Should the inside of a home match the outside? A West Linn couple certainly think it should—even if the road to aesthetic harmony is winding. Fifteen years ago, the husband and wife hired architect Jeffrey L. Miller, of Jeffrey L. Miller Architect, PC, to give their residence a classically inspired makeover. The ensuing years gave them the chance to get to know the house—and understand the changes needed to sync the interiors with the reimagined façade. With their wishes clearly defined—it needed to be functional and comfortable yet detailed and stylish—they turned to builders and brothers Brian Bohrer and Jeff Bohrer and designer Joelle C. Nesen to completely overhaul the interiors. “The spaces were dated,” Brian Bohrer says. “They told us what they wanted and let us figure out how to make each area of the home work.” In fact, the couple handed over their list of desires and the house keys and then hopped on a plane to Palm Springs, leaving the team to complete the project.
It was the property’s bucolic setting on Pete’s Mountain at an elevation of 900 feet that first charmed the couple. “We have a clear view of Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens and the West Hills,” the husband says, adding that old-growth trees frame views of the towering mountains. “It’s just magnificent.” After time and the elements took their toll on the first incarnation of the house they built on the idyllic lot, they called on Miller, who also designed their two other homes—one in the California desert and one on the Oregon Coast—to recreate the dwelling’s entire exterior using traditional stucco. “The home had a lot of trendy features from the 1980s,” Miller says. “I redid windows, dormers, arches and columns and gave it classical pediments and elements that would stand the test of time.”
Indeed, the updated Palladian-inspired exterior exhibits a timeless quality. And now, thanks to the design team, the interiors display a similarly classic aesthetic exemplified by the new architectural detailing and furnishings—coupled with an emphasis on usability and comfort. “It was important that the home function well for the two of them, and their German shepherd,” Brian Bohrer says, “but it also had to function well for when their children and grandchildren visit.” In the kitchen, the builders replaced a 12-foot island with a pair of islands that allow for better flow. They changed out the faux-finished ceiling for a coffered one and replaced the green granite of the counters with silver travertine. They turned the rarely used living room into a family space, where their clients can either have cocktails with friends or pile on the sofa with family and watch television. “We tore out old storage and put in new custom cabinetry with a television that folds in and out of it,” says Brian Bohrer, who also worked to make the master suite a much more user-friendly space. Where once the master bedroom was solely used for sleeping, reports Bohrer, “after the remodel, the husband mentioned that they’ve spent more than half the day in just that room without realizing it.” The builders recreated a reading nook and the fireplace area in the bedroom and also redesigned the bath and the closet. “We did some dormer additions and revised where the interior walls were,” Brian Bohrer says. “There’s textured millwork that looks classical in the closet area and the bath has massive marble slabs on the walls.”
Nesen worked with her lead designers, former associates Morgan Thomas and Lucy Roland, to select the hard finishes for the redesigned spaces in the home. “The entry had yellow faux-finish walls and black-and-white marble flooring,” the designer says. “We wanted to redo the floor with a gray stone tile by Ann Sacks and the clients just fell in love with it. It’s warm, elegant and you can’t see a single dog hair on it.” In the revamped space, the designer hung an assortment of figural and abstract artwork. “The blend of new pieces and classic ones gives an interior a much longer life,” she says. “Sharp lines with more intricate ones make a room look more casual and collected.” The designer supplied the living room with a mixture of styles, too, outfitting the space with a custom roll-arm sofa and a brass-and-glass coffee table and more Deco-inspired swivel barrel chairs and a cowhide rug layered on top of a sisal one.
With the effort from the builders and the design team, the interior aesthetic is now as fresh and timeless as the Miller-designed exterior of the residence. “More often than not, people in Oregon tend to want to do 50 shades of brown,” Nesen says. “But because of this classical-style architecture and because I always do a shade of white to add lightness, we used cream here. It’s just sort of this crisp anchor that adds brightness on a gray day.” The designer and the builders carried that freshness through each of the rooms. “Now there are these clean lines that connect all of the spaces,” Brian Bohrer says. “With Joelle, we installed materials that are of the highest quality, but all of these rooms are much more livable. These are spaces that you just want to be in.”