Striking Transformation in Milwaukie Multi-Generational Home Remodel

Portland Home design, Portland remodel, Portland painters

Step-By-Step SE Portland Home Remodel Part 1

This October, Willco completed a stunning Portland house remodel project that took a smaller existing structure nearly down to the studs and transformed it into a multi-generational home. The client wanted a home that could easily house their children as well as a mother-in-law and was capable of easily hosting large family gathering—one of their favorite regular activities.

The following interview with Willco’s President James Garrett, walks you through the initial steps his team took in their approach to tackling this massive multi-generational home remodel project. This is part one of a three part series that will give you important insight into what it takes to transform a house into a dream home that fits the owner’s needs and lifestyle.


Portland home remodel, Multi-generational home, portland painters

Interview: Milwaukie Oregon Multi-generational Home Remodel Part 1

Q: When did this home remodeling project begin?

JG: The Young family came to Willco in September of 2019. They have a large family, including children, living with them; and a mother-in-law was moving in with them. In addition to having a large live-in family, they liked to host large gatherings, especially at holidays.

Q: Upon first inspections, what was the existing structure like?

JG: They had a very small ranch house in Portland that didn’t have a good open space for everybody to gather and socialize in. One of the biggest obstacles was that they had a really tight pinch point from the kitchen into the dining room, and a rather all living room area in the back. When people gathered in the kitchen, there was only a small space to slide by at the end of the peninsula as the kitchen was designed.  It made a real choke point for traffic.

Q. What was their initial request when they first came to you?

JG: They were asking for more square footage and a suite for the mother-in-law.


Portland home remodel, Multi-generational home, portland painters

Q: What did the scope of this home remodeling project end up being?

JG: The scope of this multi-generational home renovation project was just to add square footage to the back of the house in the beginning. It consisted of knocking out the back wall and extending the foundation 15 feet toward the back property line for the length of the home.

The scope evolved into something much bigger that involved removing the entire roof, putting on a new truss system that covered the entire existing house, including the new edition, and then vaulting the main space of the house: the front formal living room, the kitchen and the great room. The end goal of the project was for the family to have a space that fit their lifestyle, house their whole family plus a guest and create a space for entertaining that had seating for 30.

Q: How much of the house ended up changed from its original design?

JG: I’d say 90 percent of the house. The two front bedrooms and garage are the only spaces unchanged technically space wise. However, even in the garage we added storage trusses above the garage so they could access that space for storage.

Q: When you did your first walkthrough on your house, what were some big challenges you knew you would face right off the bat?

JG: The roof and the weather. The vault always is a little more challenging than a flat roof as is tying in the old walls and the old structure with the new structure. Additionally, we had to consider and work with the fact that the thickness of the new walls are different than the thickness of the old walls. Anytime you have transitions like that you’ve got lines to consider and weird jogs in the existing walls.


Portland home remodel, Multi-generational home, portland painters

Q: When you were done meeting with the client and outlining the scope of the project, what were the major goals you had set?

JG: We had a complete plan. The client was really good about knowing what they wanted for finishes fixtures, and appliances, so they were on top of their selections and were ahead of ordering a lot of those selections. The interior design portion of the project was easy and went smoothly. By the end of the project, it was a completely different house in many ways.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced with this project?

JG: Overall, the biggest challenge looking ahead at it and looking back at it was the time of year we did the remodel. We tore the roof on if January of 2021, and at one point we had snow and rain and the consequences of working in that weather. It turned into a down-to-the-studs remodel.

Q: When heading to the design into the build what were you most excited about?

JG: The size of the project was exciting. It’s rare to have that much impact on a house. We knew that we were going to come out of it with a brand-new house. I was also looking forward to working with the client, they seemed like really nice people, and they understood all of the challenges of construction.

We considered delaying the start date just so we would have better weather for the roof demo, but the client understood the risk and what could happen and still wanted to proceed. At this point I think it’s a good thing that we started when did, because now it’s the beginning of October and we’re finished and our client lining up for the holidays. It’s going to be a great celebration.


If you are interested in remodeling your Portland Metro or Vancouver-area house into a home that fits your ideal lifestyle, contact us for more information or an estimate here.

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