Thirty-six seconds is the time it takes to travel to the penthouse on the 13th floor of the Willamette Building at 1313 Lincoln Street in Eugene. Once at the top floor, step into the renovated condominium, number 1304, for views unsurpassed by almost any other building in town.
The only comparable vistas in Eugene are from Lane Tower Apartments and Ya-Po-Ah Terrace’s 18-story retirement apartments (the tallest building in town).
In early summer, RE/MAX real estate agent Brandy Huynh listed the one-of-a-kind condo for sale, with an asking price of $800,000.
The building, originally constructed as apartments in 1966 and remodeled into condos in 1968, represents the later mid-century modern style. An older woman, who decorated the apartment with pink walls, a pink tub, and pink shag carpeting, owned the condo since 1988. When Andrew and Robin Greenblatt, residents of California’s Bay Area, began looking at another unit in the building in 2013, they pressed Huynh to see what was on the top floor. The owner originally had no interest in selling. After seeing the unit, however, the Greenblatts made her an offer, and she accepted.
The Greenblatts purchased the 2-bedroom, 2-bath, 1,468-square-foot condo as their daughter embarked upon her freshman year of college at the University of Oregon. The couple is selling it now because their daughter graduated, and their younger daughter is entering college in Washington.
“We’re a very close family, and we wanted a place where we could come and visit whenever it worked for us and her,” says Andrew Greenblatt. “And I’ve always loved mid-century style.”
The Greenblatts took the pink walls down to the studs and hired interior designer Marilyn Augusta to recreate the condo’s original late-1960s style.
“The designer brought the outside in,” Huynh says. The top floor of nearby Lane Tower Apartments, painted in bright orange, is reflected in the living room couch. Various greens and wood tones inspired by the surrounding hills are brought into the apartment through the decorations and the accent colors of the cabinetry.
Mirror-faced appliances sparkle and enhance the reflected view. “Especially in the spring,” says Andrew. “With the different shades of green it just seems to blend inside and out.”
Colorful pendant lights made of recycled acrylic from Germany create pops of color in the kitchen, which you can admire if you’re able to tear your eyes away from the 270-degree view out of the 15-foot windows that overlook the 650-square-foot terrace that is plumbed for a hot tub. The windows had to be replaced by a crane because there was no other way to get them into the building.
The ceilings were originally lower in the bathrooms. During the remodel the ceilings were vaulted and raised to more closely match the classic “W” ceiling of the mid-century architecture in the rest of the space.
Andrew appreciates older buildings—especially architecturally interesting ones—so he felt honored to be able to restore this particular unit. “It’s one of the most interesting buildings in Eugene,” he says. “And even though we won’t be living here any longer, I like that I’ve been able to restore it and enhance the original nature of this building.”
A custom cubby in the main living area provides many spots for treasured art objects. A concrete column in the middle of the passageway between the living area and kitchen, which the Greenblatts originally were not fond of, was a problem. Since it couldn’t be removed, it was spruced up with beechwood paneling and an asymmetrical shelf used to hold an art object. (While the furniture can be part of the purchase package if the buyer wants, the art objects are leaving with the Greenblatts—most of them were inherited from family members.)
Beech was chosen for many of the lighter colored wooden accents in the main room, while the bathroom was enlivened with a dramatic zebrawood vanity with two floating sinks.
Solid sapele doors open into the two bedrooms. The kids’ room is furnished simply, with a double-decker bed frame on a floor of modular spring green carpet tiles. A stunning curved wooden headboard and matching dressing table furnish the master bedroom.
“I wanted wood,” says Andrew. “I wanted to pay homage to Eugene by incorporating a lot of wood, including some local wood to make it harmonious. I absolutely love how the place turned out, and we’re going to miss it.”
After the pink shag carpeting was removed, the floor’s original concrete subsurface was sanded. To enhance it, Augusta had an artisan sponge-paint the concrete floor by hand in a black matte finish.
The future owner will be getting a rare treat with this penthouse overlooking the valley. “There are so few places in Eugene where you have a view, but to be in the center of Eugene and have that view is really special,” Andrew says. “We found that place so much like home it felt like it hugged us when we walked in.”