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Mike Francis

Very cool post, Brian. Thanks.

Corey Martin

Very Womblike and humane! I think Portland will love it.


what a quirky, fun house. thanks for this post..


Sorry Brian, but that house sucks. It looks like a blimp stuck in the middle of a crappy Portland Bungalow. Not much better the hillbilly architecture to my eye.


while i personally respond to it like Nick above, i do like the fact that you're publishing small scale works by local unknowns...for that, bryan, keep it up!

Scott Tice

IMHO... ugh. But to each his own.


I actually kinda like it, especially the curved ceilings in the bedroom...but the back of the house...ugh, so contrived, trying far to hard to be clever for clever's sake.

eric cantona

architectural masturbation.

and not in a good way...


I was able to attend the open house that the architect held and was really taken by this place. You gotta see the thing in person! The house seemed very personal and wonderful and I loved the space, the inventiveness, the daylight. I admire that the designer had the guts and vision to do this.


This house has soul. Not many architects can claim to have found their recurring motivation and also have the opportunity to manifest them into built form. After reading this article, it seems evident that Papazian is one of few architects practicing in an industry overridden by style and glam. A true portland progressive should really embrace this project in its entirety. The detailing looks very tight considering the budgetary constraints.

Javier Klein

I admire the architect's singular vision to create a unique, eclectic and utterly idiosyncratic home for himself and his wife. Why shouldn't he? Like a bespoke suit, every piece of true architecture is unique and made to fit its user, context, and purpose. This is a self portrait.

One could only hope that their architect would be willing to use his or her own home as a test lab for radical intervention and creative exploration; they arrive at a client's challenge that much the wiser, having taken the risk of discovery and construction upon themselves.

It took far more courage to build this home than it did to deride it through the anonymity of the internet. I admire the work as well as the man who would see it through! Applaud Mr. Papazian for his thoughtfulness, his singularity, and his fortitude. If only there were more like him...

Lisa P.

I was hoping the house would have been a tore down and turned into a McMansion with glowing ionic columns signifying the hidden wealth of the suit by day, flannel shirt by night folks that are flocking into Portland. As much as locals claim social progressiveness, some of the comments are evident of the contrary. I live within the neighborhood and had the fortune of visiting the house. Beyond the obvious use of prefab materials, the detailing is what makes it. Knowing that it would have been more cost effective to have designed a gable roof house or another proliferating modern box, I'm delighted they challenged the norm. So if Portlanders, like myself, want to be truly represented as a community that is open to social consciousness, we should rethink our visual language alongside it. We need more nonconformist architects like Edgar to grace PDX with unique, sustainable buildings.
Thanks Brian.


In a town where we celebrate "fixxy" bikes and adhoc street art, I personally can't see why anyone would object to Edgar's intervention for his own residence.

I'm a friend and admirer of Edgar's work, and I love that he chose a "both and" solution rather than an "either/or" construction. He could've taken the easy route and deferred to the original style and structure, or chosen the dogmatic modernist path and hidden the house's original bones, but instead he chose to create a dialogue between the past and present. This is both a practical and sustainable move. It's also a helluva lot harder too pull off, and why few people have the "chutzpah" (too quote Libby) to try.

Let's face it people, 50-100 year old houses do not accommodate the way we live our 21st century lifestyle, no matter how many steampunk novels may have convinced you otherwise, and while the particular spaces and interior style may not suit everybody, you are missing the point. Edgar is offering a model for creating unique place-oriented design. It bows to the character and history of the neighborhood without just blending into the background. It is forward-thinking and contextual at the same time.

Is adding an ADU that looks like a Victorian stable the only socially-acceptable way to add onto a house in SE Portland? I sure hope not in the long-term, but that's unfortunately still seems to be the status quo move...

PS Nick: I've grew up in the South, and Edgar's house would definitely not qualify as hillbilly architecture; their lawn is too well-maintained.

Jim Heuer

The Edgar house isn't my cup of tea (actually I much prefer the rear elevation to the front, which appears hokey and a bit slapdash to me), but I admire the boldness the architect/owner showed in its concept. While I'm passionate about preserving the best of the past, one of the reasons for respecting that past is the innovation and creativity that went into its creation. We need more of that innovation in today's modern housing developments instead of the "Traditional" styled homes that are mere fakery created by Autocad-happy designers.

Still I must quibble with Jason's blanket comment that "50-100 year old houses do not accommodate the way we live our 21st century lifestyle" as pure claptrap. Portland has tens of thousands of homes in that age range (I happen to live in one of them), which serve their residents admirably. Further the compact, beautifully treed neighborhoods where many of those are found, are the essence of the walkable 20-minute neighborhoods that the 21st century needs.


Perhaps my statement about 50-100 year houses was a little too broad. I used to live in a wonderful 1903 four-square (although having to walk through my bedroom to get to the only bathroom didn't make a lot of sense to me in 2005), and like Jim I admire and long for the craftsmanship found in many of Portland's historic neighborhoods. No doubt, the best qualities of older homes can and should be preserved and incorporated into renovations. What I object to is stylistic purism and historic recreation. What I endorse is an eclectic and adaptive approach for neighborhoods and individual buildings, and Edgar's house is a great (if a bit audacious) example.

One must remember older homes that appear of an era are actually often the product of multiple renovations (perhaps a Victorian turret was added to a Richardsonian townhome). These nuances and idiosyncrasies create character. They also tell a story (see Stewart Brands "How Buildings Learn") Designers of previous generations were allowed to leave their imprint on the existing building stock, so what is so wrong with Edgar putting his circa 2010 signature on a mid-century bungalow? Having lived and worked in planned communities like Coral Gables and Miami Beach, they are dangerously close to become historical stage sets for the wealthy and tourists.

Probably my biggest beef with Portland culture is that people in the nicer 20-minute walkable neighborhoods that Jim endorses are the biggest NIMBY protesters. I don't blame them; they have a great quality of life, but I do find it ironic that they talk about how great density would be and collect modern art and furniture, but raise hell if somebody wants to build something that disrupts the sanctity of their 2-story craftsman villages.

Haik A

It appears that several of the comments do not seem to appreciate the fact that Mr. Papazian is promoting and expressing himself as an architect (“music needs to be performed, architecture needs to be executed”) and bringing his vision of adaptive reuse, which most likely may be the future, in to the neighborhood. Hopefully not only this one, and, admit it, he has a style.

And why it has to be so judgmental, impolite, and in some cases just shooting from the hip? The old "wild west" time was over long time ago. If you don't like it, fine, but at list try to explain why to yourself first, then go online, but rather, keep it to yourself.

husky transplant

While it’s not necessarily my taste or what I would do if I had the money, I would have to say that it is nice to see a bold move taken in this renovation. There is a lot of nice detail work and, overall, I think it is a well executed project. Too often people attack art and architecture – or simply dismiss something – and are not open to a useful dialogue. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that architects are designing for a client – whether themselves or someone else – and if the client is happy, then the project is a success. If it happens to provoke some thought, all the better. It would be difficult to say that someone driving by this house wouldn’t stop and think and the design, which is without a doubt a good thing. Thanks to the architect for brining a little variety – and I’m sure there are plenty of others out there that are of like mind.

Fred Leeson

I guess it's OK to celebrate the quirky vision of some architect or another. I wonder, however, about context. If it is impinging on the historic and financial values of the surrounding neighbors, then it's just another example of selfish, self-centered Americanism, no matter where he hails from.

Brian Libby

Fred, you are absolutely right in principal here, but I would argue that the Eyebrow House does not diminish the neighborhood or its property values. This was a run-down little cottage, and now it's gone through a creative renovation. It's something the neighbors have been very supportive of.


Opinions are like you know what - everybody's got one - and there is nothing wrong with airing one's grievances online, but let's try to shake off our preconceptions a bit before passing judgement too harshly on things that look a bit different to us. Reuse and renewal are never painless and it is fascinating to see the physical stuff of the past reborn to fit modern modes of living as well as construction techniques. I say we celebrate experimentation at this scale and hope for more of the same throughout our aging neighborhoods. New ideas, even iffy ones, only add to urban life.

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