2019 Portland (Wilsonville) Street of Dreams

There’s a lot to unpack from this years NW Natural Street of Dreams. I had a few favorites (“Bespoke” and “Farm To Table” were both impressive). Let me know which ones you like!

If you’d like to skip down to the awesome pictures, I have a boatload of them further below for each home on the tour.

As always, check out my blog for more in-depth information about Portland area real estate and please contact me if you’re interested in buying and/or selling. I’d love to chat to see if my skill set - strong communication, strategy, experience, and educational approach - would be a good fit to help you achieve your goals!

Let’s Talk About Wilsonville

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This is the first time ever that the Street of Dreams has been in Wilsonville.

Yay for a new location!

(Don’t get too excited for next year, though, because for 2020 the SoD will be back in Hillsboro. They’ll be featuring a new phase of Vendage at the Reserve, part of the humungous new South Hillsboro neighborhood which was the site of the 2018 SoD. Check out my blog about South Hillsboro and the 2018 Street of Dreams if you’d like to learn about this enormous creating-a-city-within-a-city undertaking.)

The official SoD magazine this year waxes poetic about Wilsonville a few times. Calling it “a fast-growing city of almost 24,000 people” with a “diverse economy strengthened by leading firms in the high-tech industry” and “top-notch schools”.

What this all boils down to is: the suburbs are very much alive and well!

But how did Wilsonville become such a thriving area that has managed to double in size since 2000? Anyone that knows anything about traffic around Portland is aware of the infamous “Wilsonville Clump”. Most of my clients that have shown an interest in the area are from out of town and don’t realize that commuting from Wilsonville to, well, anywhere that’s not immediately next to Wilsonville is cause for long-term traffic-induced PTSD.

The reason is basically “if you build it they will come”.

Some Crazy Wilsonville History For You

Before you see all the pretty SofD house pictures, you should know that this is what the neighborhood around them will look like for awhile!

Before you see all the pretty SofD house pictures, you should know that this is what the neighborhood around them will look like for awhile!

You may have heard of a couple of semi-controversial communities in Wilsonville; Charbonneau and Villebois. They aren’t controversial just because yours truly has literally no understanding or knowledge of French, so when I try to say them out loud I’m pretty sure I sound like a blithering idiot.

It was the aftermath of Charbonneau’s development in the 1970s and how Villebois came to be approved in the 1990s that are a fascinating look at suburban development in the Portland metro. These two communities are central to the reason that Wilsonville has been rapidly growing.

Charbonneau made quite a splash back in the 1970s because the development lay immediately south of the Willamette River. Due to the development, legislation was passed in 1973 limiting areas where development could occur with the aim of protecting farm and forest land. The legislation also required master plans to be submitted for any proposed development in allowed areas. This is what’s known as the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) and was the first legislation of its kind in the country.

Development south of the Willamette was stymied for decades but the UGB has been growing.

The planned community of Villebois went through its share of controversy, too. It’s located at the site of the former Dammasch State Hospital which is also about 1500 feet away from a middle school. It seemed like the ideal site for a robust “urban village” so master planning began in the early 1990s.

In the mid-1990s, the city of Wilsonville and various state agencies put a lot of work into crafting the Dammasch Area Master Plan (master plans were required since the 1973 UGB legislation mentioned above). They were near completion when Wilsonville Mayor Charlotte Lehan found out in October of 1996 that the former state hospital site was in the running to become a state-run prison, which would have torpedoed all of the work they had put into planning the development.

Also, it was an interesting choice by the state, given the proximity to the middle school!

Word came on January 29th, 1998 that the Oregon State Legislature Emergency Board was going to approve the site the next day. Despite the fact that it had taken the state years to locate an appropriate site for the future prison, the city of Wilsonville had less than 24 hours to find an alternative site and save their master plan.

Fortunately for what eventually became Villebois, they did! It was called the Day Road site and was approved by the state legislature and the governor. Eventually, the Coffee Creek Correctional facility was built. You can read more about this crazy story here.

In summary:
Charbonneau brought the first large planned development into the Wilsonville area and influenced the future of development throughout the Portland metro. Villebois, which is almost 100% complete, brought in a new type of modern community and a different type of Wilsonville resident. But, possibly most importantly, the prison brought with it the infrastructure that allowed industrial development to take place, eventually leading to 2000 acres of industrial expansion in Wilsonville.

If you build it, they will come!

Frog Pond

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Frog Pond West in Wilsonville was added to the UGB (urban growth boundary) back in 2002. It took 16 years for the first development application to be acted upon. This is mostly due to the development of Villebois. Until Villebois neared completion, developing Frog Pond wasn’t seen as an immediate need, and would have been risky for developers to overcommit to the area.

Frog Pond East was added to the UGB in 2018. You can find the Master Plan here.

Now, Villebois is close to complete, and Frog Pond is the site of the 2019 Street of Dreams. Development is just beginning for a variety of home types and price points.

Unlike some of the communities that came before it, Frog Pond has been free of controversy. How boring, right? Zzzzzzz

Have you thought about purchasing a home in Frog Pond or other new construction? Check out my blog 10 Important Tips for Buying New Construction and contact me to talk about the process!

The Street of Dreams and Lots of Pretty Pictures!

Okay, okay! Enough with the history already.

As per usual, the SoD consists of 6 completed, furnished, and decorated homes. Usually 6 builders are showcased, but this year 3 of the homes were built by basically the same company: West Hill Homes NW and Everrett Custom Homes.

Both companies operate out of the same office with the same leadership team. The difference is West Hill Homes NW primarily builds ready-to-occupy homes whereas Everett Custom Homes primarily focuses on custom homes either built for specific clients or on unique homesites.

I’m not sure why or how that happened. Was the Street of Dreams unable to find other companies interested in building this year? Or is the planned community too rigid to allow a more diverse range of builders?

Whatever the reason, it definitely resulted in a showcase of homes that was almost staid compared to some prior years. Although, with all the large, planned communities that have been highlighted by the Street of Dreams lately, that was becoming an issue, anyway.

Trends

Wallpaper even in the minimalist homes!

Wallpaper even in the minimalist homes!

Before we start talking about the individual homes, just a quick mention of trends I noticed:

  1. THREE farmhouse-inspired homes! (Thanks HGTV and Fixer Upper).

  2. Tiny yards (with two exceptions)

  3. 4 out of 6 homes featured a boatload of contrast in the decor with a prodigious use of black in the home.

  4. Every single home had the master on the main level (2 homes were single level).

  5. Media rooms are not what they once were. Only one home had a larger sized entertainment/media room with a pool table.

  6. Wallpaper is very much in style.

  7. Plain subway tile is nowhere to be seen. More interesting textures and patterns are in wide use, mostly in neutral colors.

  8. No more granite countertops anywhere, yay! Quartz and marble are finally the 100% materials of choice.

  9. Smart home features are present, but a lot more subtle than in previous years. Builders have realized that integrating an iPad into the wall is kind of silly when we all carry powerful computers in our pockets.

Just because I can, I’m going to go through these in the order I saw them, which is, of course, pretty much backwards because that’s how I roll.

(All pictures are my own and unaltered)

Pacific Usonia - Home #6

What is your silly palm tree doing in front of my awesome northwest home???

What is your silly palm tree doing in front of my awesome northwest home???

By: Everett Custom Homes
3,934 square feet / 4 bed / 3.5 bath
Value: $1,495,000 (according to SofD Magazine)
Floor Plan

The first home I viewed is considered a “Northwest Contemporary” style. If you’re not sure exactly what that means, don’t worry. It’s debatable!

Generally speaking, though, it means that there are probably big windows, an open floor plan, at least a good sprinkling of minimalism, a mix of natural materials, and probably some kind of indoor/outdoor living connection.

If all that kind of sounds like mid-century modern style, well, it’s because that’s one of the biggest influences. Japanese style also influences some northwest contemporary homes.

You can see the entry hallway through the bottles. I’m standing in the butler’s pantry to take the picture.

You can see the entry hallway through the bottles. I’m standing in the butler’s pantry to take the picture.

This particular house, and several others I saw, was all about contrast. For whatever reason, broad use of black in the decor was a huge trend this year. Now, part of that might be because 3 of the homes were basically built by the same people… or maybe it’s really a trend!

You know from first glance at the exterior that this house is going to have some interesting textures and contrast.

One of my favorite features was the floor to ceiling wine display. You can’t tell from the picture, but this is located to the left of the entry hallway, so you get to be shocked and awed by the splendor of the bottles as soon as you walk in the front door.

It’s a unique way to display your collection, and on the other side of it is a pass-through little butler’s pantry/bar area that sits between the kitchen and dining room.

However, if you take a look at the picture that shows most of the entertaining area, the decorator decided to put the dining table in what otherwise would have been a very odd, blank spot. I checked the floor plan, and the builder definitely meant the front room, which was decorated as a sitting room, to be the dining room… which puts the dining room an almost uncomfortable distance from the kitchen and creates a rather weird layout.

So, I understand why the decorator decided to plop the dining room table where they did, it just makes the little butler’s pantry kind of weirdly located.

Here’s some pictures (click to embiggenate them):

Other things I noticed about the home:

  1. I love that fireplace and I want it in my house immediately.

  2. The yard was small for a home that’s a hair under 4000 square feet. I seriously don’t understand this. Why would I move down to Wilsonville and buy a 1.5M dollar home that butts right up against the neighbors? Sure, you could argue “less maintenance” but someone living in 4000 square feet generally isn’t thinking TOO hard about not being able to afford a lawn care company. Almost all the homes were on small lots with one notable exception, so just repeat this complaint in your head x5 for the rest of the homes.

  3. After seeing this home, I very much want to incorporate some black, textured wallpaper somewhere in my house. Check out the picture of the media room and zoom in on that wallpaper. It was fantastic!

  4. However, definitely don’t sign me up for any kind of tiny baby tile in my shower area. Especially black tile! This home is brand spanking new and it’s already got an area of wear on the shower floor. Can you imagine trying to keep that grout clean? (Okay, whoever will live here probably will have a cleaning service, but even with weekly cleanings, they’ll have to pay extra and really stay on top of the cleaners to keep it from becoming gross.)

  5. Never use boxwood to line a frequently used pathway unless you are somehow immune to the boxwood stench. Ugh.

  6. Why is the media room so small?

  7. That ceiling lighting in the hallway to the master suite is divine! They integrated a cool feature panel that floats just below the ceiling, painted it black, and lit it up both from above and below. Very cool!

Farm to Table - Home #5

I have to admit that Italian cypress, modern garage doors, and large walls of white brick did not immediately make me think of a farmhouse.

I have to admit that Italian cypress, modern garage doors, and large walls of white brick did not immediately make me think of a farmhouse.

By: Renaissance Homes
4,311 square feet / 4 bed / 3.5 bath
Value: $1,900,000 (according to SofD Magazine)
Floor Plan

Surprisingly, I think if I had to pick a favorite, this would be it.

Farmhouse style isn’t particularly my cup of tea, though I understand the appeal of the simple, yet homey feel of the Chip and Joanna Gaines style of decor.

Hello gorgeous lighting fixture!

Hello gorgeous lighting fixture!

Even though the decor isn’t my style, I can definitely say that they executed it very well. I also really liked the floor plan, and I completely adore what they did with the tiny slip of a backyard they had to work with.

This home is chock-full of instagram-worthy moments!

Once again, as you look through the pictures, you’ll notice how contrast is really played up in this space. Lots of white, wood tones, texture, and black accents.

What really stood out about this home is the unique “Juice Bar”. I’m not sure why they decided to call it that. When I first saw it, given the location between the “real” kitchen and the exterior raised veggie beds, I thought of it as a Garden Kitchen, somewhere you can wash off your veggies, dry your herbs, maybe even prep your food for grilling, etc.

It’s a really cool little space, and yet is somehow bigger than my “real” kitchen…

The backyard is full of fun stuff, although I’d prefer more elbow room!

It’s got a small shed (the website says there are 2 sheds but I honestly can’t recall seeing a 2nd one), brick raised garden beds, outdoor dining area, covered patio and grill area with a large fireplace, nice water feature that they tucked in (useful for drowning out the neighbors given how close they are!), and even a little lawn area with a swing.

The cute patio string lights are a nice touch, too.

Here’s some pictures (click to embiggenate them):

I didn’t feel like this home had much wasted space compared to others on the tour (look how they tucked the pantry under the stairs!). There were several rooms that could serve different purposes.

The loft space was a nice, reasonable size and had a huge window seat (I’m a sucker for a window seat!). If I were a kid, I could see myself hanging around up there, reading. They setup the 4th bedroom as a yoga studio but it would also make a great larger office or guest bedroom. Like most homes, it had a den/office near the entry that can serve a variety of purposes. The humongous laundry room was definitely meant to be used as a craft/storage area.

There was no media room but I really didn’t feel the lack of it. This is a home made for socializing, enjoying the outdoors, cooking, crafting, exercising… and when everything is said and done, separating to your own areas (the master suite was WELL away from all the upstairs bedrooms).

I also didn’t mind the enormous 3 car garage!

The only real issue I had with it is the location of the laundry room really could not be further away from all the bedrooms. But, I think I could get over that to live in a home like this!

The Meadow - Home #3

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By: West Hills Homes NW
4,147 square feet / 5 bed / 4.5 bath
Value: $1,795,000 (according to SofD Magazine)
Floor Plan

If you haven’t had enough of looking at homes with lots of contrast… well, here’s another one!

The builder describes this as “modern farmhouse”. Not to be confused with the home above, which is described as a “contemporary farmhouse”. LOL

Again, you’ll see a lot of Chip and Joanna Gaines influence such as shiplap, barn doors, cedar beams, and rustic lighting and other fixtures.

There’s also some unique features, such as the interesting basin sink used in one of the shared bathrooms, some fun tile choices, and the material for the master bathroom barn door (although I HATE using barn doors for bathrooms… if you don’t know why, ask me sometime).

Like all the homes, the master is on the main. Also, like many of the homes, the very open floor plan has a large area of blank space. Otherwise, I think the layout is solid and it even features TWO Jack and Jill style bathrooms upstairs. One between 2 bedrooms and the other between a bedroom and the bonus/project/play room.

I appreciated that this home had a good sized, flat yard with plenty of room to play, dine, hot tub, and allow dogs to create general mayhem (if the owners are so inclined).

Here’s some pictures (click to embiggenate them):

La Maison - Home #4

By: West Hills Homes NW
2,784 square feet / 4 bed / 2.5 bath
Value: $1,195,000 (according to SofD Magazine)
Floor Plan

Do you ever go to the Street of Dreams, or looking at open houses, and ALWAYS have that ONE house that you can’t seem to remember at all?

That’s how I felt about La Maison. Not that it wasn’t a nice enough home… but by Street of Dreams standards, it just didn’t stand out, either in a good or a bad way (OH just WAIT until you see the next home on this list…!).

The builder calls this a French Country style home, which seems legit. It was one of two single level homes and the only home that backed up to a street. Even with the well landscaped yard, you definitely still could feel how close you were to traffic.

They managed to squeeze in a water feature in the form of a small stream. The sound of the water helped with any occasional traffic noise.

Unfortunately, the backyard was so small they had to squeeze the little stream into a corner of the yard where you can’t really see it at all… unless you happen to be walking along the side of the house. Which, you might do on occasion, since they also squeezed in a couple of raised beds over there.

Given the space, I was pretty impressed with what they did in the backyard!

Inside, they used a muted color palette (basically it was the “house of neutral”). They had some interesting wallpaper choices; check out the ceiling wallpaper in the master bedroom.

The floor plan was reasonable for the modest size of the home.

All and all, a nice enough house if the style and color palette are your cup of tea.

Here’s some pictures (click to embiggenate them):

Generations - Home #2

By: BC Custom Construction
4,072 square feet / 3 bed / 3.5 bath
Value: Undisclosed
Floor Plan

Most of the time, Street of Dreams homes are designed by the builder, executed in the way they want, with the goal of appealing to a wide variety of people but also showing off the builder’s talents.

Occasionally, a Street of Dreams home is designed from the ground up for a specific client. Such is the case with “Generations”.

Double 2 car garages, accessed separately from each wing of the home!

Double 2 car garages, accessed separately from each wing of the home!

This was the only home to feature a separate living space. I don’t know if it was legally permitted as an ADU (accessory dwelling unit), but it is definitely designed as two distinct living arrangements.

The home is divided into two wings. There are even two separate 2 car garages, each of which can be accessed without disturbing the people living in the other wing.

And yet, everything is attached and it is a single level home.

The floor plan is unique and very interesting.

The decor… not so much.

I’ll try to be nice here since everything within the home was chosen by the builder’s client. But, I’ll tell you that I was not the only person walking through the home absolutely dumbfounded by the materials used in the home.

First, it’s exceedingly dark. Almost every room includes heavy, built-in, dark cabinetry. They used a deep cherry-color wood on all the cabinets, including: both kitchen islands, multiple bathroom vanities, wardrobe cabinetry, dining room hutch, built-ins around the TV, office nook, and more.

Not a style of kitchen I expected to see!

Not a style of kitchen I expected to see!

Further weighing down the whole design were mid-tone cherry laminate floors (I assume from the uniform look that they were laminate, but it’s possible they could have been engineered hardwood… the home description did not specify). The flooring had the type of grooves very popular in the early 00’s.

They did try to lighten things up with some of the tile and wallpaper. The guest room bath (first picture below) had an interesting combination of tiles… I don’t think they meshed well together but at least all the white and gray tones lightened the space.

The study bath had a lighter vanity countertop and gray and white floral patterned wallpaper. Again, an odd combination, but it helped brighten the room.

Both master bathrooms were probably the best features of the home. I loved the large ledge and design of the 2nd master bath (even though I’m not a fan of angled designs).

This home had the largest yard; it was basically situated on a double lot. However, it didn’t seem like outdoor living was a big priority for them as it was an underwhelming space. The yard was not fenced (at least not yet) and the patio design was pretty basic compared to the other homes.

Love it or hate it, for a Street of Dreams home, this one definitely stood out!

Here’s some pictures (click to embiggenate them):

Bespoke - Home #1

By: Red Hills Construction
4,600 square feet / 4 bed / 3 full, 2 half bath
Value: $1,799,000 (according to SofD Magazine)
Floor Plan

Sorry for the terrible exterior photo. None of the homes were using air conditioning and at this point I was ready to beat my way out of the heat!

Bespoke is the THIRD home on the Street of Dreams to call itself a modern farmhouse. But this one has a bit more of an industrial and old-world twist (according to SofD Magazine).

Like “Generations”, the design was heavily influenced by the homeowner. But, even though these two houses are situated right next to each other, they could NOT be more different.

Bespoke is slam packed full of style, trends, unique details, and a little bit of playful funk.

Hellooooooo awesome vanity. *Under-cabinet lighting is a distinct trend this year!

I was a little worried when I walked up to it. The exterior is pretty imposing (not surprising at 4,600 square feet!) and the front yard is absolutely tiny. They managed to fit in a rather sizable water feature out front, but that pretty much took up the entire space.

But once I walked in the front door, I was pleasantly surprised.

Like all the homes, the master is on the main. The design of the master bedroom and bathroom were probably my favorite. There was a washer and dryer right off of the main walk-in closet (and another laundry upstairs!). The whole thing had a really good flow and use of space. Check out the pictures to see what I mean.

I could get my relax on here.

I posted a picture of the backyard water feature on Instagram and Facebook and everyone seemed to agree that the 3-ball design wasn’t a good look.

Outside of that one design-fail, the yard was well done. They didn’t have a ton of space to work with, and the neighbor was practically on top of their fence, but they managed to fit in a very well designed covered patio sitting area/fireplace, outdoor dining area, raised bed garden, water feature, sitting area off the master, and a cool pass-through to the kitchen. Plus a generous sized lawn!

Oh, and someone REALLY likes olive trees. They have them planted all along the fenceline with wire in place for future espalier.

Check out all the unique design details throughout the home, especially that entryway to the Play Room!

Here’s some pictures (click to embiggenate them):


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