By Bobby Curtis, July 13, 2018
By Bobby Curtis, July 13, 2018
Montavilla is known as the quietly cool neighborhood in Southeast Portland. Centered on the commercial Stark/Washington couplet, the heart of it runs along SE Stark on what used to be street car tracks from 76th to 82nd.
Founded as Mount Tabor Village just before the turn of the century, its current name originates from an abbreviation used on that street car line: Mt. Ta. Villa. In addition to quietly cool people, Montavilla is home to shops, restaurants, watering holes, hardware stores, a university. In fact, Lonely Planet named it one of the “Top 10 Hot Hoods in the US you need to visit”. It is also home to the latest farmhouse we restored at 505 SE 76th Ave.
Well, TECHNICALLY she’s across the street from the Western border of Montavilla, but she has been sitting at the foot of Mt. Tabor with her full attention staring down the heart of Montavilla for nearly 120 years. And she’s seen it all, believe me. Births, deaths, family gatherings, life before Country Cat, you name it. A huge tree even tried to take her down at one point but nevertheless she persisted. Persisted just long enough to welcome us in, so we could restore her to (most) of her original glory.
Whitewashed from top to bottom but still in really great shape, the exterior just needed a few standouts. So we maintained the original color and added black trim around the windows and to the large concrete posts. The roof had very recently been replaced, so we had to work with a trim color that worked well. Starting there, we quickly got inspiration for our interior color scheme. Not pictured here is the brand new roof we put on the garage, which had rotted all the way through to its joists and sill plates. Not very glamorous but very necessary. We added a fence and stone patio in the backyard for instant BBQ privacy/fun.
The living and dining rooms required the least amount of serious work. We restored the original wood floors, and added a fresh coat (or two) of paint to the ceilings, walls, and moulding. Tying in the exterior black trim color in with the stair risers and hand rail made a big impact. And because there were no original light fixtures left in the house, we added period lighting that worked well with the era of the house.
The kitchen cabinets were original solid wood and in sturdy shape. All they needed was some freshening up. Staggered white 12” ceramic tile flooring was nicely accented with light gray grout, and we added maple butcher block countertops to warm it all up.
We made improvements to the TWO sunrooms off from the kitchen and master bedroom. For many years these had been used as storage rooms, so little attention had been given to them. The windows hadn’t been used to look out of, and the sunlight coming in didn’t matter. Facing West, it was important we recreate these two rooms because they add so much charm to the home, and are very functional spaces. Now these two rooms are the best places for languid summer afternoons with a good book and an even better ice cold beverage.
The main floor half bath and upstairs full bath got custom hex tile floors, efficient toilets, sinks and fresh paint. We also added all new water supply lines and sewer line to the house. Upstairs also got a brand new, gleaming subway tile surround. Very classic look for this beauty.
In order to gently nudge this old beauty in the 21st century, it was pretty clear early on that she’d need another bathroom. This had always been a family home and still now, she has room for more! Some spaces lend themselves easily to conversion. In this case, we converted the SE corner bedroom into the master bath and walk in closet, mixing vintage and modern. The 12” hexagonal tile pushes the design forward while an original clawfoot tub firmly (and very heavily) keeps it grounded in the turn of the century. The double vanity is a great mix of old and new, and the bedroom closet was easily turned into a private toilet room.
If you’re interested in checking out this Mount Tabor Village beauty, she’s still at the foot of Mt Tabor staring down Stark street, looking for new dwellers to call her home. You can check out the listing, price and see more pictures here.
And if you want to see Montavilla in all it’s glory, consider checking out the Montavilla Street fair on Sunday, July 29, 2018. More information here.
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