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Cottage born out of love for the past

by: VERN UYETAKE, Finally complete, this home on the corner of Berwick Court and Berwick Road in Lake Oswego was once a 1940s cottage with a detached garage, one bathroom and hardly any storage. Now the remodeled home, above, features media rooms, updated features, bedroom suites and a kitchen resembling a fresh 1940s Hollywood home.

The 1940s era of casual elegance at home had direct effects on not only the bold and beautiful in Hollywood, but also on the common man trying to escape after a hectic day at work in comfort.

The time period - shaped by Californians under breezy skies - allowed for routine cocktails by the pool and room for sophisticated houseguests, who were always welcome.

In Lake Oswego, a 1940s cottage was remodeled to reflect all things classic, sensible and elegant. With a casual twist under formal light fixtures, the home reflects the collaboration of reused materials, millennium upgrades and light and airy spaces.

You can almost smell the ocean from this 4,000 square-foot abode.

'It's an elegant family home with an extremely flexible open floor plan,' said Gaylyn Sher-Jan, homeowner. 'We built it while investing much of ourselves and our preference for a casual but elegant lifestyle. … It's so warm and functional but also a showpiece.'

Previously, an article written in the March 2, 2006 edition of the (Lake Oswego) Review and (West Linn) Tidings highlighted the progress of the remodel three months into the job.

Now completed, Sher-Jan says she feels happiness each time she walks through the front door. While the home was originally built for Sher-Jan's family, instead they have put it on the market and hope the next owners will 'fall in love with it and make it their own.'

A mixture of

new and old

Although it is newly completed, the house looks like it's been there forever - and that was the idea.

Working with W.F. Scott Construction and Keith Abel Residential Design, the Sher-Jan family hoped to create a cottage-style home that would fit in with the neighborhood and mature trees.

A steep roofline, shutters and original fireplace create a cozy-feel for the four-bedroom home. They kept some original framing and a fireplace and wanted to keep the original hardwood floors but later were replaced due to the harsh winter.

With an open floor plan, the home flows through an accessible layout, allowing for personalization. The family wanted all bedrooms on the main floor, which would allow for a media room and offices upstairs. Each bedroom is lit by sparkling chandeliers, which blend classic materials with modern shapes.

The master suite is located just steps off the kitchen and overlooks views of freshly cut grass outside. The bathroom blends the old with the new; a claw foot bathtub sits next to a marble shower, built in drawers, walnut floors and an oversized sink. The towel bar heats up to keep towels warm.

'Any woman can see herself in the elegant bathroom with a claw foot tub and a warm towel hanging from the warmer waiting for her to wrap around,' said Sher-Jan.

The nearby kitchen mixes stainless steel surfaces, light cabinetry, black granite and a curvy island made from Carrara marble.

'My favorite part of the kitchen would be how bright and open it is,' said Sher-Jan. 'It's the kind of kitchen that inspires you to cook even if it's just a latte. … It is certainly a focal point and show piece for the house.'

The upstairs was designed for entertaining and a home office. Space seems unlimited within the three oversized rooms. Nooks and crannies were used to their maximum; a reading alcove in the hallway looks cozy. Storage areas are tucked within the perimeter of the house within the steep roofline.

'People are blown away - especially men and kids - with that storage space upstairs,' said Sher-Jan.

Sher-Jan says that from the beginning the family wanted to involve the neighbors in their remodeling process as they reshaped part of the neighborhood.

'We really made a commitment to the neighborhood to ensure that we improved the cottage that was original and that we fit in with the neighborhood. It would've been cheaper to scrap the house but it already is a focal point for that area,' said Sher-Jan. 'It sets a standard for what the community is looking for in design and proportion which fits its location and surrounding trees.'

And while the Sher-Jans will not be moving into the home they created, Sher-Jan says she hopes the family that moves in will enjoy it as much as she does.

'We hope the utmost joy, comfort, happiness and pride of ownership (for the family that moves in),' said Sher-Jan, 'in knowing that they are living in a house designed and built with lots of love and attention to every detail.'

Call listing agent Marla Knauss for more information at 503-495-3872.