New Home: Retro-Modern inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright
Our decision to build a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home was motivated by involvement with saving the only Wright-designed home in Oregon, known as the "Gordon House".
We found a gorgeous lot in Oregon City, with a view of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. The only problem with the five-acre lot was the building site: Only 14,000 buildable square feet, with steep slopes on all four sides. The width and depth of the lot dictated our new home's layout.
True to Mr. Wright, I designed the main floor with 9' ceilings, but dropped the ceilings to 8' in the hallways, dining room, and kitchen. All three of those areas have "trayed" ceilings, with dimmable indirect LED lighting that consumes only 300 watts total for the 700-square-foot area.
The living room ceilings are 11'-6" tall. We stained the glulam beams and designed trays for dimmable LED indirect lighting at the bottom of the beams. The walls and ceiling are stained rift oak paneling, with stained-glazed hemlock battens to match the stepped casing and mouldings.
In addition to the areas mentioned, the main floor includes the master suite, the mechanical room, a guest bathroom, the laundry room, and two large storage rooms.
The master suite is unique because the bathroom is separated by the hallway leading to the large walk-in closet. My half of the bathroom has my lavatory (with lots of storage), and a Japanese-style "wet room" that has the two-person shower and a soaking tub. My husband's bathroom has his lavatory (with lots of storage), the toilet and bidet, and linen storage.
The galley kitchen is on the north side of the home. To capture more natural light, cabinets with open backs, glass shelves, and glass-insert doors were installed in front of two windows flanking the window over the kitchen sink. The custom base cabinets are rift oak with slab doors and drawers. The custom wall cabinets and pantries are alder with recessed panels and a step detail that blends with other step details throughout the home. A custom feature is the two sets of freezer drawers that are built into the area under the stairway landing to the second floor.
The second floor has my office, my husband's office, a hobby room, an exercise room, a kitchenette, and a guest bathroom. I designed the home with a bump-out on the second floor that has unused space on the first floor below. The area is adjacent to the mechanical room, so an elevator can be added in the future, and the elevator shaft can be used for conduit when photovoltaic panels are added.
The exterior is very unique. There are non-structural columns at the corners and on the walls (exterior and interior) of the living room. The home has flat roofs, like Mr. Wright's "Usonian" homes. 4' stepped eaves surround the home on both floors, and copper rain chains with stepped cups direct water from the roofs into a drain pipe that encircles the home. 27 stepped fluorescent fixtures light the home at night, enhancing the stepped eaves.
The design phase took several years. I designed the home entirely, with the assistance of a structural engineer, Adam G. Rolin. Hammer and Hand was the general contractor. We used Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, Franke, Grohe, Kohler, and Hansgrohe plumbing, Toto toilets, Juno recessed light fixtures, Lutron switches and outlets, Millgard "Ultra" windows and doors, and Sherwin-Williams paint.
Yes, this is our dream home! I designed it to comply with aging-in-place principles. It is energy efficient: 9" thick insulating concrete form walls, hydronic radiant heating under all the floors, a whole-house lighting control system, and LED lighting. We were the proud recipients of the Home Builders' Association Best of the Best Building Award for our Wright-inspired home.
Photographer Name: Jay Plesset