Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Cool - and not so cool - Things in North Portland: This Old House
One of the things that Mojo and I like about where we live is the "feel" of the neighborhood. We live in the "University Park" section of Portland, and our part of town is very unpretentious, the houses usually small wood-frame buildings, and in most cases built sometime between the Nineteen-Teens and the middle Seventies. The house at the top is one of my favorites - a rehabbed bungalow-style building at the corner of Yale and Monteith. Five years ago it was one of those scary dilapidated old-man-owner-found-dead-half-eaten-by-an-Alsatian kind of places. After the poor old guy did pass away (and was not eaten by anything, FYI...) the new owners have made a lovely job of making the old home look good again.
We like that we seldom feel lost or overwhelmed on our streets, that our little house and the neighborhood around us are built on a human scale.
The houses around us range from cute Craftsmans through grandiloquent Queen Annes to completely forgettable Seventies shitboxes.
This is perhaps the grandest of the local houses - this Queen Anne on Portsmouth is the pied a terre for some sort of artist who, while personally a bit of a jerk, does a terrific haunted house every Halloween. Does that make up for being a jerk? Hmmm....
But - and I do have a "but" - the last handful of houses built or under construction in our neighborhood have been less promising.
It's not like you HAVE to build a grandiose Beaverton McMansion just because veryone else is. Several of the new constructions have been terrific-looking Bungalow or neo-Craftsman style duplex and multiplexes for the UP students. Here's an example of that, this one from right down Monteith. Nice, simple lines, new-but-fits-with-the-surroundings sort of look. But...but...
Here's the ugly face of the new stuff we're seeing. Sweetbabyjesus, is that hideous or what? These craptacular productions are the sort of thing that would be right a home in the inflated, anonymous cookie-cutter suburbs outside Aloha. My real pet peeve is the ridiculous "Great Hall" double-height entryway, a tribute to "more money than taste" and a huge ginormous waste of interior space. Freaking things should come with a Hummer H3 and a purse dog.
I'm sorry, but these are just butt-ugly. AND out of place in University Park. There's bad ideas and bad ideas. And then there's "The obstetrician should have slapped you AND your mama" kinds of bad ideas. Just one man's opinion, mind you. But as ideas...these are that bad.