Frank Shell House

Featured on the front page of the Oregonian newspaper’s Homes and Rentals section, the Frank Shell project was amazing. We wish we could claim all responsibility for how great the house feels inside, but it is Frank Shell, the architect and longtime resident of the home that created this modern masterpiece. We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to keep his design alive.

I am truly honored that Nickie (and her daughter Kate) contacted me to let me know how they appreciate the quality of the restoration.

The History
The Frank Shell family home was originally built in 1960. The home features original teak woodwork throughout, three atriums, and dramatic “saw-tooth” roof-line. Primarily a public/educational project architect, Frank Shell created his home as a showcase of a unique form of “pinch and open” relationship between space and light, creating a naturalistic yet modern placement for a family burrow. Rooms are exposed to light through one or more complete glass walls, oversize windows, and numerous skylights which compliment nearby atrium rooms.

Located within walking distance to the warm and family friendly Multnomah Village, this home offers authentic mid-century living with the advantages of 20th Century efficiency.

When we walked into the house it immediately spoke to us as a unique example of modern architecture. Even on a dreary winter day, it instantly transported us to the bright outdoor culture reminiscent of the Case Study Homes of Southern California (1945 -1966). Here in Portland, there are so many great examples of mid-century modern homes, but this one, more than others we’ve been into, really blurs the lines between inside and out. This was a one-of-a-kind opportunity, as it is a one of a kind property. The goal with this project was to update the functionality of the space while respecting Shell’s design aesthetic.

About Frank Lawrence Shell, Historic Register Architect
Frank Shell received his degree in architecture from Washington State College. He moved to Portland Oregon in 1949 and began to work with two partners, Jonathan Farnham and Charles Hoyt, creating the firm Farnham, Shell and Hoyt. Frank Shell died in late 2006, at the age of 86.

Public Works of Frank Shell and Associates
American Institute of Architecture biography listings for 1962:

  • Reed College Dorm Cross Canyon Residence, Architecture firm of Farnham, Shell & Hoyt
  • National Register of Historic Places and recipients of the AIA Oregon Chapter Merit award.
  • Crawford Office building 1961, worked in conjunction with landscape architect David E. Thompson
  • Estacada High School, Estacada Oregon
  • Oakridge High School, Oakridge Oregon

Public Works of Frank Shell
American Institute of Architecture biography listings for 1970:

  • Camp Arrowhead Wind Mt Girl Scout Camp
  • Tabor Heights United Methodist Church, Portland Oregon