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Inspired by the Story: An Interview with Anne De Wolf and the Kitzis-Strasfeld Family

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“Designed by Portland’s most renowned architect, A.E. Doyle, this home creates a harmonious marriage of the grand and majestic spaces found in palatial mansions with the warmth and ease of lifestyle prevalent in the Craftsman cottage.” – Dan Volkmer

Moving from their beloved Victorian home in Goose Hollow, Lynne, Alex and their two children, Margot and Anderson, have lived in their current home for over 3 years now. After being referred by Dan Volkmer to Anne De Wolf as a talented designer who specializes in historic remodels, they began a whole-house remodel with Arciform.

“What we liked most about Anne was she knew her stuff when it came to historic home restoration, but she also had a funky flair about her designs,” says Alex as I step into the gorgeous home built in 1909 by local architect A.E. Doyle. Doyle also designed the Multnomah County Central Library, the Meier & Frank Building and the famous Benson Bubblers!

I notice wallpapers that are a clear trademark of Anne’s style and relish in the light, fun and sophisticated feel the Kitzis-Strasfeld home emanates.

This striking L’Oiseau Moderne wallpaper epitomizes the most exuberant Deco style that was popular between 1925-1930. “When done right, historic preservation is never boring,” says Anne.

Lynne Strasfeld and Alex Kitzis are doctors. They’re used to chaos and high stress situations. I keep this in mind when they tell me they chose to live in the home throughout the remodel.

“Living in the home during construction allowed us to be a part of the process, and we were able to make on-the-fly decisions and adjustments to the remodel plan,” Lynne tells me.

“Things like adding a counter below the microwave in the kitchen and replacing the mudroom were decided in-the-moment,” says Alex.

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The original mudroom was rebuilt as part of the addition with, tile flooring and walls and built-ins. “The home has many small efficient spaces coupled with large public rooms,” says Anne

“And best of all, Jamie and Adam [Arciform’s lead carpenter and project manager on the project] were always respectful of our space; in the end they became like family,” Lynne says

Two weeks ago I was here getting photos of the home for both Arciform and interior designer Jenna Sheingold. During the photoshoot I played ping-pong in the fully finished basement with 9-year-old son Anderson – he shamelessly beat me five times in a row.

12-year-old Margot showed me her beautiful bedroom. I notice the light sea green ceiling (painted in Benjamin Moore’s Neon Celery) and the attached bathroom with beautiful details like classic white hexagonal tiles with black accents on the floor, the Carrara marble shower threshold and pretty wall-mounted sink by Duravit. The walls have been painted in Ice Blue by Benjamin Moore.

“I like how light and bright my room is,” says Margot.

Today I’m at the home with the Lynne, Alex, Anne, photographer Christopher Dibble and their cheerful golden retriever, Sadie. We’re getting a few more photos, and I’m learning more about the remodel. Anne brought pastries from Ken’s Artisan Bakery and we sit down to enjoy them in the garden room and chat more about the home.

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What I love most about these interviews is hearing Anne talk about historical architecture. First of all, she has a charming German accent. Second, she knows her stuff and is passionate about design.

The remodel included expanding along one wall of the kitchen by three feet, removing a wall from the dining area to the living area, adding a new family room and bathroom to the basement and restoring historical details such as the oak hardwood flooring, large, west-facing windows and the pass-through butler’s pantry, among other things.

“The Kitzis-Strasfelds loved their previous home as well. They moved from an old Victorian just ½ mile from their new house. They were especially fond of their former kitchen with its cozy nook, so we took those elements and carried them into their new home. We expanded the kitchen, added wainscoting and banquette seating to the existing nook and used the same paint color—Gaelic Garden by Columbia Paints,” says Anne.

Kitchen

The existing kitchen with butler’s pantry has been updated to modern standards while respecting the vintage of the home

As we exit the house through the cheery red front door, Lynne tells me, “we had many happy hours sitting in our old kitchen, and now we feel the same about our new kitchen.”

This house is on the Ainsworth Holiday Home Tour which happens this Thursday, 11/30! Be sure to check it out.

Written by Snow Blackwood

Photo Gallery (photos by Christopher Dibble):

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