Monday, August 8, 2011

Exploring Portland's Bitar Mansion

If the iconic peacock entry motif doesn't impress you, I don't know what will.  I recently had the pleasure of touring the 12,000 sq. ft. Bitar Mansion with Giulietti/Schouten Architects on sunny afternoon in SE Portland.  The mansion is up for sale and is in desperate need of some care.  This place rivals (if not surpasses) the Pittock Mansion in the West Hills and really deserves to be purchased by someone who can appreciate the architecture and original details of this historical register-worthy gem. 

The listing agent, Tommy Jedrzejczyk,  gave us an incredibly detailed tour of each beautiful room.  Thoughtful details such as hidden operable window screens, secret storage nooks, and custom plasterwork are found throughout the home.  Beautifully patterned floors are solid and in nearly perfect condition-- I don't think I heard a squeak from a single board. 

My favorite room in the home had to be the solarium with center-situated fountain.  I could imagine sipping the day away in a luxurious chaise lounge and tending to my plants in style.  

Though the custom bathroom tile isn't necessarily my taste, I can't deny it's impressive color.  Check out that pink (original) throne and custom-glazed men's shaving sink.

This home definitely had it's moment in the sun, and now it's time for someone to breath new life into the property.  The sad reality is that there is no longer a functional kitchen, the landscaping is all but destroyed, the basement-level ballroom and speakeasy bar needs total restoration, and the exterior needs some extra TLC.  However, listed at $1.6 it's a steal for anyone who appreciates this level of historical detail.  Elenore Roosevelt, concert pianist Van Cliburn, and a laundry list of Portland celebrities have all been guests on the property--- who will you invite for tea?

Dave Giulietti and his team have some excellent ideas for restoring the property to it's proper splendor.  With a little heart, this property could once again be the jewel of Laurelhurst.