A huge home makeover in Raleigh Hills

'We're looking at this being our forever home,' says the owner

The meeting definitely had a 'six degrees of separation' feel to it. Dan and Lori Lavey had contracted with Don Holman, owner of Holman Construction Inc., to completely renovate their newly purchased home, a W.C. Bauman original located in the neighborhood of Broadmoor in Raleigh Hills.

Both Dan and Don are Beaverton High School graduates; Don's younger brother, Doug, went to school with Dan (as did the writer of this article); Don and Doug's parents live right around the corner from the Lavey's new home, as does Carol Chester, the Realtor who sold the house to the Laveys (who happens to be the writer's mother).

But it's that historical - and personal - connection that appeals to the Laveys.

'Lori and I love Broadmoor,' said Lavey, a public affairs consultant with the Gallatin Group. 'It's an established neighborhood that offers a library and park close by for our kids and a wonderful school district. We're about 15 minutes from downtown, 10 minutes from the Oregon Zoo, and we have at least five grocery stores nearby, some within walking distance.'

'We're looking at this being our 'forever home,'' he continued. 'We anticipate that our kids will grow up here, be living here as they go off to college, that when Lori and I retire, we'll still be living here. Because of that vision, we're pouring a lot of time, energy and money into reshaping a home that is already great, but one that works for us and our needs.'

The Laveys purchased their home in March 2006 and began meeting with Holman in April to discuss needed changes, as the stately house remained in its original form, not having been updated since it was built 56 years ago. The previous - and original - owners were similar to the Laveys back in 1950, in that they bought the home with their young family in mind. The house had enough room and sat on a lot large enough for all four of their children.

Cut to 2006: The Laveys are the parents of two young children, Max, 3, and Piper, now 8 months. Their new home, close to 6,000 square feet (including a terrace being built in the back), is nearly double the size of their former home, also in Broadmoor, and offers a user-friendly floor plan - 'all the more reason we wanted to move here, given our needs with two young children,' said Lavey.

But the remodel was going to be massive.

'I've remodeled close to a dozen homes in Broadmoor, including jobs at Dan and Lori's previous house,' commented Holman. 'This project is definitely one of largest we've undertaken in this neighborhood. I'd rank it as being within the top 25 percent of all the jobs my company has taken on, in terms of its size and scope.'

Upstairs is nearly done

The house has three stories. Included on the main floor are an entry hall, living room, dining room, kitchen, mud room, master bedroom and bathroom, Piper's bedroom and another bathroom. The upstairs - with its charming slanted roofline - offers an 'everything' space/hallway, including room for storage, which leads to Lori's home office and Max's bedroom, playroom and bathroom. Downstairs, the daylight basement features a full family room with a large paned window/sitting nook, guest bedroom and bathroom, laundry room and plenty of unfinished space for storage. Classic, traditional fireplaces can be found in the living room and family room.

Aside from the flooring, the upstairs is nearly done: New paint and wainscoting has been applied in all of the rooms, as well as new tile and fixtures installed in Max's bathroom. The overall effect is calming - peaceful, cool colors in shades of green and blue adorn the walls, complemented by trim, closets and cabinets painted in linen white.

The main floor has been completely gutted, more or less. Insulation, sheet rock and hardwood floors are being installed throughout. The walls in the living room - vertical grain, 8-inch hemlock boards - were saved and are being painted a creamy off-white, while a black marble hearth surrounding the living room fireplace is being added. Planks of oak, to be used for the floors, are currently stacked in the dining room, ready to be stained a dark chocolate brown after being laid.

The laundry room and bathroom downstairs are both gutted, while the 'bones' of the family room and bedroom are quite good and in need of more cosmetic work than anything else - new paint (sage green), wainscoting and flooring will make the lower level a showpiece, all centered around a painting of a seaside scene to eventually hang over the fireplace.

'We have an affinity for the coast, so a painting we bought at Gearhart will be hung above the fireplace mantel and set the tone, the pallet, for the color scheme throughout the basement,' said Lavey.

Heavy wood doors from upstairs have been salvaged and will be used downstairs as they're more durable and contribute to a consistency in look throughout the home. New electricity, heating, cooling and plumbing have been installed throughout. Cable and TV wiring has been laid to accommodate approximately nine television sets, and stereo sound and canned lighting has been added in each of the rooms.

And that's just the inside renovation.

'A huge undertaking'

Outside, the existing deck was torn down to make way for a new slate terrace in the back, off the main level through French doors leading from the kitchen. The terrace will house built-in planters, a roof-covered entertaining area and room for a barbeque, deck table and chairs. Stairs will lead down to the back yard, reshaped and reseeded to create two tiers of grass for entertaining the kids. All wiring - electrical, cable, telephone - was consolidated and buried underground.

Several mature rhododendron bushes from the gutted front yard were transplanted to the back, offering privacy. Large rocks were salvaged from the front yard and will be used to build retaining walls and flower beds in the back. The front yard, meanwhile, is being relandscaped, with new walkways, gravel, steps and door stoops being put in to meet code requirements yet offer easy access to the house.

'This has been a huge undertaking, but Lori and I feel that from a financial standpoint, we get a lot of value for a given project from Don and his team,' said Lavey. 'We trust them, and we're confident in the final product that they're going to deliver.'

That's not to say there haven't been moments of stress - especially as the move-in date was targeted for Oct. 12, and two-plus weeks out, much of the main level remained a major work in progress.

'I've been in business about 13 years now, and our company has completed approximately 300 projects in and around Portland,' said Holman. 'The size and scale of the jobs has differed, but there's always a level of stress associated with each one. It's simply a part of the landscape - remodeling is stressful, especially near the end of the project when anxiety levels are particularly high.'

Knowing this, Holman and his team carve out enough time with clients to complete the remodel, as well as 'counsel,' calm and assure clients that they're working hard and as quickly as they can, and that the final result will be stellar.

Such care has resulted in many repeat jobs from the same customers - the Laveys being one such example, as Holman refinished the kitchen and a home office in their former house, as well as installed an outdoor patio.

'Most of our business is by referral,' Holman said. 'I don't have much in the way of a marketing budget. I prefer to stay lean and mean.'

'Similar tastes

in color and décor'

With that attitude, Holman and his team meet weekly with the Laveys - on Thursdays at 12:30 p.m. - to reconfirm big picture details such as estimated timeframes and delivery dates, as well as the most minute of details: symmetrical layout of bathroom tile; location of soap dish trays in the shower stalls; and the color of stain on the hard wood floors.

'When it comes down to some of the little, nitty gritty details, we're actually pretty low maintenance,' said Lori Lavey. 'We have to make the smallest of decisions on the spot, and we understand the need to do it quickly and confidently. Quite frankly, those are the decisions that are a lot more fun to make - and more fun to spend money on - than putting in a new furnace, cable box, new wiring and plumbing. None of those qualify as 'pretty things,'' she said with a laugh.

Added Dan, 'Luckily, Lori and I have similar tastes in color and décor, so we can quickly come to consensus. We laugh, though, when we have to remind each other about the bathroom fixtures we bought months ago, because we can't remember what they look like.'

Working together, quickly and in lockstep, is something the Laveys are used to. Lori is a political fund-raiser and works full-time from home. Dan has been the political adviser to Sen. Gordon Smith for more than a dozen years and consults on several public affairs projects regionally. Sometimes they work on the same accounts, sometimes with the same clients. With election season now in full swing, it would be an understatement to say that they're more than ready to move into their new home.

It's now 2 p.m., and Lori must rush to a business meeting, leaving Dan to meet with Laurie Miller from California Closets. Together, they roam the house to discuss such details as shoe shelves, tie racks and closet drawers.

'It's both a blessing and a curse when you buy a home you know that you're going to live in forever,' said Lavey. 'It's a curse because you want all your decisions to be right. But it's a blessing in that you know you're finally, really 'home.''