Portland-based collaborative design practice Woofter Architecture has recently completed the expansion and renovation of a 1940s cottage in Portland, Oregon. Redesigned to follow the design concepts of traditional Korean houses known as ‘hanoks’, the residential project — dubbed the Wilshire House — has been remade into a courtyard layout and includes a new south-facing garden space. The home has also been thoroughly modernized and outfitted with sustainable features, including rain chains and solar panels that top the roof.

dark colored home illuminated with interior light with the sunset behind it

Spanning an area of 1,850 square feet, the Wilshire House largely maintains the majority of the existing single-story structure, while tacking on a sensitive extension that elongates the footprint of the house to the rear of the rectangular plot. While the front of the property maintains a traditional gabled appearance, new exterior cladding and roofing give the home a sleek and contemporary appearance. 

wooden porch with bench and two lights shining on the bench
interior of home with wood floors and light

Following principles of Hanok, a traditional Korean house typology that dates back to the 14th century and promotes site-specific design for both the positioning of the house and interior layout, the Wilshire House takes solar passive conditions into consideration. The best example of this can be seen in the orientation of the long and narrow addition towards the south to take advantage of natural light and warmth from the sun. Roof overhangs help deflect unwanted solar gain. 

interior of home with bookcase on white wall and wooden floors with gray couch
interior of home with wood floors and cabinets with large window on white wall

best example of this can be seen in the orientation of the long and narrow addition towards the south to take advantage of natural light and warmth from the sun. Roof overhangs help deflect unwanted solar gain. 

Related: This green-roofed home for a master gardener embraces nature

gray couch beside large window and glass door with wooden trim and white walls

The architects have also dubbed the Wilshire House the “House of the Seven Skylights” for its inclusion of skylights that punctuate the new series of vaulted spaces — including bedrooms, an artist’s studio and a secret play room accessible via pull-down ladder — that flood the airy and modern interior with an abundance of natural light. Large windows and the glazed doors along the courtyard garden-facing porch also let in daylight to reduce dependence on artificial light.

+ Woofter Architecture

Images by Pete Eckert