When architect Anthony Belluschi and his brother inherited the Portland, Oregon, home of their late father and stepmother, in 2009, their realtor pronounced the spectacularly sited modernist house a potential 'tear-town.' As Anthony stood stunned, he recalls, 'The first words out of my mouth were: 'Over my dead body'.'

So began his odyssey to restore the final home of his father, Pietro Belluschi, MIT's dean of architecture and planning (from 1950 to 1965) and a prolific designer whose achievements include Portland's Equitable Building (1947) and New York's Alice Tully Hall and Juilliard School (1969).

Pietro built the 2,500-square-foot residence in 1948 for the D.C. Burkes on a secluded, wooded hillside with panoramic downtown and distant mountain views.

Three years later, he moved his family from Portland to Boston to begin his deanship at MIT. But in 1973, when the widowed Mrs. Burke offered to sell, says his son, 'the house lured him back.' He lived there until his death, at 94 in 1994, as did his wife until hers, in 2009.

For six decades, the place saw minimal repairs. Finally, in 2008, Anthony replaced his stepmother's severely leaky roof. (Mrs. Burke had insisted on a flat plane, emulating Southern California modernism, despite Oregon's climate. The new roof, with such advances as a ceramic layer, finally makes that form viable.) The same year, he also built a 235-square-foot guest pavilion. But reclaiming the main house was more daunting.

'I couldn't have worked on it during my father' lifetime,' says Anthony, who was then living in Chicago and had always steered his career far from Pietro's formidable shadow. But, in 2009, the prospect of a teardown spurred him to action.

As he meticulously restored the house ' with its timber construction, expanses of glass, and cedar cladding, both inside and out ' he and his wife realized they "wanted to live here, but not enshrine it like a museum," he says. "It had to accommodate our needs as a family.'

They expanded by 1,200 square feet, adding a bedroom and doubling the 1948 kitchen, which still integrates such original features as Pietro's brick rotisserie. Cedar walls and vast windows left few surfaces for art, so Anthony converted a trellised walkway into a white-walled, sky-lit gallery, joining the house's old and new sections with a spatial breather between them. He also replaced the cork floors, enclosed the carport, and modernized the master bath, retaining the original glass wall panels and sunken Roman bath. Once water stained, the woven-wood bedroom ceilings are now pristine.

Whether or not Pietro was peering over his son's shoulder, local preservationists were. And this project ' a 2013 recipient of Restore Oregon's DeMuro Award ' ultimately won their approval.

Completion Date: Original house 1948; Guest House (Teahouse) 2-2009; Additions, Alterations and Restoration to main house 2-2012

Gross square footage: GSF = 3460; (Original house 2500 SF; Addition 725 SF; Teahouse 235 SF)

Total project cost: $935K (Main house restoration, renovations, additions, landscaping = $665K; Teahouse = $275,000)

Anthony Belluschi Consulting Architect
Anthony Belluschi FAIA, Principal
700 NW Rapidan Terrace
Portland, Oregon 97210
Ph: 312-909-9548
Email: ABelluschi@aol.com


Anthony and Martha Belluschi

Anthony Belluschi Consulting Architect
Anthony Belluschi FAIA, Principal
700 NW Rapidan Terrace
Portland, Oregon 97210
Ph: 312-909-9548
Email: ABelluschi@aol.com

Architect of record:
Anthony Belluschi FAIA

Interior designer:
Anthony Belluschi FAIA

Bob Grummel, Structural Engineering consultant, Portland, OR.

Takashi Fukuda Nursery, Portland

Aaron Zachary, electrical consultant, Portland

Mark Cole, Painter/Refinisher

General contractor:
Greenline Fine Woodworking (Patrick O'Neill), Portland, Oregon

Primary photographer:
Sally Painter

Bruce Wolf

Blaine Truitt Covert



Structural system
Main House: Outside walls are solid 2'x 6' wood planking, with bldg. paper over them and 1'x 3' t & g cedar boards placed vertically.
Teahouse: 1'x 3' cedar boards on studs 16' apart with insulation.

Exterior cladding
1'x3' vertical grain Oregon cedar siding

Moisture barrier:

Curtain wall:
Fl-clg thermal pane

Built-up roofing:
New vinyl rubber roof installed with ceramic base layer underneath and 2 layers of rigid insulation below.
Solid wood planking makes up the main flat roof structure ' all sloped to roof drains.

Standing seam metal roofing (with 12' seam) used on addition and teahouse roof

Wood frame:
Fir and cedar frames

Thermal pane with added tinted film screen to eliminate 90% of sun's UV rays

Thermal pane glass with tinted UV film screen added (in the art gallery)

Solid Douglas fir

Wood doors:
Douglas fir

Sliding doors:
Thermal pane glass in very large wood frames

New = Baldwin

3' brushed bronze in Main House new kitchen; 3' brushed aluminum in Teahouse

Interior finishes
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork:
Douglas fir, pearwood, and maple cabinets in kitchens

Paints and stains:
Osmo used on all natural interior wood finishes

1' x 3' VG Cedar matching original

Solid surfacing:
Used a form of caesar stone (actually reconstituted granite) for all new counters in kitchen and caesar stone in bathrooms in mainhouse. (Maple counter used in teahouse 'kitchbath')

Floor and wall tile:
Restored ceramic tile floor in master bathroom

Resilient flooring:
Used new cork tile throughout main house (replaced all original cork tile) and in teahouse.
Note: main house and addition have radiant heating (copper hot water tubing) in floor below cork tile. Very efficient because the concrete floors stay warm for long periods when heat is turned down.

Special interior finishes unique to this project:
Original 'woven wood' ceilings in main house master bedroom and guest bedroom were restored to their original unique beauty.

Italian high leather bar chairs used in main house kitchen island. Corbusier leather lounge chairs in Living Room and Gallery. Eames chairs in Library. Saarinen 'Tulip' dining table and chairs in terrace. Crate and Barrel table and chairs in courtyard outdoor dining area. Sofa, chair and ottoman in Living Room from Design Within Reach.

Teahouse table and chairs from DWR

Other furniture:
Sofa-beds in media room and in teahouse from Crate and Barrel

Interior ambient lighting and downlighting:
Tech Lighting (Elton with one unit and Jon with two) used in kitchen, masterbath, gallery, media room and teahouse. Dining room alabaster fixture from Lightology.

Security lighting throughout

Dimming System or other lighting controls:
Dimmers used throughout

Used Toto 'water saving toilet' in teahouse. All new fixtures in main house are also Toto.

Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project:
Handmade shoji doors were designed and built as room dividers in the Teahouse, and for sliding pocket door in bathroom in main house addition. Also, shoji doors were used for new media cabinet in addition.