Breaking ground

The time of year has come once again. Here we are breaking ground on our 2016 Street of Dreams! These beautiful two acre lots have a gorgeous view of Mt. Hood and overlook the Tumwater Winery in West Linn, Oregon. This is the biggest Street of Dreams yet, with over 34,000 sq ft of homes being put in totaling about $17.5 million. Can’t wait to see it all come together!

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Thank you for your support!


Thank you to all who came out to support our country’s finest at our Celebrate Veterans Event, Friday August 21st!

We had a great turnout of over 1,250 people!

11921711_10207482530571074_1116073183747091197_nFlyover by Jim Shotwell




Everyone enjoying their hosted lunch by Costco!


Chaplain Van Vlack, Lt. Col. Alicia Hamel and Col. David Gibson


The man behind it all, Gerald Rowlett. We couldn’t thank him enough for the support that he’s shown!


Awesome evening concert put on by country artist Kurt Van Meter!

‘Celebrate Veterans’ Event on Aug. 21st


This Friday on August 21st, Westlake Development is hosting a ‘Celebrate Veterans’ day to honor all active and retired military personnel at the 2015 Street of Dreams in Lake Oswego. Each active and retired military member will receive complimentary admission for themselves, as well as three family members. 

Midday program includes a flag raising ceremony, featuring the National Anthem by Jessie Elliot & Katy Landers, a welcoming by Lake Oswego Mayor Kent Studebaker, as well as stories told by Col. David Gibson and Lt. Col. Alisha Hamel, and hosted lunch from Costco (11:30am-1:00pm). The evening program includes a concert by Oregon’s very own country musician Kurt Van Meter (6:00pm-8:00pm).

Thank you to our proud sponsors, Veterans Network at Comcast, Standard TV & Appliance, Lakeside Lumber, Banner Bank, James Hardie Building Supply, Costco, George Morlan Plumbing Supply, Fireside Home Solutions, Medallion Industries and Parr Lumber Company!

For more information, please visit

The 2015 Street of Dreams


Here begins another year for the NW Natural Street of Dreams!

Stop by the 2015 Street of Dreams located in Lake Oswego for the entire month of August to see what dream homes we have brought to life this year!

Here’s a sneak peek at the two homes by Westlake featured in this years Street:

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Much like the Sandhill Crane, which can be found in the neighboring Tyron Creek State Park, this house proudly shows off its distinguishing features, its look is sleek, yet the wing-like roof has an impressive span. The exterior features a mix of materials, clean lines, and multiple patios. The contemporary interior makes use of natural light pouring in from large windows into the open kitchen. The living room, which features a modern linear gas fireplace, is perfect for entertaining. An additional full suite is located on the first floor providing for multi-generational living. Highlights include:

  • 4,828 feet, 4 Bedrooms, 4.5 Bath
  • Natural light shines brightly in the open and expansive kitchen, which also features a large double island
  • This home addresses the issue of multi-generational living with a full secondary suite located on the first floor.
  • The centerpiece of the home features a vaulted great room with a contemporary linear gas fireplace.







Click here for more information on Sandhill Crane



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The open and airy feel of this home gives a warm and inviting atmosphere welcoming you in with a mix of comfort and luxury. While blending a contemporary aesthetic style paired with traditional Indian accents throughout, including the meditation room, the home brings a sense of culture and relaxation. Cedar plank siding mixed with a natural stone exterior adds a Northwest touch to this peaceful escape. Highlights include:

  • 4,106 sq. feet, 4 Bedrooms, 3.5 Baths
  • Pooja/Meditation Room
  • Outdoor sport court, indoor exercise room & dry sauna
  • Outdoor kitchen allows for outdoor entertaining
  • Upstairs deck fire feature



Click here for more information on Serenity


Custom Home Building and Portland’s Walkability Score

If you’re building a custom home and enjoy biking to work, walking to the park, or taking the bus to the mall, the location of your future home is probably a prime concern for you. Thankfully, tools like and Trimet Trip Planner show you how easily you can travel by foot, bike, or transit from a specific neighborhood or city to wherever you need to go. In this post, I’ll give you a brief overview of each to help you find a walkable, busable, bike-friendly neighborhood in Portland.

The walkability score, also called the Walk Score, rates major cities and neighborhoods on a scale of 0-100. The score of a city is the weighted average of the Walk Score, Transit Score, and Bike Score of addresses within that city. The ratings are defined below (Portland’s scores are shown):

portland's walkability score

Portland’s walkability score of 63 puts it in the “Somewhat Walkable” range. That’s an understatement! Portland is one of the most walk-, bike-, and public transit-friendly cities on the West Coast — and the 14th most walkable city in the U.S. Basically, it’s a great place for building your custom home.

Want to go more in depth? Walk Score lists all 89 Portland neighborhoods from most to least walkable, including links that can be followed for more detailed information on each area. These descriptions include nearby restaurants, crime rate, and specifics about walking, biking and public transit in that neighborhood. After all, every neighborhood is different, and you want to build your custom home in just the right spot. Sunnyside, for instance, is a cyclist’s paradise:

how bikeable is sunnyside neighborhood in portland, oregon

Another great tool is TriMet Trip Planner, which allows you to enter your “To” and “From” location and then plans your commute within seconds. When it comes to comparing lots for your custom home, this is a quick and easy way to figure out if the commute from your new home will work for you.

trimet trip planner portland oregon bus schedule

If you’re thinking about building a custom home but don’t want to sacrifice your walks, bikes, or bus rides, Portland is a great choice! It was recently recognized by National Geographic as one of the world’s best cities. Portland is an eco-friendly city and ranks at the very top of the nation in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) developments. With its proximity to the mountains and beach, Portland is a great place to live if you love snowboarding, skiing, surfing, or boating. And when it’s time to relax, there is a never-ending supply of local breweries, coffee shops, and restaurants.

Ready to build your custom home in Portland? Contact us today for more information!  

Portland Neighborhood
The Oregon Optimist


Green Construction: How to Build an Eco-Friendly Home

When you decide to build a custom home, you are rewarded with the flexibility to choose products and features that will support and enhance your lifestyle. A knowledgeable builder who takes the time to get to know you can introduce you to green construction options that are more efficient and may even save you money — without sacrificing style.

Many green construction options and energy efficient products have become available over the past few years, from surface materials to appliances. Although green construction may be more of an investment upfront, it pays off in the long-term by reducing your energy bill, improving your air quality, and leaving a better world for your kids and grandkids.


Insulation: First things first – insulation. Heating and cooling make up more than half of the average home’s energy costs, so although insulation isn’t exciting, it’s one of the backbones of green construction and can save you a bundle. Proper insulation prevents heat from escaping in the winter and entering in the summer. Weather stripping and sealant around doors and windows work in conjunction with insulation to keep your home comfortable.

Floors: Bamboo is a sustainable and beautiful yet durable material commonly used for flooring in green construction. It is available in a variety of colors and resembles hardwood floors, which makes it an affordable option for any style of home.

Counters: Granite countertops have been the popular choice over the past several years, but you can achieve a similar but unique look with recycled glass, offered by Vetrazzo. Unlike granite, glass can be recycled over and over without any loss in quality.


Lantera Architectural Surfaces


Skylights and Solar Tubes: With a custom home, you have the opportunity to take advantage of natural light, or what sustainability gurus call “daylighting.” Your green construction company can install skylights and solar tubes wherever you need the most natural light, such as a bathroom, office or kitchen. The more natural light you have, the less energy you need to light your home. Natural light can even make you happier and healthier!

LED and CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) Bulbs: Where you do need other forms of light, you can save energy by using LED or CFL bulbs. These bulbs are more expensive up front but save you a significant amount on your energy bill over time.


Learning Thermostat System: Products such as Nest learn your heating and cooling habits as you use it, and will then automatically adjust the temperature according to your lifestyle. It can also be controlled from your smartphone so you never have to worry about wasting energy while you are out.

Energy Efficient Windows: Large windows are another obvious choice for allowing natural light into your home while also revealing beautiful views! However, it’s important to select windows based on their heat gain ratings — the amount of heat kept in and out — which can increase energy efficiency by 9% if installed correctly. Green construction often includes double-pane windows with a special solar control coating. Energy-efficient windows are even categorized by climate to assure they can withstand the weather they will most exposed to.



Continue reading about Eco-friendly Water, Appliances, & Landscaping…

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Custom Home Trend: Open Floor Plans

Open floor plans were a popular design feature seen at the 2014 Street of Dreams and are commonly seen in newly built homes. Open floor plans are an ideal layout for families and entertaining, as they create an open environment where everyone can gather and connect. Open floor plans also allow traffic to flow smoothly throughout the home without running into featureless walls. Here are some photos of open floor plans we love!

The kitchen island in this space gives the area structure without the limited visibility of interior walls. We love the gallery wall too:

open floor plans

Source: Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs – Houzz

Open floor plans allow your vaulted ceilings to shine, as seen in this home:

open floor plans

Source: EAG Studio – Houzz

A nice compromise between walls and open floor plans is classic pillars, a great choice if you’re removing load-bearing walls:

open floor plans

Source: Homes By Tradition – Houzz

Open floor plans also make your home seem brighter and show off design elements like this staircase:

open floor plans

Source: Candice Alder Design LLC – Houzz

Instead of a wall, a large area rug can help visually delineate a space, as seen in this open floor plan:

open floor plans

Source: Parkwood Homes – Houzz

Wooden beams and doorways also provide contrast and structure in open floor plans:

open floor plans

Source: Cornerstone Architects – Houzz

Contact Westlake Development today to find out more about open floor plans that will suit your needs!

7 Things You Can Kiss Goodbye with a Custom Home

If you have to decide between an older home versus a custom home, this list is for you! Older homes full of charm and historical features are a great choice if you’re willing to invest in renovations and unexpected repairs. But with a custom home, you can replace those worries with a move-in ready home that will last a lifetime.

happy couple new home

Here are a list of seven things you can kiss goodbye when you go custom:

1. Wasted Energy

Energy-efficient heating and cooling systems are becoming more desirable. Not only do they have a positive impact on the environment, but they also save you money. A custom home allows the option of constructing everything, from the ceiling to the floor, in a way that prevents air from escaping through the cracks. This allows your heat and AC to work more efficiently while lowering your energy bill.

2. The Need for Light

Older homes often lack adequate lighting and even outlets for lamps, not to mention all of our other electronics. With a custom home, recessed lighting can easily be installed in the places you need it most. Lighting is another great opportunity to save energy by choosing natural forms of light with large windows, skylights and tubular lighting.


3. Small Bathrooms

According to This Old House, the average size of a bathroom in an older home is 5 x 8 feet. New bathrooms are nearly twice as big to offer more counter space and storage. With a new home, the size of a bathroom is up to you — we can add built-in cabinets for your appliances and cosmetics. Let’s not forget a walk-in shower, too!

4. Cramped Kitchens

Kitchen design has significantly evolved over time from an unseen necessity to the heart of the home. Open-concept floor plans with a connected kitchen and living space are becoming more desirable, as the kitchen has become the prime gathering place for family and friends. With a custom home, you can work with your builder to create a kitchen that best suits your lifestyle with the appliances, storage, and working space you need.

custom kitchen

5. Major Repairs

With a new home, you are less likely to experience the inconvenience of major home repairs, such as a leaky roof or bad foundation — common concerns with an older home. With a new home, you have a fresh start. Knowing that your builder used quality materials and followed current safety codes will give you peace of mind.

6. Worn Out Appliances

It’s no secret that newer appliances usually mean less maintenance and repairs. Although outdated appliances can be replaced in older homes, you may discover that finding the right size of appliance is an issue. A custom home can be built around your favorite appliances. Energy-efficient options are more widely available, too – another great opportunity to reduce costs and positively impact the environment!

custom game room

7. Outdated Design

There are gorgeous older homes with undeniable charm…and then there are some that are simply outdated, much of which can’t be improved upon without serious renovations. By choosing to build a home, you get to be involved in designing an up-to-date home with features and conveniences that are unique to you and your family.

When you choose to build a custom home, you don’t have to sacrifice charm. Gerald Rowlett is dedicated to making your home unique with every detail that you desire, using the highest quality materials and energy efficient products.

Ready for a breathtaking custom home? Contact us today!


Building on a Steep Slope Lot? Read This First


Photo: Wally Gobetz

Once you find the perfect lot for your dream home, it’s important to have it reviewed by an expert who can explain the design possibilities as well as the potential obstacles that may come with building on the lot.

If your lot happens to be on a steep slope, the builder may be addressed with some additional challenges, but don’t let this steer you away! Steep slopes often reveal the most beautiful views and offer unique design features. The positives will likely outweigh the challenges, but you can prepare yourself for the process with the considerations below.

Steep Slope Positives

View: A common reason for building on a slope is that they often overlook breathtaking views of the city or mountains since they are at a higher elevation. Depending on the location, it may also provide greater privacy from neighbors than a flat lot.

Design: Building on a slope allows for unique design options, from the landscaping to the exterior view and interior space. Working with an expert throughout the lot selection process is ideal, as they can help you visualize the various possibilities.

Here at Westlake Development, we continue to build a wide range of exciting architectural designs, from Asian Contemporary to Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired homes, in a variety of unique conditions and terrain.

Extra Space: With a steep slope lot, you get the added space of basement levels with much more natural light, full-length windows and walkout capabilities, unlike basements that are fully underground. This has become a popular option in more recent years.

steep slope building tips

Photo: Photo Dean

Steep Slope Challenges

Complexity: Since sloped lots are often in unique locations, specialized equipment might be required to function in the available space.

Cost: In some cases, sloped lots may require a greater budget if the land needs to be built up and/or if is does not have adequate drainage and sewage accessibility from the street at ground level.

Extra Work: In addition to cost, the extra work of making a home on a sloped lot stable and safe may require extra time. Building up the land to the standard 8 inches above soil, along with adding retaining walls for stability in the home, is extra work that isn’t incurred when building on a flat lot. If it needs to be equipped with sewage and drainage capabilities as well, this will also require additional work.

When you work with us, you can rest assured we have taken all the precautionary measures to build you a well-constructed home.

Working with a builder who can give you expert advice, beginning with the lot selection process, will allow you peace of mind knowing that your new home will be built to the highest safety and quality standards. Westlake Development Group has more than 20 years of experience constructing custom homes on steep slopes and challenged properties throughout the Portland metropolitan area. With this experience, we know the proper way to place and construct a residence in the most structurally sound and cost-effective way, while gaining all the benefits the home site has to offer.

Visit our Steep Slope Experts page for more details on building your custom home on a steep slope lot!

Sources: Homebuilding & Renovating

A Virtual Tour of the American Spirit | 2014 Street of Dreams

We invite you to take a 720º  virtual tour through the beautiful American Spirit on the 2014 Street of Dreams in Happy Valley, Oregon.

Click below to explore the two-story home we at Westlake Development designed. Clicking the blue dots will take you to the welcoming great room, expansive kitchen, plush master bedroom, upstairs rec room, and spacious patio (which features beautiful Cascade Coil wire fabric). What do you think?

street of dreams 2014 exterior view

Have you visited the 2014 Street of Dreams? Will we see you there?