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mt tabor redux


When new owners purchased this 95-year-old house in 2019, their first inclination was that it would unfortunately have to be a tear-down. Being homebuilders, they could see how years of neglect, botched renovations and maladroit changes to the structure had taken their toll. Once it was determined that part of the original structure could be salvaged, the project turned into a labor of love, and the entire house was rehabilitated and remodeled. A crude, single-story addition to the back of the house and a poorly infilled back porch were unsalvageable, and had to be removed and replaced. The new two-story replacement compliments the original house both inside and out; providing additional bedrooms and living space without dominating the primary structure's form and street presence. 

Slaten Bickford, one of the owners and the visionary behind the renovations, wanted a contemporary look and flow to the house; one that was in sync with the natural beauty and urban atmosphere of the surrounding Mt. Tabor neighborhood. The challenge was to create an open plan with contemporary fixtures and finishes while simultaneously maintaining the craft details of the original home. Slaten also desired to use as much reclaimed wood as possible, both from the original house and from local sources, without giving the interiors an overly rustic feel.


Since the house had to be almost completely rebuilt, every aspect of it was rethought. The new layout was designed to bring the outside in and the inside out, and the primary functions of the house were rearranged to better serve its future inhabitants. This was achieved, most prominently, with a new central courtyard that provides an inlet for natural light to funnel into the heart of the home. This south-facing courtyard also acts as a divider, separating the public side and the private side of the house. The public side centers around a new kitchen as its focal point, and is open to the living room and guest suite. The private side centers on a second-floor family room and adjacent vaulted staircase that connects all of the bedrooms with the relandscaped backyard.


As for the finishes, the floors were all relaid with Longleaf Yellow Pine salvaged from a nearby high school's old gym bleachers. The exterior soffits were relined with fir flooring from a 110-year-old NW church. In order to open up the house, the old structural walls were replaced with reclaimed old-growth beams and posts from an area elementary school that was being rebuilt. The original foundation was also shored-up with new footings and timber posts making the aged structure more resilient to wind and seismic forces. The end goal was to give the house a second life; to create a modern, comfortable home for someone who would appreciate the craft, history and story of it all.


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