Case Study: Duplex Rental Transformation

This income property built in 1901 was in such disrepair that it had become difficult to rent. Every system, surface and element needed to be updated, including: dilapidated kitchens and bathrooms; two tiny bedrooms, measuring 9’x10’, that were nearly impossible to rent as true two-bedroom apartments; a two-story rear addition was falling down.

Portland Duplex Remodel Before

The layout forced living spaces to the front, within feet of the sidewalk and street. Without insulation, the structure was an energy drain. The boring, boxy structure sits so far forward in the lot, it looms over the street while concealing the main feature of the property, a large yard in the rear. A shared laundry room on the second floor was inconvenient for both units.

Duplex Remodel Before Pics in Portland OR

The owners wanted to remodel the property to keep it as a long-term investment. By putting money into eco-friendly features, energy efficiency and appealing designs they hoped to attract loyal renters. With the addition of ADA features in the lower unit, the owners hoped to appeal to an underserved demographic presently, and to the aging Baby Boomer market of the future.

Portland Duplex Remodel After
Scott Edwards Architecture designed an access tower of stacked hallway/walkway on the side that provided easy unit access while also solving the challenge of how to make the front facade appealing. To meld with the access ramp, the main downstairs entrance needed to be in the rear, but to comply with Portland building code, an entrance had to be close to the street in front. The design of the access tower solves both these issues.  Energy Features: – High-efficiency insulation. – High-efficiency windows. – Hydronically radiant floor heat. – On-demand water heaters. – Natural light sola-tubes in the laundry/utility rooms. – Low utility bills: less than $100/mo per unit.

Kitchen in Portland Duplex Remodel


Green & Design Features:
– Salvaged bleachers from Lewis & Clark used as flooring.
– Base and trim from salvaged fir.
– Hand rubbed non-toxic oil finish on floor and trim.
– Marmoleum floors in the kitchen.
– Salvaged structural lumber used as railing and screening.
– Hydropressed concrete slab pavers for no-maintenance decks.
– Bioswale for stormwater management and an attractive landscape feature.
– Ample secure bike parking.
– ADA compatible lower unit.
– Durable tile with epoxy grout at the bathrooms.
– OSB used as floor tiles at the bedrooms with a low VOC waterbourne finish.


Exterior of Portland Duplex Remodel by Hammer & Hand


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