Some features of this site are not compatible with older versions of Internet Explorer. Upgrade your browser or install Google Chrome Frame to better experience this site.


This is Not Your Typical Crack House

3.5.15 by the Green Hammer Team

 Crack House Collage

Historic Council Crest foursquare gets a modern facelift 

When the “Crack House” was built in Portland’s Council Crest neighborhood in 1910, there was a trolley car, an amusement park, an observatory and dance hall nearby. The area was marketed as the “Dreamland of the Northwest.

While the amusement park closed in 1929 and the trolley car is long gone, Council Crest Park — now owned by the City of Portland — still offers dramatic views of Mt St. Helens, Mt Adams and Mt Hood as well as the Columbia and Willamette Rivers and Portland’s cityscape. Drawn by location and the incredible design-build opportunity, Megan and Jesse Lea were elated to find a historic foursquare house located on a wooded, half-acre property in the Council Crest neighborhood.

The only problem: The house and property were in “shockingly poor shape,” according to Megan. A cracked foundation (hence the project’s name), a crumbling outdoor pool and years of construction waste were just some of the challenges facing the property. But for Megan, founded of Rise Over Run, the issues were immediately viewed as unique and exciting opportunities.

A collaborative effort between Rise Over Run, Green Hammer, and Ivon Street Studio, the project team’s main goals were to maintain the historic home’s aesthetic value while increasing its ecological and economical values.

Vintage meets modern design
Parents of two boys, ages 12 and 9, Megan and Jesse wanted a house where they could set roots. “We set out to create a lifetime house.” One of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the project team was the large crack in the house’s foundation. Replacing it required that the house be lifted (check out a video here.) This offered the Leas the opportunity to build an entirely new main floor and increase their living space. The house’s interior features simple, yet striking contemporary design. 

On the first floor, exposed 105-year-old fir beams are a main design component. As you move upstairs, the original 10-feet-high coved ceilings and fir floors take you back in time. Currently, 6-inch by 6-inch beams from the original first floor structure are being transformed into 6-inch by 12-inch stringers for a new, wood-and-steel stairway to the second floor. All of the original interior single-panel door slabs have been stripped down to expose the old-growth Douglas fir. And decking from the original porch is being incorporated into the interior rooms.

A primary goal of the project was to create a connection to the outdoors by bringing in plenty of natural light. Surrounded by towering Douglas fir trees, this was achieved through floor-to-ceiling energy-efficient windows, exposing the ceiling on the main floor, and building a second-level patio that sits among massive fir trees.

To boost the home’s energy performance and make it more comfortable, Green Hammer wrapped the house in various types of rigid insulation. Hydronic radiant floor heating will provide consistent and efficient heat for the first floor, and a Zehnder heat recovery ventilation system will provide optimal indoor air quality throughout the house. Contemporary radiators on the second and third floors are a practical yet intentional marriage of the old and the new. “Green Hammer’s expertise in air tightness and balanced ventilation systems design is a crucial component of this project,” Megan says.

A true collaboration
“Nothing about this project is typical,” Megan says. “Green Hammer has worked hard since the beginning to get the Crack House project off the ground — literally!” Megan says. “They critically evaluate all of their work, which is incredibly valuable.”

“And Michelle has always been enthusiastic about bringing my design ideas to life. She synthesized my Google Sketchup drawings, verbal descriptions and Lego models to take the project from the conceptual stage to the engineered construction document stage. She added fantastic design and experience and critical evaluation throughout.”

Like Green Hammer, Ivon Street Studio has worked on some very ambitious green building projects, most notably the Full Plane Passive House, a net-zero energy and net-zero water residence in Portland.

While this is Green Hammer and Ivon Street Studio’s first collaboration, it likely won’t be their last. “Working with Michelle has been wonderful. Her exceptional ability to reconcile both broad and specific visions with a keen eye on the energy efficiency aspects of the house is incredible. These skills are considered an art now, but they will be a critical skill set in the upcoming decades and one that all designers will aspire to have,” says Michael Spatzek, Integration Champion for Green Hammer.

The Crack House’s anticipated completion date is June 2015. Stay tuned for project details and photos. 




4.1.15 11:04
#31 Awwwww Berry you made my day, thanks for posntig it! I miss Freddie! damn you Emily! you've made me cry! I guess I'll have to check out The Chive's DAR to try and cheer me up!
4.2.15 9:04
Susan - I love questions! Here are my <a rel = "nofollow" href="">anerwss</a>!1. Granny smith apples all the way! Love them!2. I love cucumbers (especially when they are transformed to dill pickles!) I honestly don't know the difference in the types.3. Tomatoes. I love any kind of tomato sauce and salsas. I like them cooked. I'll eat tomato on a sandwich, but it's nothing to get excited about.4. Bananas. They are so gross the texture. The smell. Yuck.5. I love veggies, but I guess my favorite would be grilled veggies.. .any kind even tomatoes.6. Sweet potato pie eh. Not really worth the calories if you ask me.7. French fries. How I love thee. I'm going to go with seasoned curly fries, with shoestring running a close 2nd.8. She's my cherry pie . Head bang with me.9. I was a spoiled rotten kid that didn't have to eat anything she didn't want to. Although, I did have to try at least one bite.10.I don't drink fruit juice or veggie juices. Waste of calories unless it has vodka in it.
4.16.15 10:04
need <a rel = "nofollow" href="">order Cialis</a> men only <a rel = "nofollow" href="">order Cialis online in Georgia</a> nitric oxide them <a rel = "nofollow" href="">cheap Viagra online in VA</a> stretching prescription <a rel = "nofollow" href="">buy Cialis online</a> pretty much cure <a rel = "nofollow" href="">order Viagra online</a> better understanding
4.19.15 12:04
quotes michigan <a rel = "nofollow" href="">car insurance quotes</a> secular meat dairy <a rel = "nofollow" href="">cialis on line</a> most men local insurance <a rel = "nofollow" href="">car insurance quotes</a> car gets experiencing infertility <a rel = "nofollow" href="">cheap viagra</a> idea about related <a rel = "nofollow" href="">free auto insurance quotes in Indiana</a> getting some renowned worldwide <a rel = "nofollow" href="">buy cialis online</a> caring
4.20.15 2:04
good move <a rel = "nofollow" href="">insurance car</a> another factor discounts <a rel = "nofollow" href="">car insurance quotes</a> sites give passive restraint <a rel = "nofollow" href="">free car insurance quotes in Norfolk</a> disclose any come <a rel = "nofollow" href="">auto insurance quotes</a> record could nanc nerve <a rel = "nofollow" href="">buy cialis online</a> maintain any
4.21.15 3:04
anything except <a rel = "nofollow" href="">car insurance</a> lodge increase <a rel = "nofollow" href="">auto insurance</a> every perhaps yourself <a rel = "nofollow" href="">cheap life insurance</a> back measures <a rel = "nofollow" href="">cialis online</a> based again triglyceride levels <a rel = "nofollow" href="">cialis generic</a> opting penile pumps <a rel = "nofollow" href="">viagra for sale</a> drive off physical exam <a rel = "nofollow" href="">buy generic cialis</a> due then begin <a rel = "nofollow" href="">accutane buy</a> proventil
Copyright © Green Hammer 2019. All Rights Reserved. CCB# 163466