Curling iron inventor’s Portland palace for sale at $2.9 million -

2021-12-23 07:31:41 By : Ms. Vivian Wang

By the 1920s, Oregon entrepreneur Clarissa Keyes Inman had amassed a small fortune. She had invented the electric curling iron, which helped turn flappers’ bobbed hairstyles into a bouncy rebellion during the Roaring Twenties. And she had married Robert D. Inman, who co-founded the Inman-Poulsen Lumber Company, once the largest lumber business in Oregon.

Before her marriage to a lumber baron, she first wed the chief engineer on the lighthouse tender, Manzanita, and later in life, her chauffeur.

“Clara” Inman was avant-garde in another way: When she was a widow for the second time after Robert Inman died, she cashed out her curling iron profits and hired architect David Lochead Williams to design her 1926 Mediterranean mansion with a red tile roof and an open floor plan on an elevated estate in Portland’s West Hills.

The 0.66-acre property with a gated entrance at 2884 N.W. Cumberland Road, a mile away from Portland’s fabled Pittock Mansion, is listed for sale at $2.9 million by Yonette Fine of Living Room Realty.

The solarium with a metal frame supporting glass is original to the mansion.Yonette Fine/Living Room Realty

Almost a century later, Inman’s 7,010-square-foot mansion is still described as having features appealing to home shoppers: Large windows draw in natural light, French doors bring in fresh air and the open rooms invite “one to experience the out of doors within,” according to architectural experts who had the home listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Among the large spaces, the solarium is completely transparent with a metal frame supporting glass. Enter the arched opening through wrought-iron gates and see the polished granite floors.

Williams was also the architect for timber magnate Robert F. Lytle’s residence in the Irvington District. This 1911 mansion, best known as the White House Bed and Breakfast, also has a classical portico entrance in the tradition of the Colonial Revival style. Inman lived there with her husband Robert until he died in 1920.

Unlike the Lytle house, Clara Inman’s Mediterranean mansion, which she called Ariel Terraces (sometimes referred to as Aerial Terraces), has a concrete staircase that starts at the lower street level and as it ascends, wraps around, in the Baroque tradition, both sides of an opening with a wall of finely dressed ashlar stone.

At the top of the rejoined stairs is the main entrance of the mansion, which was designed on a Beaux-Arts axis with symmetrical wings off the entry hall.

The front portico and balcony above it are supported by six fluted ionic columns. A cupola crowns the roof.

In addition to the solarium, the main level has a formal living room, dining room, music room, kitchen and family room.

The fireplace mantels with intricately carved garlands as well as most of the hardware, moldings and wood floors are original.

The second floor includes the master suite with a den and a west-facing terrace. There are four more bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and a morning room that overlooks the front entrance’s fluted columns.

Clara Inman retained holdings in the Inman-Poulsen Lumber Company and was an entrepreneur in her own right. She designed a hot water bottle stopper cap in addition to the first electric curling iron. With her $100,000 investment, the Del Sales Company manufacturing facility in Chicago made her curling irons, which were available at Marshall Field’s department stores.

Later, she sold her 12-year-old curling iron patent to pay for Aerial Terraces.

Inman, who was also a teacher, champion golfer and sculptor, was a member of the Oregon Sculptors Society, the Portland Research Club and the Portland Woman’s Club, according to her obituary.

Her father, Elihu Joshua Keyes (sometimes spelled McKeyes), was a shipbuilder in Maine who was associated with the prominent Astor family, then known as “the landlords of New York.” Keyes joined the California Gold Rush in 1849 to work as a mining engineer before buying timber land in southern Oregon a decade later.

In the early 1840s, Clara Inman’s maternal grandparents arrived in southern Oregon, where Inman’s mother, Rachel Jeanne Snead, was born.

In 1931, Clara Inman married Frederick (Fritz) DeBruin, a musician who performed at the Hollywood Bowl and worked in 1929 and 1930 for Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (now 20th Century Studios). He was the chauffeur and caretaker for Ariel Terraces before their 14-year marriage.

As the Depression deepened, Clara Inman subdivided her property near the West Hills’ Hillside Park and sold off smaller lots before she eventually had to part with her home. A new street was named Northwest Ariel Terraces after her estate.

Inman died in Portland in 1947 at age 72.

Today, Ariel Terraces’ maid’s quarters and sewing room with a brick fireplace are bedrooms. One of the rooms in the guest wing has a fireplace with porcelain tile.

Who would love this house? “The ideal buyer is one who is fond of truly historic, grand homes,” says Fine. “It still maintains many of the 1926 detailing with modern conveniences added over time.”

She says the interior has been skillfully updated for maximum privacy, “elegant” living with city and mountain views, and entertaining spaces indoors and out.

The outdoor living space has a fireplace near gardens, a saltwater pool, hot tub and pergola.

“The buyer will likely be looking for walkability” to shops and restaurants on Northwest 23rd Avenue as well as Forest Park and Washington Park, Fine adds.

Want to search Oregon real estate listings and use local resources? Click here.

Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission.

Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (User Agreement updated 1/1/21. Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement updated 5/1/2021).

© 2021 Advance Local Media LLC. All rights reserved (About Us). The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local.

Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site.