The homeowners were looking to build a second home that would be classic yet comfortable,” recalls designer Caitlin Wilson, “a place where they could spend time with their family and friends.” A picturesque lakefront site in the rugged mountains of southern Oregon proved to be the perfect starting point for their dream getaway.
Wilson was involved from the project’s inception, along with Arkansas-based architect Patrick Anders, who had worked with the owners in the past. “They’d fly me there and show me the land,” Anders remembers about his early visits to the property. “The vernacular in the area includes a lot of old farms, so I suggested a home that would fit the environment.”
Builder David Crandall came on board to complete the house, which from the exterior resembles a local homestead. Inside, Anders and Wilson moved in a different direction. “The intent was to have the house look like it was built in the 1870s but received updates during the early 20th-century Arts and Crafts era, especially when larger glass became available,” says Anders. In keeping with this idea, much of the first floor has picture windows and French doors, maximizing lake views. The owners are also fans of the craftsman period’s millwork, so “all of the beams, casings, fireplace mantels, solid doors and custom cabinetry are handcrafted stained oak,” says Anders.
Once the architectural bones were in place, the challenge became how to decorate the interiors for the homeowners’ needs. They have grown children and several grandkids who often visit, and they needed to be able to accommodate them comfortably. They also wanted to house their impressive collection of 19th-century American art. “The clients wanted to stay super-traditional,” says Wilson of the rooms. “I definitely had to convince them to go more transitional in design, to keep things current and young for their family.”
Wilson initially focused her approach on their collection of Western and wildlife oil paintings and bronze sculptures—what she calls the heart of the home. But to move these toward a fresher palette, the designer brightened the scheme with her surface and paint choices. “Because the main floor has such dark woodwork, for example, I wanted a light color on the walls for contrast and to better showcase the art,” she says.
Wilson, who also has her own textile line, then selected clean-lined upholstered furniture and unobtrusive window treatments in natural fabrics—linen, leather and wool—that complement the art in pattern and hue. The solids tend to be neutral—taupe, gray and beige—and the patterns are new interpretations of the botanicals and geometrics popular during the Arts and Crafts period. To add masculinity, Wilson also incorporated plaids and herringbones into the textiles. “I really feel we stayed true to the era—only, we updated it,” says Wilson. “Sometimes it was a stretch, the push to go lighter, but it worked.”
This is best illustrated in the kitchen. Though gleaming with white paint and polished nickel, the space also has craftsman-style linear-paneled cabinetry and period-inspired latch hardware. “People love the kitchen,” says Wilson. “It’s so bright and fresh and large—a real gathering place.”
Light fixtures throughout the house, whether overhead or standing, are mostly Arts and Crafts-inspired, including the glass-dome pendants with Greek key detailing in the kitchen and the geometric burnished brass chandelier in the dining room. Rugs are mainly antique Turkish, but Wilson installed wall-to-wall wool carpeting in the airy bedrooms to lend more plush comfort underfoot.
“It all came together,” she says, “tying in the traditional roots with an updated, modernized feel. It’s really refined on the main floor and more playful upstairs in the bedrooms. It’s a serene yet comfortable space for family gatherings, and the homeowners really love it.”