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A labor of love

Sundeleaf-designed house's restoration the result of two decades of work

Highlighting homes that preserve the past while acknowledging the future, the fifth annual Lake Oswego Historic Home Tour will take visitors through several of Richard Sundeleaf-designed homes that were not only carefully built but have also been carefully updated and maintained.

One such property is the Eastman House.

Sited purposefully to offer views of both Mount Hood and Oswego Lake, the house, a Richard Sundeleaf-designed city of Lake Oswego landmark, was completed in 1936, although its designs date back to 1933.

The house was built for Elsie and Clinton Eastman, who lived in the home until 1948, when they moved to a more modern Sundeleaf-designed home, also in Lake Oswego. More recently, it has been featured as the setting of an episode of the television series 'Nowhere Man' as well as in the movie 'The Temp.'

When its current owners purchased the home through a sealed-bid auction in December 1991, however, the Eastman House had been vacant for years and was in a state of disrepair.

'When we moved in, the sewage system was not functional,' one owner said.

Aside from updating bathrooms, home improvement projects have included expanding and updating the kitchen, enclosing a sun porch and adding in outdoor patios, stone planters and a paved driveway.

The house has been rewired, replumbed and re-roofed. 

'The restoration of the house has been a 20-year project,' one owner said. 'It has been a long process and we are very pleased with the results.'

Despite these updates, however, the Eastman House contains much of its original detail.

The Eastmans named the home 'Eastcrest,' a moniker that can still be seen on the weathervane atop of its entry turrets. Subsequent owners named the home 'Sandhill,' evidence of which can be seen on the arched sign above the entry gate.

The style of the Eastman House was referred to as French Chateau at the time that it was built, although it has subsequently been categorized as English Cottage. Its design features elements of both, as well as many iconic Sundeleaf details - uncoursed basalt stone, two round turrets, carved spandrels, stone bulkheads, shingles, leaded glass windows and gabled dormers.

As with Sundeleaf's own family home, the Eastman House features interior and exterior carvings by George Lavare; a floral pattern on the front turret and buffalo/bull heads on the living room mantle.

The tour will take visitors through the home's first floor.

Attendees enter the home through a recessed front entry with an arched opening. A wood door features wrought iron strap hinges.

The foyer features its original patterned slate floor and hand-adzed ceiling beams, as well as an original wrought iron gate leading to the dining room, which has been expanded to incorporate what was once an outdoor porch. From the foyer, visitors can also see a two-story stair tower with a spiral staircase, complete with its original freestanding oak steps and wrought iron railing. These stairs are some of the owners' favorite features.

In the home's two-story cathedral living room, Sundeleaf incorporated exposed ceiling beams, pegged wooden floors and textured plaster walls. Leaded glass windows show off a view of Oswego Lake. The original fireplace is made of green marble. A game room is located in one of the home's turrets, accessible through the living room, another of the owners' favorite spaces.

Also off the foyer, a library, with a pine-paneled entry, features its original marble fireplace and firescreen doors.

The Eastman House's remodeled kitchen encompasses an area that originally contained a kitchen, breakfast room and maid's quarters.

Outside, the property features original stone walls, including a curved retaining wall, made by Roy Foster, and an original stone fireplace. Street lamp light fixtures dot the landscaping as well. Three were original to the house, and others have been replicated using antique parts.

The Eastman House, along with six other historic properties, will be on display during the Historic Home Tour, presented by the Oswego Heritage Council, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 19.

For more information, call the Oswego Heritage House at 503-635-6373.




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