TODD DEWEY JANTZ and Curt Jantz were at a furniture exposition in London in 1999 when they got a call from their real estate agent back home in Portland. Their contemporary house in Portland Heights, which had spent less than a week on the market, already had a serious offer on the table. News of a home sale is always a cause to celebrate, except for the fact that the then-thirtysomething couple had exactly 12 weeks to clear out—while preparing to welcome Landon, their soon-to-be-adopted infant son, into their home. Suddenly the pressure was on to consummate the most important house hunt of their lives.
The expectant dads, who co-own J.D. Madison Home Furnishings, a popular Pearl District boutique, combed most of the West Hills for a Tudor or Mediterranean-style house. But they found the answer to their desires in a somewhat unlikely Cedar Hills property—a 1960s-era “daylight” ranch with a blaring, lime green paint job—that was about to be repossessed by the bank.
The four-bedroom, two-level home needed a serious style update, but Todd and Curt were attracted to the spatially dynamic layout, featuring a U-shaped living space that wrapped around an interior courtyard. The site itself, nearly an acre of land with rolling perennial beds and an old orchard, clinched the deal. Todd recalls, “We were going to have a child, and having fruit trees and berry bushes—that really spoke to me.”
Still, the pair of avid decorators couldn’t wait to get rid of the “’60s fright” look in favor of “a very calm, more monochromatic space,” says Curt. They started by hiring Jody Becker of Interior Revisions Custom Remodeling to take most of the house down to the studs.
“The kitchen got gutted. It sounds like a crime, but it wasn’t,” Curt quips. The new residents ditched ancient harvest-gold appliances and maple plywood cabinetry in favor of a Viking range, sleek cherry cabinetry, limestone countertops and an undermounted stainless-steel sink. Their remodeling crew updated the home’s three-and-a-half baths, laid down new flooring, installed lighting and opened up sight lines in the main living space by removing and resituating walls. They also widened doorways leading from the main hallway into the kitchen and dining room. New pocket doors inset with translucent panes of beveled glass transmit both light and a sense of spatial flow, even when shut for privacy.