Page 1

Portrait™ OF PORTLAND Volume 18


A Guide to the Distinctive in Portland


pages of




WHEN JAMES TAYLOR AND ELIZABETH CASSON-TAYLOR BOUGHT A MIDCENTURY MODERN HOME ON MT. TABOR A FEW YEARS AGO, THEY WEREN’T IN THE MARKET, OR EVEN LOOKING. “I would definitely say it was a midlife crisis decision,” says Casson-Taylor. “I wanted to retire to Palm Springs, I wanted a pool and a view. It was a fluke that this house looks like a Palm Springs house. It had everything on my list.” They loved the home’s openness and clean lines, but they did not love the kitchen. Much of the kitchen was original circa 1966, and it had nifty gadgets like a built-in blender and built-in toaster oven that were considered high-end back then. But the kitchen was not very user-friendly, Taylor says. “Counters went across the back and blocked off the nook,” Taylor says. “It had inadequate lighting, and it was closed off from the rest of the home.” The Taylors entertain often and needed the kitchen to flow better. “We wanted to open up the view,” Casson-Taylor says. “It didn’t make sense to us to have a wall separating the kitchen and dining room.” The Taylors went on Portland’s Street of Eames modern home tour and looked in books and magazines for midcentury modern kitchen ideas. But most of the original kitchens looked too plain, Casson-Taylor says, and the renovated kitchens looked out of place. “We didn’t want to remodel in a way that didn’t fit the era of the house,” says Casson-Taylor. “This was a bit of a concern, though, because when you go to sell, people want granite and stainless steel.” They brought in architectural designer Emily Dixon Price DESIGNER ALAN CLOUD AND STONEWORKER ALEX SHKURINSKIY LITERALLY RAISED THE BAR ON THE TAYLORS’ MT. TABOR KITCHEN DESIGN WITH A CANTILEVERED SERVING BAR. A ROUGH EDGE AMONG CLEAN, MODERN LINES, THE CHISELED COUNTERTOP IS USED FOR FOOD-STAGING, AND IT OPENS UP THE VIEWS OF DOWNTOWN PORTLAND ON THE OTHER SIDE. UNEXPECTED TOUCHES LIKE OPEN STAINLESS STEEL SHELVING, A MOSAIC BACKSPLASH AND A MONOCHROMATIC COLOR PALETTE PUT A MODERN-DAY SPIN ON THIS MIDCENTURY MODERN KITCHEN REMODEL.

to draw up plans that captured their vision while keeping the design respectful of the rest of the house. Once they had a plan in hand, demolition began. Taylor acted as general contractor. They hired designer Alan Cloud as their supplier for countertops, cabinets and hardware. “Alan turned out to be a remarkable design consultant as well,” Taylor says. “The Taylors were looking for someone who could bring their concept to life with the right caliber of materials and within their budget,” Cloud says. “We clicked right off the bat.”


ABOVE: James Taylor and Elizabeth Casson-Taylor are thrilled that a modern art piece they purchased two years ago at a school auction has found a perfect home in their newly remodeled kitchen. OPPOSITE: Shkurinskiy chiseled the thick Carrara marble slab to echo the home’s jagged fireplace hearth. Carrara marble is also used in the smooth-edged kitchen counters. The flatiron gray backsplash from United Tile’s Walker Zanger Tribeca series was well worth the splurge, and the three-week wait.




A statement-making stainless steel hood floats above wide Designer Alan Cloud incorporated double-reeded glass panels in the upper cabinets to match double-reeded glass doors throughout the rest of the home. He integrated end panels into the design so everywhere you look, the sides of

burners on the 36” gas cooktop. A wine refrigerator is tucked into the narrow end of the angled center island. “James and Elizabeth love to entertain,” Cloud says. “While cooking at the island, they are in the center of the action.”

the cabinets look just like the fronts, which creates a furniture feel.

The kitchen cabinet drawers and doors were upgraded to

Replacing a wall with a canti-

a soft cushion close, meaning

levered serving bar between

they pause before closing

the kitchen and dining room

and never slam shut. “Once

opened up the stunning views

people get used to the cush-

of downtown Portland. Floor-

ion close, they can’t believe

to-ceiling cabinets surround

they lived without it. It’s not

stainless steel GE Monogram

that expensive and makes

appliances, including a side-

such a difference,” says de-

by-side refrigerator, 30” oven,

signer Alan Cloud.

30” warming drawer and 30” convection/microwave oven, which gives the Taylors two ovens for entertaining.

Cloud brought in Alex Shkurinskiy, owner of Oregon City-based Artistic Stone



Alan B. Cloud

Design, to help with the kitchen and bathroom countertops, kitchen backsplash and bathroom tile work. Shkurinskiy’s stone fabricating skills took the kitchen to a new


level with a rough-edged raised counter-

ALAN: I just completed a dream project in Damascus, on a beautiful, million-dollar property with panoramic views. We did a large, open-concept kitchen in the center of the home. It had clean lines, warm wood, stone counters and beautiful, full-height tile backsplashes. We wrapped a nine-foot column in cherry with a matching recessed panel detail to coordinate with their cabinets. A third of the way up the column, a six-inch tall horizontal band of cherry flowed from the column becoming the backsplash that flows all the way around their large center island, separating the countertop from the raised bar top.

top used as a serving bar. Cloud and Shkurinskiy cantilevered the bar on tilted legs to let more light and view through the space underneath. They also doubled the thickness of Carrara marble slab to play into the solid, beefy look of the chiseled edge. “Chiseling on Carrara marble was tricky,” says Shkurinskiy. “Marble is very sugary. It tends to crumble more than rip away. Chiseling was a very big risk, but a risk worth taking when it turned out.” With marble already on the home’s fireplace hearth and in some of the bathrooms, “it is a definite theme through our house,” says Casson-Taylor. The Carrara even inspired the kitchen’s color palette of white painted maple cabinets and

Q: WHAT’S THE BEST KITCHEN INVESTMENT? ALAN: To update a kitchen and get the most for your money, take the cabinets up to the ceiling to gain storage space. Eliminate soffits. Add crown molding for a custom furniture look. These days, you can’t go wrong with stainless steel. I also recommend upgraded hardware, soft-close doors, and easy-access storage, including full-extension drawers and roll-out shelves.

stainless steel. “Even though we don’t have a lot of color in the space, one of my favorite things is the paint color,” says Taylor. The Devine “Silver” paint “changes

Specializing in granite / quartz slab countertop fabrication & stone / tile installation.

color in different light through different times of day. It varies from blue-gray to

Q: DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE KITCHEN “GADGET”? ALAN: One of the really great newer trends with microwaves incorporates a microwave/ convection oven in one appliance. It helps fit a second oven into a smaller kitchen space.

soft lilac.” Casson-Taylor loves the angled countertop on the island. “We didn’t go with a typical rectangle,” she says. “The angled shape adds interest.” To accommodate traffic patterns, Cloud tapered the island

Q: WHAT IS THIS YEAR’S HOTTEST KITCHEN TREND? ALAN: People are getting away from glossy granite and going more toward an antiqued finish or to quartz that looks like concrete. Either of these is less glossy and lends a more custom look.

countertop at one end and made it deep enough at the other to slip a stool underneath. Because of the curve, Shkurinskiy cut the island countertop rough and then ground it by hand. He also surface polished the perimeter countertops, making the seams practically unnoticeable. “Most places don't do a turbo polish to get rid of unevenness,” Shkurinskiy says. “It's my biggest pet peeve and something I pride myself on.” Instead of cabinets, floating shelves


made of stainless steel flank both sides of CCB#172874

Q: WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY? ALAN: I get to know my customers and how they use their home and kitchen, and how their kitchen affects all the peripheral areas. From a traffic standpoint, I try to improve the flow. I also try to open spaces up as much as I can. I put all the tall items, like the refrigerator, into a corner or on an end to leave the rest of the kitchen open. This makes the space feel larger and brighter. I like to give people a lot of counter space, and a working triangle with two to three nice workspaces.

the kitchen window. The Taylors found the stainless shelves at Ikea and had them cut down and installed by their contractor. This was more affordable than making custom shelves through a metal fabricator. The Taylors knew where to save and where to spend. They debated choosing a different backsplash when their first choice – a Walker Zanger mosaic – was delayed in shipping. But they didn’t see any others they liked as well, so “We waited the extra three weeks, and we’re glad we did,” Taylor says. “We splurged on marble and tile and appliances,” Casson-Taylor says. “And on instant hot water, filtered cold water, and a double square sink.” The stainless steel appliances fit the kitchen perfectly, and the convection/microwave doubles as a second oven. Since completing the remodel, the Taylors have cooked turkeys and hams for holiday meals, hosted summer barbeques, and even cooked a huge soul food dinner for winners of an auction held by the school where Casson-Taylor was formerly principal. “We love our kitchen now,” says Taylor. “It goes with the character of the house. It’s a new kitchen but it fits with the style of the home.”

STONE FABRICATOR & TILE INSTALLATION Artistic Stone Design, Inc, Alex Shkurinskiy 503.804.8820 INTERIOR DESIGNER Alan B. Cloud 360.903.7789 ARCHITECTURAL DESIGNER Emily Dixon Price 503.816.9586 SOURCES: Lighting Fixtures: LUX Lighting, Rejuvenation; Kitchen Appliances: Refrigerator, Wine Reserve, Convection Oven, Warming Drawer, Gas Cooktop, Island Hood, Dishwasher: GE Monogram; Tile Supplier: United Tile; Shower Enclosures: Heritage Glass



Prtrait Of Portland - Taylor Residence  

Feature of Artistic Stone Dsign in Portrait of Portland Magazine, showcasing the Taylor Residence.