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Doris's home has two wings for herself and her son and doesn't have steps, allowing her to age in place

PMG PHOTO: COREY BUCHANAN - Longtime Frog Pond resident Doris Wehler will live in one of the homes in the 2019 Street of Dreams with her son Derk.

Shortly after showing off the fiberglass Shoji closet door designed with real twigs while standing in the hallway between the bedroom and bathroom, Doris Wehler answered an inquiry from a woman perusing the home on a Wednesday morning.

"Is this your house?" the woman asked.

"It is," Doris responded.

"Fun stuff," the woman said.

"It is fun," Doris replied.

After first buying 3.7 acres of land near the corner of Boeckman and Stafford roads in 1974 and owning land there ever since, Wehler bought one of the six homes in this year's NW Natural Street of Dreams in the same location and has opened the home to the community during the event, which runs until Aug. 25.

Wehler agreed to sell three acres to West Hills NW, which is the Stafford Meadows developer, a few years ago but kept 30,000 square feet to build a new home for herself.

However, BC Custom Homes came to her with the unique proposition after it was announced in 2018 that the 2019 Street of Dreams would be located in Frog Pond West: BC would build the home on her property to her specifications and showcase it in the marquee real estate event.

"So, my house went from being just for me to sharing with everybody," Wehler said.

Wehler and her son Derk have lived together since shortly after Wehler's husband passed away in 2009. And the new home was built to accommodate both of their specifications.

Though she walks easily now, Wehler requested the house not have steps so that she can still easily navigate the home even as her mobility declines. And hers is the only Street of Dreams home with one level.

"There's no steps anywhere in the house — not even the garage," she said.

BC Custom Homes Sales Manager Megan Wise said the development company has noticed an uptick in requests for multigenerational homes in recent years.

"We've been getting so many requests for multi-gen housing of people in their 40s and 50s wanting to take care of mom and dad and yet still wanting the separation of space, being able to get away from each other if they need to," she said. "Everyone has their own plans, calendars and routines, but yet mom and dad can stay really close and you have the security of that, and they can age in your home."

The home has two separate wings — the west wing for Doris and the east for Derk, as well as a guest bedroom for visitors. Derk's wing includes an exercise area, a bar and features a more contemporary design, while Doris's wing has lighter colors, an office and multiple vanity stations.

"Her (Doris's) side is a little bit more refined," Wise said.

Some of the other specs of the home include heated floors, a wooden entryway with an intricate design, an outdoor area with 50 trees and 300 plants, many cabinets designed for specific uses and a covered patio.

"We had pages and pages and pages of instructions for everything," Wehler said.

As opposed to the futuristic amenities like a motion-sensor refrigerator and remote-controlled blinds, to Doris and Derk an important relic from the past might be the most meaningful component of the home. A fiddleback maple mantle Doris's husband kept for 45 years is fastened over the fireplace in the home's common living area to remind them of him.

Wehler said she has heard mostly positive feedback from the people who have meandered through her home.

"Everybody I've heard from knows me, so they always say nice things," she said. "Some people have said 'I love your bedroom.' Other people have said 'I really like the fans in your son's bedroom and in the rec room.' And others have said 'Wow, that's a lot of cabinets.'"

Street of Dreams homes can sometimes show the effects thousands of people walking through them during the month-long extravaganza and touching everything, Wise said. But BC Custom Homes will replace any damages as well as re-carpet and repaint the interior for free before Wehler occupies the house in September. So far, Wehler has met one neighbor who has also purchased a home in the Street of Dreams while most of the homes had yet to be sold.

Wehler expects to live in the home until she dies, but added certain components like a double garage and wood flooring solely so her children can eventually sell the property for a higher price.

"I think that when I pass my kids will move to a warm climate," Wehler said.

And Wehler said receiving some free amenities from companies that want to display their product in the Street of Dreams wasn't the only benefit of having her home in the event.

"I figure I don't have to have a big party because everyone has already seen it," she said.


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