Adrian & Gregg's Inviting, Open Home

Adrian & Gregg's Inviting, Open Home

Leela Cyd
May 11, 2011

Name: Adrian, Gregg, Amelia and Deckard Hale
Location: Portland, Oregon; Northeast neighborhood
Size: 2600 sq ft
Years lived in: 6 months

Adrian and Gregg moved to Portland from long stays on the East Coast and Asia with open space on their minds and that's just what they got! They live in a sustainably built dream pad, relaxed yet elegant, great for entertaining and hanging out with kids.

Adrian and Gregg's urban NE Portland, OR home started as a 1920s bungalow and was transformed, with the help of Green Hammer Construction, into an airy, bright space tailored for family life. You can find Adrian cooking her heart out (she's an extraordinary chef) in her deluxe, muted grey kitchen, while kids and Gregg hang out on the back porch or living room, searching for pirate treasure or making valentines. This is a home where the owners' voices sound loud in their design choices. Adrian, being a food writer and chef, splurged in the kitchen with a great stove and modern layout. Gregg, a filmmaker and writer, researched and built the ultimate screening room for home viewing, complete with couches he found on Craigslist and carefully sized one shorter than the other, so viewers would have no trouble seeing the screen! It's the details like this that make this home come to life.

Adrian and Gregg's green design choices are as artful as they are energy efficient. They built their home on existing foundation, it's pending Earth Advantage Certification, the space has great air sealing, uses locally salvaged and FSC-certified wood wherever possible and all appliances are Energy Star. The family's sustainable ethos goes beyond the home and shows up in their lifestyle: they walk and bike in their neighborhood, work in the garden, and Adrian's recipes always feature local, stellar ingredients. The most striking area of this home is the ground level, where the lovely kitchen and living room are located. It's full of light, windows, natural wood, cool tones of gray. In short, it's a very soothing and inspiring space.

Re-Nest Survey:

Our style: The exterior of the house is based on modern shaker designs. The interior is modern, but filled with a lot of warmth with all the wood. 

Inspiration: We were not looking for a dream house, but wanted a good, modest place to raise our kids. And we wanted it in a relatively urban neighborhood where we could walk and bike a lot. When you have kids, function precedes form, but we wanted to meld the two as best we could. We wanted a space that could accommodate the needs of two growing kids, but still be a space that we would enjoy living in. The team we worked with at Greenhammer inspired us daily during the renovation project, as well. They had so many great ideas. 

Favorite Element: It's hard to choose between the kitchen and the screening room, but this makes sense since I am a cook who loves movies and Gregg is a filmmaker who loves to eat. The kids get wrangled into both. 

Biggest Challenge: Paring it down to stay in our budget. Now I'm so glad we stuck to the budget. Because of our dedicated team and Gregg's producing skills, we were able to do a lot with the money we had. And we even still get to take vacations!

Proudest DIY: I think Gregg would say that the screening room is his proudest DIY. He researched the screen for months, and gathered components. The crowning moment was when he took an old couch apart and modified it so that the two sections would be different heights, one in front of the other. Then he mounted a little shelf on the back so people would  have a place to put snacks and drinks. I was skeptical, thinking, "This is going to look so white trash!" But I was wrong. It totally works and is the most comfortable place to watch movies, and they look and sound amazing.

Biggest Indulgence: For me, the stove. For Gregg, the screening room.

Best Advice: Use Greenhammer! And also be creative. Don't think you automatically have to throw more money at something. You really can do more than you think with what you have. We renovated a house a decade ago and we didn't follow that advice. We were pretty extravagant with going overboard, and in the end, I like this house much better.

Green Elements/Initiatives:
• Energy Efficiency
• Walls average R-24 insulation
• Roof R-38 (which is code)
• Great air sealing - 1.8 ACH50 that means that all of the air in your house only leaks out twice a day under natural conditions instead of 12-15 times a day which is very common for new construction and similar homes
• HRV - to recover heat off of any exhaust air to maintain good indoor air quality
• 95% efficient furnace
• Local and FSC certified wood wherever possible
• FSC certified cabinets
• Wool carpets
• Energy star appliances


Appliances: Wolf range. Everything else had good ratings for the price on Consumer Reports. Energy Star.

Lighting: My new favorite place in Portland, Rejuvenation

Rugs and Carpets: Ecohaus

Tiles and Stone: All the flooring comes from Ecohaus here in Portland. 

Artwork: We've been collecting art for at least 10 years.

Paint: Something low VOC; can't remember.

Flooring: Ecohaus.

Adrian's Cooking and Food Blog: Communal Table
Visit Green Hammer: Green Hammer

(Thanks, Adrian and Gregg!)

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(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)

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