Function is ultimately what drives a home’s remodel: the homeowner may want their kitchen to incorporate a bar for cocktails and conversation, inviting guests to spread out, or they may want a backyard with a large fire pit to encourage more nights away from the television. When Degnan Design-Build-Remodel was tasked with a complete makeover for a two-story home in Oregon, they took function from purpose to inspiration.
Done thoughtfully, a home’s front exterior can serve as the title for what to expect upon entering. In the case of this home before its remodel, things were very straightforward. Dark vertical lines created contrast against yellowing siding in an outlining fashion à la English Tudor. The saltbox roof and two shed dormers provided some definition, but the space between the dormers felt plain in comparison.
Senior Designer Dave Duewel says, “Both owners admitted that the existing house had no style to speak of, but they were in love with the lot itself. Their desire was to live in a mid-century modern home, which was very fitting for their subdivision.” Using one of the homeowner’s needs for the house to reflect her vision of nature, Dave designed a cedar porch roof that extends across the front of the house and changed the exterior’s palette to a charcoal grey with white accents, punctuating the red of the cedar. Choice sections of siding between the Tudor outlines were swapped out for the rich cedar and now move horizontal to draw attention to the front of the home in a more graphic sense. What was once flat and plain is now warm and has dimension.
Upon entering, there’s an immediate connection to the backyard resulting from the removal of an unused chimney. That bringing-the-outside-in connection is made much stronger by having replaced the original double sliding doors to the back porch and knee-high windows on either side with a 12-foot, floor-to-ceiling back patio door. A second, very much intended consequence of the enhanced flow is the blending of the kitchen into the great room. The space itself now feels much more open, addressing the other homeowner’s need of a tranquil space he can walk through on a daily basis and conduct business working from home.
The great room itself is actually larger. A soft-angled, triangular extension was added along with a small deck extension. Previously, access to the backyard was a three-step stoop. As with the front of the house, the back now has mid-century life where things were previously flat. The redefined roofline coming out from the house as a pointed gable is especially eye catching.
Back inside, the last of the homeowners’ remodeling goals was to turn two bedrooms and a bathroom into a main-level master bedroom suite, complete with a pair of walk-in closets. Through what Dave calls “very intentional, yet arbitrary, angles,” entering the completed space feels like a distinct transition. “Instead of simply having the master bedroom door look directly out to the dining room and stairway, walls are angled to direct you into a private alcove.” The angled walls themselves are treated as a gallery for the homeowners’ artwork collection.
With no doors and mindful use of natural light, the walk-in closets add presentation to storage, and the master bedroom itself feels like a short retreat from the rest of the house. Dave says, “There wasn’t a ton of space to work with as the two existing bedrooms were significantly too small for practical use, but it’s just enough to provide for all the needs of the clients. Passing through the angled gallery is meant to decompress while heading off to bed. The spaces are cozy and right sized.”
The master bathroom doesn’t sacrifice any luxury while addressing the homeowners’ desire for something aging-in-place friendly. If anything, the luxuries are enhanced. Using a curbless shower provides a chic design with no tripping hazard, and having built-in recessed shelving eliminates clutter. “There’s also a low niche at the perfect elevation for washing your feet and shaving your legs,” says Dave. Also worth noting, the floor and bench are heated.
As for the choice in tile, a series of long waves resembling grey spruce is meaningfully accented with leaf-shaped mosaics, which are present in to the floating vanity as well. Above the custom teal cabinets and wood countertop, the vanity has an LED backlit mirror, a pair of pendant lights, and LED strip lighting. The experience is meant to feel a bit like being outdoors while overlooking whatever undesirable weather Wisconsin might bring that day.
Every new aspect of the home aims for a connection with the outside. The homeowners’ collection of mid-century modern Scandinavian furniture also helped to guide Dave as he sought inspiration in fine tuning his choices. This attention to completion gives the house a harmony that can be added to over time with direction, as opposed to arbitrarily. Degnan Design-Build-Remodel created a home meant to grow with the homeowners—something they can pour themselves into to reflect who they are today and who they become year in and year out.
Kyle Jacobson is a senior copy editor and lead staff writer for Home Elements & Concepts.
Photographs provided by Degnan Design-Build-Remodel.
128 Commerce Street
DeForest, WI 53532