Portland-based photographer Bill Purcell is no stranger to the majesty of the Pacific Northwest. His time living in Oregon has given him numerous opportunities to capture the beauty of this region and the lucky individuals who call this land their home.
One such chance came in the form of a project for the Wall Street Journal, in which Bill was asked to photograph a recently built modern home nestled in the woods in Beavertown, OR. The house, aptly dubbed “Wildwood,” rests on a 1.2-acre plot of land and appears to coexist with the nature it occupies. This was, in part, due to the client’s request to plant 50 new trees around their property to offset the trees cleared to build.
The home is accessible through a series of windy narrow roads through the hills. While truly set in the middle of the forest, it is only minutes from downtown Portland.
The home Bill photographed belongs to the Molinas, a Mexican couple who found themselves in Portland when husband Pedro took a job with Intel. Claudia Ochoa and Pedro Molina always dreamed of returning to their ancestral home but after raising two children in the Pacific Northwest, they decided to put down roots and build their dream house in Oregon instead.
The couple enlisted the help of Giulietti Schouten Weber Architects to build a modern home with simple, clean lines and architectural features that would allow them to embrace the outdoors year-round. Their memories of sunny Mexico played a big role in their decision to make the house as light and open as possible — a difficult feat in the only rainforest on mainland America. Bill wanted to showcase their home in the way they designed it, but local weather patterns presented a myriad of challenges.
We ran into thick fog that just hung in the hills and never burned off.
Luckily, the Molina’s welcomed Bill back to the house before the deadline was up and he managed to capture as many shots as possible while the ever-fleeting sunrays streaked through the woods. Given how many windows lined the house, he deemed it essential to feature the abundance of sunlight to highlight the unique construction of Casa Molina.
It’s not just about the architecture, it is also giving a glimpse into how the family lives within the home.
WSJ had requested that the house be shot without staging to offer a more authentic feel to the imagery. While this simplified the logistics of the shoot, it meant that Bill’s photos needed to capture the owners’ personalized vision for their home.
Luckily, the Molina family has a beautiful style that fits in with the home’s architecture and tells their family story well.
Bill’s experience with architectural photography, shooting interior and exterior design, coupled with his appreciation for nature made him the ideal fit to photograph this unique residence. In a home with many beautiful features both inside and out, he took care to accentuate the extensive landscaping that can be seen from each room.
The home was beautifully designed by GSW Architects, so I feel privileged to have the opportunity to photograph their work.
In following the publication’s guidelines, Bill strove to capture the architectural details as well as the creative paintings and sculptures displayed in the house. He also included some candid portraits of the family enjoying leisure time in their living room. All his efforts paid off as WSJ even featured his video of the couples’ beloved pet sitting comfortably by the fireplace.
The family dog, Lulu, who I believe was 12, made several appearances during the shoot. She is the sweetest little old pup!
Photographer: Bill Purcell
Client: The Wall Street Journal
Editor: Kat Mallot
Architecture: GSW Architects