share post

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

by | Jan 17, 2008 | Decorating Inspiration, drive bys, Sweet Escape

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

It’s Drive By Time (yes, really we should call it “Drive By Shooting” but this is a non-violent blog and I just can’t bear to title it with such a horrible name!)! I had so much fun getting these photos for you, it had been way too long since our last Drive By neighborhood tour! I really felt like you were all right there ooh’ing and ahh’ing with me. Some of them were so hard to shoot! These houses are not all out in the open, mind you. We are talking gardeners in the front lawn, gates and privacy fences, bushes and shrubs and GUARD DOGS. Luckily my husband was with me to drive as I did the shooting.

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

I really put myself out on a limb though for a few of these shots, so I have to apologize on the ones that are crooked or slightly out of focus! I was so nervous about getting caught by security crouching down in the rose bushes. Sometimes I had to just shoot and run like crazy! It really can look suspicious when you come leaping out of the shrubbery and get startled by unsuspecting dog walkers. I hate when that happens. But it is all a part of the dangerous world of drive bys.

So, fasten your seat belts — here we go! These next few houses are in the Irvington and Grant Park area of Portland. These houses are more out in the open than the ones coming up in the next neighborhood so we didn’t have to deal with so many obstacles. I love the purple door and trim on this one! It became pretty clear to me after viewing my photos in the first part of the tour that I was drawn to Tudors…

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

And check out their downspout! No detail too small!

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Ok, now we drove over the river to the westside of town to Dunthorpe, not too far from where I live now. This is a beautiful old neighborhood my parents used to live in. I’ll show you their house in a future drive-by, I forgot to take a picture of it! Dunthorpe is one of my favorite places for drive-bys because the houses are not McMansions or wanna be mansions, they are the real deal. Really old stately places owned by people who don’t need to impress you, they are beyond that. They like their privacy.

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

This next house is the one where I risked life and limb for the sake of my blog post. See the bushes in the forefront of the photo below? Yep, those are the ones I had to crawl through to get a glimpse of this beauty.

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Once I got in the bushes I was able to get a little closer:

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Once I made it to the “other side” I took a look around and saw this!

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Oh! Happy Gasp! Can you imagine the parties I could have here?! I was so excited! I saw something you couldn’t even see from the street! I got a little lost in the moment and before I knew it I was running across the lawn towards the fireplace (see how it is a little bit blurry? That is because I am running as fast as my legs could go, closer and closer!).

I was really picking up speed when my husband shouted to me from the car:

“Meli? Meli?! Where are you?”

Darn, I had to turn around and make my way back to the car. Next time, if I leave my husband at home, I might make it around to the back entrance. Before I jumped in the car, I snapped a quick picture of the neighboring house.

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

For the rest of the tour my husband made me stay in the car. He threated to leave me in the bushes next time — he was so embarrassed.

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Ok, now this was my personal favorite (below). It was really hard to get a picture of because my husband would not let me get out of the vehicle, but I did the best I could while hanging out the car window. I loved the lights hanging in their front window! This was my fairytale house. The gate was absolutely beautiful!

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Many of the houses had their gates locked shut. Probably as a precaution against people like me.

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

I really really wanted to get out of the car and get a little closer to this house and to that white gate! But, this was the best I could do while strapped in the car. This is such a homey home!

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

Now this house (below) was in such a picturesque setting! It was hard to really capture how striking the landscape was. The other amazing thing was that the property was surrounded by a moat. I’m not kidding! We figured that out when we backed into it. Another awkward “Drive By Moment”! Time for us to leave the neighborhood!

Sweet Escape: Drive Bys

I have more pictures to share but they are going to have to wait for another Drive By.

Thanks for joining me everyone! If you missed the first Drive By from October 2007, click here!


  1. Lindy

    OMG – you are too funny. If we lived close by I would only pray that we could be friends. I’d drive you up to the front door myself and pull the old “I think I’m lost and/or have the wrong address” routine if anyone asked us what we were doing. Or if you needed assistance scaling a wall I could give you the ‘ol heave ho just so you could get the shot. I LOVE looking at houses and photographing the curb appeal. Good for you!

    LOVE the dragon fly down spout on the Tudor.

    Love your blog!!!!!

  2. Jenn and Jacqui

    Hi Melissa! We are gonna have to :

    (a) send you some Aloe Vera gel to heal all those scratches on your arms and legs! and

    (b) Move to Portland! Irvington, Grant Park or Dunthorpe, any one will do us !! Oh my gosh we are in awe of these Grand homes, they look like homes, real homes, how wonderful it must be to be custodians of such exqusite properties. I love the house and gate in photo 11 and Jacqui loves photo 23, heaven :) But we are not fussy!

    Your photos are FANTASTIC! Maybe you should take Winston then you can be this casual dog walker when someone sees you with a camera! lol

    Thanks Miss Meli, we look forward to the next time you can get out and about :)

    Jenn and Jacqui xo Hugs to Winston

  3. Lori

    Now that was a lot of fun! I loved the second house with the copper dragon fly rain gutter. Can’t wait for the next trip!

  4. M&Co

    Thank you for taking the time to take those drive by pictures. The houses are so lovely! My favourite is the one on top with that strange mythical animal (Cannot spell its name ;-) )

  5. Kelleigh

    Wow, wow and wow! You have the most amazing blog! Thank you for visiting me today! I’m going to come back when I’ve got a bit more time and read through your posts!
    Have a wonderful weekend,

  6. Kathleen Grace

    Oh my, I am still gasping with laughter, I can just see you dashing through the bushes like some crazed papparazzi, all so you can share these beautiful homes with us! Thank you Melissa, they are breathtaking. I loved the one with the purple door, like a fairy tale house! And the one with the moat and the one with the gargoyles on mossy gate posts…. I love them all! Such beautiful details, and that is what really makes a house stand out isnt it?

  7. Joy

    I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your ‘drive-by’s’!! You go girl!

  8. rosieswhimsy

    I love looking at houses. Thanks so much for sharing. My absolute favorite is the cottage with the purple door and the dragonfly downspout :-) Rosie

  9. janet

    I vote for house #1. I love rounded doors and bay windows and the dragonfly downspout just *makes it* for me.

    Thanks for your intrepid spirit :>)


  10. artgirlATL

    Those are yummy homes. I’ll have to post some of the beautiful old southern mansions we have in our area around McDonough Square. Thanks for sharing… and doing the brave photography.

  11. Camilla

    I really like your “drive by`s” and I am looking forward to the next one.. Have a nice weekend:)

  12. Jen

    Oh, I love them all! I find that I am not as drawn to the big mansion houses as I am the sweet cozy cottages. Thanks for all that eye candy. I appreciate how hard you worked to give it to us.

  13. Kelly

    You had me laughing at this the whole time! You’re so funny with your story. Thanks, as always, for the “drive-by”. It’s fun to see what the other half of the U.S. looks like. These homes are beautiful and maticulously taken care of. I love the pride people have taken with their biggest investment. Everyone should do that and the world would be a prettier place. We could all enjoy drive-by’s then!! Hope your husband will let you do more of these in the future. I know it’s alot easier to have him drive you so you can take pictures. Thanks for the fun this morning!


  14. Ruth Welter

    What a lovely downspout Melissa, I like the home owners that put so much attention to detail into their yards and homes.

  15. Rhoda

    oh, those were fun pics, Melissa! I loved them all…and I can see we have the same taste in houses. I love Tudors too. We have some beautiful old neighborhoods here too, so I will have to do some drive-bys myself. Love those older stately homes, they just don’t build ’em like that anymore.

    Happy Friday!

  16. Elzie

    You are all crazy Melissa LOL!!! ARe you really allowed to walk into other peoples gardens like that? Never mind, you gave me a laugh this afternoon and that’s great. You also gave me a glimps of old, lovely houses. My favorite is the first one – with the purple door.
    I hope you and your hubby will have a great weekend. Here it’ll be storm, guess the trees that are left after the other storms, will go down!!
    Love Elzie

  17. JO

    Wow its like living in story book land… Stunning homes… every one… but my favorite is picturing you RUNNING towards the fireplace and back before you got caught…. too hysterical !!



  18. ellie

    You are a crack up Melissa….you sound like Me!! I do drive by’s all the time..usually it’s this one house I’ll stalk…but ‘ll drive by and shoot away. I have yet to post my pictures to my blog..but I need to. thanks for the laugh. How beautiful those homes are…can’t wait to see the house you grew up in on your next post.

  19. Sharon Goemaere

    I just adore your drive-by’s!To pick a favorite in this post was a challenge.I think I would have to choose the one with the purple door though.I simply love purple.There is a house here in Salem that has a purple door and is all done up in shades of purple,lavender and blue.It is an older home in the downtown area and I LOVE it!Thanks for amusing me this morning and for brightening another fog shrouded day!

  20. karen

    Oh what a marvelous post. I loved the tour, and what gorgeous homes. Thanks for taking the risk, I so enjoyed these photos. I love your blog.
    Blessings, Karen

  21. Pat

    Melissa you are a hoot. I’d love to go along with you on your drive by’s!! I think I’ll get a photo of one of my favorite homes here in town. I could easily move in there. I am thinking it needs some TLC and it’s not for sale…so it’s just a dream. I love to take a detour through the city park, just to see this home!

    Loved all the photos…catching up here has been fun!

  22. mrs darling

    Wow and to think those are right here in Portland. I guess Ive been driving by all the wrong places! LOL

  23. MrsBranham

    I love these homes! They are so gorgeous, especially the ones from your parents old neighborhood. They seem so stately and like they have some history behind them!

    PS- you are too funny running around town hiding in bushes. It sounds like you and your husband had a great time!

  24. Mara

    Melissa, thank you for risking life and limb for your blog readers. We appreciate it. hahahahaha.

  25. rochambeau

    Oh Melissa,
    You’re so much fun, clever and brave! A drive by shooting. ;~)
    Did any of the homeowners catch you?
    Did you wear your yellow Dick Tracy detective~spy coat?
    Thanks for the tour. All pretty abodes!!

    Bonne Weekend!

  26. Catherine

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful photos! I love the little cottage with the purple door. Catherine

  27. Lynn

    Hi Melissa, I laughed so hard. I too have had my husband pull the car over while I did a photo shoot. He gets a kick out of it. Loved your “tour” and I wanted to wish you a belated Happy Birthday. ~ Lynn

  28. Jeannene

    “We dreamers have to stick together…lol!!” I hope you come by and see my Dream Decor. I am a hopeless Romantic at heart…and one day will have these fabulous pieces in my home..(“i mean it!!”)

    “Love all those homes, my dad was a builder/ still is, and the craftsmanship and details on those homes are just amazing!!”

    Have a wonderful weekend!!
    (Love Conquers All)

  29. Kathy at Shocking Pink Thread

    Melissa, I just loved this post! I have missed your previous “drive by” reports and I laughed so hard, knowing there is someone crazier than me out there, “lurking” in people’s yards! LOL!! Keep inspiring us with the beautiful photos and your great stories. I’m not sure which I enjoyed more!

  30. megan duerksen

    so pretty.
    i don’t think my husband would do that with me.
    but we do like to look at houses everywhere we go.
    thanks for risking it all for us.

  31. Terri Steffes

    It is a good thing I wasn’t with you. I would have been ringing door bells and asking for tours. I love the charm and glamour of these homes.

  32. Alice

    What a way to spend the day! Can’t think of anything more fun. What wonderful delights you grace us with. It’s hard to decide my favorite…so I’ll take one of each! (Actually, I think my favorite is the little cottage with the dragon fly downspout.)

  33. Becky K.

    That was great! What a hoot! If you come to Lancaster County, PA we could get some great farm shots! Lol I hear it now…watch out for that cow!

    The houses are great. You are a great shot!

    Becky K.

  34. Linda's Blue gate

    Ohhhhh…… Ahhhhhh… what a fun tour… the tour guide had all of us in stitches…. Some of the homes reminded me of Manderley… of Rebecca.
    Very fun….

  35. {this is glamorous}

    Melissa, that was hilarious (and such a beautiful tour!) The thought of you running across lawns and hanging out of the car had me laughing out loud. Your husband is a good man.

  36. Jan

    Hi Melissa,

    I was running with you as my computer downloaded each picture. You went through alot for us! They are beautiful homes. It would have been my husband taking the pictures in my case. He’s not afraid to do anything like that. I’m usually the one holding my eyes with my head down… LOL

    Thanks for sharing,


  37. Kara Garber

    ahhh, love this post………this is entertainment for my husband & I checking out architecture of the 1920-1930. We collect old house plan books and they knew how to make use of every nook & cranny!
    (yes, I’m loving the warm weather here, a break from Ohio’s temps!)

  38. Jill

    Oh those homes are gorgeous! I love the many details that make them special – that downspout is priceless! I especially have a love of front doors – they really set the tone for the rest of the house.

  39. from my cherry heart

    LOL… Oh Melissa I am right with you girl!
    Hubby and I do drive bys all the time!
    I love it!
    I love looking at homes… oh and especially at night when they have lights on and you get a peek at the inside… ohhhh love that too!
    This was a fun post….. I laughed and ohhhed and awwwed!
    Thanks toots!
    Can’t wait for the next one!!!!!

    Hugz, Dolly

  40. Mockingbird Hill

    How can we ever thank you for putting your sweet ol’ self in harm’s way just to get these wonderful photos to share??? Beautiful homes and wonderfully hysterical post…if I was anywhere near Portland, I’d be trying to figure out a way to get me those gargoyles!!


  41. jaYne

    I think the purple doored house is my Dream Home…. Just sooooo cute…

  42. Christine

    OMGosh! Those are some lovely houses!! There are some beautiful homes downtown..Even a house designed by Frank Loyd Wright… I have wanted to take pictures of them…too chicken! lol..
    Lots of beautiful inspiration.

  43. accessoryalamode

    OH, that’s my house!!! Just kidding! :O) I so wish though that one of those gorgeous pix was mine. Sounds like it was lots of fun. :O) Smiles, Deb

  44. Mari-Nanci

    Ohhh this kind of a post is H-E-A-V-E-N!!!!! -happy sigh-

    Love it so much! And I really love that gargoyle in the top two pics. Love how he is sort of saying; “Just make my day if you come too close.” -gigggles- I have a ‘thing’ for gargoyles anyway. Oh I love him. {Can you be in love with a gargoyle??? Just asking…}

    You are a brave, brave drive by shooter! But I’m also glad your husband stopped you, before you get eaten up by some guard dogs or had the police called on you! Eeeek! LOL


  45. Jrizzo

    Thanks for the great pics! That dragonfly downspout was amazing!
    Jen R

  46. anindiansummer

    You are such an insipiration Melissa! What a way to spend the day! It is almost design journalism ;-)

  47. Lisa

    What an amazing tour. These home are all just stunning. What beautiful detail, and lovely neighborhoods. I’m glad your husband didn’t pull the plug before you got everything shot. Great pictures.

  48. Tara

    How gorgeous is this?? I had to show my husband all those Tudors, he’s so in love with that style! Thanks for risking yourself!!

  49. lucinda

    My 7 year old said to be last month can we go drive around and look at those nice houses! We have a neighborhood in Dallas full of cottage charm and $$. I’ve created a future home lover!

  50. Vee

    Melissa, be careful out there! Omigosh, if I had been there, I’d have been under the car seat with anxiety. LOL! Give your hubby a nice pat on the back for me. He’s a saint!

  51. Colleen

    Oh my…what fun you two had. And what incredible homes you snuck around. Next time could we see pictures of the insides???? I’d like to see how you could work that one out!! ha ha. Thanks so much for sharing.

  52. Robin

    LOVE the tour!! Oh and that downspout!! How very creative!!

  53. tracy

    This post makes me miss Portland! The light cast in those photos reminds me of visiting my grandparents; that sort of luminescent grey that isn’t depressing like the grey we have here.

    There’s some really amazing neighborhoods, aren’t there? Juneau just doesn’t have that….character. Downtown has some older homes built in the early 1900’s, but mostly it seems we have homes built in the early 80’s, which all look alike, or new construction, which all look alike.

  54. Rachael

    Who would have thought … your the house Paparazzi!!!! I am dying laughing, can just see you in the shrubbery, running across someones lawn to ‘shoot’ at their big BBQ, my husband would have left me there:) Rachael

  55. Rachael

    p.s but worth it, what fabulous looking houses:) Thanks for risking limbs or even life for us:) Rachael

  56. Adrienne

    Melissa –

    I love those areas of homes in Portland. You can’t be far from me – I’m in Canby. I love to do drivebys and I’m always afraid I’ll get caught. I don’t usually get out of the car because I want to be able to speed away, if needed. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us. I can’t wait for more!


  57. Paris Parfait

    What gorgeous homes! Thanks for sharing the yummy photos. Living in a tiny Paris apartment, it’s hard to imagine having that kind of space. They are all beautiful!

  58. LaTeaDah

    What a fun, fun tour! Next time I want to go with you. You live in one of my favorite cities! I just imagined I was next door to the Rhodie Garden. . .or is it the Japanese Gardens? Whatever, it was a terrific tour!!!


  59. Polly

    You’re so funny! I do this too. My family just rolls their eyes when I stop and pull over to take a picture of a house. I even like to go out at night so I can get a glimpse at the insides! LOVE the dragonfly gutter. We had a tudor style house way back when but it was too small for 6 people. I think I like the blue house best. Have a wonderful evening. Blessings… Polly

  60. susan

    This was just way too much fun! Typical husband stories too, I love it! Really beautiful homes, details, landscapes, the whole thing. Thanks for the tour, it was delightful.

  61. Kat

    What fun! Loved this tour! Thanks for risking life and limb. LOL


  62. Neutral Dwelling

    Another great tour! Those homes are beautiful! I can see why you are drawn to the Tudor style!

  63. jessi nagy

    holy smokes girl. i want to move there. i loved every single house. gorgeous!
    i do the same thing, and guess what my husband does the same thing, he’s mortified.
    o well,

  64. Martha

    Now, THAT’S my kind of drive-by!

    and that outdoor fireplace? I WANT IT!!!!

    Thanks for that!


  65. Lisa & Alfie

    Huge smile plastered on my face while reading your drive by results Melissa! Thanks for the inspiring tour. I think we should all start a one sunday a month drive by entry in our blogs. Then we could spend the day being armchair drivers on our computers. It would take us much farther than our cars would and give us a glimpse into some beautiful neighborhoods we might not see otherwise.
    Take care,
    Lisa & Alfie

  66. Erin

    Thanks for sharing – luv these homes! I would take any one of these :)

  67. designformankind

    HOW ADORABLE?!!!!!

    I love your drive-by’s! And gracious, your comment re: your seven-year-old’s thoughts on organization was just hilarious. Kids are so fun.

    Have a fantastic weekend, and keep up the great posts! I love when I hit the Inspired Room part of my Google Reader! :)

  68. Aimee

    Oh, wow, those houses are so impressive!! It is so much fun to see how other people live, and to dream!

  69. Penny, Mosaic Artist

    Oh MY!! I am laughing so hard right now….LOL. I can just seen you during your drive bys! You husband sounds like mine….

    Those homes are absolutley stunning. My fav is the one with the purple door and trim….

  70. jen

    All I can say is, “ahhhhhh! Purely wonderful!”

  71. allie

    Such a funny post!! The homes are fantastic. I can see why you risked life and limb to get a closer look. They are really wonderful. Your description of the event was very humorous!

  72. Terri

    Melissa, some magnificent houses. I often drive by those sorts of houses and wonder “who gets to live there?” and wonder who is so blessed. The only thing I hope is that they appreciate it and aren’t arrogant twits. :)

  73. Debra W

    Ohhh, I felt like I was running along side of you giggling our heads off! How fun! You are such a hoot, Melissa. I just love your style. Thanks for risking life and limb to take us on your drive-by! You are simply adorable.


  74. Sandy McTier

    Oh! I would live in any of those fabulous homes! Gorgeous. Thanks for sharing the beautiful eye candy with us all.
    have a wonderful week.
    Sandy :)

  75. Sweet Cottage Dreams

    You are hilarious! This was great fun and I didn’t have to get out of my jammies to tour the neighborhood. I love tudor homes, too! The details and hominess are so wonderful and very English looking. There is a sweet Tudor in town I want, but you know about wanting. Hubby is content here. I want, I want! ha!

    Thank you for the fun!


  76. Mara

    BTW, these look like larger versions of the storybook cottages featured in February’s Cottage Living.

  77. Bejeweled

    This is a great post! And funny too as I envisioned you going Indiana Jones in suburban Portland :)

    I’ve never been to the Irvington and Grant Park area, but I have got to go! Those houses are amazingly dreamy!

  78. brilliant asylum

    This is the best idea. If it ever stops raining here, I will give it a try too!

  79. Adla

    Very lovely houses and what an adventure you had capturing them all Melissa :)

  80. Shelly

    Oh my gracious, this was so much fun. I love drive-bys and you were the most amazing driver!
    Thank You! It’s brrrr cold outside and I had so much fun on your drive-by without having to leave my cozy couch!

  81. Lizette

    I loved your drive by shootings (we should be neighbors) I call home staulking…..I would love for you guys to see some right here in Miami (but ofcourse I don’t have a blog)I am living through all of yours,,,thanks

  82. Angela (Cottage Magpie)

    I so love this topic! I originally saw the post on Jennifer’s blog and have been tracking the spread of it which led me back here (to find that you started it!). I’m going to update my post on the subject to mention this one. Meanwhile, I hope you are well! I have been so completely ane utterly remiss about keeping in touch! I’m a cow. I can’t wait to get out from the landslide I’m under and chat more!
    ~Angela :-)

  83. Courtney

    Hi Melissa,
    I’ve been reading your blog and it wasn’t until this post…via Cottage Magpie’s link…that I realized you were a fellow Portlander! Imagine my delight when I saw pics of houses in Irvington and Grant Park that I used to live near and DRIVE BY all the time. We are definitely kindred spirits, because I could drive by houses all day! (In fact, I may have spent this very morning doing that while my sick little girls rested/slept in the car. Is that wrong?)
    Anyway, thanks for your *inspiring* blog! Love it!

  84. Hooked on Houses

    Well, I have to say this was just about the most fun a girl could have without getting arrested for it. Thanks, Melissa! -Julia :-)

  85. Deann

    I love those homes. My husband grew up in Grant Park. When we were first married we would drive through those same neighborhoods and dream. We have a nice house, much smaller than most of them. We love our house, but we love to go look and get ideas for landscaping and backyard projects. I would still love to live in one of those fairy tails.

    Deanns inspiring blog post..Projects to complete…



  1. My Small House Story & Giveaway - [...] house for sale and called us to go do a drive by {you’ve never needed to twist my arm…
  2. Drive Bys: The Outdoor Room Edition - [...] gardens, outdoor rooms and gates. This time, however, I was on my own. I think after the last embarrassing…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

browse categories:

browse archives:

let’s stay connected!

Follow for daily
Home Inspiration:

get my free decorating guide

home decor inspiration, free downloads,
and more, straight to your inbox