Portland Architect Spotlight - Van Evera Bailey

One of his homes is for sale and that's definitely enough of an excuse to write about him.

 Located at 1100 SW Myrtle Drive in the Portland Heights subdivision. Listing and photo courtesy: Justin Harnish, Harnish Properties

Located at 1100 SW Myrtle Drive in the Portland Heights subdivision. Listing and photo courtesy: Justin Harnish, Harnish Properties

As of the time that I'm writing this, the above home built in 1956 is newly listed for sale at a very reasonable $4,098,000. That may seem like a lot, but if you factor in the one-of-a-kind view, the one-of-a-kind lot, and the one-of-a-kind home, it's almost a bargain.

Okay, the word "bargain" might be stretching it, but you know what I mean. Contact me if you'd like to take a look.

 Van Evera Bailey, 1943. Photo courtesy: Oreg. Hist. Soc. Research Lib., bb008360

Van Evera Bailey, 1943. Photo courtesy: Oreg. Hist. Soc. Research Lib., bb008360

This home was designed by Van Evera Bailey, a local Oregon architect that California mid-century modern buffs may recognize. After designing a few homes around Portland, and then traveling the world for awhile (as one does), he settled in southern California for 5 years. There he designed homes in the very modern style that we all know and love (or love to hate, depending on your POV). Bailey returned to the Portland area to design a home for his sister in Lake Oswego and ended up setting roots back in Oregon.

Bailey originally apprenticed under William Gray Purcell, collaborated with Richard Neutra, and built some of the most iconic mid-century homes around Portland. His designs were certainly influenced by both Prairie Style and the modern homes of California. He gained nationwide recognition for his unique homes that paid consideration to design details and materials that could stand up to the rainy Pacific Northwest. Along with his contemporaries, Pietro Belluschi and John Yeon, he helped establish the Northwest Regional Style.

Mid-century homes like the house on Myrtle drive (did I mention that it's for sale... contact me if you'd like to see it) are now considered unofficially historic. Many homes from this era have reached a point where the big, controversial decision must be made: Do you renovate only to preserve or renovate to modernize? The 3rd option, knock the home down and rebuild, should only ever be considered in extreme cases where no other option exists, but that's my opinion.

In the case of the Myrtle Drive home, the decision has been made. The house and guesthouse have been expanded, renovated, and modernized. However, great attention was paid to the original design concept so that the architecture and details of Bailey's work stand out. I won't wax poetic about all of the wonderful features of the home; take a look at the pictures to see for yourself.

I believe that there's a time and place for renovating to completely preserve the original architecture and a time and place to renovate for the purpose of conscientious modernization. I think this home on Myrtle Drive successfully accomplishes the latter. Oh, and since I probably forgot to mention that it's for sale, let me know if you'd like to take a look in person to decide whether or not you agree with me.