Aaron Cain bought a four-bedroom house on a wooded hillside in Portland, Oregon in 2010.
He bought the property with the intention of turning it into a family home.
After renovating three times, Cain sells it for $1.47 million – without ever living in it.
When Aaron Cain bought a four-bedroom house in Portland in 2010, he was still living in Shanghai. He made an offer without seeing the house, but planned to return and move in with his family.
“An old friend of mine named Paul McKean who was an architect came to see the house instead and he loved it,” Cain told Insider. “He said it was a very special place and I decided to make an offer without even seeing it myself.”
The house is named Campbell Residence after its original owner, local architect Richard A. Campbell, who built it in 1966 for personal use. the list† The house sits on the side of a hill, on less than an acre of land in the Sylvan-Highlands neighborhood of Portland, Oregon.
This is the second time the house has been put up for sale, real estate agent Jeff Weithman from Real estate by design told Insider. The first time was in 2010, when Cain bought the house for $672,000, ownership details show.
With its $1.47 million price tag, Campbell Residence falls in the middle of the price range of homes currently on the market market in Sylvan Highlands.
A decade and three renovations later, Cain sells the house for $1.47 million. Due to work commitments, life changes and delays, he never got a chance to live in it.
“For the past few months, I came here to take Zoom calls for work. When my wife got COVID, she isolated herself here for a few days,” Cain said. “So while all these different things happened, we never actually lived in the actual house.”
After purchasing the house, Cain, a Nike executive, was extended his stay in Shanghai until 2013. Later that year, the company moved him to the Netherlands, where he lived with his family until 2018.
“When we came back from the Netherlands, we planned to live in this house, but the renovation timeline was pushed aside,” he said. “We couldn’t move in, so we ended up buying another house.”
Cain has renovated the two-story house three times in the past decade, in 2011, 2015 and 2018. Each time, different parts of the house were renovated.
The renovations focused primarily on maintaining and modernizing the home, Cain said.
“Architecturally nothing had changed since the original design,” he said. “But the owner before me hadn’t maintained some basics.”
The first round of renovations took place from 2011 to 2013 and was completed by his father, who is a carpenter.
“While he never held a general contractor role outside of my brother’s house, he took over the renovations, including water management and repairing some of the rails in the house,” he said. “Because it was built in the 1960s, nothing was safe. There would be only decks with no rails.”
Cain also added a black steel fireplace to the living room and installed a new lighting system, according to the listing.
The open kitchen, located on the other side of the living room fireplace, was renovated in the second phase of the renovation.
In 2015 McKean — who runs his own excercise — and Cain’s father completed another round of renovations while Cain lived in Amsterdam.
“They’ve redone the kitchen and floors, even put in a window. It was quite an extensive project, because they basically re-done the whole upstairs in the spirit of the original house and modernized it,” Cain said.
The old kitchen was almost completely demolished, with the new carpentry completed by his father, he added.
Aside from the kitchen cabinets and countertops, they installed new appliances, including an induction hob, dishwasher and electric oven.
The dining area is set by a wall of windows that overlooks the surrounding greenery. A sliding door leads to the patio.
Both ends of the upper floor are walled by floor-to-ceiling windows. Cain said it is one of his favorite parts of the house.
“There’s something about just sitting in the living room with the kitchen and having this kind of warm, wooden space with glass on both ends,” he said. “It’s such a unique room; I can’t think of another room like this one I’ve ever seen.”
The final phase of the renovation took place between 2018 and 2019 and was concentrated on the ground floor, where all four bedrooms are located.
The primary bedroom suite has been completely updated during this phase, according to the listing. In addition to new floors, all original built-in furniture has been restored by hand.
The house has strong Japanese design influences, as evidenced by the use of natural materials such as exposed wood, Cain said. Large windows in the home blur the line between inside and outside.
The en-suite bathroom, which is separated from the main bedroom by a vanity, has been completely refurbished with a round freestanding bath and shower room with underfloor heating.
There is another bathroom in the property and it is also on the lower floor, according to the advertisement.
The primary suite is a close second when it comes to Cain’s favorite places in the house.
“There’s a small sauna and there’s a shower that overlooks the forest. You could spend a whole weekend in that bedroom and really enjoy it,” Cain said.
The spacious primary bathroom even has a sliding door that opens out to a private outdoor patio, according to the listing.
The roof terrace has a roof that was not in the original design of the building from 1966.
When the house was built in 1966, the large roof terrace was fully exposed, according to the listing. However, in 1979, another local architect was commissioned to add a shelter at the end of the exposed deck.
The design of the shelter reflects the original roof of the house.
Although Cain and his family never managed to live in Campbell Residence, the house has been occupied by a few different tenants in the period between the three renovations.
After the initial renovation, a filmmaker and his family rented the house, Cain said. After the filmmaker moved to Brooklyn, a friend of Cain’s came to stay at the house. The most recent tenants, a family of four, lived in the house until January, when Cain was preparing to sell the property.
“It’s very sad for me that I never got to live here, because I love this house,” he said. “When the sun is out, the birds are singing and you have the doors open, it feels like you’re almost in the woods. It’s such a peaceful, quiet space that feels like magic.”
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