he Victorian-era art critic, philosopher and philanthropist John Ruskin once said that “mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery.” He would undoubtedly have been captivated by the stunning view of three Cascade peaks from a cedar-and-lodge-stone-clad Lake Oswego, Oregon, home for a young family. “It’s a spectacular piece of property,” says the husband, a commercial builder who employed his own team to construct the residence on the 2-acre hilltop lot.
Indeed, it is little wonder then that back when the property was part of an adjacent country club, the site of the family’s now-home was used as a breathtaking venue for celebrations. While the new residents wanted to host parties of their own, they also wanted a place to raise their three children in an environment that would be at once luxurious and stylish and casual and welcoming. To bring their vision to life, the couple hired designer Leslie Minervini and architect Mike Barclay.
For Barclay’s part, his concept for the dwelling included a low-pitched roof, steep overhangs and corner windows. If those details sound familiar, there’s a reason: “I’ve always been a Frank Lloyd Wright fan, and there are many borrowed design elements here,” he says. But, adds Barclay, “Mt. Hood was the magnet that drew the direction of the house.” With the help of landscape architect Craig Kiest, Barclay oriented the location of the structure so the mountain takes center stage from the moment the custom iron pivot door opens into a soaring, window-lined entry hall. “I have a tendency to ratchet up the volume in spaces that are more commonly used,” Barclay notes. “It gives you more light.”
The entry offers direct sight lines through the great room and to the stunning views outside. It also sets the stage for the dramatic, glamorous touch Minervini brought with her, introducing, for example, the large-format gray porcelain tile flooring that flows into the great room’s living area. There, the focal point is the striking wall treatment on the fireplace side. Three-dimensional limestone tile draws the eye up to the high ceilings, as does a stretch of walnut paneling. “We let that wall of walnut be plain-sawn so you see all the wood’s lovely movement,” Minervini explains. “It’s like a piece of art.” To temper the sleeker surfaces, the designer injected a bit of an organic feel, using a slab of live-edge walnut for the hearth.
Given the grand proportions of the home, scale was a consideration elsewhere, too. So, to make sense of the expansive kitchen, Minervini modified the original plan for one large island, instead creating two–one for prep and another for serving. The pair breaks up the room and ties back to the paneling in the adjacent living area. To animate the space, the designer selected a black-and-white wallpaper depicting reeds in a marsh, and because “the room needed more life,” there are Lucite counter stools at one of the islands and Lucite chairs around the breakfast table. “They are a young couple, and they like things that are kind of edgy,” says the designer.
Throughout, Minervini highlighted that edge, choosing lush furnishings in grays and whites, with plenty of texture, sparkle and shine. She furnished the living area, for example, with a tufted, velvet-covered lounge chair and sofa, both with generous profiles, along with a pair of polished metal armchairs and a plush wool rug. Shining from above is a dramatic, 72-inch diameter crystal chandelier. For the master suite, she chose a smaller ring chandelier, which reflects off of the sparkly white stone on the fireplace, a headboard in more velvet and a thick shag rug. Even the expansive recreation room got a dose of glamour, with its own cushy shag rug, eye-catching chandelier over the pool table and counter chairs wrapped in hide.
The recreation room looks out to the view and the grounds that Kiest designed. “They are all about entertaining and being outside,” says the landscape architect. “They swim and sit by the pool and have their friends over.” The long ledge Kiest conceived along the pool allows for 40 feet of extra seating, making it especially conducive to having guests. He also designed the car gate on the front of the residence, which has a grid pattern inspired by the home’s architecture and opens to a motor court that doubles as another outdoor gathering space. “We had a Journey cover band and over 100 people here,” the husband says of his 40th birthday party, noting that the dwelling functions equally well for more intimate family moments. “When you’re in the house, it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere, and the natural light is amazing.”
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