Wall Street Journal profiles local couples’ drool-worthy bike garage

Posted by on December 2nd, 2011 at 8:52 am

Screen grab
from Marketwatch.com.

Today’s print edition of the venerable Wall Street Journal features a story on Tim and Sue Butler’s Southeast Portland condo. The Butler’s are both serious cyclists, with Sue’s name gracing these pages on several past occasions for her pro cyclocross exploits.

So, why is the WSJ profiling their condo? The house itself is gorgeous (nice enough to get a feature in Portland Monthly Mag last year), but it’s the $1.5 million* amazing bike garage that caught their eye.

According to a video with WSJ reporter Nancy Keates that appeared yesterday on Marketwatch.com, the Butlers’ bike garage is filled with their 22 bikes, has a separate workshop room, a sauna, and its own bathroom and shower to clean up after those long rides.

Check out the video below for a peek inside…

Very nice. I just hope they’ve got a good security system.

NOTE: This story and headline initially referenced a “$1.5 million” bike garage. That tidbit was taken from the Wall Street Journal video that appeared yesterday, before the print article. In the article, it was made clear that $1.5 million is the cost of the entire house, not just the bike garage. We regret the error. — JM

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thefuture
Guest
thefuture

It’s worth noting this home was designed by an excellent Portland architecture office called Path

http://www.architecturepath.com

Doug Smart
Guest
Doug Smart

Wow! I drool. Some will likely want to criticize this as extravagance. I figure it’s their money. If I had the $$ to spend, I doubt I would go that far but I would definitely upgrade from just getting the bike under cover on the patio.

I love the reporter Skypeing from home, and especially the side glance when the squeaky toy goes off at about 1:06.

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

I read the original article in Portland Monthly… what a gorgeous house, definitely drool-worthy!

I too hope they have an excellent security system.

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

I don’t race, but my wife and I will definitely be building our house around our bikes. This is great.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

So awesome!

Thought if I had such a bounty of bikes I’d probably keep it on the down low…

Marcus Griffith
Guest
Marcus Griffith

I wonder if this puts Occupy Portland and the Bike Swarm in an unique conflict? Clearly, having the money to build a $1.5 million bike garage puts someone in the 1%. On the other hand, its bikes.

craig
Guest
craig

They’re not likely in the 1%. And so what if they are?

According to the article the $1.5M was for the whole shebang, house+bike garage. That’s not a really high end house in today’s market, thought it is really nice.

They ended up spending over a million dollars building a dramatic three-story wood-and-glass contemporary with a roof deck far above neighboring roofs, giving them a 360-degree view of the city. A separate 600-square-foot “garage” houses their 22 bikes

1-percenters’ minimum annual income is $343K, and average is $960K, per CNN:

In 2009, the average income of the top 1% was $960,000 with a minimum income of $343,927

meh
Guest
meh

I’m sorry but $1.5M is well outside the average house price in the Portland market.

But who cares,it’s their money and they can spend it how they like.

Why the need to tie cyclists to OWS? They do not go hand in hand. As the comments on the swarm and OWS on this blog have shown.

Cyclists cross all socio-economic strata. Cyclists are conservative and liberal. Cyclists own cars and don’t.

Tired of people trying to define cyclists as some homogeneous group. We aren’t,

John Mulvey
Guest
John Mulvey

The 1%/99% thing is metaphorical. No one’s checking bank balances. If you identify with the 99% and share the priorities of OWS, then you’re part of the movement.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

That house really sticks out like a sore thumb in that neighborhood.

Kirsty
Guest
Kirsty

I know it’s a controversial house, but I actually quite like it aesthetically. It looks better than a lot of modern “upscale” designs, which are essentially just kellogs-cornflakes-box-school-of-architecture, but with mock-tudor vomited all over them.

And don’t forget, most revered architectural styles were new and strange at one point. When the Sistene Chapel was built, there were probably a bunch of whiners going on about how ugly it was! All older buildings we adore were scaffolding once, and workmen whistling.

Cecil
Guest

The house is a classic example of an owner and/or architect that thinks only of the structure and not of its environs. It is structurally quite interesting, but it has been plopped down into a neighborhood in which it does, indeed, stand out like a sore thumb. Every time I walk past it (which is often because I live nearby), I am shocked all over again by its arrogance. In another place, in another setting, I’d admire it for its design. In its actual setting, it is, indeed, a sore thumb.

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

It looks like a unit from a pearl district high rise that got spit out and landed on that lot. It’s not so much that the house is ugly (which it is), but it was placed there without any respect for the aesthetic of the neighborhood (or the neighbors themselves). And to be frank, I’m a bit offended by the flouting of wealth these days, even if it is environmentally conscious.

Lance P.
Guest
Lance P.

The %1 are billionaires. Not, pro cyclocross racers.

Mike Fish
Guest
Mike Fish

No, the 1% aren’t just billionaires, they’re many millionaires as well.

As for who makes up the 1%, it depends how you define the 1%. Is it defined by income or by net worth? If it’s income (money made by working a job), then people who made $344,000 a year and up are in the 1%.

If we’re going by net worth, then households that have about 9 million dollars of assets are more are in the 1%

I think it’s possible this household is in the 1% for net worth. Not judging, just hypothesizing.

http://www.joshuakennon.com/how-much-money-does-it-take-to-be-in-the-top-1-of-wealth-and-net-worth-in-the-united-states/

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

To get your ranking on the “Evil Rich B@$+@rd” scale you have to divide by the amount of calories expended to earn said money.
This is why sports stars are less evil than CEOs.

Stretchy
Guest
Stretchy

I used to work with a few people who have managed to work their way up to Director and VP level positions at various companies. The norm was for them to put in about 70 hours/week every week and, it wasn’t unusual for them to work far more.

You assume that CEO’s don’t work very hard and they’ve just had everything handed to them. Most put in extremely long hours and, even if they don’t, they’ve probably paid their dues by working insane hours while climbing the corporate ladder.

sorebore
Guest
sorebore

By insuring that the reduction of labor fits the bottom line , thereby sealing their advancements, profit shares, retirement, etc. etc. Yes, they do work hard. The CEO’s of our country are still hard at work derailing our labor base, ignoring the plight of our neighbors to the south while enjoying their indentured servitude to trim there lawns, pick their vegetables, and cook their meals in 3 star restaurants, while middle class income in France avgs. around $100.000 USD a year. This provides six weeks paid vacation, socialized medicine that works… with home calls by doctors ( I have witnessed through relatives) as well a surgeon in every ambulance,free college education, paid maternity leave for mothers and fathers, paid wedding days, paid moving days, it goes on and on.
I will get called out on a lot of this by people who will defend our ways here in the “good ‘ol USA, but lets face it, the middle class has been slowly squeezed for 35 years now, and I do not believe it will ever bounce back. And in the mean time every one will be in denial that other systems work better, and they will quibble over b.s. like someones 1.5 million dollar home ,sport stars, and the best way to be a bicycling martyr.
And in that, the CEO’s win… everyday.

P.S. btw.. it seems the French enjoy protesting even during the Tour De France if needed.

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

There’s people who work 70+ hours a week but still only make minimum wage. Hard work should be rewarded, yes, it is a quality sadly missing among many in our workforce. CEO compensation is, however, a bit excessive in my opinion.

mike
Guest
mike

Is this the same sue butler that had a fund raiser for her to go to world cross championships. Someone that has that place to live in shouldn’t need to ask for hand outs!!!!!

Jim F
Guest
Jim F

Yes. Same person, apparently. Wow, some balls. Remember that next time someone is asking you for money. Stunning house though.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Nice house, but this should be filed under “Lifestyles of the self absorbed”

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

“champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”?

John Lascurettes
Guest

Keep in mind, this is a $1.5M house that was built with a bike garage in mind instead of a car garage. It’s silly to call it a $1.5M “bike locker” unless you’re going to call all average homes “car ports” too.

Part of what helps drive up the cost of the home was the green design throughout the structure (and the custom design), but not because it was a fancy “bike locker”.

davemess
Guest
davemess

That was kind of my thought. I didn’t see anything in that garage that would come close to adding up to 1.5mill. Even if you count all the Ridley’s and Specializeds they have.

It kind of just looks like my garage but a new build. I have about the same set up, with my bikes, a training area for my rollers and trainer, and work space. pretty easy to fit that in a one car garage space. And my whole house cost $126K.

mark kenseth
Guest
mark kenseth

My thoughts hinge on the title as well. It seems like a $1.5 million house. A specialty bike garage with a separate bath/changing area, with many expensive racing bikes. Maybe a $100,000 garage/carriage house with bath/sauna? Maybe another 100,000 in bikes and accessories? Seems like another misleading title.

In other news:
Originally a $1.5 hundred shed…
This amazing old shed has many holes and separated siding for air-infiltration and cross-ventilation which dries wet bikes sustainably. Miscellaneous bike parts and lube are handy on a used shelving unit. An old towel hangs. A rolling door vertically opens by hand to double or even triple the work space. And get this, the originally $1.5 hundred shed is not far from the house. A hop, skip and a jump away is a warm house with a bathroom to remove those smelly, nose-cringing clothes.

was carless
Guest
was carless

The article said the lot the house was built on cost $220,000 and was purchased in 2008, during the height of the boom.

The house would likely be significantly cheaper to build today, as labor, building materials, and land are all heavily devalued since 4 years ago.

Babygorilla
Guest
Babygorilla

Wow. Just wow. I’m generally pretty cynical in my postings, but I think I’m done with this site. A $1.5 million house for a “financial analyst” and his wife and they’re holding fundraisers as the thing’s being built and it took the comments to point this out on a site that is simultaneously cheerleading the OWS/Bike Swarm movement? I hope that the community support last winter saved the Butlers enough to upgrade to a redwood sauna.

http://bikeportland.org/2011/01/14/buck-a-pint-fundraiser-will-help-send-portland-racer-to-cyclocross-worlds-46058

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I think we need a separate story about this fund raising business. Sounds like a major breech of ethics. I have to admit, when I read the story, I was wondering where the money for the house came from, as there is no money in cyclecross, at least not enough to do this. So it’s okay for Sue to fund raise for her cyclecross pursuits because she doesn’t make much money at it? We need an explanation.

sorebore
Guest
sorebore

agreed.

halfwheeled
Guest
halfwheeled

Ditto here, too. As someone who did purchase a pint at the fundraiser, some answers might be nice. I feel like I was duped. 🙁

BURR
Guest
BURR

Conspicuous consumption at its best

Nola Wilken
Guest
Nola Wilken

Uh – I think there’s a problem with this story and the headline. I think the whole place INCLUDING the bike garage cost $1.5 million. They did NOT spend 1.5 million on a 600 sq foot bike garage – check out the link to the orginal story above.

AC
Guest
AC

Nice house!
Good for them!

matt f
Guest
matt f

Incredible house! Awesome design!

noah
Guest
noah

Consulting the New Portlander checklist…

-Practices a hedonism disguised as spirituality? ✓
-Purchased during the housing bubble? ✓
-Built an expensive, oversized house that’s poorly integrated into the surrounding neighborhood? ✓
-Still believes self to be of modest means? ✓

Greg
Guest
Greg

This is what happens when you bring too much attention to your expensive stuff:
http://bikeportland.org/2011/11/30/non-profits-trail-building-machine-tools-stolen-from-state-park-62851

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

#1%Problems…

mark kenseth
Guest
mark kenseth

Thanks for updating the headline. Of course there was a grossly outlandish headline…it was the Wall Street Journal, part of the Rupert Murdoch media empire (which includes FOX News), aka, the sensational press. Thanks for bringing it down to Earth.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Despite, perhaps because of, this conspicuous display of wealth we can see that the Age of the Automobile is passing.

Here is a couple who are materially wealthy and have spent that money on bicycles instead of automobiles. It is indicative of a societal shift of not seeing bicycles as a childish waste of money and time.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Exactly! They could have just blown $1.5 million on a car.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Can’t you buy a decent jet plane for that?

Mike
Guest
Mike

Do you actually believe they don’t have some nice cars to go along with their bikes? I’m sure there is an audi parked on the street. People with thay many bikes and that nice of a house don’t commute by bike or ride mass transit.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

OMG!
A CAR PARKED IN THE STREET?!?

Now we know they are evil!

/sarcasm

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

that house is in my neighborhood and i always wondered who would build such an out-of-place monstrosity.

ac
Guest
ac

perhaps someone who carefully thought about how they wanted to live and then put their own money into making it happen? instead of buying a home already built for someone else with values from a different century

noah
Guest
noah

Exactly! For instance, I value great music like Frank Zappa and great art like the works of Damien Hurst. So I had a professional curator decorate my lawn with cross-sections of cow carcasses; and I play “Dinah-Moh Hum” in a continuous loop all day and night, but on the finest weather-resistant outdoor speakers.

The cow was from a local farm, the speakers were made with local wood, and all the professionals I hired were all local at more than a living wage. Who are my neighbors to judge?

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

John Cage would be very proud, except for the fact that you are playing recorded music.

was carless
Guest
was carless

3 stories isnt a “monstrosity.” I live in Buckman neighborhood, and many houses near Belmont are much bulkier, taller, fatter, and longer. But they are “historic” so its alright.

Modern houses have to be small, so as not to affront the bohemian classes.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

It’s the size and the style that makes it stick out. You can have a modern interior and all the functional exterior amenities of a modern house while still meshing with the neighborhood architecturally. It’s a free country, style-wise, but one should consider the overall appearance of the neighborhood when building a new house.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Style is fashion and fashion changes.

Cecil
Guest

which is why one might want to think twice about the fashion one inflicts upon their neighborhood.

ladyfleur
Guest

My husband and I have 17 bicycles and 1 motorcycle is a dedicated 440 sq ft “bike locker”. It’s called a 2-car garage, something almost every suburban home has.

The difference is that people see the homeowners’ large number of bikes and dedicated bike space as excessive while having a similar space dedicated to their three cars would be seen as ordinary.

Stripes
Guest
Stripes

Wow, what an awesome facility! If I had a gazillion dollars, aside from the usual investing and donating a bazillion to charities etc. I would totally buy a few great new rides. I know people will gripe about yuppies with far too many material things, but let’s face it, bikes are pretty cool! And it’s a lot better than people with 25 cars parked in their garages.

The only thing is, I don’t know if I would be advertising the fact that I owned hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of bikes, and then letting the same magazine give out my address with a photo. To repeat what the person above said, I really hope they have good insurance!!!

sorebore
Guest
sorebore

If I had a gazillion I would leave Portland.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

I’d buy up every square foot within a 1/4 mile of the Beaverton Creek MAX Station‎ and rebuild it to the specs of the <a href="http://www.carfree.com/district.html"<Carfree Cities Districts if only to see if would be a place that would function.

Sort of a large scale commercial/residential demonstration project.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal
Stripes
Guest
Stripes

Why?

kgb
Guest
kgb

I’m sure we can put together enough for a one way bus ticket, when and where do you want to go?

bike family
Guest
bike family

This house looks terrible in our neighborhood and blocks the view of others.
i was shocked when i saw she was fund raising last year, this makes it even more shocking.

kgb
Guest
kgb

The fund raising sounds troubling, but I like the house, I certainly wouldn’t have wasted my money building it there though.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

That is a very square house. Some people have assembled amazing structures with similarly shaped overseas shipping containers, but the natural wood exterior siding of this house is far nicer than those containers’ painted steel sides.

Homeowners with bikes as nice as these people have, and with a special room inside the house to keep them, likely means their won’t be kid’s bikes laying out on the street and strung out all over the front yard. That’s got to be nice for the neighbors.

Rol
Guest

My favorite send-up of modernist fetishism, featuring loads of funny recaptioned photos from e.g. Dwell magazine: http://unhappyhipsters.com

sorebore
Guest
sorebore

My reply was denied by J.M., I assume. I feel if you are going to lash out in such a juvenile manner to my opinion, I am entitled to a witty response, but I was shut down.

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

Yeah, the moderation tends to be overzealous to say the least. Good luck posting if you’re on FiOS.

Jon
Guest
Jon

Don’t bother trying to make fun of any of the people criticizing the homeowners. Your comments won’t show up.

matt savage
Guest
matt savage

Portlands old houses are gross… I’ve rented many and wouldn’t be caught dead spending a half million on one. I say tear it down and build something new. In 20-30 years, the majority of those houses surrounding the Butler’s will be gone anyway and their house will be considered a classic.

As far as fundraising…? Obviously people have no idea what it costs to train and race at the international level as a privateer without a full factory sponsorship. I just race for fun on weekends and I’ll spend over well over 1k a month between equipment, entrance fees, travel, training, food… Her racing budget is probably more than my income…

I say good for them! They’ve worked hard, succeeded and are reaping the benefits.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…and their house will be considered a classic. …” matt savage

Well, they don’t have to wait 20-30 years…it’s already a ‘classic’ example of how excessive compromise can take quality materials and wind up with an awkward, boxy looking structure.

But it they and some of you people commenting that have said so…like the house and think it’s gorgeous, more power to you. With any luck someone will build a house just like it in your neighborhood.

Hugh Johnson
Guest
Hugh Johnson

For a city that prides itself on it’s “green” image, most of these old houses are anything but. Full of toxic lead paint and who knows what other bad things. They consume tons of energy to heat and cool. Sure it’s cool to say your house was built in 1900 I guess, but I sure would not want to live in one. To each their own.

k.
Guest
k.

I’m sure glad I didn’t help out with that fund raising. I’d be a little peeved right now. The Butlers are tone deaf at best.

sw resident
Guest
sw resident

Jonathan – are you going to follow up with an interview with the Butler’s regarding their fundraising? It would round out two stories about them and would give them a chance to defend themselves.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

Thanks for the input. I’m considering it. Haven’t decided yet.

matt savage
Guest
matt savage

I think she identifies very well why she raises funds here: http://www.suebutlerrides.com/2011/01/worlds-bound-truth-of-my-journey.html

Clearly racing is something she wants to accomplish on her own. What’s wrong with reaching out to the local cycling community for help in representing us in such a prestigious event? It’s not like she was getting something for nothing, her sponsors contributed some pretty amazing awards for the raffle. Even many Olympic athletes have to raise funds like this so they can afford to train and compete.

So her husband built a modestly sized, fancy house… Big deal.

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

Then why doesn’t she continue to ask for donations as compensation for the time she spends training instead of working? She would certainly need sizable contributions to pay her half of the mortgage. I could probably spend time training to become a professional athlete as well if I didn’t have to go to work everyday in order to survive. It already isn’t something she’s doing “on her own,” so why should she need contributions to support what in my opinion could be classified as a cycling vacation to Europe?

Maybe there is more to the story, a missing puzzle piece which explains how her husband contributes nothing to her support except providing a really nice roof over her head. I haven’t seen comments from either of them here yet to help us understand, or any other real explanation about what many see as rather scandalous behavior by a couple who are already pretty well off.

I find it ironic, too, that proprietors of this website have covered occupy portland and the bike swarm in great depth, but whose position remains tenuous at best over the raising of criticism against members of the “1%.” Let me restate that Tim Butler is a financial adviser. Why does his wife need to ask for donations from the cycling community to support anything she does at all?

sorebore
Guest
sorebore

Bob Roll,Overend,MissyG, Lemond, Boyer,Halderman,Kiefel,Mount,Stieda, Grewal,J.Howard, all lived or practically lived out of box vans at one time. Some had more money than others, but many of them paid their own way out of pocket I am sure, at a time when there was much less to gain monetarily. Competition at any level is going to take lots of money and cycling is not a sport for those of limited means unfortunately. I am interested to see how this plays out, along with Johnathan’s choice to follow up. It seems that people wish to have some deeper questions dealt with.

matt
Guest
matt

“Why does his wife need to ask for donations from the cycling community to support anything she does at all?”

Maybe because she’s not a gold digger looking for a sugar daddy? She’s clearly doing it on her own, her own way. I don’t think they need to justify their lifestyles to anyone, let alone face the inquisition that’s building here. BTW, it wasn’t just a “donation” it was a raffle, there was thousands of dollars of product at stake that people would have jumped at under any circumstance.

I’d hardly call suffering day in and day out, year round, making incredible personal scarifices, for a chance on one day to accomplish something great a “cycling vacation in Europe…”

Sure, she has a privileged life, but it hasn’t come without hard work and consequences.

sorebore
Guest
sorebore

“Sure, she has a privileged life, but it hasn’t come without hard work and consequences.”

…well she could have the privilege of racing provided by inheritance and a linage of good fortune and just perhaps,never worked a day in her life. Don’t get me wrong, I have no qualms either way, and perhaps you know her struggles more than others. Those without personal knowledge are going to judge her no matter what, unfortunately.

Doug Klotz
Guest
Doug Klotz

Alright! Architecture criticism on Bike Portland! For how amazing the house must be inside (can’t get that video to play), it sure is not amazing on the outside. I think that a fair percentage of people who buy houses in old neighborhoods do so because they like the way older houses look. At least there was, then, an attempt to add features to the outside that (horrors) were there to make the house look better from the street, within a vocabulary developed over centuries. Now, the way the interior looks is the standard, so the uglier the outside, the more you can claim to be rejecting the old ways, and be proud of it.

no fan of hypocrasy
Guest
no fan of hypocrasy

There are urban infill houses and condos all over town that are 3-story modern designs mixed in with post-war bungalos. Let’s all get over it and stop critiquing the qualitative as if it were quantitative.

L
Guest
L

Last I checked, BikePortland has “we rely on your support” on the main page and the “biking community” either supports it or not depending on how individuals want to spend their money. It’s clear that Jonathan has enough money to have three kids. Does that mean individuals shouldn’t support his web site? Because he clearly has enough money to travel on trips, own a car, own a home? Come on people! You spend your money and allocate it as you wish so let everyone else do the same. Don’t like how someone else spends their money? That’s your problem.

noah
Guest
noah

If Sue Butler were providing a great service to the community, your argument might hold some weight.

sorebore
Guest
sorebore

No matter what people think about all this,( and it seems some feel a bit ruffled and mislead by a raffle for some reason), it may not be the choice of home for me, but I would MOST definitely have a 2000sqft. shop and a nice 300 sqft space to crash in, if I were in their tax bracket!! (Nestled in St.Johns to save on property tax of course… priorities! 🙂 )

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

I know nothing of these people. But the house is an eyesore _in that neighborhood_. It is an area of millworker’s specials and Craftsman bungalows. One of the beauties of traditional cities and towns, is that regardless of the architectural merits of any _one_ structure, the whole is harmonious. I don’t blame these people in particular, they simply display the arrogant cult of individualism so common here in the U.S.