Portland “Build it Green – Tour of Homes”

This past Saturday I attended the 7th Annual ‘Build it Green Tour of Homes’. If you missed it, the event was sponsored by the City of Portland, ECOHAUS, Energy Trust of Oregon, and Oregon Home to name a few.

The Tour included 17 homes throughout Portland and the surrounding areas. Most participants started at ECOHAUS at 819 SW Taylor where tickets were sold. I started at the Beaterville Cafe with a terrific omelet, whole wheat toast, and homemade jam. Well, that wasn’t on the tour, but it was across the street from one of the tour homes. Thank you to GreenPDX for inviting me for breakfast.

Of course I have favorites, but before I tell you about them please note I only attended 1o of the 17 homes and that took this interior designer most of the day. Also note that although I wholeheartedly appreciate green features like on-site storm water management, water efficient landscaping, and advanced thermal envelopes, I must admit aesthetics played a role in my favorites.

Each of the tour homes had different degrees of green design, and all of them were inspiring. Little by little, we all teach one another how to make better design and remodeling decisions.

(Drum roll please) Angela’s Top 3:

3 The Garden Cottages of Upper Albina

Anything mini-sized is awesome in my book. These tiny little cottages are whimsical, colorful and creative. They used reclaimed finishes for the exterior including tin cans, reclaimed siding and decorative tile. The cottage, only 364 square feet (this isn’t a typo) had a built in nook/table/sofa, a bathroom/shower, built ins throughout, and an upper loft used for accessible storage. The backyard garden was extra special and included an adorable shed. The general contractor and his partner live in this abode. Talk about a small footprint!

2 Colorful Co-Housing Community at Peninsula Park Commons

Do you ever wonder why most neighbors don’t know one another these days? Some people believe it is due to lack of front porches, shared courtyards, and other amenities that used to unite communities.

This multi-family housing community brings back all of the neighborhood charm of yesterday with a common area studio, bike storage, food garden and workshop. It does this in style. Tastefully recycled bike parts are used throughout the property by a local artist. The colors are uniquely Northwest: hip yet natural, contemporary yet traditional style.
(Drum Roll Please) My absolute favorite home on the tour was…..

1 The REX Project, “Re-use Everything Experiment”

Imagine waking up one day and having a lofty idea. What if you could tear down a house and recycle everything from the first home into the new home? Not a single thing would be placed in the trash and ultimately in the landfill – not even a nail, or worn out carpet. Piece by piece the old home would be deconstructed and stored on site in containers. Piece by piece every piece from the old home would be reused somewhere in the new home.

Shannon Quimby a local interior designer built an outstanding home for her and her family with this dream and succeeded. Her seemingly impossible feet must have creatively exhausted Shannon. It also included finding vendors who were willing to think out of the box about materials, placement and deconstruction. She was on site everyday acting as a general contractor and rallying the many trades people that put the house together. In less than six months the house was completed. She even managed to save money in the process by reusing materials.

Amidst all that pressure, she managed to create a visually pleasing design that looked well collected, yet hip, fresh, and personalized to her families taste and interests. I don’t know about you, but Shannon’s project amazed me! She set this goal and succeeded in a very public way. She knew if she failed it would also be very public. Shannon you are my hero! The design community is very proud of you. Here is Shannon Quimby’s blog about the REX project.

If you want to know about events like these in the future, I suggest you check out GreenPDX. Amber Turner is the fearless group leader and she always keeps the group abreast of noteworthy green activities throughout Portland, Oregon. What a great group of people. The group is for anyone and everyone. Homeowners and trades people learn together. The group teaches me tons!

Angela Todd Studios For Custom Furnishings

Angela Todd

Owner & Principal Designer

Angela is the principal designer at her boutique interior design firm in Portland, Oregon. She is known for creating memorable backdrops that tell the story of fascinating and intricate lives.

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