Cape Cod, Portland, Oregon, United States
Benjamin Waechter, Architect

The task of this project was to transform an existing 1947 single story Cape Cod style house into a compact and energy efficient modern dwelling. The existing foundation, floor framing and exterior wall framing were all reused for economy and sustainability. With a lean construction budget, the reuse of these structural elements meant that more money could be spent on building systems, insulation and finishes. This allowed the owners to achieve a higher quality building than what would have been possible with new construction.

FIRST FLOOR: The first floor living space is now one open room with living, dining and kitchen areas. Offset from the centre of this room is a wooden box that contains “servant” spaces (stairs, powder room and storage). To go upstairs one literally steps into this wooden box creating a dramatic threshold between the main living space and the more private bedroom area above.

SECOND FLOOR: The original Cape Cod roof was removed and a second floor was added for bedrooms. In stark contrast to the first floor, the plan is split into 4 rooms organized around the central stair creating discrete, private spaces.

ROOF TERRACE: The open floor plan of the first floor reappears at the rooftop terrace. The diagram, once again, is a single room with a box “floating” off center. This time, however, the room perimeter consists of parapet walls which afford sweeping views of the neighborhood and distant mountains.

Completed 2011

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