Homes | Tiny House

Jessica's Own Home - Reclaimed Style

I get really excited when every few months I remember to check Jessica Helgerson's site, the designer whom holds highest honour in Pure Green's hall of eco design fame. I'm thrilled when I discover something new to admire, dream about and subsequently share here with you. Jessica and her team exemplify the Pure Green mantra of Green with Style, creatively incorporating creative re-use, green and non-toxic finishes. This house is an extra special treat because it's where Jessica and her family call home (I don't know about you but I find getting a glimpse into a designer's own homes nothing short of fascinating). The home sits on a five-acre property on Sauvie Island, an agricultural island on the Columbia River 15 minutes north of Portland. Read on for more about the project (the following is an excerpt from jhinteriordesign.com)— 

The house is an interesting experiment in reduction and reuse not only because it is only 540 square feet or because it was remodeled using nearly exclusively reclaimed materials, but because the building itself is now being recycled for the fourth time. It was first built in the early 1940s as part of Vanport Village; a quickly erected development built to house shipyard workers. When Vanport Village flooded in 1948 this particular little house was floated down the river to Sauvie Island, where it became the goose-check station. Years later it was remodeled to become a rental house.


When Jessica and Yianni bought the property in late 2008, they decided to remodel it without adding to the existing footprint. Their first step was to redesign the interior for maximum space efficiency. A ‘great room’ houses the kitchen, dining room and living room with large, comfortable, built in sofas that double as twin beds for guests. The ceiling was opened up in the main space, but the bathroom and bedroom have lower ceilings to accommodate the parent’s sleeping loft above, accessible by a walnut ladder. 

New high-efficiency windows come right down to the sofas and offer a fun way for kids and cats to enter and exit the house. The walls were insulated, then faced in reclaimed wood siding, most of which was found on site in one of the barns. The new floors are local Oregon white oak, and the dining table was made from locally salvaged walnut. The range is a vintage Craigslist find, and the tub was a salvaged from a friend’s demolition site. A wood-burning stove easily and efficiently heats the small house.

As part of the remodel, the worn out roof was replaced with a green roof, planted with moss and ferns gathered along the Columbia River Gorge. The green roof offers insulation as well as a playful visual counterpoint to the traditional white cottage.

PHOTOS by Lincoln Barbour



I honestly think living in a small cozy house where you've designed every aspect of your own home is the best. What's the point of living in a huge house and flaunting how much money you have?
May 14, 2012 | franky

probably hidden away in some clever closets ? Give me the house I figure where to put our stuffs in ! :) Great find ! So Summer Spirit !
May 6, 2012 | Lila

I love it! Sending it to my daughter and her green husband! Thanks
April 30, 2012 | kevin

Cute little house but where is their "stuff"?? eg clothes, toys, etc
April 30, 2012 | Janet Volkes

bringing you the latest, the unique and,
most importantly, the green.
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