this incredible kitchen. .
Photo above courtesy Kathryn Madison. The Frelinghuysen-Morris house, which Matt and I visited this past summer, is classic, pre-war international moderne style. Whoever designed this Portland house — especially the interior — was following that style. What is “Streamline Moderne”? Think: Luxury vintage railcar, with sleek, smooth, rounded edges. Hey — vintage Airstream trailers were Streamline Modern. “Mid-century Modern” as we know it today, on the other hand, has a different look. See the Wikipedia page on Streamline Moderne. Note, it says that Streamline Modern houses were less common that Streamline Moderne commercial buildings…. The real estate listing says the house got some updating 1980, so I’m wondering if the clapboard siding was added then, and covered something more atypically Streamline Moderne – stucco exterior? In any case, the interior is PHENOMENAL!
Here’s the fireplace in one of the bedrooms. This decorative use of birch plywood paneling, finished with a simple gloss, was something that was promoted in the pre-war period. It was “modern” in the sense that it downplayed ornamentation (in contrast, say, to Victorian frou-frou.) Photo above courtesy Kathryn Madison.
Pick your jaw up off the ground. Like I said: This is like the inside of a private rail car. Notice the masonite (or glass?) panels on the ceiling. The floor has been redone — but impeccably. Notice also, the tile countertops, with contrast bullnose tile edging. I’m thinking all that tile work has been redone… Photo above courtesy Kathryn Madison.
The pantry doors… Photo above courtesy Kathryn Madison.
I’m suspecting that those are 12″ square Carrera glass or Pittsburg Glass tiles on the wall. That was haute design for prewar bathrooms. Doesn’t this house just glow! Photo above courtesy Kathryn Madison.
And in this bedroom, notice that little window. Again… almost like whoever designed this, designed luxury steamships before. It’s akin to a porthole window, another signal of Streamline Moderne… Photo above courtesy Kathryn Madison.
A welcoming front door in a red-orange….Hey, I’ll call it orange — the Retro Renovation Color of the Year 2011. Photo above courtesy Kathryn Madison.
… integral clock. Sigh. Such simple, perfect beauty. I read an interview with Marilyn vos Savant — you know, the smartest person in the world, or at least thought to be at one point — a few years ago. In Parade Magazine. Something she said really stuck with me. It was in answer to a question along the line, “What is it that you think about?” She said: “Wisdom, and beauty.” I think that is right, I really do: Wisdom, and beauty. Photo above courtesy Kathryn Madison.
I only found out about this house late last night, and rushed to get these photos up. In the next few days, as I have more time, I will add more information about the house, for posterity. SPECIAL THANKS to listing agent Kathryn Madison for giving me permission to feature these gorgeous photos — which she took, she’s a pro! — and this gorgeous house on the blog… and to keep it here for posterity. It is so very special. Kathryn’s blog: Go Beyond the Ordinary
Meanwhile, here is a link to the real estate listing, where you can see the photos even larger, and read a bit more information about the feature: Tour of Portland Streamline Moderne home / Windermere Real Estate Company.