Fifteen years ago, this young couple moved into A 1970s home in rural oregon on 26-acres of land that they considered temporary. In the interim, they dreamed of the modern home they would one day build in its place.

“My husband and I have always been drawn to clean lines, and a crisp look,” says the homeowner. “Surprisingly, all our ideas over the past 15 years never altered from the sleek, modern look. We wanted the same simple, clean look going out into the nature to showcase the beauty of our land.”

“I’m glad we waited,” she continues, “because it gave us time to know the land well and what we wanted from living out in the country. There are two ponds on the property, and we knew we wanted our home to be on the larger pond that’s over an acre. We also knew we wanted an interior designer and architect who could combine ultra-modern architecture with nature and make it work on this very wooded land.”

While researching Oregon architects who specialize in modern design, the couple discovered Eric Meglasson of Eric Meglasson Architect in Bend, with whom they immediately clicked. Strangely, Meglasson had been driving in the Silver Creek Falls area a decade earlier and told his wife, “I really want to design a house in this area.” As fate would have it, he was within a mile or two of this couple’s property when he said it.

Although Meglasson recommended some of the designers he works with to the couple, they suggested Holly Freres of JHL Design in Portland, with whom they had worked on a previous occasion.“I hopped onto Holly’s website,” recalls Meglasson, “and knew I would love to work with her. She was very involved in the material selections and so fantastic to work with that we plan to work together in the future!”

“When I was brought in,” recalls Freres, “Eric and the homeowners had made great progress on the form and shape of the home’s architecture. I was there to assist in creating spaces that were fundamental to the functionality of the home, as well as making sure the architecture blended beautifully with the finish palette. With four young children, two dogs and five bedrooms, the couple wanted a fortress that also blended with the natural surroundings.”

“A central walkway,” says Meglasson, describing his concept, “takes you through the front gate with a concrete spine wall following on one side, through a courtyard, flanked by the covered pool on one side and bedrooms on the other, through the four paneled glass door into the great room to the back patio and a boardwalk out to the pond.”

Freres worked with Meglasson on space planning, circulation of the kitchen spatially and programmatically via regular design meetings, conference calls or with the clients to discuss finishes, as well as the look and feel of the house. “We helped collaborate on the drawings with Eric,” says Freres. “We did the interiors and Eric handled the architecture. It was a good match for creating a complete set for the builder to ensure all of the modern details were captured.”

Looking to create a focal element in the kitchen, Freres introduced the homeowner to Pental Sources in Portland. “When they pulled out this slab of granite and shined a light through it,” recalls the woman, “it was spectacular. The creative part was deciding how to showcase it.” Freres’ decision to use the lighted slab as a backsplash for the Lacanche range created a conundrum for Meglasson and the builder, CDRedding Construction of Salem, Oregon, whose craftsmanship and ability to manage the project while working with Meglasson long distance exceeded his expectations.

Meglasson delights in telling how they solved it: “We created a double thick wall cavity to install the light with cabinets behind it that pull apart to access the light fixture as needed. Because we couldn’t glue the slab as you normally would, we anchored it to the adjacent cabinet, then created a substructure for it to sit on before sliding the cabinets over the edges of the slab to hold it upright.”

With the invention of the then not yet on the market MPP (Mass Plywood Panel), a veneer-based integrated plywood and alternate to CLT (Cross Laminated Timbers) used in high-rise construction, the homeowners were eager to use the product in creative ways. One of the most striking ways to showcase it was in the steps of a spiral staircase, which rises from a hallway to a rooftop seating and sleeping porch area. From this favorite perch, the boys can gaze out at the property’s wildlife – everything from beaver to nutria, otters, coyotes and skunks.

Working with Alex Zukowski, owner of MW Design Workshop of Salem, to create the spiral staircase was a joy. “I’d always envisioned the staircase with a bookcase incorporated into it,” says the homeowner. “Chatting with Alex, who was constantly coming up with ideas, including incorporating the powder coated metal shelving with the raw look of the soft wood stair, was so much fun!”

“It had to be made from durable products and be welded to both the bookcase and wall for safety.”

“From my point-of-view,” says Meglasson, “the couple made a wise decision to build while their kids are young, so the house will be a family house for a very long time. Now, the kids can explore, roam, play, and run around in nature, while living in a modern house in a country setting, which is quite unique.”

The homeowners couldn’t be happier. “Once we met Eric, we knew he and Holly would be great working together. Any time they got together they were fantastic. They realized our vision extremely well. Their work was above and beyond what we ever thought we’d get out of it.”


CDRedding Construction

Eric Meglasson Architect

JHL Design

Portland Millwork

Kitchen Appliances: Lacanche, Perlick, Thermador, Asko, Uline; Plumbing Fixtures: Newport Brass, Kallista, Brizo, Mirabelle, Stone Forest; Spiral Staircase: MW Design Workshop