Alberta Arts Bungalow

Modernist Intervention

Location / Portland, Oregon
Project Type / Renovation
Size / 2000 sf
Completion / 2013

Photography / Shawn Records

Project completed by Campos Leckie Studio


This project is a prototype for retrofitting the ubiquitous early twentieth-century Pacific Northwest cottage. The design acknowledges the traditional character of the house, while creating an open plan interior via a modernist architectural intervention. The original floor plan consisted of a series of separate rooms on the main floor, with a small kitchen at the back of the house that was closed off from the rest of the house. The removal of several of the main floor partition walls and relocation of the kitchen to the middle of the house creates a long 'great room' that opens up the main floor from front to back, providing superb natural light and cross ventilation. The newly configured floor plan is ideal for both entertaining guests and daily life with young children.

The kitchen millwork installation mirrors the symmetry of a large existing bay window with traditional architectural millwork - a bench seat, drawers, and glass storage cabinets. The window faces south onto a generous side yard, providing excellent daylight into the space throughout the day. All of the large domestic appliances - fridge, washer, dryer - have been integrated into the large bank of full height wall cabinets, which takes on the appearance of a large piece of furniture due to its minimal aesthetic. The rest of the kitchen appliances (dishwasher, wall oven, microwave) are tucked quietly into the twelve-foot island, which accommodates seating for up to six people.

The exterior of the house was maintained, as was the character of many of the existing interior details - window casings, baseboards, crown moulding, etc. The aesthetic language of the new architectural element is extremely minimal and mute against the traditional detailing of the existing house. The deliberate decision to retain the existing character of the interior of the house, with the exception of a series of discrete minimal modernist interventions, creates an interesting interplay between old and new.