Portland Flemish Sisters’ 1926 Arts and Crafts home is on sale for $2,375,000

The commissioning of a customs house a century ago is similar to today. Landowners could work closely with an architect to create a residence that met their wishes.

If the partnership was successful, the architect would present the project in a portfolio and the owners would live happily ever after in a home designed, built and finished to their tastes and needs.

Prior to 1926, Caroline and Louise Flanders, the unmarried daughters of one of Portland’s most influential early settlers, Ship’s Captain George H. Flanders, lived in the sprawling residence of their deceased parents. The 1882 Italianate mansion occupied a double corner plot along the family’s namesake Northwest Flanders Street in Nob Hill.

The sisters, however, who traveled by steamer to Europe and then to Egypt, preferred a British approach to architecture and landscaping.

Louise Flanders’ diary entry, noting the expenses of their trip to Europe.Melissa McVeigh

They wanted to live in a smaller two-storey, influenced by English arts and crafts, with few exterior ornaments. Inside, they preferred unpainted wood that recognized the craftsmanship of the construction and large windows to frame the view.

They commissioned prominent architect Jamieson Kirkwood Parker, whom the sisters referred to as “Jamie”, and signed a contract which, in over 42 pages, outlined the scope of work, from excavating their site by half a newly purchased acre in Portland Heights to deck railings.

Flanders then lived in their home at 2421 SW Arden Road, a private sanctuary not visible from the street and surrounded by an English garden, for decades.

Today, the Caroline W. and M. Louise Flanders house is for sale at $2,375,000.

The historic home has 6,150 square feet of living space, original oak floors, leaded glass windows, and architectural pieces salvaged from Captain Flanders’ Nob Hill mansion.

“Timeless craftsmanship meets modern conveniences,” listing agents Betsy Menefee and Tamra Dimmick of Windermere Realty Trust say in marketing materials.

The 1926 Arts and Crafts home of Portland's pioneering Flemish sisters is for sale by Betsy Menefee and Tamra Dimmick of Windermere Realty Trust.

The 1926 Craftsman home has a red carpet, textured brick chimney to serve all three fireplaces.Windermere Estate Trust

Former ship captains George H. Flanders and brother-in-law Captain John Heard Couch sailed down the Willamette River to arrive in 1849 in the young city of Portland. Both men invested in the city’s future and left an indelible legacy.

Among the Flanders family’s sprawling properties were acres of beachfront land where the sisters and their relatives had vacation homes.

In 1933, the Flanders sisters donated 186 acres to the state of Oregon, enticed relatives to donate or sell their adjoining land as well, and made possible Ecola State Park north of Cannon Beach.

The sisters insisted that the new state park retain the historic name “Ecola,” used in 1806 by members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, based on the Chinookan word for “whale.”

The land donation “helped form the framework for the modern state park system,” according to the historians whose research earned Caroline W. and M. Louise Flanders House recognition from the National Register of Historic Places.

In the Portland Heights area, there are 14 homes designed by Parker, but experts from Oregon’s State Historic Preservation Office called the Flanders sisters’ residence “one of the architect’s finest executed in the manner of an enduring English country house where Tudor arts and crafts have been adapted to American customs and materials.

The well-preserved house has many original features as well as architectural memorabilia that the sisters rescued from their parents’ Victorian mansion before it was demolished.

Open the front door to the sisters’ house and walk through the entrance directly into the library. Here are fitted bookcases and a marquetry fireplace from Captain Flanders’ mansion. Parker matched mahogany, birdseye maple, rosewood, and fir in the relocated pieces to the Sisters’ House finishes.

To the right of the entrance are pocket doors to the dining area and to the left are pocket doors resembling the living room. The fireplace with a tiled hearth and a light yellowish red brick facade is surmounted by a mantle, the face of which is carved with bunches of grapes and vines.

Updates include a chef’s kitchen, expansive exercise room, third-floor studio, and two home offices.

Green Gables Design and Restoration in Portland oversaw the renovation, says listing agent Menefee, “and their attention to detail is evident throughout, from the kitchen and mudroom to the closets, cupboards, nooks and crannies throughout the home.”

The upstairs master suite has a fireplace, hardwood floors and walk-in closets. There are three more bedrooms, three more full bathrooms and a powder room.

In 2000, the old garage was replaced with a two-story structure designed by Duncan McRoberts of Kirkland, Washington, known for his expertise in classical architecture.

The new garage has carriage doors on the lower level and a finished second floor that can be used as a home office space, artist’s studio, or guest accommodation, Menefee says.

Connecting the upper level terrace of the shed to the garden, an Alaskan yellow cedar bridge was modeled after that of the Portland Japanese Garden.

The property also has a teahouse-like meditation space and an elevated, tree-supported playhouse in the back yard.

“This could be the perfect home for someone who wants a home in the West Hills of Portland with a sprawling yard, the most beautiful garden, and a custom treehouse,” Menefee says.

— Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072

[email protected] | @janeteastman

Learn more about the Portland and Oregon real estate market:

• The 1908 Colonial Revival home in Portland Heights where Eleanor Roosevelt stayed is up for sale at $2.7million

• Rummer-built mid-century modern home sells for $1.2 million, $205,000 above asking price

• Prohibition-era Portland Tudor Revival home with speakeasy is on sale for $1.3 million

• From homework to building a house: East Oregon high school students sell eighth “Street of Dreams”-style home

• 1894 Queen Anne home, restored and upgraded with modern luxuries tucked away in northeast Portland, sells for $799,000

• Big House, Small Price: More bang for your buck in square footage?

• Rebuilt West Hills repairman with ‘defund the police’ and graffiti on crumbling walls is up for sale for $2million

• Architect Richard Campbell’s modern 1966 cottage in southwest Portland is on sale for $1,465,000

• Modernist architect Neutra’s rare restored Oregon home is on sale for $3,750,000

About Paul Cox

Check Also

10 tips to help you build your Skyrim home

Skyrim’s Hearthfire DLC does not add a story to the base game, but instead adds …