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House nearing 100 years old gets remarkable renovation

Every surface gets addressed in process


by: STAFF PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE  - Paul Marto of Paul Marto Building recently completed a renovation of a 1920s cottage in which every surface was updated.

Paul Marto of Paul Marto Building of Lake Oswego recently completed a total renovation of a 1920s cottage on Horseshoe Curve Road on the south side of Oswego Lake.

His directive from the owners was to bring the home up to current standards, keeping true to the style of the original structure and using the best materials possible. The transformation of the stacked stone foundation structure took about one year to complete and called for every surface to be addressed.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: PAUL MARTO BUILDING - The original staircase from the sunroom to the yard was crumbling and uneven.  by: STAFF PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The new staircase is wider and safe. The railing was created to match the original railing on the front porch.

“All the windows are new; the original door and screen were recycled in another part of the house. The mortar was replaced.” said Marto, who has been building and remodeling homes in the Portland area since the mid-1970s.

Every item, including chimney, fireplace, mantel, floors, walls, even door latches and hinges were reworked.

“I’ve heard my clients say things like, ‘I don’t know what it is, but I can tell the difference. My house feels solid when I close the door.’ As I hear these comments I think about the hundreds of little steps we took during construction to add to the quality of our clients’ day to day life. ... Although these are all simple steps to take, they will make a substantial difference to an owner over the lifetime of the house.”

Though the building industry has changed over the years, Marto still relies on the tricks of the trade and precision he learned while apprenticing with Old World craftsmen. He also has a great respect for the weather and the construction challenges inherent to our climate.

“As part of our standard building practices we treat every wall opening as though it were a potential source of a leak, regardless if it’s a window, door, light fixture, water faucet, etc.,” he said.

Each is addressed using information and products provided by weatherproofing industry experts, with special attention given to flashings and breathable barriers that eliminate water intrusion but allow moisture to escape.

Marto is also keen on recycling reusable building materials. For the past several years he has worked with Deconstruction Services, a division of the Rebuilding Center of Our United Villages, a nonprofit organization, which has a cost effective method of deconstructing a home that can salvage up to 85 percent of the building’s materials for reuse.

One example of this is stones from the original steps leading from the sunroom to the yard were repurposed as a path leading from the driveway to the front door.

The end result is a home that is updated, solid, handsome and seemingly able to withstand another 100 years.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: PAUL MARTO BUILDING - The stones and mortar of the chimney, walls and foundation had to be replaced. by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: PAUL MARTO BUILDING - Siding and walls were completely redone.

To learn more about Paul Marto Building’s practices, visit paulmarto.com.

Barb Randall can be reached at 503-636-1281, ext. 100 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow her on Twitter at @barbatthereview



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