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2001 Home Tour

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The Nicolai-Cake-Olson House
1903 NE Hancock Street

In 1905-1906 Harry T. Nicolai (who would later found the well-remembered Nicolai Door Company) built this house to plans drawn by prominent Portland architect Emil Schacht.  Schacht's plans were based on ideas in the June, 1904, issue of the exciting new magazine, The Craftsman, Gustav Stickley's monthly publication of Arts & Crafts design and philosophy.  Schacht proved to be an outstanding exponent of the Stickley credo.  From the panels of casement windows, to the bold overhanging eaves, from the wide open floor plan to the stark simplicity of the abundant Douglas Fir woodwork, this is a "Craftsman Style" house in every respect.  Within only a few years, these architectural elements had swept Portland, appearing throughout Irvington and becoming the most popular architectural style for nearly 15 years.  The home's status as one of the first Craftman Style homes in Portland helped earn it a place on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.  More historical information is provided in the National Register Properties Gallery on this site.

Nicolai built the house as a speculative investment.  The first full-time residents were Harry and Mable Cake.  Harry ran for U.S. Senate against George Chamberlin in 1908 (George lived around the corner on Tillamook Street at the time).  Later, Judge Fred and Minnie Olson lived here from the mid-1920's until Minnie's death in 1967.  Minnie was instrumental in saving the house when many of its neighbors were demolished to make room for apartment buildings.

The current owners are restoring the interior to its original Craftsman look.  Period furnishings are complemented by the owner's collection of Italian Majolica pottery and a decor based on warm sunny colors.  




Built-in bookcases and a classic Craftsman style Inglenook with Emil Schacht's trademark columns distinguish the living room.  These are just a few of the distinctive Emil Schacht touches which are found in this home.

photography by Bruce Beaton





Craftsman style lighting from Rejuvenation House Parts casts a warm glow in the fir paneled dining room.  Though abundant, the woodwork shapes are utterly simple.


photography by Bruce Beaton