Blog Stories The Water Heater King's Castle

The Water Heater King’s Castle

By Alyssa Isenstein Krueger, February 14, 2018

My buyer JT and his partner moved to Portland a little over a year ago with the goal of purchasing a home with the right size, layout and yard to form a communal living space with enough room for a large garden. They have started a non-profit with the goal of promoting community building and community based governance by providing weekly gatherings where people can enjoy healthy affordable dinners with neighbors while learning how to engage in local and national government, and the plan was that their new home is to be the hub.

A past client of mine who runs an awesome non-profit dedicated to educating the public about the evils of factory farming referred JT and his partner to me about a year ago. The ball started rolling this past September as we began the search. We looked everywhere on the east side for large homes on large properties with the right layout that fosters communal living and with a yard large enough room to grow a bounty of food in a location that was both convenient to services and public transportation. Shortly after New Years, we went to take a look at a house that seemed almost too good to be true. Located in the Foster Powell neighborhood, the home was built as George Morlan’s personal residence. George Morlan started his plumbing business on Foster Rd in 1927, and by the mid 1950’s, the business had grown big enough to open a second location. It was during this time in 1956 that the mid-century castle was built.  No expense was spared building the house, quite fitting for a king. Oversized timbers frame the over sized house- 1700 sf on the main floor, 1700 sf finished basement with tall ceilings and a second kitchen even larger than the main kitchen upstairs, plus an 800 sf finished attic for over 4200 sf of nice open living space. The home currently has 5 good sized bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, and with a little tweaking at least 2 or 3 more bedrooms can be added. We’re guessing that either George Morlan must have had an in with talented craftspeople including the most talented linoleum installer in town. In a masterpiece of mid-century linoleum floor design, large tear shaped pieces of linoleum in multiple patterns are merged together seamlessly in the attic- not the kind of detail one puts into a house’s attic unless the budget is endless. The large basement bathroom has a custom extra large custom tub, with matching toilet and sink in the loveliest lavender/grey/blue color. The kitchen was updated from the original kitchen in the early 80’s, presumably by the Moreland family. Talk about 1980’s top of the line fancy. A custom sized sub-zero fridge faced with the same cabinets as the rest of the large kitchen. The cooktop looks ventless, but when you are ready to cook, you press a button and up pops a thingy that acts as a vent sucking in the greasy smoky air as you cook. And if the inside wasn’t stellar enough, the house and property are on a double lot, with the house sitting on one 50×100 lot, and the yard is being an entire 50×100 plot surrounded by fruit trees. That’s a lot of space to grow a cornucopia of food and lot of roaming room for chickens.

The house needs cosmetic refreshing, a facelift including a paint job, a new roof and a little bit of love to up the curb appeal, but it’s the planned transformation into the heart of a new community that I am most looking forward to watching sprout and grow.

Alyssa Isenstein Krueger

Broker

I am living the dream. Working as a real estate broker in my home town brings this native Portland gal joy beyond measure. I took the round-about-road towards this career. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in NY two decades ago with a degree in liberal arts/creative writing, I returned to my hometown of PDX and got a job in a legendary record store of days gone by, worked as a music and culture writer for Portland’s oldest weekly publication while pursuing a graduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Portland State University. Armed with my masters degree, I moved into the realm of affordable housing, community development, and urban planning, and then rounded the corner with a long stay in arts management then back around the bend when I got my real estate license and went to work for a non-profit housing builder at the cusp of the market crash in 2007. In the time between that market crash and the ensuing madness, I’ve stayed on top of the market like a dog guarding a bone. Using a magical combination of experience, instinct, and market data, I know what homes are worth, I know how to write a terrific offer, and I know how to help a seller market a home and receive and accept a great offer. Mutual trust and tender relationship building is the basis and foundation of my real estate practice. I use my skills as an active listener, creative solution finder and ace negotiator to get my clients the best price on a home, win the multiple offer roulette, and have as smooth and easy transaction as possible. Timely and responsive communication is the most important aspect of building trust and I don’t take that part lightly.  I am a stickler for details and nothing pleases me more than guiding a client through the home buying or selling process (and sometimes both at the same time). My role is one of advocate, advisor, partner, transaction organizer, and counselor. I am a partner broker with Portland Housing Center and relish the opportunity to work with eager first time home buyers. I have a knack for seeing the potential in almost any home and love to help clients see past what is and help them envision what can be. I have a decade of first-hand experience renovating and caressing my bungalow in Ladd’s Addition and had the honor of having my own home featured in a story in the Oregonian’s Homes and Gardens section. I can feel the love for any and almost all homes, but my heart goes all aflutter when entering a museum quality time capsule house -- the solid mid-century ones with the original pink or green tiled bathrooms, those charming early 1900’s farmhouses with the original kitchen cabinets and fir countertops, the cozy bungalows with the built-ins still intact. When I’m not working with clients, you’ll find me hanging with my two boys, Kalman and Saul, and my husband Robert, a Fine Art Conservator with his own business, Cascadia Art Conservation Center.  Retired racing greyhounds have been my constant companions since 1997, and our family includes Peanut the greyhound, Pinto the South Korean Italian greyhound, and our chickens, Rosie, Lola, Squishy, Duck and Prince. I am an obsessive gardener/plant fiend and love that we live in a climate where I can grow eucalyptus trees (I have 5 in my yard including a couple I started from seed) alongside blueberry bushes (6 in my yard). Given some free time, you’ll find me junking at an estate sale, dreaming of high brow junk, low brow art, making things, sewing, reading and dreaming of tropical locales.
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  • T: 503-724-6933
  • PDXHappyHouse@gmail.com

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