Featured Stories

Savor the Sonoma

by: Vern Uyetake, The family room with all its windows showcases the view at the “Sonoma,” built by Shelburne Development for the 2008 NW Natural Street of Dreams going on now through Sept. 14 in the Altamont neighborhood — 1,000 feet above Portland’s skyline.

Located in the heart of one of the world's premier wine producing regions just north of San Francisco, Sonoma, Calif. is nestled near scenic hills. It's population is known for relaxed, yet elegant lifestyles. The houses and town square are lovely, and so is the scenery in the sunny region.

The Altamont neighborhood perched 1,000 feet above Portland also has a sunny demeanor.

The site of the 2008 NW Natural Street of Dreams on display now incorporates six new homes built on the highest developed site in Portland with breathtaking views of Portland's skyline, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood and the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.

'With the transition to sunset and the lights going on in the city (buildings) it feels like you're dancing on stars,' said Greg Heinze with Shelburne Development.

The home his company built for this year's SOD is appropriately titled 'Sonoma.' And to help him accomplish the desired look and execution he enlisted the team at Lake Oswego's Ronda Divers Interiors, Inc.

Ronda Divers, owner of the company, said the Sonoma area inspired her to look beyond complicated millwork, crown molding and dark surfaces, and focus on the home's view and ability to feel light - almost as if it's floating above the hillside.

'It's a soft contemporary,' Divers said of the open floorplan with repeating square and circular details throughout. 'The house has a soft, monochromatic feel to it. Every surface in this house is painted the same color - including the wine cellar. (This way) the paint shows the details of the structure and (highlights) what's inside.'

On the main floor, a room off the nook takes the concept of an indoor/outdoor space to new heights. Walls of glass doors that - when completely open - expose the entire room to the outdoors, create a flexible space for winter or summer entertaining. The room feels cozy with a rock fireplace, barbecue and sitting area with, 'swivel chairs so you can turn and see the view,' Divers said.

Divers was a part of the home's concept from conception - helping to choose surface materials, window placement and later, décor.

'We tried to stay with natural textures and fabrics. This coffee table is from an old mining cart,' Divers said of the table in the indoor/outdoor space.

The kitchen - with an island as big as a car - and convenient butler's pantry, provides plenty of space to entertain, prepare meals and perhaps hide messy clean-up until after a party is over.

Divers designed the massive yet minimalist fireplace in the family room from a concrete and fiberglass material to balance the rooms' vaulted ceilings and wall of square windows.

'It has a hotel lobby feel,' Divers said. 'And with this view, how could you not have a seating arrangement by the window?'

The view from 'Sonoma' is the ultimate piece of artwork - lit differently throughout the day as the sun rises and sets.

'There are windows in every room of this house except one bathroom,' Heinze said.

The master suite, also on the main floor, is fresh and vibrant - possessing minimalist sophistication. Less is more. And the bathroom is a mini-spa with a jetted circular tub complete with a waterfall.

All other bedrooms, located on the lower level of the three story home, are also private, pristine and with calming bathrooms.

The lower level contains a bar, wine cellar and craft room with sliding barn doors opening to a state-of-the art laundry facility and gym.

Upstairs, a landing area above the family room utilizes the wall of windows from below to get another great view of the landscape.

'I love this room. It's perfect for a den,' Divers said.

And the 'Sonoma' seems perfect for this year's tour.

Founded in 1976, the metro Portland Street of Dreams was the first of its kind in the country. It has since been adopted by nearly 500 cities around the nation. More than 80,000 visitors from around the country tour Portland's show each year. This year's show includes six homes built by five luxury homebuilders displaying the latest and greatest trends in green building and technology. Heinze said that from anywhere he can control everything in the 'Sonoma.'

'You can control the levels of the lights. If you're on vacation and aren't sure if you unplugged the iron, you can turn it off - anything with a switch,' he said. 'Audio. Video. Security. Lighting. We think it's pretty cool.'

For more information about Ronda Divers Interiors, visit www.rondadiversinteriors.com/. For more information about The Shelburne Company, visit www.shelburnehomes.com/.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

What: Street of Dreams, houses in the $1 - $3 million range

When: Now to Sept. 14, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Box office closes at 8:30 p.m.

Where: Altamont neighborhood. Take I-205 to Johnson Creek Blvd. Exit and follow the signs.

For driving directions, plug in SE Bristol Park Drive, Happy Valley, OR into your GPS.

Information: www.streetofdreamspdx.com

Admission: $17.50 adults, $6 kids (6-12 years), under 6 free