BORN IN ENGLAND in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, the Arts & Crafts movement exhorted nesters to eschew shoddy, mass-market housewares that were then pouring from factory assembly lines and to invest in homes and furnishings of beauty and quality. With its rustic architecture and Medieval-inspired décor, the movement took firm hold in Portland in the first decades of the last century, as evidenced in part by the thousands of stately Craftsman bungalows that still line our streets and continue to attract new generations of caretakers.
It was a 1923 Craftsman bungalow in Irvington that caught the eyes of 37-year-old art dealer Charles Hartman and his wife, Heather Frazier, a 47-year-old freelance designer. Having shoehorned themselves and their belongings into a tiny condominium for 12 years in San Francisco, the self-employed couple had despaired of ever getting a solid foothold in the Bay Area real estate market. Like so many who have made such calculations before, they found that their modest home-buying budget would stretch further in Portland. They made the move in 2005.
“I had been miserable in that little box, and I wanted as much of a dream house as possible,” Frazier says.
Because Hartman stands at a lanky 6’4", vertical space was an essential requirement for their new home. The couple had spent two months on the hunt for a high-ceilinged Portland foursquare when they at last came across the near-perfect Craftsman: a four-bedroom, 2,300-square-foot home with nine-foot ceilings and plentiful light (also top priority for a pair making the worrisome transition to Portland’s rainy, gray weather). Moreover, three extra bedrooms, along with a main-floor sitting room, provided a place for Frazier’s college-age daughter to stay during vacations from school, as well as for Hartman’s home office and Frazier’s design studio.
Moreover, with its burly front porch and lovingly detailed built-ins, it typified the humble beauty of the Craftsman style. And it was in excellent shape, with refinished wood floors, newly tiled bathrooms and a renovated kitchen.