CLOSED: Custom-Built Traditional in West Linn

The listing details say it all—this will be the perfect home to quarantine in! I’m so honored to have facilitated this transition for two good friends. I met Lisa years ago when I joined Women in Financial Services.  We became fast friends and she’s even my insurance agent! When she and her husband John approached me about selling their Tualatin condo and moving into this immaculate new home, I was so excited to help them through such a big transition.
We found the perfect, and can I say perfectly luxurious, traditional home right in West Linn. Immaculately kept with huge rooms and an open floor plan, soaring ceilings, and extensive hardwood floors. There’s even a built-in home theatre! It really could not get better—oh wait, unless you add an ensuite spa-inspired bathroom in the master, an upscale media room, AND a river view! I think there’s no chance Lisa and John will be bored in their new home.
John and Lisa, it was an absolute pleasure, and congratulations on your new home!

LISTING DETAILS: PERFECT HOME TO QUARANTINE IN. Custom-built traditional on a private 1/2 acre. Immaculate & high-end. 4 bedrooms, den, bonus rm, home theater, wine & exercise room. Open floor plan, high soaring ceilings, extensive hardwood floors, Granite kitchen w/SS appliances & built-in fridge, sound system, master suite w/deck & spa-like bath, 2nd bdrm suite on the main floor, upscale media rm, Nat gas generator, pond, water feature & partial river view. Near parks, boat ramp & amenities. Listing courtesy of Windermere Realty Trust.

Commercial Builds to Keep An Eye on in Portland 2020

Despite pandemic and national closures, Portland still has a lot of upcoming urban development projects slated for this summer and the upcoming year. I love keeping an eye on the commercial builds happening around town, and I’m especially excited about these new projects. Take a look.

Pae Living Building

Projected completion: Summer of 2021. The PAE Living Building just broke ground last March in Portland’s historic Old Town District. As architecture firm ZGF claimed in a press release, “PAE Living Building tells the story of Portland: aspirational, progressive, and yet deeply rooted in Pacific Northwest history.” This five-story project located on the corner of SW First Avenue and Pine Street will be the largest commercial-use living building not only in Oregon, but in the entire world.


In May of this year, right in the midst of coronavirus’ economic uncertainty, Portland real estate developer Vanessa Sturgeon announced the building of an eight-story office in the city’s Central Eastside. It will be made with cross-laminated timber (CLT), believed to be stronger structurally and to leave a far smaller carbon footprint than steel and concrete. Another benefit of CLT is that buying it supports the local communities in small timber towns. Although said to be more expensive than alternative materials, CLT construction is easier to build and are more appealing. As for the timing of Sturgeon, it may now be the perfect time to strike so that when the building gets finished in two to three years, the economy will hopefully be recovering.


Another development worth waiting for is the Unicorn Bed Apartments, soon to rise on 2167 NW Glisan Street in 2021. Aside from its name, Unicorn Beds is interesting because it will provide affordable, compact 2-bedroom apartment units for single mothers. It will give the residents access to all amenities of the neighborhood. The building’s efficient layout makes the units feel and look much larger than their compact size. Well-lit outdoor spaces make it easy for families to interact and encourage community. The project will be two 3-story buildings, with thirteen units and an on-site daycare center.

Last May 14, 2020, The Mann Home in Portland’s Kerns Neighborhood was sold to Innovative Housing Inc. Known for its provision of affordable housing around the metro region, the nonprofit plans to convert the stately 62,000-square-foot Elizabethan-style manor into affordable housing, with 39 units created in the existing building, 49 units in addition, and another 40 units in the south of the building. The units would be considered workforce housing, offering rents to families with incomes of between 30 and 60 percent of the median family income. Offices of Innovative Housing Inc. will also be lodging in the property. To further preserve the Mann Home, historic buildings and large trees will not be moved or displaced.


Block 216, already in construction in 2019, will be Portland’s first project built on the Green loop, and the largest development in the city since the US Bank Tower. This 35-story mixed-use tower will include retail office, hotel, and residential condominium uses, with a 342-stall underground parking garage. Standing at 460 feet tall in the full block bound by SW 10th, Washington, 9th and Alder, this milestone building will become the city’s fifth tallest structure. To make it more interesting, the building’s enclosure is the shape of a “gem” in Portland’s skyline.

Exciting changes for Portland on the horizon, or skyline rather. It will be interesting to see how the current climate impacts their trajectories. Which of these builds are you most interested in?

New NW Condo in the Lexis!

Can I just say that if I were looking for the perfect introduction to city living, this is exactly the type of condo I would look for? Right in the heart of the Pearl District, this condo is the whole package inside and out. Moments from the best restaurants and amenities the district has to offer and complete with a modern interior feel—polished concrete floors, eat-in bar, and new cabinets, sink, and dishwasher. Take a look at the beautiful natural light filtering in from the massive windows! 

An in-house gym and beautiful community courtyard round out the experience. All convenience, all the time! Take a walk through the gallery below and get in touch for a tour (virtual tours also available). I don’t imagine this condo will be hanging out for long so I hope to hear from you soon!

JUST LISTED: Updated urban studio in the Lexis!  An open layout, a full wall of windows, and high ceilings make this space live LARGE!  Kitchen features eat-in bar, new cabinets, new deep stainless steel sink and new dishwasher.  Walk-in closet has been built out to maximize storage.  All doors and trim updated along with lighting and fixtures throughout.  Smart thermostat and lights featuring night setting.  Stunning polished concrete floors complete this modern look. Two leased parking spaces available. Community amenities include gym & courtyard.  Live in the heart of the Pearl!
Address: 1125 NW 9th Ave, Apt 220
Price: $255,000
0 bedrooms
1 bathroom
566 square feet
RMLS 20002343

Home Build Project: The Walls Are Going Up!

If you have been following along on my Instagram at @marissasainz you know that we’ve been chugging along on our home build project, lovingly hashtagged #thehousethatbrentbuilt. I wanted to take the time to write a longer update here, and will continue doing so until we reach our projected completion date on October 13th! The title says it all—June has been all about framing. Each week of the month, we’ve framed out a new floor and it’s been the coolest thing to climb to each new story to see what our future view is going to be! I’m glad to share that it’s gonna be pretty great and that we can even look out over the whole neighborhood from the top floor!

First floor rental space facing north

Attachment options… Third-floor bedroom facing west

Third-floor master bedroom facing north

We’ve run into a variety of challenges this month, and they’ve provided some very valuable lessons. The first was a major change in our design visions when we found out the city wouldn’t allow us to build the front of the house as a single plane. They require an offset somewhere on the upper levels. We weren’t sure how to go about this while still achieving the modern look we’ve been going for. At first, our architect suggested punching out two of the upper windows, but it was just too traditional for our taste. After some brainstorming, Brent had the inspired idea to punch out the two upper stories altogether and I have to say, it’s going to look so neat! I’m glad we found a way to meet the city’s requirements and still stick to our modern vision.

Another major lesson was that it would have been wiser to go with the surveyor referred by our architects and engineers, over the independent surveyor we hired before the project began. We were happy with the surveyor but throughout the project, we’ve found that their assessment hasn’t jived with what our architects and engineers have needed. We ended up having to pay extra money to have their surveyor redo the job. So should you be embarking on a similar project, I would say—meet with your architects first and talk about their needs and see if they have a surveyor on the team who can do what they need.

Third-floor master bedroom facing north

Third-floor master bedroom facing north. The ceiling is not on yet so you can see the tree where the fourth floor will be.

The third adjustment we’ve made in this wild ride was another city-inspired one. Portland requires that homes be built with a pitched roof, where we had originally envisioned a flat one with a glorious rooftop deck. We were worried we would lose our rooftop deck and the promise of a killer view. But we found a pivot—a SW-facing partial deck on the top floor. From the front of the house, the rooftop will look pitched, and on the back corner, there will be a cut out with an awesome deck.

This month’s changes have made our new home feel real. I was worried when the foundation was laid that we had gone too small—I couldn’t envision how anything would fit. But now that the walls are up it feels more spacious. I can see where the counters are going to be, where the bed is going to sit etc. And the cherry on top is how our big fir tree out front is playing along—with each rising story, it feels like we’re sitting further up inside the tree. It’s beautiful and we’ve even taking to referring to the house as our treehouse.

Third-floor master bedroom facing north

Third-floor bedroom facing west

Next month I’ll write again—we’ve got plenty planned. The roof will go on, windows will be installed and we’ll need to start making a lot of interior decisions—light fixtures, tile, paint, and more! Stay tuned!

If you haven’t yet, you can follow me over on Instagram @marissasainz where I post updates on the house build every week. You can find all of our progress at the hashtag #thehousethatbrentbuilt.

Delightful English Cottage Just Listed in SW Portland

Delightful is an understatement. When I first walked into this client’s home near John’s Landing, I was thoroughly charmed! Light flows in unheeded through quintessential bay windows—I could practically see myself sipping my morning tea, staring out over the garden. Inside and out, every detail was there. Impeccable landscaping invoking the English countryside with a PNW twist, ample space both inside and out, and unending charm from room to room.

Once my kind stages at Modern Folk Staging had the chance to put their touch on each corner, the vision came thoroughly alive. Are you with me when I think to myself, “I’ll take this furnished as is!” A huge thank you to them for their consistently stunning work.

Take a little walkthrough of this dreamy home at the gallery below, and get in touch if you want to see more! (More listing details at the bottom!)

Delightful English cottage built in 1923 by Portland architect Hollis Johnston and tastefully updated by Benjamin Silver in 2013. Stunning kitchen with farmhouse sink, shaker cabinets, marble countertops and backsplash, and stainless-steel appliances, next to a large family room. The open living room gives a cozy and calm vibe, with unique exposed beams, gas fireplace, and surrounding windows for an abundance of natural light and peaceful views. Follow the French doors to an outdoor patio in a beautiful, mature garden setting, or continue from the living room to the dining room with a garden view. Master suite on the main level and two bedrooms upstairs.  In 2015 this sweet cottage was enrolled in an energy study with EnergyTrust of Oregon. The home was air-sealed, ducts sealed, and went through an insulation upgrade. Following the study, more updates occurred such as window replacements while preserving important original features of the home. In 2017 the landscaping was entirely reconceived with the addition of a unique steel fence. Truly, a one-of-a-kind gem that sits right in SW Portland, next to Fulton Park and close to John’s Landing and downtown.  Once the home of Johnston himself, this expansive home has a history of its own.

MLS # 20388444
Price: $899,000

OPEN HOUSES: I’m hosting a virtual open house tomorrow 6/19 at 12 pm, on my Instagram at (@marissasainz) and an in-person open house set on Saturday 6/20 from 12-2pm! I hope to see you there

Marissa Sainz