All white remodel in Portland’s Healy Heights brings purity and light to a hillside haven

Hammer & Hand helps family of five expand into mid century masterpiece.

This was a kitchen remodel that also touched every part of the house, bringing clarity to a Healy Heights home. With a full painting inside, refinished bamboo floors upstairs, new windows in the master bedroom, and a reconfigured floorplan, Portland home builder and remodeling firm Hammer & Hand transformed the home in to a bright and breezy domicile fit for five.

The biggest change was in the kitchen. Portland architect Ann McCulloch’s design called for removing some walls to open the kitchen up to the living space. Instead of walking in the front door and seeing a wall, you now see straight through to the kitchen, and the trees beyond.

Photography by Mitchell Snyder Photography

Healy Heights remodel by Portland contractor Hammer and Hand
Removing a wall opened up a view from the front door to the kitchen, and beyond to the back yard

Because the midcentury home is on a steep hillside, you enter the home on the ground level and take stairs down to the family room and bedrooms. The dominant element of the ground floor is a wood stove and brick fireplace that previously was set in a large wall. The remodel removed most of that wall, painted the bricks white, and switched out the wood stove for a more eco-friendly natural gas unit.

“The whole color scheme of the house switched to white,” says McCulloch. “The client wanted more light, and clean, uncluttered surfaces.” She chose a pure, white paint, with not even a hint of any other color.

McCulloch agreed with the owners that the ground level layout did not feel right.

“It was a poor floor plan, U-shaped and not conducive to family life,” says the designer.

The kitchen remodel reoriented the small kitchen so that it gained bigger windows, more square footage, and an island counter.

Healy Heights remodel by Portland contractor Hammer and Hand
The newly opened-up kitchen and living space provides options for dining

The family bought the 2,900 sq ft house for more space for their three daughters. The scope of work was big enough that they remained living close by in Council Crest while Hammer & Hand carried out the remodel. The work took three months and the family moved in in time for Christmas 2012.

At four bedrooms and three bathrooms, the home provides plenty of space for a growing family. The girls got to choose the color of their bedrooms. One chose pink.

“The house is much larger than it looks from the outside,” says McCulloch.

As part of brightening up the place, she replaced the ceiling lights with four-inch cans – that is, smaller, recessed ceiling lights – and arranged them in a more efficient pattern.

In the master bedroom, Hammer & Hand installed new, tall windows either side of the bed, for extra light.

Healy Heights remodel by Portland contractor Hammer and Hand
New his ‘n’ hers windows in the master bedroom make the room light and airy and invite the forest inside

“It was a straightforward job,” says Hammer & Hand lead carpenter Patrick Conrad.  “But we touched a lot of things in the house. There was new paint throughout, sheetrock repairs, new gas fireplaces, updated electrical…But the main thing was opening up the kitchen to the living space and entry.”

Removing walls meant adding beams. Hammer & Hand poured some footings under the house and put in posts to support the new framing on the main floor.

“The client has very specific tastes and never considered any color: it was white cabinets, countertops and walls,” says McCulloch. Having worked in real estate, the owner knows her finishes, and chose Caesarstone, a recycled quartz product which fabricates well and will never yellow.

Healy Heights remodel by Portland contractor Hammer and Hand
Pure white paint and caesarstone counter tops made the most of the natural north light.

“Sometimes it takes a couple of meetings to understand what someone wants, but she knew what she wanted. It was very refreshing. There were things she didn’t waver about.”

– Joseph

(For more about H&H’s services, visit our kitchen and home remodeling pages.)

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