A Victorian Lady:

2347 NW Kearney

My former Portland home of 15 years, she's an 1880 Victorian, the oldest house on the block. I miss her, but I left her in good hands.

When I purchased this wonderful home in 1987, I had been living in an upstairs Edwardian apartment across the street.  The long-time residents of this house had been the Richmond brothers, who moved to Portland when one of the brothers was working on his master's degree.


This tired old lady, then quite run down (see photo to left, taken during exterior restoration, approximately 1972), was his master's thesis.  He and his brothers shored up the original brick foundation and replaced much of the rotted gingerbread on the exterior.  They also did some interior work.

I began further exterior restoration in 2000.  Scraped and burned off all the many layers of alligatored paint, replaced all the gable gingerbread (which had rotted since it's earlier replacement in 1970s), and replaced all the sash windows on the front of the house (South side) with solid fir windows and built-in storms.  (no vinyl-clad junk for my home!).  And then found these wonderful painters to decorate her with 13 colors!

Now for a tour of my house, taken the last year of my residence.

This first is my front yard, looking from my parking space toward the sidewalk.  That huge cherry tree on the left can be seen in the 1970s photo above; it looks like a twig just right of center in the photo.

The rambling rock wall includes basalt from Camas, Washington, and granite from near my home in Bigfork.

Another view of the front of the house, from the street.  Note the size of that cherry tree that was just a twig in 1970s.  And my old 1981 volvo in the driveway. You can just see one of the granite stones, at the top of the corner in the rock wall (slightly hidden by the absinthe plant.

Detail of bay window.  You can see the new solid fir sash windows behind the full-size window screens.

The camellias in front of the bay, are probably original landscaping.  The new owner pulled them up and replaced them with Arbor Vitae.  Sad.

Detail of side window in vestibule.  The designs are carved into the wood.  A lovely, artistic touch.

You can also see how pristine the cedar siding is, after all the old alligatored paint was removed.

And another view of the size of the cherry tree!

Detail of the east side of the house.  The lower window is the dining room; the upper window is my bed room.  I did not get around to replacing these windows before selling the home, so they are the original windows.

This side of the house is about 7 feet from the neighbor's house, so hard to get a good shot, and also proved a challenge to the painters when they worked on this gable.

Back porch.  The Richmond brothers often played their jug band instruments (wash tub bass, washboard, banjo, fiddle, guitar and kazoos) on Saturday afternoons.

The center window upstairs is at the end of the hall, and has a great view of Mt. St. Helens; the other upstairs window is in the bathroom.  The screen door opens into the kitchen.  The door on the left is sealed shut; the back side of the downstairs bathroom sink.  You can see how close the neighbors’ houses are on both sides, especially the west side (right) - only 18” apart!

Now lets go inside. 

When you walk in the front door, you enter a small vestibule, and then the dining room, shown right.  My favorite room.  This photo is taken from the pocket door that divides the parlor and the dining room.

The plate rack that goes all around this room I built myself!  The door in the back, on the right, leads to the stairway to the bedrooms upstairs.  The door on the left goes to the kitchen. 

Here's a detail of the ceiling medallion for the dining room light.  I painted this near Halloween; I love the carnival style, with metallic-bronze paint on the scallop shells.

The west wall of the dining room (on the left in the photo above), housed my upright grand piano.  the door barely in the shot on the right leads to the kitchen.

And here's the south wall of the dining room, looking through the pocket door into the living room.

The door on the left is from the vestibule.  The Richmonds had all the interior doors sand-blasted to expose the bare cedar, which was waxed every spring and fall.  That is, all doors except the pocket door.

The living room's bay window in the late afternoon light.  This is a very calming room, serene.  It had good spirits.  The entire house had good spirits, but they especially liked this room.

Detail of the ceiling medallion in the living room, left.  This was painted by the Richmonds, using metallic gold paint.

Living room in better light, showing the fireplace, chase and mantle that I added the year after I purchased the home.  The firebox is cast iron and made by Dovre stoves from France (the same company that makes Le Creuset cookware).

Detail of fireplace.  The colorful tiles are made from original Victorian molds in San Francisco; colored to my specifications.  The off-white tiles are Mexican glazed terra-cotta.  I made the velvet mantle scarf, which I used during the Christmas holiday season.

My kitchen, a true farmhouse kitchen.  The upper cabinets were probably added in the 1910s; the lower cabinets were added during the 1970s restoration.  The stove is a 1930s vintage Wedgwood gas range.

This room was a favorite gathering spot for friendly chats.

Detail of shelf above stove, built by my friend Todd.  he also built the buffet unit in the dining room, above.

The downstairs bath was added in the 1950s, but upgraded by me in 2000.  The original room in this location, was an indoor privy.

I replaced a deep-tub laundry sink with the porcelain pedestal sink, added a shower and replaced the old porcelain toilet.  I also added the wainscoting, lighting and medicine cabinet.

The backdoor, off the kitchen, leads to the back porch and back yard.  I dug up the old weedy lawn and replaced it with recycled sidewalk and driveway concrete, when I replaced them in the late 1990s.  My beloved raspberries are on the left, and my pear tree in the back right corner.

Now, lets go upstairs.

The first room, at the top of the stairs, is the main bathroom.  I replaced the vinyl flooring with hexagonal tiles.  This room boasted an old 6' clawfoot tub (shown below).  I replaced the old wall-hung sink with a pedestal sink.  The original use of this room was as a nursery (the only "bath room" was the privy off the back porch).

I loved taking baths in this room.  I'd painted the walls to look like a sunrise or sunset, with mauve-hazy clouds on the ceiling.

This is the front bedroom, that looked out on the street (above the living room).  I converted into a den, when I added the gas fireplace, chase and mantle at the same time the fireplace was added in the living room.  Then built shelves into the new alcove to the left of the chase, and a closet in the alcove to the right of the chase.

I loved this red color.  At night, it made the room look so inviting to passersby on the sidewalk.

And last, my bedroom, on the east side of the house.  The closed door is to the closet.  What a wonderful English walnut armoire!  One of my few antique pieces that had not belonged to Ginny.

I painted the walls with an amber glaze, to resemble old plaster.

Many restful nights in this room!

The house had a third bedroom, across the hall from my bedroom, which was for my room-mate.  I don't have any photos of that room, which was above the kitchen.

When I put the house up for sale, Charlie and Rosie did a fine job of showing how wonderful and cozy was this gorgeous house.  My realtor said they were the real sellers of the house, which took only one day to sell!

Here they are bathing each other on my dining room table.


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