Willamette Valley Residence, Gold Award, Custom Home

By Stacey Freed | August 27, 2018
Willamette Valley Residence living room with view to kitchen
Rockefeller Kempel Architects worked with builder Hammer & Hand on the details and careful crafting of materials in the Willamette Valley Residence.

Willamette Valley Residence

Sheridan, Ore.

 

Entrant/Architect: Rockefeller Kempel Architects

Builder: Hammer & Hand

Interior Designer: Alana Homesley Interior Design

Photographer: Eric Staudenmaier

Size: 8,231 sf

Hard cost: $4.92 million

Completion: December 2016

 

This house in Oregon is the second home that Los Angeles–based Rockefeller Kempel Architects (RKA) has designed for these clients. The family loves the indoor-outdoor connection of its L.A. home and wanted to recreate that in their Oregon house, despite “three seasons of wet, damp, penetrating, gnarly cold,” says Christopher Kempel, design principal and partner.

One of the clients is a writer, and she wanted a studio separate from but connected to the house. RKA answered with a glass hall through which she can access the freestanding work space. “We wanted to create the sense that you are walking outside,” Kempel says. “It’s a controlled outdoor experience where you can be safe and warm and dry when it’s raining. It’s really magical.”

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A glass hall connects the main house to a freestanding work space, providing a sense of being outdoors even when the weather is cold and wet.

 

Recognizing the challenges of developing the glass spine, RKA hired a builder that specializes in this type of structure. The architect also sourced many of the materials locally; in particular, the home’s Douglas fir timbers are from the area’s logging community. The staircase’s thick plates were milled in a local steel mill and the bluestone was quarried nearby. 

 

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Above and below: Many materials were sourced locally, such as the Douglas fir timbers and the bluestone, which was quarried nearby.

 

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Materials and attention to detail take center stage on the loft bridge and stair in the Willamette Valley home.

The jurors appreciated how the farmhouse design maximizes prevailing breezes and solar exposure. “There was a rigorous level of consistency and historic-modern integration,” they said. “[RKA showed a commitment] to a design aesthetic throughout, and it does this particular aesthetic really well.” 

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