The McCloskey Home
Photo courtesy of Norman Hersom
Built in 1937, Susan and Tom McCloskey’s graceful English Cottage was designed by nationally renowned architect, Herman Brookman. His notable works include “Fir Acres” (now known as the Lewis and Clark College campus) and Temple Beth Israel in northwest Portland.
Outside, a recently restored Roman brick exterior with a lovely fluted brick chimney sets the scene. Inside, tour-goers will be greeted with a sense of warmth and richness, both in color and design. The vibrant colors and textural mix nods to Susan’s childhood spent on the border of Mexico.
The McCloskeys embarked on an extensive year-long remodel, with the goal of returning the home more closely to its original design and layout. They opened up the sunroom, which now functions as a breakfast nook overlooking the yard. The space is surrounded on three sides by windows featuring a beautiful original turquoise tile floor. The existing dining room was transformed into a cozy sitting room off the kitchen.
The formal dining table is now the focal point of the formal living room warmed by the restored fireplace and covered with tiles handmade by Susan. Comfortable seating areas at both ends of the room welcome guests to relax and enjoy the space after a meal.
Textiles from around the world adorn the walls, while the furnishings and decorating carry the influence of lifelong travels to places like Mexico, Uzbekistan and Indonesia. Iconography (created by Susan, an accomplished artist) graces the walls in the main floor office, along with art and other traveling treasures, including pieces from Mongolia and Turkey.
Those interested in remodeling details will take particular note of the master suite, which was created by enclosing part of the hallway and changing the location of doors. The master suite bathroom features a barrel vault ceiling and a custom vanity that is truly an ingenious showpiece.
The other main floor bedroom was updated to include an en-suite bathroom leading to a main floor laundry area and access to the main bedroom. It’s the perfect place for grandchildren to stay.
Upstairs, tour goers will be wowed by the high ceilings that were raised as part of the remodel. Tom’s office holds a treasure trove of fishing paraphernalia and the heirloom beds were hand-carved by a German woodcarver from San Antonio.
The basement functions as Susan’s tile workspace, after which she fires her masterpieces in a kiln in the garage.
Those who head outside are in for a treat. Tom rebuilt a tiny, custom greenhouse that is now completely hydroponic. Flowers and vegetables are grown in this hidden gem year round. The back steps are made of hand-hewn Camas basalt, saved from the original landscaping.
A sense of history, travel and warmth spreads throughout the home. It is a tribute to a full life, in which every piece of art, furniture and textile seems to tell a story.
Drawing by 3rd Grader Derek Puppo