Learn about the restoration of an 1890s Victorian cottage in Portland, Oregon, USA


United States


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  • Description


    We live in Portland, Oregon in an 1884 Victorian house that we restored ourselves. We've taken on a new challenge saving and restoring an 1890 Victorian cottage. We love Portland and the Pacific Northwest and try to enjoy it all - the people, the places, the events. We absolutely love living here. Among the things we like to do are hiking, cycling (short to century), canoeing, going to festivals in big and little towns, taking in movies and plays, touring gardens, hanging out in the hammock, gardening, being part of the distilled spirits scene. And, of course, we like old house restoration.

    We also love to travel and to meet people from around the world. In the last several years we've hosted over 100 people. We've had such a good time with all these helpers and couchsurfers. In fact, it was a couchsurfer who told us about their experiences with Workaway and convinced us that being a Workaway host would be another good way of opening up our home and connecting with other travelers in an even deeper way.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We hope to introduce you to life in the Pacific Northwest of the USA and its many dimensions.

  • Help


    We are restoring an 1890 Victorian cottage. The house was moved 2 miles from its original location in order to save it from demolition. There are many things we must do to restore the house. These include interior framing of the second floor to create bedrooms and a bath; recreating an 1890's kitchen; recreating an open back porch and restoring the front porch including stairs and railings; refinishing woodwork; plastering and repairing plaster; general carpentry and finish woodworking; interior and exterior paint prep work and application; and landscaping. We also would like to chronicle the restoration. We have a bit of video to work with that captures the house move and the beginnings of the restoration.

    We also have ongoing maintenance on our 1884 home. This included painting, fence repair, landscaping and the like.

    With this range of work to do, we can probably find something for nearly anyone to do. It would be best if you have some carpentry or building maintenance skills. But more than anything, come with a willingness to help, have fun with us, and enjoy helping to preserve part of Portland's history.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent

    This host offers a language exchange
    This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
    Please contact them directly for more information.

  • Accommodation


    In exchange for helping with this restoration, you will stay with us in our already restored 1884 Victorian. 1-2 helpers will share their own room with one comfortable full size bed. There is a bath that, for the most part, is yours, but shared if we have other guests. We are a nonsmoking household - no smoking in or around either house. We remove our shoes when in the house. We can share meals (Kim is an omnivore, Roy is a vegan and we easily accommodate vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, you name it). You can expect a clean and neat house, but we're not neat freaks; just don't be a slob yourself. There is WiFi you can use and a TV if you want to watch something. We do have an indoor cat who will want to check you out. We are not able to host other pets.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We are 3-5 minutes from public transportation, on lots of bike routes and near the Alberta Arts District and the Mississippi Avenue area. Portland is a great home base for just about anything there is to do in the Pacific Northwest - cool neighborhoods, coffee, skiing, windsurfing, wilderness backpacking, fly fishing, winery touring, hiking, drinking beer, music. And you are more than welcome to take day trips with us or maybe we even plan a longer trip somewhere. But even if you want to enjoy the Pacific Northwest on your own, just get out there and enjoy!

    We're happy to help others learn or sharpen their English, but we'd also like to learn or sharpen our skills in other languages - Spanish, Japanese, German, French.....

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    4-5 hours/day for 5 days

The 1890 cottage in original location where it would have been torn down
Roy and Kim after doing the really dirty work getting the house ready to move
The 1890 house being moved off its original lot - maximum tilt during the move!
Stripped of paint, the house awaits its new paint job during the summer of 2017.
Here a helper is finishing work on reproduction wainscot that will go into the new 1890-era kitchen.
Here a helper is doing the tedious or relaxing, depending on your point of view, work of preparing the Victorian "gingerbread" for its new coat of paint.
Back porch railing designed and built by a helper.
Helpers showing off their completed railing project.
Helpers restoring original back porch post.
Helper created this newel post for basement stairs.
Helper applying gold leaf to a panel he designed as part of the porch skirting.
Helper laying the paving stones for pathway to the front porch.
Our 1884 restored Victorian farmhouse
Your room in our 1884 farmhouse
There are incredible places to visit outside of Portland - maybe even a sunny day at Crater Lake (you can always get Roy (left) to head out on a hike!)

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Host ref number: 486427337617