By Matthew Galaher

Helping to sustain neighborhood integrity and character while stemming the tide of demolition, one home at a time

Recently on a drive to a client’s home our newest team member newly arrived from out of state, commented on how beautiful the neighborhoods are here.

The qualities that elicit such a response are a large part of what makes Portland feel like a special place. It is beautiful for many reasons. Most notably because the original character and quality of the existing homes has been well maintained.

Mt. Tabor remodel

Portland’s neighborhoods contribute significantly to the higher quality of life we enjoy here. We are lucky to live in an area that has until recently avoided that fate of many other cities where the homes are defiled or torn down and replaced with lower quality homes in both design and construction.

Demolition has seen a marked increase here in the last few years and this has many residents concerned.

There are a large number of people who desire to slow the demolition of these homes, especially in neighborhoods where there is an existing higher density of historically significant structures.

Also tear downs are wasteful, often expose lead, asbestos and other harmful pollutants, reduce the existing housing stock and very frequently do not result in new construction that maintains the quality of previously existing structures.

On the other hand, those looking for a more updated home with better layout, flow and energy efficiency would do well to look into renovation and remodeling.

It is an option that maintains the quality and beauty of both the home and the neighborhood while reducing waste and potential pollution from demolition.

Basement remodel

However not all renovations or remodels are created equal. It requires knowledgeable design and outstanding craftsmanship with a commitment to integrity to meet all these goals.

For the homeowner, it can be overwhelming to achieve all this within a reasonable timeline and budget and choosing the right company is key.

Fortunately there is at least one approach that addresses these challenges head on. There are a few smaller local construction companies that use a process called Design-Build that aligns with the time-honored Master Builder approach of an earlier era.

Typically this process brings the homeowner in as a full collaborator, empowered and supported by the collective expertise of an in-house team of Designers, Master Craftsmen and carefully selected Subcontractors.

By working together using a coordinated, holistically managed process, the homeowner’s desired outcome is brought into focus and the end result can be aligned with the character of the home and the neighborhood.

The Design Build firm will be responsible for all of the work on the project, from design through construction. This benefits the owner by streamlining the process with a single source for design, structural review, engineering and construction.

The tangible benefits are: a single source for communication, clear ownership of the details, and a concise timeline with fewer delays.

One such Design Build contractor in Portland is the Weitzer Company.

Doing business in Portland for 25 years, owner Nick Weitzer says, “We create artful, livable, lasting spaces by breathing new life into old homes and building new spaces that bring continuity to the rest of the neighborhood. Restoring and remodeling is also a greener process because we work with the existing structure and improve its efficiency.”

Whether adding a substantial ADU space by upgrading a basement, breathing new life into an old kitchen, tackling an unfortunate seventies bathroom remodel, or addressing any other host of homeowner needs, Design Build is a great option.

The Weitzer Company projects from the Laurelhurst, Richmond and Mt. Tabor neighborhoods illustrate how the right approach can help keep our neighborhoods beautiful, maintain the historic character of our homes, while providing artful, livable, lasting spaces for us to live in.