Three levels, big views, seven deals in one week: Portland architect’s home for sale for the first time

Architect Dustin Posner had a small ridge lot in the hills of northwest Portland to build his modern home on, and like a magician he found a way to stretch the living space over three levels while maximizing the views from the St. Johns Bridge downtown.

A zigzag staircase and pivoting floor plan lead to sweeping vantage points. Outside, a glass walkway, rooftop terrace, and perfectly positioned balconies also offer views of the city, Willamette River, and Cascade Mountains.

Posner oriented its wood, steel and glass structure to offer a “view of four volcanoes; five if you count Mount Tabor,” he says.

Most Portland lots are 5,000 square feet; it’s 3,049 square feet. But the vistas make it appear larger, and an easement over neighboring plots preserves the landscape, Posner says.

After 35 years, the home at 2831 Northwest Cornell Road is for sale for the first time. The property hit the market on Thursday, April 14. The asking price: $895,000.

Five days and 55 posting requests later, one of the seven offers has been accepted.

“The house evokes an uplifting and awe-inspiring experience,” says broker Kishra Ott of Windermere Realty Trust, who listed the property with Dan Volkmer, also with Windermere Realty Trust. “The house reveals itself like a book, with different volumes of light, and at every turn.”

See-through windows and doors add to the feeling of space inside the multi-level home with 1,968 square feet of living space.

Glass openings in the front facade are raised to attract natural light while protecting privacy.

Open the double front doors to enter a vestibule with interior light-floor windows and continue into the living and dining areas, where expansive glass panels and see-through French doors rest between hardwood floors Cumaru and 12 foot high ceilings.

Around one corner is the kitchen with large windows on both sides of the built-in shelves. To maintain a modern spare aesthetic, the refrigerator is concealed within the pantry.

From the main living level, climb seven steps in the custom staircase, turn around, then climb more stairs to the second floor, where there is a bedroom. Then, go up to the rooftop terrace.

Or from the main living level, step down to reach the master suite with its gas and wood burning fireplace and bamboo flooring. Here, nine-foot-high walls rise up to the wooden beams of the ceiling.

The boudoir, a few steps down on the garden level, has a loft and French doors that open onto one of the balconies. The covered outdoor space under the airlift could be enclosed, Ott says. But she wonders if a new owner would want that.

“The small footprint is attractive to buyers, as are the expansive gardens and scenic views,” says Ott. “There’s less house to maintain and more time to enjoy the garden,” which features espaliered fruit trees, Japanese maples, hellebores, tree peonies and roses.

There is also a shortcut to nearby shops and restaurants. Ott says the “secret” steps in the garden invite wanderers down to Northwest Quimby Street and 23rd Avenue in the Alphabet District.

— Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072

[email protected] | @janeteastman

Learn about the Portland and Oregon real estate market:

• Buy mansions in Boring, where there is “more for the price”

• Two Pearl District townhouses in the old train station are for sale, starting at $1,575,000

• Oregon’s “Terrible Tilly” lighthouse on a private island for sale for $6.5 million

• Portland’s huge mansions for sale: what kind of homes with space can you get for $8 million or less?

• Oregon’s best-known baker, Ken Forkish, is selling a southwest Portland home with a bread oven

• Portland homes designed by Pietro Belluschi are synonymous with camaraderie

• Former Timbers star Diego Valeri is selling Northwest Portland home with private soccer field for $1,199,000

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