The Architectural Heritage Center’s annual Heritage Homes Tour is always a fun chance to step inside some of the fine old houses that most of us usually only admire from the exterior. The tour tends to focus not on vernacular or mundane old houses but on the sorts of large, stately, impeccably well-preserved homes one could call mansions, if one were being less than modest. Real mansions, the sorts of homes "McMansions" can only dream of being.

The Giesy-Failing House, open for the recent 2013 Heritage Homes Tour, is one of these fine homes. Dr. Andrew and Ida Giesy hired the prominent local architectural firm Jacobberger and Smith to design the house, an English Country Manor version of the popular Arts & Crafts movement in America. Located on a hilly site on Southwest Montgomery Place, the house originally commanded a sweeping view of the city and mountains. Now, surrounded by mature trees and imposing landscaped hedges, it feels tucked away and private.

Take the slide show tour to see what lies behind the hedges and beyond the beautiful threshold of this 1911 Arts & Crafts house. Many of the details are unusual for this style of residential design, and they certainly contrast with what was built in Portland in later years. And thank you to the Architectural Heritage Center for organizing the tour, and to the home's current owners to letting us inside.

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