Kitchel House

Portland, OR

Kitchel House

Portland, OR

Settled within a heavily forested and environmentally sensitive site, this private home for a professional couple with grown children embraces the outdoors while offering privacy and seclusion. Seeking a change from the suburban house that had been the family’s long-time home, our clients asked for a dramatic space that captured the beauty of their forest property.

We faced considerable challenges in meeting this goal due to the steep slope and environmental regulations limiting the footprint and location of the house. We responded by placing the house across a ridge so that the boomerang shape and folded geometry aligns with the bending topography. This strategy minimized foundation expenses while maximizing daylight penetration into the house.

The home’s middle and upper floors are open and loft-like. Screened from the great room by a curving book case, the perched bedroom and office borrow light and space from the living area without exposing these private spaces to public view. The bottom floor guest quarters include three bedrooms, a small kitchen and a living room, allowing the owners to enjoy one-bedroom loft living while offering privacy to their guests.

Inspired by the rhythm and proportion of the trees on the site, we developed a distinctive array of windows in the main double-height living space. Developed in close coordination with our clients, these windows not only draw in precious daylight and capture views, but most importantly imbue the forest-wrapped house with a feeling of secluded, sylvan living. We further emphasized this site connection by staining the exterior to match the color of tree bark while using a lighter warm palette dominated by maple and hemlock for the interior.


Custom Home, “En Garde,” August 2007
House with a View/Vue d’en Haut, Images Publishing, 2008
Houses and Materials: Elements on Architecture, Loft Publications, 2008
New York Times Magazine, “Luxury Homes and Estates,” March 16, 2008
Oregon Home, “The Showpiece,” January 2006
Portland Monthly, “Open-and-Shut Case, December, 2004



WBS Construction