Flashback Friday! For Portrait Homes Northwest’s 16th work anniversary, we are reminiscing on where it all started… our first project.

Our first home was a fixer upper purchased in 1993. It was a quaint 1913 Portland Bungalow in North Portland. It had great street appeal, but the interior needed major updating. The electrical was still nob and tube and the walls had lath and plaster, with very little insulation. Some cosmetic changes had been made over time with the last era update around the 1960’s.

Our goal was to return the interior to the home’s original charm, but with modern conveniences.

The first step was prioritizing safety, energy efficiency and finishes while maintaining the integrity of the home’s charm.

Before Photos

Jeff had worked as a laborer in commercial construction and graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree. He was working full time in the commercial manufacturing industry. I had graduated with an Exercise Science degree and was working full time as a fitness coordinator. With my limited experience in DIY projects, I learned quickly demo, cleaning, laborer, designer would be my new side jobs. We were excited and ready to take on this new project. I started a notebook with magazine ideas, and purchased Bungalow style design books. Jeff researched the mechanical aspects, insulation, plumbing, refinishing wood floors, and we made lists to help determine our budget.  

  • Update the electrical and plumbing for safety concerns
  • Add insulation in walls and ceiling and add an attic fan
  • Update kitchen, add storage and improve work triangle
  • Remove carpet from living, stairs and bedrooms (and horse hair pad!)
  • Remove vinyl flooring
  • Refinish the fir floors exposed after removing the carpet
  • Remove wallpaper and re-texture plaster
  • Paint walls, mouldings and doors

After Photos

Our first project was very rewarding. We learned so much remodeling our home from top to bottom. We had wonderful friends who helped along the way as well. A good electrician friend from my childhood helped immensely. Jeff and I replaced the plumbing, removed the wall that enclosed the stairwell, and relocated the stairs that led to the basement from the kitchen to the living area. We removed eight layers of wallpaper, removed flooring, added drywall where needed, painted, installed tile, refinished the wood floors and the result was a true labor of love. We worked on the home for seven years, had two children and learned so much. When it was time to move to Scappoose, we sold our home within three weeks on our own as well. Would we do all this again? Yes! If we decided to remodel another home, we had a better idea of costs and how to be more efficient.  Was it challenging? Of course! But, the outcome was so rewarding and restoring the home back to its original charm felt right.