Client / Owner: Withheld
Team Members: Jake Weber, AIA; Tim Schouten, AIA
Contractor: Cornerstone Construction
Engineer: Madden & Baughman Engineering
Interiors: All Surfaces Design
Project Type: Remodel
Building Type: Single-Family
Building Size: 4,084 SF
Location: Portland, OR
Completion Date: 2021
Photography: Adam Potts


The homeowners purchased the personal residence of local Mid-Century builder and designer, Ken Birkemeier, originally built in 1965 and perched on a steep slope overlooking the Portland skyline, four mountains, and the Willamette River.

The main goals of the remodel were to create an open plan on the main level by reorganizing the kitchen and laundry room, and relocating the existing, tight and dark staircase. The redesign also allowed for a primary suite on the main level as well as an office and powder room, and two guest bedrooms were relocated on the lower level. The shallow, main level deck was expanded and cantilevered out over the steep slope, enlarging the key outdoor space adjacent to the living and dining room.

In addition to improving the functionality of the home for the family, the building envelope was upgraded with better insulation and the siding and windows were replaced for a more efficient home. The street-facing facade was streamlined by simplifying the front roof line, and the entry door was moved to the side of the house with the addition of an enlarged porch. Seismic upgrades were also installed to better secure the home to the steeply sloping hillside.

While remodeling the entire home, it was important to save some key existing features of the original design such as the post and beam roof structure and a stone cladded fireplace in the living room. A few existing beams were salvaged and reused in a newly vaulted office on the main level as well.