Welcome to the Neighborhood: Sellwood and the Morelands

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Sellwood and the Morelands

Welcome to the Neighborhood! In this final installment of our 5-part series, we’re taking you through 3 neighboring areas with older and historic homes. We’ll share some reasons why we love them, some insights on their history, and show off some of our favorite projects we’ve done in these areas.

Today’s featured neighborhoods: Eastmoreland, Westmoreland, and Sellwood!

A few minutes south on SE Milwaukie Ave lies three neighborhoods that are quaint and quiet, yet still vibrant with plenty to do! With beautiful parks, river walks, the Eastmoreland Golf Course, antique stores, and Oaks Park Amusement Park, there is plenty to keep people occupied and visiting this part of town. Taking a stroll down the sidewalk of any of these neighborhoods gives you an architectural history lesson, from modern complexes, to mid-century ramblers, to English cottages and Colonial Revivals, Bungalows and Craftsman, to late Victorian farmhouses. The area is a melting pot of architecture!

But how did a cattle farm turn into one of the most sought after neighborhoods? And how did a couple of antique shops save a struggling community?

Eastmoreland Lake 1915 (photo: Oregon Historical Society)

As with the majority of Portland, the areas we now know as Eastmoreland, Westmoreland, and Sellwood started off as farm land. Settled in the mid-1840s by immigrants from the Oregon Trail, settlers started tilling the land with fruit nursery businesses, logging, and general farming. Distanced from the far away city of Portland, most social events happened within the city of Milwaukie. Transportation to and from the area was either via the river on steamboats or through the muddy Milwaukie Road. 150 years later, this road, now named SE Milwaukie Avenue, is still one of the main roads to get to and from these neighborhoods.

In May 1882, a real estate company purchased 321 acres from the Rev. John Sellwood and filed a plat which they named after him. To attract potential buyers, the real estate company provided free ferry rides from Portland to the new neighborhood.

By 1887, Sellwood was officially incorporated into the city of Portland. Streetcars began to service the area along with other neighborhoods east of the Willamette. 100 homes had been built in the area by this point, along with three stores, a church, and a school. In 1892, streetcar transportation significantly improved to the area causing a building boom and urbanizing the old farming community.

Bybee Ave., Eastmoreland 1915 (photo: Oregon Historical Society)

Just north of Sellwood, William S. Ladd’s son, William Mead Ladd, was overseeing the Ladd Estate Company and set his sights on developing the company’s Crystal Springs Farm. Influenced by the City Beautiful Movement, which focused on urban development that reflected beauty, harmony, system, and order. In 1909, Ladd sought the help of John C. Olmstead to develop the 700 acres of Crystal Springs Farm into East and Westmoreland.

“Westmoreland”, developed west of the railroad tracks, followed the city’s familiar grid street plan. “Eastmoreland” was developed east of the tracks and employed a “grid and meander” plan. The developers promoted these neighborhoods as modern subdivisions with sidewalks and curbs in place. Eastmoreland was advertised as a prestigious subdivision for the well to-do, with close proximity to the newly built Reed College. Westmoreland was advertised for the white-collar professionals who rode the streetcars to and from the city. Colonial Revival Style, Arts & Crafts, Bungalows, and Craftsman Style became the popular style houses for the area, giving the neighborhood a fresh modern look. By comparison, the neighborhood of Sellwood to the south looked more and more like an old farming town.

1937 Super Highway (McLoughlin Blvd) view to south from ByBee (photo: Sellwood Moreland Historical Society)

The 1920s saw a building boom for East and Westmoreland, which lasted through the mid-1940s. More families began buying lots within the subdivision, thanks in part to good advertising and a feeling of separation from downtown. Sellwood, on the other hand, had begun to see some hardships with local businesses, only made worse by the Great Depression.

By the 1950s, some businesses and churches began leaving Sellwood and moving up to Westmoreland. Young people who had grown up in the area began moving out in favor of other neighborhoods. A decade later, however, several antique businesses began moving into the empty store fronts of Sellwood, creating some buzz and a reason to visit the area. Young families began rehabbing some of the old farmhouses, revitalizing the neighborhood. Subsequently, all of this growth from Sellwood began helping Westmoreland at the same time, blurring the lines where the neighborhoods start and end.

Today, these neighborhoods are a lively area, separate from the downtown hustle and bustle, but still close enough to commute.

The Projects

1912 Sellwood Bungalow Whole House

One of our longest client relationships, we have helped this family slowly renovate their entire 111-year-old bungalow. The projects have ranged from adding a carport, renovating their kitchen, rehabbing their original dining room built-ins, adding bookcase colonnades, and redoing their two bathrooms and basement. This phased approach has allowed the homeowners to lovingly restore their home as time and budget allowed.

1923 Eastmoreland Basement

When a couple of wine connoisseurs asked us to finish out their basement complete with a built-in wine cellar, we were ready for the challenge! Incorporating a living room, wine cellar, library, and laundry / craft area, the homeowners can now comfortably host friends and family over for wine tastings and always have room to add to their collection.

1925 Eastmoreland Kitchen

The homeowners of this 1925 home loved how open their kitchen was when they first bought the home. However, the style was outdated and there were some flow and workspace issues that needed addressing. Keeping within the same footprint of the original kitchen, and keeping it open concept, we rearranged some appliances and updated the finishes and cabinetry to be more timeless. The end result is a beautiful open kitchen to entertain and cook in!

Thank you for following along with our Welcome to the Neighborhood 5-part Series! We hope you enjoyed learning about some of our wonderful neighborhoods. If you have an old home you would like to renovate and want local experts to help, you can reach us by filling out our online form (under Contact Us). We would love to work with you!

Historical information source:

United States Department of the Interior / National Parks Service – National Register of Historic Places Registration Form Eastmoreland: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5f99bc414eddf3607bc85b85/t/5faf0e82844f9e409e6b37ed/1605308035373/Eastmoreland_Historical_Context_Section_NPSnom.pdf

Histotic Sellwood by Eileen G. Fitzsimons: https://sellwood.org/history/

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Mt Tabor

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Mt Tabor

Welcome to the Neighborhood! This is part 4 of our 5-part Portland neighborhood series where we are exploring some of our favorite neighborhoods this city has to offer! We’ll share reasons why we love them, insights on their history, and showcase some of our favorite projects we’ve done in these areas.

Today’s featured neighborhood: Mt Tabor!

Just nine miles away from the bustling downtown area is the quiet and quaint neighborhood of Mt Tabor. The area feels separate from the hustle and bustle, but still provides easy access to commuters journeying into the heart of the city. Tucked amongst the trees and with a huge nature park in the middle, Mt Tabor is perfect for young and old to feel connected with the outdoors and enjoy the beauty Oregon has to offer.

While the area has evolved over the past 173 years, this sentiment has always been a core of the Mt Tabor area.


Originally settled in 1850, the area was originally a small rural farming community. By 1903, local leaders, including John C. Olmstead, voted to preserve an area of the growing community for a public park – and the city bought 40 plats for this new park in 1909. 

Photo: Souvenir of Western Women

Mt Tabor started to become a peaceful destination in order to escape from the city. Many people believed that breathing the fresh air in the area would help fix a plethora of ailments. This included physicians, who made Mt Tabor the site for the city’s sanitarium, hoping the proximity to nature and the fresh air would help their patients.

During construction of parkways in 1913, a team of road builders found traces of volcanic cylinders along the side of the mountain. Researchers discovered that the community had been built along the side of a once active volcano, making Portland one of only six cities across the US to with an extinct volcano within its city limits.

Photo: Mt Tabor Park / Credit: Historical Society Research Library

A short distance from our office on 27th and Belmont, the Mt Tabor neighborhood has always been a favorite of ours to work in. Let’s take a look at some of our projects in the area!

1906 Mt Tabor Craftsman Kitchen

This couple contacted us wanting a Pacific Northwest Craftsman feeling kitchen. A previous 1990s remodel left the kitchen feeling disconnected from the of the house. It also lacked adequate closed storage and a workable layout. With new white oak stained cabinets, soapstone countertops, and a new layout with zones for prep, cooking, and clean up, we stayed true to the character of the home while also updating it for modern day living.

1911 Mt Tabor Kitchen

This family of four needed more storage and a better workflow. An awkward range/island layout gave them little room for food prep and unusable seating. Our remodel created not one, but two peninsulas with seating to enjoy any meal of the day. We also incorporated a large panty and desk area. The new layout gives them an abundance of countertop space, storage, and great access to their back deck with new French doors.

1913 Tabor Hill House

When this couple purchased this house, they knew it had good bones. But years and years of paint and poor remodel decisions hid the true splendor of this home. With the whole house remodel, we were able to uncover the gold mine of flat stock Fir trim, reimagine the fireplace, reconfigure the kitchen and all the bathrooms, as well as finish out the basement. We kept with traditional materials to make this beauty shine!

If you have an old home you would like to renovate and want local experts to help, you can reach us by filling out our online form (under Contact Us). We would love to work with you!

Historical information source:

Mount Tabor Park by Kathy Tucker (https://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/mt_tabor_park/)

Mount Tabor Portland – Everything you need to know by Mike Devenport (https://pdxmovers.com/blog/mount-tabor-portland-or/)

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Irvington & Grant Park

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Irvington & Grant Park

Welcome to the neighborhood! With 95 geographically defined neighborhoods, there are plenty of places to call home here in Portland, Oregon! In this 5-part series, we are taking you through some of our favorite neighborhoods this city has to offer. We’ll share some reasons why we love them, some insights on their history, and showcase some of our favorite projects we’ve done in these areas.

Today’s featured neighborhoods: Irvington & Grant Park!

With the mature street trees, easy to follow streets, and large array of impressive house styles, walking through Irvington and Grant Park is a pleasure for the eyes. It’s an architectural lover’s dream! With stunning examples of Queen Anne, Tudor, Classic-Revival, Foursquare, Prairie-School, Craftsman, Bungalows, Cottages, and Mid-Century styles, there’s a little something for everyone in this area of Portland – and it’s one of our favorites because of that! Craftsmanship can be seen at every angle, and it’s obvious that the people who live here love these details too.

But how did a steamship captain and a US President come to having these neighborhoods named after them? Why did so many famous architects want to use these neighborhoods as the backdrop for their designs? And what connection does a famous children’s book author have to the area?


To start, we have to go way back to 1849 when the Scottish-born steamship Captain William Irving departed San Fransisco Bay to head north to Portland. Upon arrival he met, and later married, Elizabeth Dixon Irving. It is important to note that during this time there was a Donation Land Claim Act which allotted 320 acres of designated areas – free of charge – to unmarried white men, and 640 acres to married white men. These Land Claims were to help promote homesteading within the Oregon Territory (modern day Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and parts of western Wyoming). Irving and his new wife took full advantage of this Land Claim.

The Irvings did not stay long, however, as the gold rush tempted them up to New Westminster, British Columbia. By 1872, Irving died from an illness and his wife moved back down to Portland in 1882 to take advantage of the high value of land in the burgeoning city. 288 acres were sold to create what is modern day Irvington, and the final layout for the new neighborhood was filed in 1887. To protect their assets, restrictions were put in place such as “no selling of liquor or alcohol” within the confines of the neighborhood (hence why there are no bars within Irvington proper).

Photo: IrvingtonPDX

The Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition caused a huge building boom across Portland as a whole as newcomers witnessed the many amenities of the Pacific Northwest. Between 1909 and 1910, the population of Portland doubled. Ushering in a new era for our city.

Many famed architects such as Ellis Lawrence, David L. Williams, John Bennes, and Frederick Bowman were all commissioned to build grandiose houses during this time to set apart, not only the people who would go on to live in these houses, but the neighborhood of Irvington as a whole.

Photo: IrvingtonPDX

What is now known as Grant Park was partially settled in the 1850s by a different Donation Land Claim known as the Bowering Tract. It is unknown when it came into the possession of Elizabeth Irving’s business partners, but in 1887 the tract was sold off to Mr. Charles Cardinell. The plat for the neighborhood was filed in 1924 by Cardinell’s daughter, Eliza Dolph, and advertised a “beautiful wooded tract”. The area was named after US President Ulysses S. Grant (Presidential Term 1869-1877) as he had visited the Oregon Territory 3 times both before and during his presidency. This was very rare for a president to do, especially before means by railway became popularized.

President Grant was not the only famous person visiting the area, however. Beloved children’s author, Beverly Clearly (1919 – 2021) lived in Grant Park as a child area until 1934. Many of her books, including Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins, take place in the area she grew up in.

1910 Irvington Arts & Crafts

Untouched for several decades, this home desperately needed restoration and design updates to extend its life for the next hundred years. Lacking a real kitchen and only having one bathroom, our clients wanted to maintain as much of the original character while also updating it for modern functionality.

1910 Grant Park Kitchen

Our homeowners enjoyed the layout of their kitchen but needed some updates on how it functioned for them. Dropping the utility chimney and adding a larger pantry and workstation desk for them added the storage and extra workspace they desired. The two-tone cabinets help to brighten and warm the space to create an inviting place to cook!

1911 Irvington Fireplace

This fireplace was reimagined from something that was just there to a statement in this living room. Updated with new fir built-ins, mantel, and local Pratt & Larson tile, it feels more a part of this home now.

1928 Grant Park Kitchen

A dark galley kitchen that had lost its charm and a lot of functional space was begging to be updated by these busy homeowners. Maintaining the galley kitchen layout, we added new cabinets, finishes, fixtures and designed a charming furniture style storage area! Plenty of space to work now in this kitchen!

If you have an old home you would like to renovate and want local experts to help, you can reach us by filling out our online form (under Contact Us). We would love to work with you!

Historical information source: Oregon Encyclopedia & City of Portland

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Alameda & Beaumont-Wilshire

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Alameda & Beaumont-Wilshire

Welcome to the Neighborhood! In this 5-part blog series we’re taking you through various Portland neighborhoods, with an eye on their history and homes. We’ll also highlight projects we’ve completed in these areas.

Today’s focus: the Alameda & Beaumont-Wilshire Neighborhoods!


The Alameda Neighborhood, of Northeast Portland, was originally called Alameda park and was developed by the Alameda Land Company, a group of Astoria-based investors. Today’s Alameda neighborhood is bound by NE 21st and NE 33rd, NE Knott and NE Prescott. The word Alameda comes from the Spanish language, meaning “Tree-lined street, or walkway.” With the first home built in 1910, the homes range from Arts and Crafts, to Tudor, to Craftsman styles.

Photo: Oregon Historical Society Research Library

The neighborhood became popular among Portlanders due to its beautiful views, sitting high on the naturally created ridge. Its popularity increased, when in 1910, the Alameda Land Company paid the Portland Railway, Light and Power Company to extend the Streetcar into the neighborhood, allowing people to ride it into the Portland business district.  

Photo: Oregon Historical Society Research Library

Directly east of Alameda is the Beaumont-Wilshire neighborhood. Similar to Alameda, this area has many homes built in the early 1900s, ranging from Dutch Colonials, Foursquares, Tudors, and Bungalows.

Beaumont-Wilshire was named after the Beaumont School, which opened in 1914, as well as Wilshire Park, the 15-acre tree lined recreation area in the neighborhood. The south slope of Alameda Ridge, originally known as “Beaumont Hill” or “Gravel Hill”, carries through the southern part of the neighborhood. The area is bordered by NE 33rd and 42nd, as well as Alberta/ Prescott to the north and NE Morris/ Wistaria to the south.  


We have recently completed two projects in these lovely neighborhoods. The first we’ll showcase is our historic 1935 Tudor Revival Sunroom project. As part of this beautiful addition, we removed an existing flag stone and concrete patio, constructed the entire sunroom, and built the balcony/landing outside of the living room. We installed French doors to the Living Room, installed all new windows and appropriate trim detailing, and a customer plaster ceiling. The finished space is stunning!

1935 Tudor Revival Sunroom

The second, our 1910 Alameda Bath project, we completed two bathroom remodels which maintain historical elements while modernizing the spaces for the family’s needs.

The ensuite bathroom with inset oak cabinets, hex tiles, mixed metals, and muted colors blend the classic and modern seamlessly. Originally a space that held two bathrooms, with careful space planning we reconfigured the area to be an ideal ensuite; double sinks with plenty of storage, large shower, and separate water closet.

1910 Alameda Bath (Ensuite)

This kids bathroom was created utilizing extra space from a large upstairs bedroom. A tub/shower combo was installed for the kids to use. The light, bright, and simple finishes allow the beautiful historically accurate floor tile to shine!

1910 Alameda Bath (Kids)

If you have an old home you would like to renovate and want local experts to help, you can reach us by filling out our online form (under Contact Us). We would love to work with you!

Historical information source: Alameda neighborhood by Doug Decker. https://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/alameda_neighborhood/

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Laurelhurst

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Laurelhurst

Portland is a city made up of distinctive, interesting, and fascinating neighborhoods. Welcome to the Neighborhood is a 5-part series where we will take you through some of our favorite neighborhoods this city has to offer. We’ll share some reasons why we love them, some historical insights into how they came to be, and some of our favorite projects we’ve done in these areas.


Upon first seeing the Laurelhurst neighborhood, right away you see the sandstone pillars that look like something out of an Old World town, or reminiscent of JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth. A golden statue of Joan of Arc glistens as she sits high on her steed in the middle of Coe Circle. And unlike in other neighborhoods around Portland, the roads in Laurelhurst gently wind around allowing for residents to take leisurely strolls and admire the century old architecture and mature landscape.

Photo: Oregon Historical Society Research Library

It is a favorite neighborhood of ours. From the Arts and Crafts bungalows, to the Colonial Revivals, to the Foursquares, or to the unique Airplane homes. Laurelhurst offers a unique and diverse look into architecture from the 1910s to the 1930s.

But how exactly did Laurelhurst come to be? Where did it get its name? And why is it connected to the City Beautification Movement of the 1890s?

Photo: Oregon Historical Society Research Library

To start, we need to go all the way back to 1850 when what is now Laurelhurst, was a large forest used by Native Americans and fur trappers. Terrence Quinn and Elijah Davidson were the first to have claimed this land around this time. By the 1870s, Portland fifth mayor, William Sargent Ladd, acquired all 464 acres from both Quinn and Davidson. Ladd turned this land into a dairy farm known as Hazel Fern Farm. This was one of eight farms owned by Ladd (3 he owned outright, and 5 he shared partnership in with S.G. Reed).

Following his death in 1893, Ladd’s son, W.M. Ladd, sold the 464-acre farm in 1909 to the Laurelhurst Company who had developed the Laurelhurst neighborhood in Seattle, Washington three years prior. In preparation for development, W.M. Ladd hired John Charles Olmstead, of the famous Olmstead Brothers Architecture Firm, to create a layout for this new neighborhood.

Photo: Oregon Historical Society Research Library

Olmsted, who was known for his famous city park designs (including New York’s Central Park and many of Portland’s city parks), was a key player in an idea that was sweeping the nation at the time – “City Beautiful”. This concept for architects and urban planners was that our American cities should display beauty and grandeur to help in promoting a better quality of life.

While Olmsted never came up with finalized plans for the Laurelhurst neighborhood, the Laurelhurst Company took his ideas and with some minor tweaks put them into action. In 1925, the Joan of Arc statue was donated by local doctor Henry Waldo Coe, and nearly all 2,880 plats were sold – making Laurelhurst much of what it still is today.

We’ve had the pleasure of working in the Laurelhurst neighborhood several times, but a few projects do stand out as company favorites.


1916 Laurelhurst Den

When these homeowners came to us with their Prairie Style house and a desperate need for functional and beautiful storage, we jumped at the opportunity to help them out and build something that would fit with their home’s style. Salvaged leaded glass panes, custom cabinetry, and a grounding historic colonial blue.

1913 Laurelhurst Charmer

Stripped from its original detail during a 1950s renovation, the homeowners of this charming bungalow wanted to restore it to its former glory and show off their vibrant personalities as well. Removing the existing metal cladding and restoring the original bevel cedar siding, extending the roof overhangs, building new rafter tails, adding all new exterior detailing, building new dormers, and restoring columns, corbels and beam details at front porch, we made this old house a real showstopper and gem in the neighborhood once more.

1916 Laurelhurst Basement

Needing just a little extra space, this family moved their hangout headquarters to their basement! This basement remodel, also built in 1916, features thoughtful space planning to gain an additional bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, storage area, and family room with a built-in wet bar. They went with timeless design elements, but chose cheerful fun colors to make this basement feel larger than life. Perfect for family movie and game nights!

If you have an old house you would like to renovate and want local experts to help, you can reach us by filling out our online form (under Contact Us). We would love to work with you.

Historical information source: Laurelhurst by Martha Works. https://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/laurelhurst/