Midcentury architectural marvel, Portland’s Wedgwood Home of Tomorrow, is for
A 1959 model home in Northeast Portland was dubbed the Wedgwood Home of Tomorrow when it was new, but today the carefully preserved residence is a spacious, livable time capsule made famous to a new generation as a film location for “Shrill,” a comedy series starring Aidy Bryant and streaming on Hulu.
Architects William Fletcher and Donald Blair designed the dwelling seven decades ago to be topped by an inventively lightweight, folded-plate roof, which was called the “Wedgwood Wave” after developer Wedgwood Homes.
Underneath the Douglas fir plywood roof were floor-to-ceiling glass panels and prefabricated walnut-veneer panels. A suspended fireplace and clerestory windows add to the sense of lightness, as if elements are floating.
The handsome, then-futuristic residence with indoor-outdoor spaces, an ideal work-from-home setup and “The Jetsons”-like built-in gadgetry, earned a merit award by the American Institute of Architects during the halcyon days of midcentury architecture.
Fast forward: The 0.27-acre property at 1300 N.E. 117th Ave. in Portland’s Hazelwood neighborhood was listed for sale at $639,000 on Jan. 12, 2020, by broker Lori Fenwick of Premiere Property Group.
Who will love this home with architectural gravitas? “Someone who appreciates aesthetic and modern design,” says Fenwick. “Someone who is excited about owning and preserving one of the most architecturally significant, mid-century modern homes in Portland.”
The longtime owners say their home was inspired by German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, as well as abstract painter Piet Mondrian’s use of colors and playing solids against voids for dramatic, simplified visual effect.
The home was invited to be part of Restore Oregon’s 2017 home tour spotlighting Fletcher’s rare residential work.
The late architect not only helped refine midcentury modern for the Pacific Northwest, but founded an enduring firm, Fletcher Farr Ayotte (now known as FFA Architecture and Interiors, Inc.), and secured his legacy through his attractive, ground-breaking structures.
Airbnb guests have also been able to check out the Wedgwood Home of Tomorrow (often misspelled “Wedgewood”) and “Mad Men”-era furnishings and artwork. “Live like a Jetson,” stated the vacation stay description.
The entry is protected by a walled and landscaped courtyard. It’s a signature feature of Fletcher’s that provides privacy and a sense of transition from the street to the home sanctuary.
The house has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,650 square feet of living space. It is surrounded by a Tiki deck and Japanese gardens.
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Fletcher is credited with advancing modernist tenets of open floor plans and efficient kitchens that enhanced the high livability of his custom houses. He added beauty with carefully positioned skylights, warm wood louvers and other practical and elegant geometric forms.
In the 1950s, Fletcher graduated from the University of Oregon’s School of Architecture and set up shop in the basement of his Portland home.
His guide to design were works by modernist trailblazer, Mies van der Rohe, and the spare International Style movement.
While classic revival architecture dominated the drawing boards at most firms, Fletcher joined a handful of outliers designing pared-down dwellings encased by…