Our first West Coast Idea Cottage blends fresh, new bungalow style with classic Northwest comfort.

By Elizabeth Raines Beeler
September 06, 2006
Jean Allsopp

Sited high above the Pacific with a view stretching to the horizon, the Pacific Retreat Idea Cottage has all the drama of a sea captain's home. Seattle designer Kelly McCombs selected upholstery and natural materials that bring warmth to the main living area, a welcome approach during Oregon's cooler months. She chose heavily textured fabrics in natural colors to accompany gleaming wooden furnishings. Douglas fir walls and hickory flooring add texture and rich graining to the rooms, tying the bungalow to the surrounding forest.

Design tip: Pillows aren't permanent! For a quick makeover, change out your accessories.

Get Kelly's Classic Style
"Old possessions lend a sense of history to a new space," says Kelly, who scoured flea markets and auctions for vintage finds to mix with antique reproductions. "I accessorize with pieces that appeal to the surrounding area and give a home its spirit."

In the kitchen, neutral walls act as a backdrop for wooden window casings and custom cabinetry. A built-in cupboard with glass doors and open shelving provides storage and display space for dinnerware. Windows fitted with modest, striped Roman shades allow natural light to flood the space.

Design tips: To break up the large expanse of cabinetry, Kelly chose a dark stain for the island and a lighter tone for the wall units. She also divided the space visually with countertops of varying heights. Looking to combine modern style with traditional warmth? Match clean-lined stainless steel appliances with rich wood cabinetry. The result is contemporary and classic, with an emphasis on function.

The home's open plan lends informality to the dining room and links the space to the kitchen and living area. An uninterrupted line of floor-to-ceiling windows spans the outside wall, and a steel chandelier hangs above a dark, wood dining table large enough to feed a crowd.

"It feels like a tree house with an ocean view," says Kelly of the elegant master suite decorated in earth and sea hues. The bedroom has a distinctly different feeling from the rest of the home. Cool, blue hues soften masculine furnishings, and a bolster pillow edged in velvet adds a soft, luxurious accent.

Design tip: Go natural. Mount beach finds between glass and let the wall color serve as your mat. (Just make sure you don't take home protected sea life.)

Kelly chose surface-mounted sinks for the antique-style dual vanity in the master bath. Salvaged architectural moldings reinvented with a coat of dark-brown paint frame matching mirrors hanging on the vertical V-groove walls.

Design tip: Show off seashells in an apothecary vase. Bring in the sand-its natural tones and grainy texture make a dramatic and inexpensive backdrop for objects under glass. Retreat
Kelly turned the study on the lower floor into a quiet seaside sanctuary. In this dark, masculine room, wooden walls set the tone for leather furnishings. Woven shades filter light, and an antique Spanish slant desk holds charts and maps from around the globe. Books, binoculars, and prints fill shelves and cover the room's walls. Reef-patterned accent pillows brighten the space with a hint of color.

Design tip: Create your own curiosity cabinet with worn, leather-bound books and other relics that capture a sense of history. Don't worry about perfection: Arrange objects of different sizes, colors, and shapes. The more chips and cracks, the better!

Sleep In
Nautical details and an all-American palette inject schooner style into the guest suite. An ebony four-poster bed dressed in handsome stripes anchors the room. For the window treatments, Kelly found a sailboat print reminiscent of architectural renderings. Over the headboard, she grouped sepia-toned yachting photographs. And bedside, a painting by a local artist showcases dories heading out to sea.

Design tips: Gone are the days of coarse outdoor fabrics. The softer, durable material on the spirited red bolster pillow and coordinating bench will stand up to wet bathing suits and slickers.

The tiled mudroom accesses both the garage and the outdoors. Pegged shelves and a painted bench provide a convenient drop-off spot for boots and wet rain gear. (This is Oregon, after all.) Screened doors, a slate floor, and maritime accents make the utilitarian space feel inviting.

Design tip: Like the function of a screen but not the look? These clever screens retract sideways into the doorjamb. When tucked away, they leave an open doorway and an unobstructed view.

A home built and designed to blend into its natural setting-that's what Mary Jones and Jeff Schons of Nestucca Ridge Development had in mind for this updated, Craftsman-inspired bungalow in the Pacific Seawatch development. To respect the site overlooking Haystack Rock, Mary and Jeff will nestle additional homes-about 90 total-and a community clubhouse amid the surrounding evergreens. Following the lead of other Nestucca Ridge projects, Pacific Seawatch shows a sensitivity to the environment, with generous green spaces, walking trails, and lots set well back from the shoreline. With an eye toward the future, the developers have invested in Pacific City ventures, building an inn and restaurant, with plans for more.

Careful Planning
When developing the neighborhood plan, Mary and Jeff set guidelines for future homeowners to follow. Here are a few.
• Maintain a natural appearance with materials and finishes.
• Create unity with an approved list of architects and builders.
• Limit maximum heights for each structure.
• Use a cohesive palette of complementary exterior paint and roofing colors.
• Landscape with native species.

To protect outstanding ocean views from every homesite, Portland, Oregon, architects Kelly Edwards and Rick Berry of Scott-Edwards Architecture chose the Craftsman style. Known for its low-pitched rooflines and wide, open eaves, this style grew up on the West Coast, thanks to the work of California brothers Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene.

At our Pacific Retreat Idea Cottage, Kelly and Rick respected intimate bungalow proportions but tweaked tradition with slatted wood columns, stainless steel railings, an open-tread interior staircase, and double-pane windows. "It's an evolutionary style," says Kelly.

Built on steep terrain, the two-level home features an open floor plan and large rooms walled with glass. Windows frame broad views of the Pacific, while balconies extend from oceanside bedrooms and the main living area. On the lower floor, a large deck projects over the hillside, providing ample space for entertaining and outdoor dining. A wooden windscreen shields the deck from Pacific winds and affords privacy.

Craftsman Style at a Glance
It's all in the details. Look for these signature Craftsman-style characteristics:
1. Low-pitched roof with wide overhangs
2. Exposed structural elements, such as rafters
3. Square, often tapered, columns with large bases
4. Repetition of horizontal lines
5. Spacious front porch
6. Well-crafted detailing

Sensuous, rounded arms on the chairs and sofa contrast with simple, linear porch railings. The furniture's floral pattern makes this lower deck an inviting gathering spot year-round.

Design tip: Opt for furniture and fabrics that will last. Sturdy teak pieces stand up to inclement weather. And high-quality outdoor fabrics look good year after year, even when placed in direct sunlight.

The stainless-steel railings capped in cedar coordinate with a semitransparent stain on the decking. Nearby, an outdoor shower delivers for a quick rinse after a day of surfing the area's celebrated waves.

Design tip: Outdoor showers can be more than just cold-water spigots. Add luxury with a rain-style showerhead and handheld spray nozzle. Just make sure to choose a corrosion-resistant finish, such as stainless steel.

A wet bar and grill conveniently service the outdoor dining space, allowing homeowners to entertain on the lower level without making trips upstairs. The summer kitchen's custom cabinetry looks and feels like real wood, but it's made of a cellular PVC material that won't warp or split-perfect for a coastal climate.