The Adkins-Towslee Home
Photo courtesy of Norman Hersom
Dinah Adkins and Tom Towslee have enjoyed their 1930 French eclectic-style home since 2010, when they moved from Reed College Place. This style of home was popular between the world wars — along with Tudors, English Cottages, and Renaissance Revival designs — when the “doughboys,” soldiers who fought in World War I, fell in love with European architecture and built similar styles in the United States upon their return.
In the case of this charming abode, the French Eclectic design is asymmetrical, featuring an extremely tall roof, rounded front door, small-paned casement windows, French doors and iron railings. Adkins and Towslee are only the third owners of the home, which was originally built by a Portland merchant.
Inside, the public rooms feature top-nailed Siberian red-oak floors and mahogany trim. The living room is lighted by windows on three walls and the small dining room opens to a terrace overlooking the garden. These rooms also feature freestanding pieces and original built-in cabinetry displaying English and American porcelain, crystal and bone china. The main floor features bright colors, silk draperies and a mix of French, English, and American antiques. Renovating the kitchen entirely prior to moving in, the owners selected quarter-sawn red oak floors, green granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and a banquette seating area.
Paintings by historic Pacific Northwest artists are exhibited throughout the house. Impressionist C.C. McKim’s view of Horsetail Falls is located in the small TV room. Works by Helen Sauvier Dumond, Edward Espey, Grafton Tyler Brown (the first African-American artist to visit and live in the Northwest), Clara Jane Stephens and Clyde Keller can be seen throughout the house as well. A cast bronze bust of a young woman, located in the living room, was created by Hungarian/American artist Frederic Littman.
Upstairs, a clever reconfiguration of space has occurred, turning two small bedrooms into a spacious master retreat complete with a generous walk-in closet accessible from both the bedroom and the hallway. The upstairs bath boasts a glass-surround shower with marble and tile details throughout.
The lower-level daylight basement includes a guest bedroom and bath, office, kitchenette and theater area, complete with an 80-inch screen and fireplace. Heated travertine is set in a Byzantine pattern, keeping floors and feet cozy. French doors open out back to a lovely patio and sitting area, revealing a stunning vista of a formal garden framed by boxwoods and laurel hedges.
Drawing of the Adkins-Towslee Home by 4th Grader, Derek Puppo