Taking her clients to see this Southwest Portland home, Janelle Isaacson knew that they’d have to look beyond appearances. The midcentury modern home hadn’t seen a remodel in nearly 30 years, and the outdated materials made that clear enough. But she knew there was something great under the surface, so when her clients politely said no to the property, she came up with another solution:
She and her husband, Zolton Dubrawsky, would buy it and fix it up themselves.
Instead of an entirely modern overhaul, the couple decided to tackle the project in more of a DIY manner. They hoped to stick with the vision of Gerald Nusbaum, the original owner and builder who had gleaned his inspiration from a Sunset Magazine home tour in Vancouver, BC.
So, number one on the list: refinishing and restoring the home’s original elements. The other projects that needed tending to weren’t nearly as much fun. Double-pane windows replaced the glass varieties to cut down on energy costs. In addition, the radiators were aged and failing, so they opted for a radiant floor system instead.
When it came time to fixing the electrical system, Dubrawsky was so dedicated to restoring the original one that he worked on the complicated project himself. The whole house has a low-voltage relay electrical system, which means everything goes through one central transformer. In the end, this cut down considerably on their monthly electric bill.
Once the remodel was complete, the couple was happy with their restraint in not overhauling the original touches that came with the home. Still true to its’ form, the house now just looks a bit more loved…and clean, of course.