Located in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon, naturehouse is where I live and work. It has an Asian flavor and those who visited have called it alternately a resort, a park, a playground, a garden, and even a spiritual retreat. In our view, it is all of these things and more. Over the years we’ve hosted a number of special events including weddings and ceremonies for groups large and small. naturehouse sits amongst huge evergreen trees in an Estate-like setting in SW Portland. The property includes an in-ground swimming pool, 600 sq ft poolhouse, large party deck, elegant rose garden, Japanese tea house, greenhouse & food garden, Onsen-style hot tub, massage room, and basketball court. I’m lucky enough to live here with my wife and partner Noriko, son Dylan, brother Jim, two Australian Shepards, one Llama, two goats and one finicky cat who rules over everything.
It’s been almost 20 years since I moved into the Arnold Creek neighborhood and we’ve lived at this residence for 12 plus years. Arnold Street parallels a stream that bears its name and it runs through a dense forest until it spills into Tryon Creek SP (640 acre park), which is at the East end of our street. Wildlife and scenic beauty exist within our daily view outside our windows. The neighborhood butts up against Mountain Park, so we have elevation and hills to contend with, and our house is on a slope surrounded by tall green trees of all kinds. Although we’re only seven miles from downtown Portland we feel as if we’re living outside Urbana and in the forest … and we wouldn’t want it any other way!
When Noriko first set eyes on the place she called it “shizen no ie” which is Japanese for naturehouse. This name has stuck over the years and we honor it.
Here at naturehouse we’ve been considering measures to take in order to make our living more sustainable. We want to reduce our home energy costs and reduce our carbon footprint, while still maintaining the quality of life we’ve taken for granted. This is a transformation of a sort and a huge challenge. This past year (2009) we did a number of things which I’ll post about later, but the most impactful decision we made so far is to install a 4100 watt Solar Photovoltaic (PV) array on the roof of our poolhouse.
We’re not just one of the first home owners to install PV in our neighborhood, but we’re one of very few in the entire Southwest Portland metro area. We hope to help change that now that we have a deeper understanding of how easy and beneficial a residential solar PV system can be. Now we want everyone to know that solar energy really works … even in the forest!