It takes a certain pluck to tear down a 1904 Craftsman in the middle of an understated neighborhood and replace it with a $4 million, rectangular, four-story, white-glazed terra-cotta, concrete and steel building twice the size of the old, traditional houses around it.
This is especially true in Portland, Ore., where residents are known less for taking fashion risks than for raising chickens in the backyard.
But David Carter and Jamie Baldwin, both 60, were used to feeling different. They each confronted pushback from their conservative communities when they came out as gay in 1979 and 1985, respectively. Mr. Carter, an artist, and Mr. Baldwin, a psychotherapist, said those experiences made them less concerned with conforming to others’ expectations, which in turn kept them strong when facing neighborhood opposition to their new home plans.
“We are coming in and informing people that diversity includes the unknown. I feel that it enhances everybody’s life,” said Mr. Baldwin, explaining why the couple decided to move forward with their audacious design.
Shortly before his unexpected death on Jan. 9, Mr. Carter, whose work is well known in the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest, said he and Mr. Baldwin wanted their philosophy of upfront honesty to apply to the architecture of their house. “It is getting rid of what’s false and empty. We wanted that way of understanding reality to be reflected in the house,” said Mr. Carter.