When a couple said their wedding vows at Timberline Lodge, little did they know that one day they’d return to Mt. Hood—permanently. A little over a decade later, though, they bought a 10-acre property in Parkdale, Oregon, sight unseen. It was idyllic. There were fruit trees and pastures nearby, the occasional visiting elk and, most importantly, spectacular views of the mountain. And, having spotted the work of architect Jeff Guggenheim and his designer wife, Jenny, they even knew whom to call when it finally came time to build.
“For years we just waited and dreamed of what our house could be and what we wanted our life to look like,” recalls the husband. “We wanted a modern design that capitalized on the view, with spaces that could blend inside and outside.” The lot lent itself to a long, slender design that could offer every room a mountain view. Over the course of many emails, calls and video chats between the clients and the Guggenheims (along with senior designer Colin Stacey), they developed a plan anchored by a great room, off of which spring guest and media rooms as well as the couple’s bedroom suite and an outdoor spa, with the children’s bedrooms upstairs.
Aesthetically, the homeowners gravitated to the exposed structure of the Northwest Regional style, a vernacular that, observes Jeff Guggenheim, “reveals how buildings are made, with lots of natural materials and little adornment.” The resulting design incorporates shed roofs and gables to reference local farm buildings, yet it’s unfailingly modern. (Note the lines of the fireplace, its stonework crisply edged with steel.) “They also wanted a home that balanced aesthetics with functionality, and it was important that the materiality reflect the regional environment,” he adds.
By choosing local stone and wood, “The colors and textures mirror those found of the surrounding property,” says Jeff Guggenheim. “There’s an honesty that feels timeless.” It’s a sentiment echoed by general contractor Kelly Bockius. “There’s a story that comes with using what you have at hand, taking care of your world, and knowing the people involved in the process,” he says, pointing to choices like the ceiling’s hemlock beams sourced from a small mill in Canada. “This was an interesting, challenging design with a lot of different surfaces coming together to form a cohesive whole, but there’s synergy,” he says, emphasizing the talent of the craftsmen involved in the home’s construction, including his brother and partner Eric Hixson, as well as Peter Kirk and Kevin Clarke.
To also guide their design decisions, Jenny says, the team turned to Timberline’s patinaed interiors. “It’s nature’s magic that the woods work harmoniously,” she shares. “It’s all about textural rhythm.” A key example is the wood screen that delineates the entryway and dining area. (It holds a secret too, spelling out the family’s name in Morse code.) To complement the woods, Jenny Guggenheim pulled a palette of blues and grays from the couple’s pottery collection, weaving the colors throughout the great room. The kitchen’s materials—end-grain fir flooring, walnut cabinetry and a cobalt-blue tile backsplash—make it “a space you want to see rather than tuck away—it’s an aesthetic level that meets the rest of the house,” she says. In the living area, a low-profile gray sofa lets the view steal the show, while underfoot a custom gray rug holds another hidden message: Four bars woven placed at two corners symbolize the four members of the family. The designer carried the palette into the couple’s bedroom with indigo Belgian bed linens and sky-blue shower tile. “It’s quiet, not over-designed,” she says.
To further tie the house to its site, landscape designer Kay Kucera devised “a naturalistic scene” of native and nativar plants including mountain hemlock, Venus dogwoods and Western sword ferns. “And I love the connectivity of the ‘river’ of grass that flows through different areas around the house,” she says. A cozy firepit lets the family truly bask in the magnitude of Mt. Hood, and a vegetable garden and chickens only add to the ambience. “We wanted to slow life down here and enjoy time with our children,” explains the wife, whose parents have since moved to the area, too. “It’s a home that embraces the site but also the togetherness of family,” says Jenny Guggenheim. And whether out gardening or skiing, they return to a house that was long in the making but worth the wait.