Gary Hanifan likes to joke that the massive painting of snow-capped Mt. Hood hanging in the living room of his renovated and expanded 1920 Craftsman in Lake Oswego, Oregon is actually a mirror. After all, the artwork faces a window through which the real Mt. Hood can be seen. But the wood painting, its grains and patina showing through as beautiful as the mountain image itself, says a lot about the love affair Hanifan and his wife, Melissa, have with finding vintage art, furniture, and architecture.
“I do enjoy the hunt,” says Gary, who first saw the Mt. Hood painting hanging in a saloon many years ago and found it again on one of his regular sojourns through vintage shops, estate sales, and even house deconstructions. If that was serendipitous, so too was running across the old clock that now sits on the fireplace mantel. The Hanifans bought it from a neighbor’s garage sale not knowing it had once sat in the same spot.
Stories like these seem to pour out of the couple, not just about their furniture and art, but about the house itself, located in the First Addition neighborhood of this leafy Portland suburb that feels more like an idyllic small town. “As luck would have it, we realized there is a painting of this home in City Hall,” Gary says. “It’s known as the little white house on the corner in First Addition.”
The couple moved to town in 2012 after meeting in London as coworkers at a business consultancy. Gary grew up in rural St. Paul, Oregon (about an hour’s drive from Portland), known for its annual rodeo, and he and Melissa, a Florida native, wanted their two young sons to be near their grandparents. After choosing Lake Oswego for its walkability and good schools, they first moved into another house a block away. The 1920 Craftsman was for sale, too, but the couple initially passed on it, “because it was chopped up and not in good shape,” Gary recalls.
“But I liked this one,” Melissa says with a laugh. She began to win over her husband, pointing out that the house occupied a corner lot, absorbing ideal eastern and southern light, and it was double-sized, which meant possibilities for expansion.
You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD
Log in, if you are already a subscriber
Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories, newspapers and 5,000+ magazines
READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE
Issue 99 Fall 2019