Homebuilding company goes back in time with modern construction
by: Submitted Photo These newly built houses at 8064 and 8066 S.E. 19th Ave. in Portland's Sellwood neighborhood resemble homes built in the city decades ago. Built by Renaissance Homes, the homes are part of the Lake Oswego-based company's Vintage Collection of designs being used to construct infill homes in Portland.

'Put some adirondack chairs out here, and you can really hang out,' said Renaissance Homes President and Founder Randy Sebastian as he walked into a house under construction a stone's throw from the Lucky Labrador Pubic House in the Multnomah Village neighborhood.

On a quick drive last week, Sebastian only had to make one loop from his office in Lake Oswego to Portland and back to point out a dozen of his homes under construction.

'Here you walk in and have wainscoting and a formal dining room, butler's pantry and a great room with a box beam ceiling,' he said walking inside the home built with a Vista plan, which features five bedrooms, a den, formal dining room and a basement 'you won't bump your head on.'

Homes built from the 1920s to '40s in Portland are charming - that's why his company copied the architectural styles. What they sometimes aren't? Functional for today's families.

The Lake Oswego homebuilding company debuted its Vintage Collection of home designs last year, focusing on spot lots in Portland.

And while the customizable infill single-family homes look classic on the inside and out - with large front porches, subway tile, coved archways and hardware, box beam ceilings - they cater to a modern lifestyle for families that need large walk-in closets, dens, laundry rooms upstairs, private master bathrooms and kitchens with granite that open to the family room and Milgard high-efficiency windows.

The homebuilding company - best known for its suburban subdivisions and more than 40 Street of Dreams honors over the past 25 years - is currently busy at work on 31 homes scattered throughout Portland's finest neighborhoods, according to Sebastian.

'The floorplans are very much like our Lake Oswego and West Linn homes - open, airy, with big kitchens, entertaining great rooms, formal dining rooms and master suites that are spa-like. It's all there, it's just that you're in Portland and the exterior of the home fits the neighborhood.'

Sebastian said the addition of this collection has been rewarding.

'I built my first house in 1984 in Portland and my first office was on Milwaukie Avenue in the Brooklyn neighborhood,' he said. 'Portland is fun, and a lot of people want our quality but to be in more of the core of the city. ... A lot of these neighborhoods are really cities within the city - Sellwood, Multnomah Village, Hawthorne and Brooklyn.'

And Renaissance is leaving its mark on each square of the city's quilt.

'We build these to fit in with the neighborhood,' Sebastian said. 'They're new but the greatest compliment is when someone says they look like they've been there for the last 50 years.'

With floorplans called the Montgomery, Vista, Fremont, Duniway, Cleary and Meriwether, the names pay homage to Portland's past. But the process to purchase the homes keeps new homeowners very much in the present. Buyers can choose from a number of floorplans and exterior designs which can be altered to accommodate a garage and basement layouts.

Folks work with the Renaissance's design team to choose interior and exterior colors, material selections, lighting options and appliances to customize the home.

'All the packages are completely different,' Sebastian said.

But one item unites each home: They are all built to the Leadership in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) standards.

'Green building has always been extremely important to us,' Sebastian said.

As Sebastian headed back toward Lake Oswego from the Sellwood neighborhood, he smiled when pointing, 'Here's another one we have going. It's exciting to have all these homes under construction in all these great neighborhoods.'

He noted that the best structures always blend in with the environment.

'It doesn't matter if the environment is natural or man made. Someone's paid attention the the grade, the trees and other surroundings to enhance, not distract,' Sebastian said. 'That's what we're building. We're doing what we've always done, just in new neighborhoods.'

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