Property Watch: A Serene Rummer in a Portland Neighborhood Full of Them
Editor’s Note: Portland Monthly’s “Property Watch” column takes a weekly look at an interesting home in Portland’s competitive real estate market (with periodic ventures to the burbs and points beyond, for good measure). This week: A coveted Rummer house in northwest Washington County. Got a home you think would work for this column? Get in touch at [email protected].
Robert Rummer was a developer and builder, who started his company, Rummer Homes, in 1959, and became the most prolific builder of Eichler-style houses in the entire state. Think planes of glass climbing to the ceiling, and dramatic post-and-beam architecture that creates open expanses and easy connection to the outdoors, including an atrium inside the front door.
The story goes that it was Rummer’s wife, Phyllis, who first noticed the potential of the striking Eichler designs on a visit to California, and suggested her husband check them out. When Rummer did, months later, he was hooked. Of the 750 homes Rummer constructed in the Portland metro area, about 300 are estimated to be in the Eichler style.
This subdivision, called Bohmann Park and technically in unincorporated Washington County in the Garden Home-Raleigh Hills area, has the highest concentration of Rummers in Oregon: around 65 houses here are his builds. That means driving down SW Cecilia Terrace, where this house sits, is a little like stepping back in time.
Built in 1966, this home is a fantastic example of the style, although it has been updated in spots. (For instance, beams were usually painted in Rhodda’s Oxford Brown, and they’re now white.) With 2,500 square feet and a two-car garage, it’s also said to be one of the builder’s biggest models.
It’s got all of the features we’ve come to expect: concrete floors with radiant heating, vaulted ceilings covered in tongue and groove wood—even in the bathrooms and laundry—and glass everywhere: from a simple clerestory window over a sliding glass door in the primary bedroom, to the big floor-to-ceiling panels on the back wall and atrium, to the many crisp angled pieces that follow the lines of the ceiling.
On the other side of the chartreuse door—an excellent color choice against the inky exterior—is the atrium, a Rummer staple, its large skylight opening to let the breeze blow through. The glass wrapped corners include three sliding doors (of six total in the house), with one set straight ahead that leads to the combined living and dining room. In addition to the sweeping expanse of interior space there, the main rooms have a fantastic view into the backyard, of its minimal Ipe deck and mature landscaping, including cedars, Japanese forest grass, pines, and bamboo.
There are welcome updates, like the thoughtfully executed kitchen with walnut cabinets and stainless-steel counters. Beside those, smaller, original details remain, like the burlap-covered closet doors, the hallway sconces, and maybe even the brown shag carpeting in one of the bedrooms.
A hallway borders one side of the atrium, and off it, are the four bedrooms and two baths. Don’t miss the bedroom-turned-office at the end of the hall, with stylish wall-mounted shelves, a cork-covered wall, and a sliding glass door directly to the atrium. When you look up from the computer screen, you can appreciate all the lines of sight a house like this conveys: through the atrium at its heart and into the other rooms, or out exterior windows to the backyard.
Rummer’s builds have always had a devoted following that’s only grown since midcentury style exploded in popularity, so buying one sure seems like a smart investment. The last time we toured one, it was a modest Beaverton number from last year that listed for $550,000 and sold for well over: $696,900. This one was only on the market for five days before going pending, listed at double its last sale price six years ago: a tidy sum of $1,199,000.
Listing Fast Facts
Address: 8545 SW Cecilia Terrace, Portland, OR 97223
Size: 2,500 square feet/4 bedroom/2 bath
List Date: 9/15/2022
List Price: $1,199,000
Listing Agent: Marisa Swenson, Dwell Realty
Melissa Dalton is a freelance writer who has focused on Pacific Northwest design and lifestyle since 2008. She is based in Portland, Oregon. Contact Dalton here.