Portland Street of Dreams 2015: Hits and misses

It's the 40th anniversary of the Portland Street of Dreams. Builders buy lots and hire their designers. Manufacturers and retailers give deep discounts on products. Some homes are pre-sold, some are not. This is what makes the street so interesting. Unlike building the house of your dreams, these dream houses showcase a collective contemporary look at the latest and greatest in home building and decor, intended to sell services and products to the public.  

This is what makes the Street of Dreams a cluster of great ideas, not necessarily cohesive ones or ones that we (and I mean the 70,000 people that plan to tour the show) would make if we were building a home for ourselves.

This year I am particularly excited about The Street of Dreams, not only because there are lots of new products being introduced, but modern and contemporary design trends dominate the show rather than the previously more traditional villa/cottage styles with a Frank Lloyd Wright here and there.

Before we go any further, let me explain the difference between modern and contemporary.

Modern design is guided by historical reference and philosophy (e.g. mid-century modern) and contemporary design is guided by current trends or what's happening "right now". Modern is becoming mainstream right now, and therefore, contemporary. You could say that we are experiencing the perfect storm of modern contemporary design

I have always loved modern design and have lived in modern homes most of my life. I grew up in a modern box with white walls in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

It didn't matter if you had a lot of many or a little money. Puerto Rican contemporary design is an integral part of our culture and my adult aesthetic. Funny thing is that everyone thinks we live in colonial colorful buildings. We love them but think of them as historical sites. Like the Pink Ladies in San Francisco.

I've also lived in several modern homes in the metro Portland area, including a Rummer Home in Beaverton, inspired by Eichler Architecture. As a matter of fact there are cluster of Rummer homes in the Portland area. Oak Hills has the coolest street lined with these homes, and is Oregon’s first designated mid-century modern Historic District, celebrating its recent 2013 listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Today I live in a very modern and coincidentally contemporary three story white home in Lake Oswego. Yes, one could say you can take the girl out of Puerto Rico but you can't take Puerto Rico out of the girl. 

If you are wondering why I am not showing you pictures of the house I live in now it's because I am in the middle remodeling and I plan to give you the down and dirty about my own design journey in another blog. But enough about me, back to The Street Of Dreams.

The attempt to bring contemporary design and decor to a west side neighborhood this year is not easy, but definitely gets an "A" for effort! While Portland's Pearl District modern aesthetics are a natural fit with its high rises and loft spaces, the west side embraces the contemporary trend looks of Pottery Barn, espresso dark woods, bronze fixtures, and soft sectionals.

Modern is going mainstream and we are entering the age of Aquarius, the era of Madmen, the Dwell lifestyle.

At the Street of Dreams you will see a mixture of mid-century with contemporary decor. There are hits and misses. Let us know what yours were, here are some of mine:


Hit: Nature-themed metallic wallpaper, chevron tile floor pattern with a natural cement -looking sink.

Hit: Light wood, hardware, textures, colors smoothly blend as a palette. 

Hit: Use of color in bold striking ways. 

Hit: New hood options.

Hit: Color continuity.

Hit: This Madwoman look feels fresh

Hit: This Madwoman look feels fresh


Miss: Modern sink with a natured-themed wallpaper in traditional or formal colors combined with a light wood floor.

Miss: Mix of wood colors along with smooth and textured surfaces creates tension.

Hit: White-washed plywood.

Miss: New hood options.

Miss: Color continuity

Miss: This Mancave look feels stale

Miss: This Mancave look feels stale

The 2015 NW Natural Street of Dreams is running throughout the month of August. As always, it is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse and explore what's happening right now in the design industry. So head on down, take a look around, have some fun and see what works for you. Be sure to remember to consider your own personal hits and misses. 

Hours of Operation
10:00am – 9:00pm, purchase tickets until 7:30pm everyday

General Admission – $17.00 each person (Children 10 & Under – Free)

The 2015 NW Natural Street of Dreams is located North of Lake Oswego High School. Parking for the show is located offsite. Please park in the designated locations and ride the shuttle to the show. Approximate shuttle ride time is 5-7 minutes.

Saturday and Sunday
4000 Kruse Way Place
Lake Oswego, OR 97035

Monday through Friday
2500 Country Club Road
Lake Oswego, OR 97034

Certain days may require the use of overflow parking lots. For handicap accommodations, please call 503-603-4500. See streetofdreamspdx.com for more details.