Site and Design

Making conscious choices that honor our relationship to the earth...

Daybreak is a dense, urban community in the Overlook neighborhood of North Portland. Our home is a two-thirds-acre site on North Killingsworth Avenue within three miles of downtown, on a bus line with frequent service and a short walk from the Interstate MAX light rail line.

The buildings are two, three and four stories, all connected with exterior walkways. An elevator located at the Common House services each level. All units are designed for varying levels of adaptability.

Construction standards were very high. We designed to high-quality infrastructure and systems with insulation, moisture protection, radiant floors, and other features. The infrastructure we’ve provided is above what can be found in luxury homes.


Common House

The Common House comprises roughly 7,000 square feet on the main floor and the basement. It is situated in the southeast corner of the property to be more visible and accessible to our neighbors. See the basement and main floor plans to the right for all the amenities that are in our Common House where we laugh, play, eat, and relax together!

Come to the Entry to pick up your mail and catch the latest news. We share common meals, have parties, celebrate and gather in large groups in the Great Room. The Café offers an informal and central space to hang out when you’re working from home or after work for a drink before dinner. With beverages nearby this provides a great place to be part of the happenings without being in the middle of it.  Our large Kitchen and dishwashing area is home to great cooking, currently about three days a week and eventually at least five days a week. The Living Room is a casual, relaxing place to socialize, to curl up by the fire, or snuggle into the window seat to read a good book. In the Kids' Room, little ones run around, play and make noise. Good acoustic walls with windows to see in provide safety and a sense of peace in the rest of the Common House. Coined the “noisy room”, the Family Room is where we make music, watch a movie, or other more boisterous activities. Go to the Spiritual Space to meditate, have bible study, do yoga, or anything you want that is a spiritual practice for you. Two guest rooms with shared bathroom provide a nice private place for your guests to stay when they come to visit - and it’s away from your home for a little more privacy.

Roll your bike down the ramp from the sidewalk and into every bicyclist’s dream. A home Bicycle Shop to work on your bike and secure interior bicycle storage for almost 100 bikes! Bring your tools to the community Workshop. Build furniture or work on whatever project you may have.  If you choose to use the community Laundry Room, you can ride down the elevator and drop your laundry into a washer or into the queue. The basement also provides extra Personal Storage away from the units.


We have 30 homes. 

To the right are some of our typical layouts. One-, two-, and three-bedroom flats are similar in configuration. Enter from the community walkway into a small entry at the kitchen. To one side is an area for coats and shoes, and to the other is the kitchen where you can stand at the sink and look into the community. Just past the coat area is the Flex Closet. This closet can be used for a variety of purposes depending on your needs. It is equipped with laundry hookups if you prefer private laundry over the common laundry. The remainder of the space is an open Great Room. Configure your furniture however you wish to delineate your dining and living room, and even an office, if you like.  Bedrooms are just off to the side, tucked away a bit in a vestibule area to provide privacy when you have visitors. Each bedroom has a large closet.

The two-bedroom townhouse varies from the standard flat layout to make room for the stairs. Tucked under the stairs are a second bathroom and a modified Flex Closet. The kitchen is configured slightly differently, with room for an island should you wish, to make the best use of space.  These units offer bedrooms upstairs for a little more privacy.

Outdoor Space

We also enjoy a reasonable amount of open space for our urban setting. A huge, 50-year-old maple is at the center of our property. We have open green areas, gardens, a roof terrace, small gathering areas, play areas, a large outdoor terrace off the Common House and other outdoor amenities.


Landscape Plan    

"Green" - sustainable features
Sustainable functions are integrated into the overall design and include:

Making good use of our location and site
    * Relatively dense, urban living
    * Modest home sizes
    * Large Common House
    * Native & edible landscape

Natural systems predominate
     * Passive-solar design
     * Optimal solar orientation and shading,
          Nearly all homes have southern exposure.
          Sunshades allow light in the winter and shade the southern light in the summer.
     * On-site storm water management

Location-specific heating systems

     * Hydronic radiant floor heating
     * Ductless split system in the Common House uses far fewer materials
          and allows us to regulate heating and cooling room-by-room. Important in a large space.

Material and construction methods

     * Deconstruction (not demolition) of existing buildings on site.
     * Recycling and reuse of materials from existing buildings
     * High quality green construction standards
     * Advanced framing to reduce material waste
     * Wood-frame construction using FSC lumber
     * Highly insulated walls and floors both on the exterior to provide a tight envelope
          and between units as sound barriers.
     * Formaldehyde-free insulation
     * Energy-efficient wood windows with metal-cladding.
          We didn't use vinyl because of the toxic production process.
          Casement and awning windows allow for passive ventilation for a large variety of needs.
     * Flat roofs designed for future use of PV panels  
     * Rain screen methods to prevent mold and mildew
     * Efficient plumbing fixtures, lights, and appliances

We also are planning living walls of climbing plants on our west-facing walls to cool and protect buildings from the harsh western sun. The living walls, when implemented, will also give a nice break to the urban street-view.

Team of Professionals

Our community is excited to have partnered with a wonderful team of professionals to help turn our dream into reality.
There are too many to list here and we want to highlight a few of our key partners.

We teamed up with Grace Kim and Mike Mariano of  Schemata Workshop  to head our architectural design team and Carrington Barrs and Gabe Genauer of B&G Builders  supported us during our site search, worked closely with the design team, and kept us on track during construction.

We appreciate the enthusiasm, help and support of our other professionals.

Daybreak looking NE in the winter.
   Photo Courtesy of Sally Painter.

Courtyard looking east to Common House
   Photo Courtesy of Sally Painter
Common House and units above, looking NW
   Photo Courtesy of Sally Painter
September 29, 2009 - Courtyard view to the NW.

Third floor, town houses, sunscreens, elevator, light
   Photo Courtesy of Sally Painter
Common House First Floor
Common House Basement

One Bedroom Flat Floor Plan
Two Bedroom Flat Floor Plan
Three Bedroom Flat
Two Bedroom Townhouse Floor Plan

Common House Kitchen
   Photo Courtesy of Sally Painter

Common House great room and cafe. Looking to living room and outside Terrace.
   Photo courtesy of Sally Painter.
Model Home kitchen and dining room
   Photo Courtesy of Sally Painter
Model Home living room and dining room
   Photo Courtesy of Sally Painter

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