What a blessing
David and Betsey Blessing found their historic home on Chandler Road 24 years ago. Wanting to make the switch from their home in the West Hills of Portland to someplace with a 'neighborhood feel' where they could raise their four children, the couple settled off Iron Mountain Blvd.
'Older homes are built great. This is all lath and plaster - the whole house. And that is sturdy. It's such a soundproof house,' Betsey Blessing said. 'The doors are solid. I love the construction and the moulding details. I love that there's history. There are stories previous owners tell me.'
The Blessings created their own memories within the 4,900 square-foot-home, like when a daughter was married there. And sipping coffee and tea in the courtyard off the kitchen.
This home - along with a handful of others - will be featured on the Lake Oswego Historic Home Tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 17. The second-annual tour is in celebration of National Historic Preservation Month and put on by the Oswego Heritage Council.
'Instantly I loved the yard. But, the house was trouble when (we) bought it. There was a hole in the ceiling over there,' Blessing said, pointing to a corner in her living room. 'It wasn't remodeled, it was repaired. The roof was a mess. We had it re-roofed.'
Through the years the Blessings fixed little things here and there - updating the kitchen and furnishing all the rooms - but they kept the large traditional home pretty much how it had been since the '30s, charming.
'I loved that the house was narrow enough that there can be windows on both sides of a room. The windows are great all over the house,' Blessing said.
Even on the dreariest of days, the home is illuminated from all sides through large, leaded glass windows.
'Don't the windows look great?' she said.
Peering out, the gardens on the half-acre property seem an extension of the beauty within the home. Neatly trimmed hedges line pathways, planter boxes house spring foliage and a garden off the kitchen has views of a large magnolia tree.
'We spend a lot of time in the kitchen and the library. That's where we go at night. We have a fire in there when it's cold,' Blessing said. 'And I do use the living room and dining room. It's a really easy house to have people come and stay with us.'
A narrow door off Blessing's den/art studio upstairs leads to a separate wing with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a living room near the garage which are not original to the home.
'They were added decades ago but look like they've always been there,' she said.
In fact, the whole home is true to its former time period. Wallpaper selections, vibrant rugs, original built-in dressers and hues of blue abound.
'This is the original tile,' Blessing said, running her hands along blue tile wall in her master bathroom. 'We re-tiled the shower, put a (shower) door in and added a new sink. But that's it; and it's been how long?'
There is an angular door in the master bedroom leading to a closet, which is built into the roofline. Many rooms are equipped with built-in cabinets - such as the dining room - or have drawers that close into the wall and provide space for items.
When fixing up the nook, Blessing installed two similar built-in shelving units in the kitchen to display dishes and wrap the room in warmth.
Blessing said that deciding to have her home on the tour this year has allowed her the opportunity to research the history of her home, including: the ghost rumored to visit the place years ago, the staff that used to tend to the home and the ever-changing gardens.
'I thought the tour would be great because I love going through people's houses,' Blessing said. 'When other people offer their homes I really appreciate it. And it's a historic house. It's such a fun house.'
For more information about the Lake Oswego Historic Home Tour, visit the Oswego Heritage House at 398 10th St. or call 503-635-6373.
The tour, featuring homes from the 1880s to 1939, is on May 17 and costs $25 for those that are not members of the Oswego Heritage Council, and $15 for members.