A supplement to the Methow Valley News
Lawrence Architecture lawrencearchitecture.com 206.332.1832
FRAMING THE VIEW johnstonarchitects.com / 206.523.6150
The inside story … B
Photos by Don Nelson
efore the dream, the concept,
the drawings, the construction and the move-in, there is always a story. In its abbreviated version, the story usually goes like this: Met the Methow. Fell in love. Decided to make it a lasting commitment. Nothing quite says long-term relationship like building a home in the Methow, whether it be for frequent visits or permanent residence (or the first ultimately leading to second). It’s a personal experience that reflects the aspirations of the owners, the imagination of the architect or designer, the craftsmanship of the contractor and the creative force of Methow Valley artisans who add those unique special touches. In Methow Home 2014, we once again tell the stories of a few of the valley’s distinct homes. Six of the featured homes are originals, one is an extensive remodel, all of them share a respect for their surroundings and an intentional blend of form and function. This year we also spotlighted a few of the valley’s remarkably talented artisans whose devotion to exquisite detail enhances many Methow homes. You’ll also find other helpful articles on various aspects of home and second-home ownership in the valley. We couldn’t do this without the cooperation of the homeowners, architects, designers, contractors and artisans whose creations we so admire, and without the support of our advertisers. We are grateful to all of them. How will your Methow story play out? We hope Methow Home helps you decide by demonstrating what’s possible. Let us know what you think. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (509) 997-7011. Don Nelson Editor and publisher
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Methow 2014 Home A supplement to the Methow Valley News
FINISHING TOUCHES The valley’s artisans combine form, function, artistry, the right materials and devotion to quality in their unique works
Building prospects getting better in post-crisis economy
A YEAR-ROUND GROWING SEASON
Homeowners get a ‘mental boost’ from greenhouse space
Traditional log homes are comfy but need attention and care
ON THE COVER: Twisp River home is a welcome refuge. See story, page 26.
Photo courtesy of SHADOWLINE DESIGN
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ACROSS THE FENCE: CONSIDER YOUR NEIGHBORS Noise and light can be intrusive, even in a rural setting
LIVING WITH WILDLIFE
A little understanding goes a long way toward getting along with the valley’s animals
CLEANSING BODY AND SOUL
Many modern bathrooms are designed as sanctuaries for relaxation
HOME TOUR WILL HIGHLIGHT ROOF LINES
RIGHT AT HOME
It’s a long way from New York to the Methow, but a comfy riverside lodge makes the trip worth it
Cassal Ranch home keeps a low profile while taking advantage of spectacular views
Contributors Don Nelson
is publisher and editor of the Methow Valley News.
BRINGING IT INSIDE
John and Catherine Rogers loved camping on their Mazama property so much they built a home to evoke the same experience
ALL PLAY, NOT MUCH WORK
Mazama meadow home is designed for lots of activity and little maintenance
is a Methow Valley News reporter.
TRULY A ‘DREAM’ HOUSE
Architect’s vision and owners’ ideas merge perfectly in Mazama home
A MATTER OF TIME
Thirty years after discovering the Methow, Randy Brook and Melanie Rowland have exactly the house they wanted
is a Methow Valley News reporter.
is a Methow Valley News reporter.
L aurelle Walsh
SIDEWAYS MOBILITY Mazama cabin owners opted for a new building to expand their living and playing space
is a Methow Valley News reporter and proofreader.
INSURANCE ISSUES FOR SELF-EMPLOYED CONTRACTORS
is a Methow Valley News columnist.
INSIDE OUT: THE SECRET DOOR
is a Methow Valley News columnist.
Transitions are design opportunities to create special experiences
DIRECTORY OF ADVERTISERS
A publication of the Methow Valley News P.O. Box 97, 101 N. Glover St., Twisp, WA 98856 509.997.7011 • fax 509.997.3277 www.methowvalleynews.com email@example.com
Find the products and services you need for your home
Don Nelson | publisher /editor
Robin Doggett | advertising manager
Darla Hussey | design
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Marilyn Bardin | office manager
Dana Sphar | ad design /production Methow Home
[ 5 ]
■ Finishing touches The valley’s artisans combine form, function, artistry, the right materials and devotion to quality in their unique works By Ashley Lodato
HE term “artisan” is nearly as controversial a buzzword in the building trade these days as is the label “green.” Some might argue that artisans practice a craft that is a form of artistic expression, while others consider artisanal work to be simply that which is handmade instead of commercially produced. But although we may not agree on the definition of artisanal work, we all know it when we see it—the individual touches, the unique features, the special attributes that characterize a custom home. And fortunately for homeowners, the Methow Valley
is rich with artisans—the artists and craftspeople whose functional and decorative work creates an artisanal aesthetic, from cabinetry to tile to metalwork. This story—the scope of which is limited to those whose work is permanent features in homes (such as cabinets and railings, but not portable objects such as furniture and art pieces)—salutes some of the craftspeople whose work lends distinctive qualities to local homes.
Bruce Morrison When wood and stone carver Bruce Morrison was in the third grade he dreamt of himself as an accomplished child woodcarver. He has been drawn to create form in wood ever since. Morrison’s first teachers were Native Americans, who taught him the relationship with wood and respect for and knowledge of tribal design. “That has remained a major influence on my work,” says Morrison. The plants and animals of the Methow Valley have been Morrison’s themes for his mantels, posts, beams and doors. They have also been his teachers of design and meaning, says Morrison. Carved from a single massive pine beam, the Bighorn Mantel in the library at Sun Mountain Lodge is a public example of Morrison’s animal design informed by the site, as is the raven that presides over the entrance to the Twisp River Pub. Through carving the shapes of animals, plants, people and letters into his projects, Morrison seeks to provide a “reflection of that land and its flora and fauna in a living space.” “I began in wood and have largely returned to it,” he says. “Wood is always alive. I work with hand tools, so I have to listen, watch, and feel the grain. Wood is always talking to me. Yes, no. Yes.”
Eckmann Company Bruce Morrison carved the enormous raven perched atop the door of the Twisp River Pub. Photo courtesy Seattlebars.org
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Custom cabinetmaker Peter Eckmann faced a dilemma when he was in high school: His father gave him the choice of getting a job or working at home. Eckmann and his brother chose to work at home, so his dad set
Cabinets by Woras Woodworking. Photo courtesy Woras Woodworking
them up with a remodeling job. One project led to another, and pretty soon Eckmann was painting houses, fixing things, and building. He continued to refine his skills enough that by the time he moved to the Methow Valley in the early 1980s, he was able to work as a general contractor. However, Eckmann found that he was spending more time organizing and managing projects and very little time actually woodworking, and he missed it. So he scaled back the size of his business and started doing all the woodworking himself. Eckmann likes wood because you can do so much with it. “There are so many great woods to work with,” he says. “The different woods make it all interesting. You’ve got stressed-out or waned edges, and you figure out how to use them.” He continues, “I learned
that from [local builder] Mike Kutz— you look at the wood and it tells you what to do with it.” Although he focuses mostly on residential work, one of Eckmann’s commercial pieces—the entry counter at Winthrop Fitness & Physical Therapy—was an interesting collaboration among himself, Barry Stromberger and Sean McCabe. “Sean designed the cutout,” says Eckmann, “and Barry did the metal work, and I built the counter.” He adds, “It was so much fun to create with these other artists and learn from them.”
Jerry Cole Woodworking You might say that woodworking is in Jerry Cole’s blood. One grandfather was a cabinetmaker, the other was a boat builder. His father built the house he grew up in (“he was building it the whole time I was
growing up,” Cole notes wryly); he was constantly surrounded by people who understood wood. “It came naturally to me,” says Cole, now a cabinet and furniture maker, “and I didn’t have to work hard to like it.” Cole grew up in Bellevue but his parents bought property in the Methow Valley as soon as the North Cascades Highway opened in 1972. In 1976 Cole moved over to live on his parents’ property. “It was just on a lark,” he says, “but here I am now.” Cole doesn’t consider himself an artist, but his cabinets are evidence to the contrary. His work in gleaming cherry, redwood, quilted maple, Chinese elm and other types of wood draw the eye while blending harmoniously with their surroundings. That’s what’s important to consider about custom woodwork, notes Cole. “You make things that look like they belong in the house. The grain matches, the wood complements whatever else is in the house. You’re not stuck with standard sizes. It just looks more natural.” Cole, who has created cabinetry for dozens of houses throughout the valley, says that custom cabinetry is always worth exploring. “The pricing can be pretty competitive,” he says, “and you get exactly what you want and what fits with your house.”
mean, in a pretty profound way.” Merz was exhilarated by all that could be done with steel—bending, twisting, punching, hammering. Steel exerted a magnetic pull on Merz and although he didn’t know if he could make a living working with it, he was compelled to pursue the idea. It was a circuitous route that included a two-year volunteer stint running a metal shop in Zambia, but Merz finally hit his stride as an artist and craftsman. Now, with a shop on the TwispWorks campus, Merz can heat and hammer to his heart’s content, filling orders for custom metalwork. Merz, who created the Winthrop streetlights, the sconces at the Winthrop Ice & Sports Rink, and the bread racks at the newly remodeled Rocking Horse Bakery, says that custom metalwork adds soul to a home. “Hand-worked pieces just can’t help but resonate,” he says, adding, “I also find that customers appreciate having work in their home that is made locally. It accentuates our bond with people and community.”
Methow Industrial “There’s a reason I don’t work in wood,” says certified welder Mark Edson.
Jerry Merz Metal artist Jerry Merz was a selfdescribed “world-class doodler” in junior high and high school. But he remembers his father studying the sketches in his notebook, saying “You really have a talent here. You should consider doing something with this.” It took some time, but eventually Merz did do something with his talent. A series of open forge nights with his mentor, the premier blacksmith Roger Olsen in Mazama, opened the horizon of metalworking to Merz. “I loved it,” says Merz. “I A table crafted from iron and steel by The Slag Works adorns the Neufeld/Bernhard house featured on the cover and on page 26. Photo by Don Nelson Methow Home
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“Metal is more forgiving. You cut a piece too short, you can fix it. Wood isn’t like that.” No, metal is clearly Edson’s medium, whether he’s working with it himself, or supplying other craftspeople with their materials. Although much of Edson’s work is, in his words, invisible (“You can walk into the main lobby at Sun Mountain Lodge and not see a thing I’ve done!” he proclaims proudly, noting that it is his metal structural work that forms the skeleton holding many a local building aloft), he has created decorative and functional pieces ranging from the hand railing and metal shelving in the Glover Street Market to the interpretive signs at the Twisp Ponds to fireplace faces, roof crickets, and brackets in many local homes. Edson’s business name—Methow Industrial—belies the artistry that is involved in his work. Metal interior adornments have gained popularity in recent years and with steel’s amazing versatility, it is complementary to both modern and rustic homes. Edson’s work is the product of creative conversations with the owner
and/or contractor. “I like to just throw around ideas until we settle on the right one,” he says.
do freestanding pieces, not built-ins.” But the engineering aspect of custom cabinetry appealed to Swanson and he soon found himself enjoying cabinets as much as furniture. Swanson Woodcraft “On one level cabinets are just a Cabinet, furniture and door maker Rick Swanson of Swanson Woodcraft set of boxes with doors and drawers,” says Swanson. “But has been living and working in the on a custom job, the valley since 2006. engineering part is When Swanson critical. It’s challengbegan making furing and interesting.” niture in the 1970s, Swanson continues, he says “people were “The other thing just rediscovering about cabinets is wood, which at the that you’re creating time meant Sears the feel of an entire & Roebuck oak environment, not furniture.” Swanson just a solitary piece. I started making like that.” A cabinet designed by small items such as Swanson, whose Rick Swanson of Swanson cabinetry graces medicine cabinets Woodcraft. Photo from his homes throughout and jewelry boxes website the valley as well as for an antiques commercial spaces dealer and eventusuch as the Confluence and Winthrop ally moved into larger pieces. Custom furniture makers somegalleries and the Shafer Museum, times view cabinetmakers with some says he enjoys brainstorming with homeowners to create cabinets that sense of superiority, says Swanson, fit their functional needs, aesthetic, so initially he swore he “would only
and budget. He acknowledges the fact that the cost of custom cabinetry can be prohibitive for some, but adds “You’d be surprised—in many situations you can get the higher quality of custom for not much more money.”
Mary Beth Tannehill When custom cabinetmaker Mary Beth Tannehill’s mother taught her to sew, it just didn’t seem to fit. “The material just didn’t stay put,” says Tannehill. “It moved around all the time. I found wood to be much more controllable.” Tannehill’s great-grandfather built furniture and although she never knew him, several of his pieces were in their family home and she remembers admiring them. Tannehill really got her start as a cabinetmaker when she convinced her neighbor, fellow cabinetmaker Peter Eckmann, to teach her woodworking. “I begged him to put me to work,” she says, “and he did.” A female cabinetmaker is a bit of an anomaly in the crafts and trades and Tannehill acknowledges that some clients are curious about it, but
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she says, “I don’t think it’s done me any good and I don’t think it’s done me any harm.” Tannehill loves working with her hands and finds wood both beautiful and appealing. With custom woodwork, she says, “You can have anything you want and it’s functional.” After consulting with clients by listening to their ideas and going into their homes and observing their aesthetic preferences, Tannehill tries to create cabinets and other pieces that match the clients’ vision. Then it’s really fun, she says. “I just go for it. I can go crazy with the style, whether it’s a modern or a rustic or a natural look. You can do anything with wood.”
The Slag Works It was cars that got The Slag Works artist and ironworker Barry Stromberger into working with metal: race cars, specifically. As an engineering and business major at Cal Poly, Stromberger bought a welding set to make a race car for an independent project. The car never got made, but Stromberger found himself hooked
on ironwork and metallurgy. “I kind of stumbled into ironwork,” says Stromberger, “but I’ve always liked to problem-solve and create things, so metal was just the medium I found to work with.” Metal is particularly fascinating, says Stromberger, because “you take this thing that is hard and cold and immobile. Then you heat it up and you can treat it like clay. It’s very tactile.” Although his repertoire is vast, ranging from lighting to knobs and pulls to furniture, Stromberger is perhaps best known for his custom gates, grates and fireplace doors. His garden gates seem to be extensions of the natural world around them, with leaves, flowers, acorns, cattails, and grasses bursting from graceful surrounding arcs. His snow grates feature bear tracks, quail, and mule deer, while trout and eagles jump and
soar on his fireplace doors. “Mimicking nature has always been interesting to me,” says Stromberger, “but it’s also what the majority of people want. I had to figure out how to make a sunflower and a balsamroot leaf because that’s what people are asking for.” Some of Stromberger’s public art and functional pieces embrace this same theme of local flora and fauna, such the sunflower on the Washworks laundry sign in Twisp and the aspen grove on the trailhead kiosk in Mazama. Other
An elm stool crafted by Cliff Schwab of Winthrop Woodworks. Photo from his website
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pieces may go virtually unnoticed, yet are used gratefully by dozens each day, such as the handrails at the Country Clinic, Winthrop Town Hall, and Methow Valley Wellness Center. Stromberger likes the challenge of designing as much as creating. “Sometimes people have a specific vision and I figure out how to carry that out. Sometimes they just have a vague idea and they tell me to get creative. Then I really have fun with it.” Stromberger refines the vision, runs some sketches by the owner, and then “boom!” he says, “It’s in the house, it’s installed, and they just love it.”
Winthrop Wood Works Raised on a dairy farm in rural New Jersey, Cliff Schwab was inspired by the craftsmanship in the hand-hewn peg timber frame barns in the area. He began woodworking as a hobby, making gifts for family members for special occasions, but eventually found his way to apprenticing in cabinet shops. Now, as a cabinet, door and furniture maker with 40 years of
Snow grate designed by Jerry Merz. Photo courtesy Jerry Merz
woodworking behind him, Schwab’s aim is creating pieces that his clients will use and cherish for generations. “Timeless design and functional simplicity is what I like to see in my woodworking projects,” says Schwab. He finds the process of bringing his clients’ vision and ideas to life very gratifying, saying “I enjoy the satisfaction of seeing the final product with the clients.”
For materials, Schwab favors Northwest hardwoods, as well as reclaimed pine and fir. A recent project found him creating kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities out of barn wood. “It was a challenge working with the material,” says Schwab, “but the end result was rewarding.” Schwab’s work can be seen in many rooms at Sun Mountain Lodge,
including the dining room cabinetry and the suites and hotel rooms, as well as at Methow Cycle & Sport and Farmers State Bank. He brings the same tasteful aesthetic to his residential projects as he does to his commercial ones. “Built-in cabinets add warmth, dimension, and texture to a home,” says Schwab. “It also projects the client’s personal image and taste.” To
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some degree, notes Schwab, his work becomes a client’s practical art.
Woras Woodworking Phil Woras of Woras Woodworking has worked with wood for as long as he can remember. His grandfather was a woodworker and Woras remembers hours of messing around with his dad’s woodworking tools in the garage. As a student at the University of New Hampshire, he studied woodworking through the art department and eventually aimed at a career in forestry. But after working for the U.S. Forest Service as well as for a logging camp in northern Maine,
Woras realized that what he really liked was “working with wood on the other end”—that is, making things with it. “When I found that connection to wood,” says Woras, “I wondered why I hadn’t done it sooner.” Woras’s eldest son and business partner, Solomon, discovered his vocation a bit more easily. After earning an art degree, Solomon—whose mother is an artist and art teacher— planned to attend woodworking school. “He showed the interest and the aptitude,” says his father, “so I said, ‘Why not just come work with me here and I’ll teach you what I know?’”
The two have been busy making cabinets and furniture together ever since. And with four generations of Woras men working with wood, a genetic component seems obvious. Woras says he enjoys using his eyes, brain, and hands to put wood together in an aesthetic and functional way. “Every piece of wood is different,” says Woras. “I love the challenge of figuring out how to use each piece.” Determining the relationship between pieces of wood and how they best fit into projects, says Woras, is the task of the artist and craftsperson. “You find the similarities and put them together. You take a lot of
care in laying out where each piece of wood goes. You use the same board going across a whole drawer front. That’s the level of quality you’re going to get from custom work that you won’t get from commerciallyproduced pieces.” One of Woras Woodworking’s most recent projects was the woodwork at the Rocking Horse Bakery. “It was really an interesting project,” says Woras, “because a lot of the material was already in the space. The big pine slab for the countertop was already there. We reclaimed and milled all the fir that was already there. Even some of the steel was in the space— and it was already rusty!” ◆
D irectory of F eatured A rtisans (All phone numbers are in the 509 area code) B ruce M orrison . www.brucemorrison.com, email@example.com, 429-7726 P eter E ckmann . firstname.lastname@example.org, 429-4599 J erry C ole . www.methowarts.org/artists/jerrycole/, email@example.com, 341-4019
J erry M erz . www.twispworks.org/ partnersandprograms/partners/jerry-merz, Jerry.firstname.lastname@example.org, 341-4810 M ark E dson , M ethow I ndustrial . email@example.com, 997-7777 R ick S wanson . firstname.lastname@example.org, 996-2297 M ary B eth Tannehill . email@example.com, 846-4302
B arry S tromberger , T he S lag W orks . www.theslagworks.com, Bstrom211@gmail.com, 996-9894 C liff S chwab , W inthrop W ood W orks . www.winthropgallery.com/cschwab.html, Woodwork1@methownet.com, 996-2037 P hil W oras . firstname.lastname@example.org, 996-2589
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Stronger foundations Building prospects getting better in post-crisis economy By Mike Maltais
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Methow Valley is that just about everyone wants to build a home here on their own little piece of heaven. There was a time many moons ago, you may recall, when that almost seemed a reality. Then along came the global financial crisis of 2007 – 2008 that reshuffled the game board and put many players back on a spot called “Brink of Insolvency.” When the ripples of that tidal wave came lapping at the shores of the Methow Valley, they arrived with enough force to wash away the backlogs of projects that served as the security bulkhead for the local building trades. The credit industry cratered and big buck projects became as plentiful as porcine wings and poultry teeth. Six years down the road from the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression, things are gradually getting better — emphasis on gradually. The year just past was better than 2012 and most local builders forecast 2014 to be a better year for valley contractors than the last. Dan Higbee, building official with
the Okanogan County Building Department, said he makes it a regular practice to speak with area contractors in an effort to stay abreast of how they are doing and what kinds of projects they are bidding on. While he admits that it’s like trying to “look into a crystal ball” Higbee says responses from those he has consulted “have been more positive than those of the last couple of years.” Permits issued by the building department were up from 34 in 2012 to 42 in 2013 and those for additions and remodels increased from 13 to 21 during the same period. Property values have remained high in the valley relative to those in other parts of the county. Delene Monetta, co-owner of Windermere Real Estate Methow Valley in Twisp, credits “all the good work done in land use” that continues to make the Methow Valley “a very desirable area.” The stricter regulations “contribute to more stable land prices,” Monetta said. “Lending has gotten better in the last few years,” Monetta added.
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contractor and is “really careful interviewing clients” to make sure both sides will be happy with the final results. The last word goes to Scott Anderson, president of North Cascades National Bank, who sees more opportunities and activity in the building industry in the months ahead. “We are seeing a pickup in construction and the financing of projects,” Anderson said. He credits part of the upswing to a greater confidence in economic recovery down the road. “Folks who purchased property four or five years ago may have put plans on hold while there was uncertainty in the general condition of the economy,” Anderson said. “Now those people are more willing to pull the trigger on projects.” Anderson also pointed out that the general level of interest rates remains at historically low levels and stressed that mortgage rates on land and construction loans are quite favorable. “Those who have waited for whatever reason have still not missed out on the attractive rates,” Anderson said. ◆
“Lenders are trying to be more flexible and competitive.”
Lagging but gaining Andy Hover of North Valley Lumber noted that following a slump in 2012 sales have gradually been coming back. “We lag behind a bit here in the valley,” Hover said, “and we weren’t hit as soon or as hard. We saw a definite decline in 2012; last year was better and 2014 should be better than 2013.” Tim Smith of Big Valley Builders in Winthrop “arrived in the middle of the crisis” five years ago when he brought his business to the valley. He said, “2012 was really tough,” but added that business is getting better. “We’re working on some stuff and it doesn’t look that bad,” Smith said. Ed Rogers of Eagle Handcrafted Homes has been building homes here for nine years after working for a local company that specialized in timber frame homes. “Right now it’s slow but there are possibilities,” Rogers said. “There is a little more building and remodeling
Builders hope that a recovering economy will keep them busy. Photos Courtesy Randy Brook
going on, at least a little more than last year.” Molly Patterson, co-owner with husband, Jeff, of The Patterson Company Design Build, is optimistic about the coming building season. Patterson handles the contracting and bidding side of the business and credits much of her company’s success to a comprehensive screening process of prospective clients. Patterson is a strong believer in a good fit between client and
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shedding layers, and your glasses fogged-up in the 90-degree heat. Coon harvests succulent greens out of the 3’ x 16’ growing bed all winter long. “I don’t buy greens anymore,” she said. “It’s really more space than two people need,” said Coon, who brings salads to winter potlucks and shares
Greens all winter A home greenhouse can help offset some of those conditions by providing a protected area in which to start garden seeds months before outdoor gardening begins, extend the frostfree growing season and grow hardy greens during the winter. Open the door to Maggie Coon and Mark Wolf-Armstrong’s Twisp River greenhouse on a sunny February morning and you’ll find yourself
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mustard greens, tatsoi, parsley, arugula, cilantro and a variety of lettuces. “I love to let folks know how wonderful winter gardening can be.” The couple’s greenhouse was originally designed and built by Cherrington in the mid-1970s when he was living on the property, Coon said.
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This highly efficient greenhouse, built in the mid-1970s, produces salad greens all winter long. Photo by L aurelle Walsh
ETHOW VALLEY winters can be long, dark and brutal on the psyche, prompting some residents to retreat to warmer, sunnier climes during the coldest months. At the same time, many people have found that a home greenhouse can help with the winter blahs. In fact some local designers, like Howard Cherrington of Integrated Design Concepts, regularly incorporate a “sun space” or “sun porch” into passive solar homes to provide people with a protected indoor/outdoor living space which, at the same time, contributes free heat to the house. The sun-filled greenhouse room that Cherrington designed for Bruce and Dianne Honsinger on lower Bear Creek provides a “mental boost as much as anything else,” said Bruce, who admits he’s vulnerable to the winter blues. “We are really happy with it. Anything that helps us live here year-round and get through the long winter is great,” he added. The couple have even made a little “winter nap space” in the greenhouse by stationing a camping mattress
By Laurelle Walsh
atop a planting bench. “It’s wonderful to come out here and bask in the sun,” said Dianne. Winthrop woodworker Tom Forker concurs, and spent the last winter planning his third greenhouse: a glass “sun space” against the south wall of his home where he will be able to grow winter greens and vent sunwarmed air into the house through the kitchen window. “We’ll put a little table out there for late fall and early spring lunches, and get a physical and psychological boost from being among growing plants,” Forker said. “It’s nice to have some semblance of things growing. It’s a reminder that spring is going to come,” said Bruce Honsinger. Climate conditions in the Methow Valley can also be brutal for gardeners, who persevere in the face of only 100 reliably frost-free days, sub-zero winter temperatures, drying winds, thin soils and ravenous critters.
Homeowners get a ‘mental boost’ from greenhouse space
The 12’ x 18’ wood-framed structure has an insulated concrete-block wall on the north side that moderates temperature fluctuations and reflects light back to plants from its whitepainted surface. The glass glazing on the south face is original, but the roof and siding were replaced three years ago. They also replaced the original wooden planting beds with concrete ones last year, Wolf-Armstrong said. Coon said the crucial factor in winter gardening is carefully timing planting in the fall. She scatters a mix of hardy greens seeds in midSeptember, and does a second planting in mid-October. “Within a month of starting, we can start harvesting,” she said. Other greenhouse growers take a slightly different approach to winter growing. Molly Maxted gets her winterhardy plants — green onions, spinach, parsley, and chard — started in the greenhouse by late August. “Everything has to be going and growing by October,” Maxted said. In order to harvest kale in January, for example, it needs to be “knee high” by the end
of fall, she said. As the days get shorter, “things aren’t really growing; they are just holding,” Maxted said. “You can still harvest good, fresh, live food just by snipping off the leaves.” But by the end of winter, all that’s left of that kale is a naked stalk, she said.
Hoophouses help Kip Roberts started experimenting with greenhouses after driving through British Columbia and “seeing non-commercial hoophouses everywhere,” he said. A hoophouse, or “high tower” as they are called in the industry, is basically a series of metal or plastic hoops covered with heavy greenhouse-grade plastic. It creates a protective tunnel over a garden bed that, if done right, extends the growing season by four to six weeks in both spring and fall, Roberts said. “[A hoophouse] allows you to start seeds earlier in the spring and protect crops like tomatoes from frost longer in the fall,” Roberts said. It can also give Methow Valley gardeners a chance to grow heat-loving crops, such as melons and peppers, he said.
Roberts’ East Chewuch neighbor Tom Forker also uses his 20’ by 24’ hoophouse to get a jump on the early spring salad crop. “You can get a much earlier start under cover than in the outdoor garden,” because the soil is snow-free and warm, Forker said. Forker also plants seeds of spinach and hardy lettuces in a coldframe — a soil-filled wooden box with a glass top — inside the hoophouse in the fall. “The seeds germinate and then go dormant over the winter,” but begin growing again when the days lengthen and “give a much earlier crop of greens,” he said. Finally, many Methow Valley gardeners use a greenhouse to get garden seedlings started while snow still blankets the ground. Starting his own seeds gives Roberts a much wider variety of plants to choose from, saves retail costs and produces sturdy vegetable starts that he can put in the ground after the soil has warmed and the danger of frost is past, he said. Roberts built a 12’ by 8’ lean-to greenhouse on the south wall of his home, primarily in order to start
Dianne Honsinger tends geraniums, salad greens and herbs in her greenhouse room. Photo by L aurelle Walsh
garden seedlings, he said. He begins in March with peppers, which take several months to grow from seed to transplantable size. He continues seeding onions, tomatoes and eggplant in flats, then pots up the seedlings until mid-June when even the tenderest starts are ready to go out in the garden and grow under the hot Methow sun. ◆
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■ Logged in
Traditional log homes are comfy but need attention and care By Joanna Bastian
here is a certain primitive nostalgia to living in a log cabin. A sanctuary of trees is both soothing and arousing to the senses. Living in a literal tree house, you can hear the creak of the once-living trees as the logs expand with the heat of the day and contract with the cool of the evening. Coming home to a log cabin at the end of the workday is like taking a vacation every day — a relaxing retreat.
And modern log homes are naturally green and energy-efficient. Many of America’s greatest writers lived in and were inspired by their log cabins in the woods. Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Anne Bradstreet are just a few of the literary artists whose works continue to quicken the hearts of readers today. Although many people dream of living in a log home, the reality requires more planning and a bigger
Upkeep is essential for log home owners. Photo by Joanna Bastian
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“This house is but a slight departure from the hollow tree, which the bear still inhabits — being a hollow made with trees piled up, with a coating of bark like its original.”
Henry David Thoreau budget than traditional stick-frame houses. To build a log home is nearly double the cost of a stick frame because of the labor-intensive planning in advance: electrical, plumbing, HVAC, lighting — all of these details have limited space and access in a solid log-walled home versus a traditional wooden-frame home where all of these elements can be tucked inside walls. Once a log home is built, the basic design is not easily changed. For these reasons and more, some home owners who want the look and feel of a log home without the cost and design restrictions are opting for log accents inside and outside the home. Whether your house is made entirely of fallen trees or simply accented with logs, routine maintenance is required to protect the integrity of the wood and ensure the long lasting health and beauty of your home. A log home needs a four- to five-year checkup by an experienced builder. Logs can suffer sun, water and insect damage, and may need to be replaced. Ed Rogers of Eagle Handcrafted Homes in Twisp builds custom log homes and offers restoration and maintenance services using environmentally friendly products. “All
wood expands and contracts. A log is always alive, always moving. It moves with temperatures, hot and cold,” Rogers said. He noted there are three main areas of maintenance for log homes.
Energy seal Sealing a log cabin is also commonly called “chinking,” the sealing of joined logs in a building. When building a log home, small spaces are left between each log to allow for the natural expanding and contracting with the daily change in temperature. A flexible sealant is applied to the space between the joints and logs to make the home energy efficient and keep out chilly drafts. The seal will flex as the logs naturally expand and contract throughout the day. My log home is older and does not appear to have any sealant between the logs. Even though the walls provide more insulation and protection than a double-walled stick-frame home, there are still drafts that can come through a log home that has not been sealed, or is due for re-sealing. On a cold winter’s night, I place my hand up against the modern energyefficient windowpanes and feel no chill, but the log walls have small icy cold drafts flowing from the joined line where log meets log. An energy seal will make a log wall completely weather-tight and significantly reduce and eliminate drafts, improving the heating and cooling efficiency of a home by up to 30 percent. I spoke with Rogers about my concern that sealant in between the logs would give the home a horizontal striped look, and I wanted my home to look like a cabin in the woods,
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The sun’s ultraviolet rays break down wood at the cellular level. As temperatures rise, heat can cause dryness, cracking and fading. A stain with added UV protection protects the wood surfaces from mold, water, insects, UV rays and mildew and should be reapplied every seven years. Homes built on exposed southern and westward-facing hillsides may need a refreshment coat of UV protection stain more often. Log homes should have ample overhanging roofs to provide protection from elements that naturally damage wood surfaces. Larger overhangs provide shade from the sun’s UV rays, shelter from rain, and direct sliding snow in winter away from the walls. Like any other warm hearth, a log home needs care and maintenance to keep it beautiful and comfortable for many years. ◆
Trees are bug habitat. When a tree is cut down, insect eggs that had been deposited into the wood will hatch with time — typically after the house is built. Bug nests in a log home attract woodpeckers and other creatures that create even more damage. Early one morning I was awakened by a large pileated woodpecker hammering away at the bedroom wall to reach the feast of ants that had taken up residence in the wood. A few well-aimed tennis balls took care of the bird, and strategically placed ant traps took care of the tasty buffet that had attracted the bird in the first place. It is important to treat fresh timber prior to building the home and to also keep the wood treated over time to dissuade insects from making your
Because it takes us all to care for a place as special as the Methow Valley.
home their home. Bare timber can be treated with a salt and borate mixture that makes the wood distasteful to bugs.
not a jailhouse T-shirt. He explained that sealant comes in many different colors to match every shade of wood. Rogers applies the seal by hand to ensure a smooth, professional finish, virtually disappearing into the walls after it’s applied.
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Across the fence: Consider your neighbors Noise and light can be intrusive even in a rural setting By Joanna Bastian
OOD neighbors can make life in the Methow Valley very enjoyable. I am quite fortunate to have wonderful neighbors nearby. Before choosing which property to buy, I wrote letters to neighbors within the area and asked a few questions — since we were deciding on a forever home, we wanted to interview the next-door neighbors, not only to get a feel for the place, but also to verify that our closest
neighbors shared the same interests regarding our small community. We moved to the Methow permanently in the middle of a colossal snowstorm. After a long drive from Salt Lake City, we arrived late at night expecting to leave the car at the turnoff and trudge through deep snow to our new home. When we turned up the lane, we found the driveway plowed, a shoveled path to the porch steps, and a load of chopped firewood next to the woodstove. We were welcomed to the neighborhood in the best possible way, and we continue to enjoy chats over the fence, or in the drive, swapping gardening tips, seedling starts and recipes. Neighbors can be a mixed bag of friendliness, alternate views, and — let us be honest — annoying behavior. Being a considerate neighbor requires everyone to give careful consideration to how choices affect the surrounding community. In the Methow, a neighbor might not be right next door. They may be back in the trees, up a hollow, even on the plateau half a mile away. Out of sight is certainly not out of range of hearing or impact, and it pays to communicate honestly with each other to keep the harmony among good neighbors.
Keeping our dark skies One of the unique features of the Methow Valley is the naturally dark skies that provide optimal stargazing opportunities. Our dark skies are not impermeable, however. Unfortunately, there are projects with poor lighting design that flood our dark skies with light pollution. Light pollution is obtrusive, artificial light that impacts valley residents and our night sky. It is a direct result of bad lighting design that allows artificial light to shine outward and upward into the sky where it disrupts the view for everyone, instead of downward, where the immediate user actually needs it. Of all the pollution in our lives, light pollution is relatively easily remedied. If the light is not needed throughout the night, connect a timer switch so the light will not disturb the neighbors. Ensure that outside lights are directed downward, not outward. Install a simple metal shade over a bare light bulb to keep the path of light directed down to the ground. Simple changes in lighting design and placement immediately restores our naturally dark skies and, for an added bonus, can result in energy savings with reduced usage and wattage. For more information on how to restore naturally dark skies while keeping the lighting necessary for business and living purposes, visit http://okanoganelectriccoop.com/ content/dark-sky.
Noise pollution The Methow Valley is a quiet
… we found the driveway plowed, a shoveled path to the porch steps, and a load of chopped firewood next to the woodstove. We were welcomed to the neighborhood in the best possible way … retreat, well known for its bountiful trails full of wildlife and bird watching opportunities. But nothing ruins a quiet day at home working in the yard or reading a book in the hammock like the incessant high-pitched whine of a motor, or a barking dog, or a neighbor’s outdoor music. A key factor in being a good neighbor is being conscientious of the amount of noise pollution that you create. Many of the back roads in the valley are open to ATV and snowmobile use. When they are driven at the speed limit, it is easy to share the road and neighborhood with these adventurous vehicles. But when operators open up the throttle and put the pedal to the metal, not only is it extremely dangerous to pedestrians on the roads and trails, but the noise level is far above normal standards. Stay within the posted speed limit not just for safety, but also out of consideration for the noise level created when excessive speeds are used.
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If you are planning an outdoor party or construction project and music is on the agenda, talk to your neighbors. Invite them over, or just give them a heads up about the duration so they can plan accordingly. They might ask you to keep it down during a certain time because that is when the baby goes down for a nap, or they might offer to swing a hammer and get that project done sooner. Keep the volume level to where you can hear it while not disturbing the neighbors. Perhaps the worst noise pollution, and more difficult to solve, is the barking dog. A barking dog is not a happy dog — it is trying desperately to communicate that something is making it uncomfortable. If your neighbors tell you your dog is barking all day long, as a responsible pet owner you need to assess the situation and figure out what your dog is trying to tell you and make the necessary changes to alleviate the barking. If you have a barker, talk with your vet and find a way to make life better for both the neighbors and your dog.
Shared driveways Shared driveways are a fact of life in the Methow Valley for many people. As neighbors, plan time to get together and discuss shared maintenance of the road and options for plowing. Everyone may have a different opinion on needed maintenance, so try to come to a compromise that makes the best use of available resources and talents. Keep in mind that the shared driveway is an approach to someone else’s home and not necessarily an available space in your yard. Talk with your children and treat the shared driveway as a road — look both ways and keep toys safely out of the way of vehicles. Be mindful of space needed for emergency vehicles, utility trucks, propane delivery — anything that needs room to pass safely. There are lots of ways that neighbors can look out for each other, and simple steps everyone can take to ensure that our way of life here in the Methow is optimally enjoyable and safely protected. Be good to one another. ◆
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Living with wildlife A little understanding goes a long way toward getting along with the valley’s animals By the Methow Conservancy
he Methow Valley is one of the
few remaining places in the lower 48 states where people still share space with most of the area’s historical wildlife. To many residents and visitors this is one the most enjoyable aspects of being in the valley. From birds to bears, understanding an animal’s habitat and behavior can go a long way toward helping you learn to live with them, and helping them stay alive and wild. Here is a short list of wildlife that most of us can learn to live with better.
Bears Black bears are common, though relatively elusive in the Methow Valley, and range over large areas. In general, bears peacefully coexist with people in the valley, and they are only seen on occasion. However, once a bear finds an easy food source, such as garbage bins or bird seed, the bear may become not just a nuisance for humans but also potentially dangerous. Unfortunately, the old adage that “a fed bear is dead bear” often applies when bears become habituated to human food sources.
Townsend’s big eared bat in flight. Photo by K ent Woodruff
Cougars Cougars are also common and widespread in the valley. They are most active at dawn and dusk, and because of their secretive nature they are rarely seen. Deer are the primary prey for these large cats, and we often see and have more encounters with cougars in the winter when deer are concentrated on the valley floor. Unattended pets, small livestock and chickens can also attract cougars, so it’s important to keep domestic animals confined at night. High fences and closed structures are best for protecting outdoor animals.
Rattlesnakes The Methow Valley is prime northern Pacific rattlesnake habitat. These unique predators winter in communal dens that are usually on south-facing rocky slopes below 4,000 feet. In the summer, snakes usually move up to a mile from their winter dens and hunt for small mammals in optimal temperatures of 80 to 85 degrees. Rattlesnakes are the only venomous snake in the Methow and they are not aggressive. They would rather
escape than bite you. If they can’t easily get away, rattlesnakes coil into a defensive posture and rattle their tail when they feel threatened. This is your cue to move away. If a person or pet is bitten, restrict movement and keep the affected area below your heart level, and get medical help immediately, carrying the person or pet if they need to be moved. If you have an unwanted rattlesnake den on your property, there are humane ways to relocate the snakes. Please contact the Methow Conservancy.
of bats in these structures during the day typically does not cause anyone problems. If bats get into your attic or wall space, you will probably want to seek a humane way to remove them.
Over 265 species of birds call the Methow home either year-round or in the summer, when dozens of species flock here from Central and South America to breed and raise young. While many people want to attract birds to their property, a big issue with birds in the Methow’s wideopen spaces is window strikes. Small birds are frequently stunned, injured or killed by flying into windows because birds see a reflection of landBats scape or sky in the glass, and can’t see Bats are insect-eating (think mosbeyond the window. quitoes!), night-flying mammals that Vegetation is the key to attracting we frequently see on a variety of birds summer evenings. and, ironically, The advantages of vegetation (or bird having bats around feeders) placed very far outweigh any close to windows problems you might can actually help ever have with prevent window colthem. lisions because they Less than one bat slow the birds down. in 20,000 has rabies, To attract birds to and no Washington your property, plant bats feed on blood. native fruit-bearing Thirteen species shrubs such as elderof bats live in the berry, chokecherry Methow Valley, from or serviceberry. Add a birdbath or other the common little brown bat to the source of water — a rare Townsend’s big- Bear cub clinging to a tree. safe place to bathe eared bat, and many Photo by Jason Paulsen and drink is a maghave learned that net for many anihuman structures (barns, bridges, mals. Many birds are cavity-nesters so overhanging porches) provide suitbirdhouses, or better yet, dead trees able habitat. Having a small number (snags) provide easy shelter.
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Moose are sometimes seen on Studhorse Mountain. Photo by Fred Wert
What you can do As the valley’s population grows, the greatest threat to wildlife is loss of habitat through development and human disturbance. When a conflict arises between humans and animals it is usually because the animal is just looking for something it needs to survive — food, water and/or shelter. There are several things you can do to promote a more peaceful co-existence with wildlife. • Leave as much of your land in a natural state as possible. Protect wildlife habitat by leaving snags, rock dens, wetlands, native vegetation and some woody debris for animal food and cover. Plant native trees and shrubs if you don’t have many. • Food stored outside — including garbage, fruit, pet food, compost and birdseed — attracts and “rewards” bears and other creatures. If you must store food outside, place it in a tightly sealed or “bear-proof” bin. • Drive cautiously, especially at night (45 mph), to reduce collisions with deer. • Fence off your vegetables, ornamental gardens and fruit trees from deer. • Do not feed animals (except birds, if you choose). Feeding deer, squirrels or other wild animals creates problems for neighbors, attracts predators (such as cougars), draws them too close to pets, trains them to look for easy meals and lose their fear of humans, and may cause them to become aggressive. • When walking in rattlesnake country, thump a walking stick on the ground to give snakes a chance to move away; stick to open trails and avoid walking in thick brush;
and wear long pants and/or over-theankle boots. • Screen off attic access points and leave old buildings, snags, mines and caves as undisturbed as possible for bat habitat. • Fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides are often toxic to pets and wild creatures. Use them carefully and sparingly, if at all. • Use lights at night only as needed. Many animals, like flying squirrels, require darkness for survival and are vulnerable in lit areas. • Use owl decoys, window stickers or Mylar streamers to prevent birds from hitting reflective house windows. Whatever you place on the window should be on the outside. Close curtains when possible. • Box in your roof eaves to remove nesting platforms. • Control outdoor cats that may be prowling around your yard; they can be especially harmful to birds that feed or nest on the ground. • Screen, seal and caulk all vents, windows and doors to prevent small critters, from bugs to mice, from entering your home.
More information The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has an extensive “Living with Wildlife” website. Go to wdfw.wa.gov/living/ and follow the links of your choosing. Whatever your need — more information about a particular species, or a phone number for wildlife officials — stop by the Methow Conservancy office at 315 Riverside Ave. in Winthrop, or contact us at 996-2870 or email@example.com. ◆
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■ Cleansing body and soul Many modern bathrooms are designed as sanctuaries for relaxation By Marcy Stamper
here is no shortage of euphemisms for the humble bathroom — “water closet,” “little girl’s room,” “necessary room” — but today’s bathroom is literally becoming a restroom. The modern bathroom is increasingly designed to be a sanctuary, a quiet,
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low-maintenance place to relax and cleanse your body — not only from dirt and grime, but also from the stresses of the day. Spa-like aesthetics are commonplace, with calming, neutral colors and clean lines. “There’s a lot of blue-gray or cream — the colors of rocks,” said Mary Johnston, a partner in Johnston Architects, a firm based in Seattle that has designed many houses in the Methow Valley. The one place where people may still be a bit more daring is the powder room. “People may paint the room in a really dark color, just because it’s a little bit dramatic,” said Johnston. Overall, people seem to favor spare, minimalist bath-
rooms — not clinical or institutional, but designed to showcase beautiful forms and materials. “That’s also the sanctuary idea — it’s a minimalist approach to cleaning,” said Johnston. Equipped with saunas, steam showers, or showers with spray jets, bathrooms are also taking on the functional attributes of spas. “We put a lot of saunas in bathrooms,” said Molly Patterson, who co-owns The Patterson Company Design Build with her husband, Jeff. In fact, saunas and soaking tubs are increasingly supplanting jetted tubs, said Patterson. This, too, is part of a desire to create a peaceful space that doesn’t require extra upkeep. “We try to talk people out of jetted tubs because the jets can be really hard to clean,” said Patterson. “It goes along with the sanctuary quality,” said Johnston. “Jetted tubs can be kind of loud — that’s the main
objection.” Johnston sees people opting instead for free-standing tubs, sort of a modern interpretation of the clawfoot tub. Shaped like an egg or a rectangle with gently rounded corners, these vessels — strategically placed in the middle of the room — become a sculptural element. While some are porcelain, many of these tubs are made from resins that mimic stone, but they are lighter and easier to maintain, she said. In vacation homes, many people dispense with the bathtub altogether and instead indulge in spray jets for the shower, said Margo PetersonAspholm, an architect at Balance Associates in Winthrop. Another trend — both for aesthetics and practicality — is a curbless (or bumpless) shower, which has no lip to step over. People appreciate the clean lines — the showers often have a gently sloping floor and a linear drain along the wall — but
Saunas are an increasingly popular addition to bathrooms. Photos by Marcy Stamper
these easy-access showers are also a good choice for people designing a house that they can use long into the future, when they may not be able to safely step in and out of a shower or tub. Because they had both watched their parents grow old in a house that
was not designed to be accessible for people with limited mobility, David Wright and Judith HardmeyerWright designed their entire house in Mazama to be easy to use if mobility becomes an issue. All doorways are extra-wide to accommodate a wheelchair, and the bathtub in the guest
room has extra-low sides to make getting in and out easy. In the master bath, the warm earth tones of the mottled, textured slate floor continue uninterrupted into the curbless shower. The shower has a bench — tiled in slate like the floor and walls — that is also planned for people with limited mobility. In addition, the Wrights’ bathroom is very low-maintenance — a quick flush of warm water cleans the slate and the pigmented concrete they used for the vanity, said Hardmeyer-Wright. The Wrights’ design was not all about planning for the future. “A sauna was one of the first things we wanted for the house,” said Hardmeyer-Wright. While the sauna ended up down the hall from the bathroom, it is an integral part of the house and they use it almost every day after skiing or hiking. “In fact, we use it even more in the summer,” said HardmeyerWright. “It’s probably the healthiest part of the house, to release toxins and as a muscle-relaxant.” Turning your bathroom into a spa
with a sauna can be surprisingly simple. Sauna kits come with the basics and benches in raw cedar, and have options for different types of heat or rocks that will produce steam, said Patterson. “Sauna kits are really cool,” she said.
Saving water and time People are increasingly interested in practical features in their bathrooms, both for their own lifestyle and for the environment. “People are much more waterconscious” in their selection of fixtures, said Peterson-Aspholm. Dual-flush toilets, which allow you to choose the appropriate amount of water to flush — once a rarity in this country — have become quite common and are only slightly more expensive than standard models. And hands-free faucets, another water-conserving trend, are cropping up even in residential settings, said Johnston. Even the choice of tile can affect how much upkeep the bathroom needs. Contemporary tiles are available in many interesting patterns and
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shapes, such as elongated, rectangular tiles that are just three inches tall and 12 inches wide, said Johnston. Some high-end Italian porcelain tiles run up to three feet wide, minimizing grout joints — and therefore the time spent scrubbing them, said PetersonAspholm. “No one really likes grout,” she said. While real slate and stone are less common these days than they were a decade ago, people can get that look with porcelain tiles that mimic stone, said Johnston. Another nice feature that adds luxury without great cost is a heat mat that is installed beneath the tile floor, providing an effect similar to radiant-floor heat, said Patterson. “It’s a pretty economical splurge,” often costing just a few hundred dollars, she said. For the ultimate sensory experience, Johnston Architects designed a bathroom with a horizontal strip of a window that is right at eye level when you lie down in the free-standing tub, so that you can gaze out toward the North Cascades while you soak. “It’s an amazing view,” said Johnston. ◆
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Home Tour will highlight roof lines “Evolving Roof Lines” — flat, Aframe and shed among them — is the theme for the popular annual Methow Valley Home Tour, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 9. The tour, now in its 14th year, provides local residents and visitors the opportunity to experience a variety of Methow homes. It is sponsored by Confluence Gallery and Art Center in Twisp. This year, all the homes will be within a 15-mile radius to encourage bicyclists to take the tour. Confluence will provide a biking map, according to Executive Director Nicole Ringgold. Driving maps will be provided to ticket-holders on the day of the
The local evolution of roof lines will be the focus of the Aug. 9 Methow Valley Home Tour. Photo by Don Miller
event. Tickets will be available starting in July. For more information, call (509) 997-2787, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.confluencegallery.org. For those contemplating building a home in the valley, the tour provides
opportunities to check out interior and exterior design possibilities, to learn about siting options, and to see the work of various architects, builders and artisans (and possibly meet them as well). For locals already fortunate enough to live here, the tour
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Right at home It’s a long way from New York to the Methow, but a comfy river-side lodge makes the trip worth it By Don Nelson
OR Peter Neufeld and Adele Bernhard’s New York City friends who think of a second home as something in the Poconos or Adirondacks, the notion of crossing three time zones to visit your vacation place is, Neufeld says, “bizarre.” “They say, ‘so you fly five-and-ahalf hours and then drive four-anda-half hours?’ And we say ‘yeah,’” Neufeld said recently from the Brooklyn home he says is about 20 blocks from where he grew up. For Neufeld and Bernhard, the only regret about the cross-country trek to their isolated home way up the Twisp River is that they can’t take it more often. The couple’s Methow connections actually go back a ways. Valley resident Mac Shelton was Neufeld’s first boss at a Seattle law firm. About 15 years ago, Neufeld came to the valley
Barry Stromberger created railings for an airy staircase. Photo by Don Nelson
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Before and after: a kitchen transformed. Photos by Don Miller
to give a talk. Shelton and his wife, Frauke Rynd, invited Neufeld and Bernhard to stay with them at their Methow Valley cabin. They loved the area immediately, Neufeld said. Neufeld and Bernhard started thinking about a vacation home in the Methow, but didn’t find anything they liked. They asked Shelton to be on the lookout for something suitable. The place Shelton found is a very long, very narrow “inhold” lot surrounded by U.S. Forest Service land. On the property was a framed but unfinished log timber-frame house that needed a lot of work to be livable. Shelton told Neufeld and Bernhard that they had to see it. “I flew out, but there was so much snow that we had to ski in,” Neufeld recalled. “The only sound I heard on the way was a woman with a dog sled and team.” Neufeld shot some video, took it back to show Bernhard, and a week later they bought the house — but mostly they were buying the land. “The property was so perfect,” Neufeld said. “It was spectacular.” The distance from New York, and the stark contrast between intense urban and remote rural experiences, were actually selling points. “We live extremely hectic lives in the city. That’s why we didn’t go to the Poconos. We wanted to go
to a place as different as could be,” Neufeld said.
Good bones Neufeld and Bernhard knew designer Don Miller of Shadowline Design and Construction through Shelton and Rynd. About 11 years ago, they asked Miller to assess the house. It had good innards, Neufeld said, but just about everything else needed to be fleshed out. There was literally no second floor, only a ladder up to the massive crossbeams. There were no bathrooms. The kitchen area was rudimentary. Nothing had been put down over the sub-flooring “If we had to level it, we would have,” Neufeld said. Miller told Neufeld and Bernhard that it was doable. Not easy, not inexpensive, but doable. “Don had the idea to take the bones of it and completely transform it,” Neufeld said. “He told us, ‘it’s a lodge.’” Miller says he did see a lot of potential in the house. The structure, he said, “was a grand start.” From that start, the makeover is remarkable. With its huge, unfinished timbers and open spaces, the house does indeed feel like a lodge. Miller moved the entrance, added covered porches, replaced windows, clad the house with cedar shake siding
“I flew out, but there was so much snow that we had to ski in. The only sound I heard on the way was a woman with a dog sled and team.” Peter Neufeld
and utterly transformed the interior. A spacious, efficient kitchen with granite counter tops now opens to a dining area with doors to a screened porch. The high-ceilinged great room features a river rock fireplace and big view windows looking toward the river. A cozy master bedroom, also with river views, can be separated from the living area by a barn-style sliding door. The completed second floor now accommodates two guest bedrooms and a small office area. Floors in the main living areas are all hardwood. Attention to detail is evident throughout. Local artisans’ work is represented in the house, including a dining room table fashioned from iron and steel by Barry Stromberger — who also created the stair railings.
That work is fulfilling, but the Methow always beckons. Not long ago Neufeld and Bernhard watched from the porch of their home as a mama bear and two cubs wandered down to water. “It doesn’t get any better than that,” Neufeld said. ◆
Neufeld calls Miller “a miracle worker … his workmanship, insight and ability to get in synch with the client is other-worldly.” Although most of the consultation during construction was done by email, the process was smooth, Neufeld said. “Don makes you part of the experience,” Neufeld said. “There’s a discussion about everything, there’s agreement, and you move on. The experience was so positive that we became good friends.”
A sliding door separates the master bedroom from the living area. Photo by Don Miller Massive beams and a river rock fireplace define the great room. Photo by Don Nelson
Community matters The site wouldn’t have worked, however, had it not been for the friendliness and acceptance Neufeld and Bernhard found immediately in the Methow, a place they say is full of “incredible people doing interesting things.” “People are extremely welcoming and supportive and thoughtful,” Neufeld said. “We couldn’t have done it unless there was a community of friends who helped us out.” “We didn’t want a resort community,” he added. “We wanted a real community.” Neufeld and Bernhard have always intended, and still intend, to spend more time at the Methow house. But their demanding lives make that difficult for now. Neufeld is the founder and codirector of The Innocence Project, a nonprofit launched in 1992 that assists prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing. To date, more than 300 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing. Bernhard is an accomplished attorney and a professor at New York Law School.
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Fine lines Cassal Ranch home keeps a low profile while taking advantage of spectacular views By Ann McCreary
Maintaining a low profile was the first priority in designing the Cassal Ranch house. Photo by Omaste Witkowski
A yoga practice space adjoins the master bedroom. Photo by Omaste Witkowski
peaks of Last Chance Point and Scramble Point. “This is one of the most spectacular sites in the Methow Valley,” said Jeff Patterson, who owns The Patterson Company Design Build with his wife, Molly. The Pattersons worked with owner Jacob Engelstein to create a structure that takes full advantage of its inspiring, remote setting while minimizing its visual and environmental impact. The property is one of five parcels that were part of the former 1,200acre Arrowleaf property, once proposed for development as a 560home resort and golf course, and subsequently purchased by Trust for Public Land (TPL) in 2000. TPL divided the property into five parcels for sale to conservationminded buyers. A conservation easement restricts development on each property to one, three-acre home site, with the remainder preserved for wildlife and low-impact recreation. The project was completed in 2004 and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the principal steward of the conservation easements. Given the emphasis on preserving
ERE in the Methow Valley, often the greatest challenge in designing and building homes is creating structures that do justice to their magnificent surroundings. That was the case for a home built by The Patterson Company Design Build in Mazama’s Early Winters area, nestled in meadows at the site of the old Cassal Ranch. The location provides glorious, 360-degree views of mountains and forests unspoiled by any signs of civilization, except for skiers in winter gliding across a distant meadow framed by the snow-covered
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The master bedroom is in one wing of the house. Photo by Omaste Witkowski
the natural beauty of the landscape, Engelstein and the Pattersons wanted to create a structure that is as unobtrusive as possible. Though it is located in the middle of the open meadows, the house is designed to blend in to its surroundings. “This is the only lot of the five [parcels] that can be seen from the trails,” Jeff Patterson said. “Once we decided on the site, our whole goal was to keep the building as lowprofile as possible.”
Dramatic views The house, designed by Molly Patterson, is oriented toward the north, with dramatic vistas of
the Robinson Creek drainage and surrounding peaks. A shed-style roof rises to its high point on the north side of the house, with floor-toceiling windows and glass doors that frame the meadows and mountains. Stepping into the home from the main entry on the southern side, the first impression is of continuous views to the meadows and mountains beyond. The home is designed to provide uninterrupted sight lines from the interior to exterior. The design even took into consideration the height of the owner, so that when he stood at the entrance to the great room that is the center of the home, the tops of the
A small office opens into the great room. Photo by Omaste Witkowski
distant peaks would be visible just below the ceiling line. “In the end this view is what sold the property,” said Jeff Patterson. “We wanted the focus to be outside.” “We chose the shed roof style because it allows us to keep the high point as low as possible” to minimize the profile of the home, Patterson said. The high point of the house is only 14 feet.
Because the owner has grown children and grandchildren, he wanted to make sure the house could comfortably accommodate guests. So, the home has a wing on either side of the central great room. On one side are two bedrooms — one specifically for the grandchildren — and a bathroom, to provide visiting family members their own space. On the other side of the great room is the master bedroom, which is entered through a smaller room, about 9-by-12-feet, created as a space for yoga practice. The room takes advantage of the mountain views with glass doors and windows. Sliding doors can close it off from the adjoining bedroom, or open to bring the view into the bedroom as well. A small, narrow office is tucked off the great room, with builtin bookshelves and counters to maximize the space. The office has sliding windows that open into the great room and the view beyond, or close to provide a quiet place to work.
Reclaimed materials The interior of the 1,800-squarefoot home has “good quality, durable finishes” that fit the owner’s construction budget, Jeff Patterson said. The house is heavily insulated
and has triple-pane windows to conserve energy. Heating is provided by electric radiant heat under durable oak floors. The light wood ceiling of the great room is accented by dark beams of lumber reclaimed from the old Wagner Mill. The kitchen area in one corner of the great room has light oak cabinets, concrete countertops, and a small island with two stools. Patterson also used reclaimed lumber to create heavy sliding doors that conceal a washer and dryer in a hallway leading to the guest wing. The exterior of the house is sided in reclaimed lumber that was formerly the floor of an old hop house in Selah, Wash. The wood is unfinished, except for wire brushing to clean it up, creating a rustic, natural feel to the structure that helps it blend into its surroundings. A key principle of homes designed by The Patterson Company is “contemplating the impact of building on a particular site, and having concern and compassion for the land as your first obligation when siting the home,” said Molly Patterson. “We feel particularly proud of the design, and feel like this home really exemplifies our basic ethics,” she said. ◆
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A matter of time Thirty years after discovering the Methow, Randy Brook and Melanie Rowland have exactly the house they wanted By Don Nelson
OR many years, Randy Brook and Melanie Rowland didn’t intend to build a house on their property along the Methow River off of Twisp-Carlton Road. There was an old cabin on the site that served their purposes during visits to the valley from their Seattle home. But once they decided to build, Brook and Rowland had some very intentional ideas about what they wanted in their new home. Designer Howard Cherrington listened, advised and came up with a plan that perfectly serves the couple’s intents and purposes. But that was almost 30 years after they discovered the Methow. Brook and Rowland first visited the valley in1984 for a skiing adventure at the invitation of friends who were having a house built in the East Chewuch area, designed by Cherrington. They stayed at the Patterson Lake cabins, tried cross country skiing and became enamored of the sport and the valley. “It was a revelation to just ski in the woods by yourself,” Rowland said. “It was bliss.” The couple started renting a cabin on the Methow River property and fell in love with the site and the area. They started looking for property,
The exterior is finished in wood and stucco. Photo by Don Nelson
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and when word got back to the cabin’s owners, they asked if Brook and Rowland wanted to buy it. They bought the place in 1999 — 13 years after they started staying there. Although they were “strictly winter people for years,” Brook said, they discovered that there was much more of year-round interest in the valley. Brook and Rowland, both attorneys, began bringing more of their work to the Methow, thanks to a high-speed Internet connection. Eventually, they were spending most of their time here. The cabin became too small for working and nearly full-time living. They considered remodeling the 1940s-vintage building, but concluded that “we would just have an old cabin, renovated,” Rowland said. “We really didn’t want to build a
The east-facing deck is great for bird watching. Photo by Don Nelson Below: a cupola provides useful second-story space. Photo by Melanie Rowland
house,” Brook said. “But we always knew we’d live here,” Rowland added. In 2004 they started looking at other homes for sale in the area. They actually bought another property, not near the river, but concluded that “there just wasn’t anything better than we already had,” Rowland said of the Methow River site. “We reluctantly decided that the only way we’d get what we wanted was to build it here.”
before they got as far as construction, the recession hit and the couple decided to put off building. When the economy started to recover, Brook and Rowland went back to Cherrington — but this time they asked him to design it from scratch. They wanted two bedrooms and an office, in less than 2,000 square feet. A view of the river was vital. Brook’s one specific directive was that he wanted a kitchen set up for his baking avocation — a work space that was efficient and More clarity compact. A sunny office nook has a In 2007 they “They were a lot western view. Photo by Don started doing some more clear about Nelson sketches of what what they wanted,” they had in mind, and took them to Cherrington said of the second Cherrington. “There was no question design effort. it was going to be Howard,” Rowland Cherrington has developed a said. They knew Cherrington questionnaire for prospective clients would incorporate energy-efficient that helps him understand what considerations into the design. But they want to accomplish in a new
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space to fulfill their vision and suit their lifestyle. “It gets them in a reflective mood, thinking about how they anticipate living in it,” Cherrington said. Brook and Rowland, because of their long association with the valley, “had a clear understanding of how they wanted to be here,” Cherrington said. The first consideration was where to place the house on the 5.5-acre site, since the couple did not want to tear down the old cabin. That made things more complicated, Brook, Rowland and Cherrington agree, in large part because the property is dense with boulders that had to be removed in excavation. “I like where it was finally situated,” Cherrington said. The design process produced a house oriented eastwest, with the river view on the
east end (dining room, kitchen, living room, deck, lots of windows) and a view of McClure, Gardner and Story mountains on the west end (master bedroom, also lots of windows). A hallway connects the ends of the long, relatively narrow house. The entrance, after a small vestibule, is into the connecting hallway, with the personal area on the left and the social and living space on the right. Other features include a wood stove with river-rock fireplace, a built-in cabinet for Rowland’s mother’s Limoge china from France, and a concrete slab, passive solar floor in the dining room area. A solar power array west of the house provides most of the home’s electricity needs.
The cupola addition offers expansive views. Photos: Above, Randy Brook. Below, Don Nelson
Going up The exterior is a combination of wood and stucco — Rowland said she did not want an expanse of one material along the length of the house where visitors first see it. The outdoor lighting is dark sky compliant. It was originally planned
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as a one-story house, but Cherrington — noted for the “cupolas” he incorporates into many of his designs — suggested popping up a small space that could be used as a media room and office, and as a guest bedroom. Cupolas also act as passive cooling elements, Cherrington said. To simulate the effect of a second story, “We got up on a ladder and looked around,” Rowland said. “It was a great 360-degree view.” Brook and Rowland now call the second-story space the “aerie” or “the tower.” Construction began in 2011 with Bart Schuler as contractor. The couple liked Schuler’s bid, and felt they would be comfortable working with him through the construction process. As a former builder, Cherrington said he is always conscious of what he’s asking the contractor to do when he’s designing a house. “I need to know how it’s going to work,” he said. Brook and Rowland lived in the cabin during the nine months of construction. There were choices and decisions to make throughout the process, they said. Cherrington and Schuler offered invaluable advice. Brook said he deferred to Rowland for most of the detail decision-making. “It’s better than I could have envisioned,” Rowland said of the finished home. The baking prep area, with its hard rock maple table, “worked out exactly as I imagined it.” Brook said. They plan to add a carport/storage shed at some point. The old cabin is used for storage and guests for now, but might eventually be torn down. Maybe in another 25 years. ◆
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All play, not much work Mazama meadow home is designed for lots of activity and little maintenance
By Don Nelson
HEN Adam Orkand and Anne Theisen asked architect Tim Hammer to design a “bomb-proof house,” they weren’t talking about a Cold War-era underground bunker. They wanted a high-use,
low-maintenance, high-occupancy, low-impact home on the sunny lot they chose in a meadow near Mazama — a place where they could recreate, entertain and relax without worrying about knocking paint off the walls or scuffing the floors. Orkand, Theisen and their family (now including two children) started
The main living area is a three-sided, glass-enclosed space. Photo courtesy Cast Architecture
visiting the valley more than a dozen years ago, often with a group of friends, staying at the Mazama Ranch House. Initially, the trips were wintertime ventures, but eventually they started visiting in the summer as well. The Methow’s attraction grew, especially the Mazama end of the valley, and their thoughts turned to a second home for year-round activities. “We wanted to build something that, when we retire, we can live in the house and be active ... and a spot that our kids would want to come back to,” Theisen said. “Active” includes lots of socializing, often in sizable groups, for Orkand and Theisen. “We love being out here with other people,” Orkand said. “We love bringing friends.” Orkand and Theisen started by looking at other cabins. “We didn’t find any existing that were exactly what we wanted,” Theisen said. When they decided to consider buying property, Mazama was the spot — they found a lot in what
The exterior is steel and concrete. Photo by Don Nelson
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The home is designed to be unobtrusive in its surroundings. Photo courtesy Cast Architecture
Theisen calls a “familiar, sundrenched” meadow within walking distance of the Mazama Store. “We like the proximity to downtown Mazama,” Theisen said. Being close to ski trails was a selling point as well.
Setting goals Hammer, of Cast Architects, is a long-time friend of Orkand and Theisen. As soon as they locked in a site, Hammer started drawing up ideas. The architect put Orkand and Theisen through what he calls
an “intake process,” an extended interview to identify the clients’ most important goals. The exercise focuses on how the clients live, and how they want to use the house. The personal relationship was invaluable, Orkand and Theisen said. “He [Hammer] knew us, and he really drove the design in a way we would have never thought possible,” Orkand said. At the same time, Hammer kept the couple’s expectations realistic. “The temptation is to make a statement, and you end up with a novelty,” Orkand said. A first priority: “We want to be outside. We don’t want to be doing maintenance,” Orkand said. “The primary [aesthetic] goal was to be saturated with natural light,” Hammer said. As a practical matter, he said “they wanted to be able to host a lot of people.” As for the site, Hammer said, “it was evident early on that we could tuck it up against the aspen grove for some shelter and privacy.” Another priority, he said, was to be “humble and unobtrusive,” so
A hallway connects the living area with bedrooms and an office. Photo by Don Nelson
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For durability, exterior cladding For a relatively small house, the materials became interior finishes: 1,400-square-foot place they call the ceilings and bathroom walls are “The Ranchero” can indeed handle a white composite aluminum panels; lot of folks. the interior walls in the bedrooms The west end of the house is one and great room are a combination undivided space — living room, of hot rolled steel and Minerit dining area and kitchen. At the other panels made of fiber cement panels end is the master bedroom, with big embedded with color. None of it ever windows and eastern light. There’s needs to be re-painted. not a window covering anywhere. The exterior materials are steel In between is a “bunk room” that panels, concrete, steel columns and sleeps four. Each bunk has its own black metal roof and trim. window looking out at the meadow. “There’s not a square inch of Guests have a separate bare wood anywhere,” bath. A small office Hammer said — which provides private space helps keep out insects for working. and other critters. A separate, Hammer said he thinks 200-square-foot building the home has a “humble houses a sauna, a ski grace.” waxing room, and gear The contractor was storage space, plus a Phil Dietz of Lost River covered storage area for Construction. Orkand, firewood. Theisen and Hammer all The Goat Wall The predominant praised Dietz’s role in the dominates the view construction materials collaborative process. from the master are meant to last. The Seattle is still home, bedroom. Photo by Don where Theisen is a floors are concrete Nelson with radiant heat. marketing consultant
The owners’ goal was to “saturate” the living space with natural light. Photo courtesy Cast A rchitecture
the design was kept to a single story. “We wanted to take in as much of the beautiful surroundings as possible,” Theisen said. “We wanted to be able to see Goat Peak, Lucky Jim Bluff, the aspens.”
Another goal was to make the place comfortable and welcoming for visitors. “We want to be able to say ‘make yourself at home,’ and mean it,” Theisen said. “We wanted people to know where to look for the silverware.”
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and Orkand does online training for small businesses. But they find their way to the Mazama meadow and their “bomb-proof” refuge as often as possible. “It functions perfectly for us,” Orkand said. “It’s just a joy.” ◆ The east-facing master bedroom is flooded with natural light. Photo by Don Nelson Four can sleep comfortably in the bunk room. Photo courtesy Cast Architecture
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Bringing it inside
A walkway connects the house to a grassy area the owners have always liked. Photo by Steve K eating Photography
John and Catherine Rogers loved camping on their Mazama property so much they built a home to evoke the same experience
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“Barb grasped our vision immediately. She provided creative input that fit with our design, was responsive and an absolute pleasure to work with."
By Don Nelson
OHN and Catherine Rogers and their two children made the long drive from Portland, Ore., to camp out at their Mazama-area property for 10 years. When it came time to build a house on the site, they wanted to recreate that experience — albeit with a real roof over their heads. Architect Tom Lenchek of Balance Associates listened to the Rogers, and what he heard directed his design.
“The metaphor for the house was a tent platform,” he said. The decade of roughing it was, Catherine Rogers said, “just a great time … we had great memories and wanted a tent-like cabin to evoke the same experiences.” The 1,650-square foot, two-level house, with three bedrooms and two baths, is of course enclosed — but with a high-ceilinged, three-sided screened porch at one end that could be considered as either the inside
Second-story bedrooms have their own shared deck. Photo by Steve K eating Photography
Guest bedrooms are tucked under the second-floor roof. Photo by Steve K eating Photography
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extending outside, or the outside coming inside. The translucent roof enhances that effect. At the other end is a master bedroom with doors opening to a deck. Catherine Rogers, who is the sister of Methow Valley real estate broker Anne Eckmann of Blue Sky Realty, said her family was introduced to the valley through that connection. They bought their property in 1995, and pitched their tents. Part of the impetus to build was seasonal. “We love it here and wanted to start using it [the property] in the winter,” Catherine said. The valley’s trail system passes near the Rogers’ house. The Rogers had watched another house designed by Lenchek be built nearby, and liked what they saw. “He did a great job of listening,” Rogers said of Lenchek. One of the Rogers’ goals was to maintain as many trees as possible on the property. “We wanted to make as little impact on the land as possible,” Rogers said.
Looking at the land
The large screened porch helps create the tent-like feeling the owners wanted. Photo by Steve K eating Photography
The first practical consideration was that the lot is mostly gently rolling terrain, likely part of an ancient Methow River bed. There was a fairly flat, grassy spot that the Rogers particularly liked, and thought that might be the place to put the house.
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Lenchek looked at it differently. He suggested building the house elsewhere and connecting it to the grassy clearing by a long walkway. The result is a catwalk-like bridge extending from the screened porch, creating a straight path over undulating ground. “The site is different in that there’s not a significant view,” Lenchek said. “It’s wooded, old river bottom and rolling ground.” Lenchek identified one of the property’s higher spots as the best place for the house. Lenchek raised the house off the ground with small concrete piers. The entry is by way of a slightly elevated walk that leads to the main living area. The tent theme continues on the second floor, where two bedrooms are tucked under the gable of the roof and share a balcony. “We wanted it to be a step up from camping,” Lenchek said. It is that. Other features include large decks, a woodfired hot tub, a river rock fireplace and an outdoor shower. The screened porch was inspired, as it were, by the Rogers’ camping experiences. “There were bees and mosquitoes,” Catherine said. “We wanted to be able to eat there.” Lenchek said another challenge was to “accomplish a fair amount on a pretty tight
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budget … while still doing something interesting.” That made a difference in some of the materials and fixtures, Lenchek said, but without compromising what the Rogers wanted to achieve. The house was built by local contractor Mark Rhinehart, who Lenchek praised as easy to work with. Catherine works for Camp Korey in Carnation, Wash., a recreation spot for children with severe medical conditions. John is a stock analyst. Their children are now 18 and 21 but still manage to find their way to the house — but now the tenting experience has moved comfortably indoors. ◆
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The first-floor bath features simple but elegant materials. Photo by Steve K eating Photography
The open living area leads to the west-facing screened porch. Photo by Steve K eating Photography
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Truly a ‘dream’ house Architect’s vision and owners’ ideas merge perfectly in Mazama home By Don Nelson
OST of us might be skeptical when someone says that an idea came to them in a vision. But Methow Valley architect Brice Butler says that’s exactly what happened when he came up with a house design for Mark and Kim Dales. Not only did the design materialize just that quickly, but it also matched perfectly with the Dales’ own vision for their new house in a meadow near
Mazama. Before he began designing the Mazama house, Butler visited the Dales’ home in Seattle — a historically significant house designed by renowned Northwest architect Gene Zema. Butler said he saw a “simplistic interior with lots of space,” and factored that into his thinking. “A few days later, I had a vision
of it [the Mazama house],” Butler said. He made the first sketch in the middle of the night, then took it to the Daleses — who signed off immediately. “I envisioned a low-profile house with a delta-wing roof,” Butler said. In the design now under construction, two shed roofs meet at the center of the building, where they are joined with a flat roof that carries through the house. “We really wanted a shed roof but not one that looked like everyone else’s shed roof,” Kim Dales said.
Feels like home
Architect Brice Butler likes to use big bolts and wing nuts for both structural and decorative purposes. Photos by Don Nelson
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The Daleses first became aware of the Methow about 10 years ago when Mark — a surgeon at Seattle Children’s Hospital, within walking distance of the Dales’ Laurelhurst home — attended a professional retreat at the Freestone Inn. It didn’t take long for them to fall under the Methow’s spell, Kim said, in part because the valley reminds them of where they both grew up in Nevada, near Lake Tahoe. “The mountain wall and the
“It already feels sentimental and we haven’t even lived in it” Kim Dales light — it felt like home,” said Kim, who is a real estate broker with Windermere in Seattle. Not only did the valley remind them of home, but they also were charmed by “the friendliness of the community and all its interesting people,” Kim said. “The place is magical,” she said. “It’s so calming.” A physician colleague who has a home in the Methow, Ted Wagner, made his house available for valley visits. The Daleses eventually decided to search for a home site, but a property they liked in the Chechaquo Ranch area near Mazama wasn’t available. Then on a trip in fall 2011, they learned the site was on the market. “We looked at each other and said, ‘let’s do it,’” Kim said. “It was
A high window in the master bedroom helps capture the maximum amount of light. Photo by Don Nelson
just happenstance.” The Daleses both grew up in ranch-style homes and like the flow of a single-story structure, Kim said. They have two grown children, so the house has three bedrooms — a master suite on the east side, and two guest bedrooms on the west side. Between the bedroom wings is the main living, dining and kitchen area, with the 50-foot-long flat roof — Butler calls it a plinth — running the
length of the space and continuing past the exterior walls to create sheltering overhangs on both sides of the house. The living area’s big view windows take in Goat Wall to the north. A detached building that Kim calls “the garage Majal” includes parking and storage space, a sleeping area, bathroom and sizable loft where more people — likely children — can sleep.
The separate garage also includes its own living area. Photo by Don Nelson
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Lots of light, fine details The house features lots of custom windows to capture light from all directions. Along the floors where you might expect to find quarter-round molding, black angled-steel flashing. The walls are finished to just short of the ceilings, a difficult construction feat that creates a “drop shadow” effect, Butler said. The floors are concrete with radiant heating. Butler’s signature heavy bolts and big wing nuts are used throughout both buildings, both structurally and decoratively. The garage roof mirrors the house’s west side “wing,” and though they don’t overlap there’s enough coverage that one can scoot between the two buildings without much exposure to the elements. The Daleses were connected to Butler through designer-builder Jeff Patterson of The Patterson Company Design Build, who had built another house that the couple liked: the Engelstein home at nearby Cassal Ranch (see related story, page 28). Butler praised Patterson as “an amazing builder” who kept the process moving efficiently. “I’ve never
Steel molding is used along the floors rather than traditional wood quarter-round. Photo by Don Nelson
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A drop-shadow effect was created where the walls meet the ceilings. Photo by Don Nelson
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The house is oriented to look out on the Goat Wall. Photo by Don Nelson
had such a smooth project,” Butler said. Kim agreed that construction has been pain free, with only one change order. Construction is almost complete
but for some interior finishes. The vision is nearly reality. “It already feels sentimental,” Kim said of the Mazama house, “and we haven’t even lived in it.” ◆
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Sideways mobility Mazama cabin owners opted for a new building to expand their living and playing space By Don Nelson
A new building, right, was designed to supplement the original cabin. Photo courtesy Brennan A rchitecture
HEN Robert Hardwick and Linda Schoemaker built a three-story cabin off of Goat Creek Road in 2001, they thought that might be all the space they’d need for recreating in the Methow Valley. But as their family grew to include four children, and they spent more time in the valley throughout the year, and more friends found their way to the Methow for visits, it occurred to the Seattle couple that expansion might not be a bad idea. Instead of adding on to the cabin, however, they decided to create a separate building on their 10-acre property, which includes two lots.
Hardwick and Schoemaker essentially became their own next-door neighbors. The new building — finished in 2012 — is a few steps away from the original cabin, which was built in 2001. And while it was intended to provide space for cars, snowmobiles, ski equipment and relaxation, the twostory building is also a self-contained living area with kitchen, bedroom, baths and a sauna. Hardwick is a retired engineer; Schoemaker is an attorney. They and their family have been coming to the Methow since about 1990, mostly for the cross country skiing. The visits soon expanded to all seasons, and the notion of building a second home “just clicked,” Schoemaker said. “We love the feel of it over here,” she said. They particularly liked the Mazama community, and wanted to be close to the ski trails. The two lots a couple miles west of the Mazama Store suited their needs perfectly. “We were lucky with what we found,” Schoemaker said. “As we got more involved here and spent more time with family and friends, we needed additional space,” she said.
Defining lines The new cabin was designed by Seattle architect Patricia Brennan, who had known Schoemaker and Hardwick for many years. Their kids had gone to school together from kindergarten through 12th grade. Brennan had not only done a major remodel of the couple’s home in
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The living area includes a fully equipped kitchen. Photo courtesy Brennan Architecture
Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood, but also designed the third-floor expansion of the original Mazama cabin. “We wanted to be respectful of the existing house,” Brennan said. To that end, the new structure’s design and features emulate those of the older cabin. The new building’s defining line is a long, dramatically pitched shed roof with deep overhangs. On the first floor is a huge garage
to store vehicular things and recreational gear, and a sauna. The second floor opens up to an ample, undivided, sunny expanse that includes a living area, kitchen, and a pool table with a ping-pong table currently resting atop it. East- and west-facing window walls ensure that natural light floods the space. The soaring north wall is painted a soothing raspberry shade that enlivens the room. Massive laminated beams hold the whole
Clerestory windows capture light from all directions. Photo by Don Nelson
thing up. Clerestory windows at the highest end of the great room add southern light as well. The second-floor bedroom is not sizable, but feels big because of the high ceiling — a continuation of the shed roof
line — and large windows. Schoemaker said that it was important to connect with the surroundings and have a lot of light pouring in. “And we wanted a full kitchen so both places could be independent,” Schoemaker said. Like many homes built in the valley in the past 20 years or more, the cabin features work by artisans such as cabinetmaker Phil Woras and metalwork artist Barry Stromberger. “It’s a bonus finding good local craftspeople,” Brennan said. The contractor was Alex Hall. “We were in constant contact during construction,” Brennan said. “It worked out very well. Alex was great to work with.” Schoemaker said they are “slowly furnishing” the new space but it has already exceeded expectations. “It’s worked great for everything we do,” she said. ◆
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Small, elegant globes illuminate the kitchen area. Photo by Don Nelson Methow Home
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Insurance issues for self-employed contractors Consider disability income protection for unforeseen problems By Todd R adwick
As everyone in the building trade knows, if you have employees you are required by state law to have L&I insurance for them so they are protected if they are injured on the job. However, as you also know, employers are not required to have this same protection for themselves. Because of the perceived expense, many owner/operator builders and those in the construction trade only do the minimum that is required of them to cover their employees. However, consider the facts and it becomes clear this may not be the wisest course of action. Odds vary, but those in their 20s and 30s have about a 25 percent chance of sustaining a real disability sometime in their working careers before age 65. It’s much higher than most people realize. First, consider that L&I is only designed to deal with injury claims that occur on the job. Compare this to a privately owned disability income protection insurance policy that covers you 24/7 on and off the job for accident and sickness. Also consider that over 90 percent of all disability claims actually occur from incidents off the job, and the majority of those are not from accidents. Sure, people may break a leg taking down the Christmas lights, but most disabilities occur from illnesses like Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, heart attack, cancer, stroke, and complications from diabetes such as amputations, and a million other things in Latin we can’t pronounce. So owner/operators in the building trade who are not providing L&I [ 48 ]
insurance for themselves might want to seriously consider getting some quality disability income protection as an alternative. If you are working, it’s even more important than life insurance. Consider that about 48 percent of all home foreclosures are caused by a disability, whereas only about 2 percent are from death. What about Social Security? The average wait for a claim to be heard is about 1½ years. Most people, especially here in the Methow, could not go for year and a half without a paycheck. And even if you could, would you want to annihilate all your savings? Consider the “10 percent rule”: If you saved 10 percent of everything you made every year, it would only take one year to wipe out 10 years of savings. Kind of sobering, isn’t it? In order to qualify for Social Security, the disability has to be total and most likely be permanent, or eventually expected to result in death. Conversely, a quality disability policy will pay out very quickly, generally after either a 30-, 60- or 90-day elimination period, and will do so even if you are only 15 percent partially disabled! This is key. Another type of disability policy that self-employed builders might want to consider is called disability business overhead expense, or BOE for short. Where disability income policies pay for things like food, gas, groceries and the mortgage, BOE policies pay for things like bulldozer and tractor payments, building leases, staff, insurance and the light bill. This can be critical to keep a business in the black, buying the builder time to decide whether they will be going back to work, or selling the business. Let it go into the red, and the blue sky value of the business evaporates, and you’re looking at salvage value for some used equipment. Everyone knows of someone who got a steal on a tractor from someone in a real bind. Don’t let it happen to you. What about cost? It usually only costs about 1½ to 2½ percent of your income to protect your income with a disability income policy. Let’s put that in perspective. Would you rather make $100,000 with zero protection,
or $98,000 with your greatest asset, i.e. your ability to make a living, completely protected 24/7? What about taxes? The premium payments of disability income policies are not tax deductible, but the benefits when paid are tax-free. Conversely, the premiums of business overhead expense policies are tax deductible to the business, but the benefits are taxable when paid.
Either way, seriously consider a disability income policy, and/or a business overhead expense policy to protect you and your company. Todd Radwick, president of Radwick Financial Group LLC, has lived in the Methow Valley 20 years. He can be reached at (509) 996-3425, or by email at email@example.com. You can view his webpage at www.radwickfinancial.com. ◆
■ Inside out: the secret door Transitions are design opportunities to create special experiences By R ay Johnston
verybody loves a secret door.
Whether it leads to a magical garden or through a looking glass, these archetypal thresholds resonate with us on a most basic level. It is in our genes to be aware of, and sometimes wary of transitions: from the cave to the plain, from the forest to the clearing, from the shore to the river. We are pre-wired to find pleasure in the experience of a well designed or accidentally perfect transition from the safe and protected to the dramatic and exposed. For a designer, transitions offer great opportunities to take advantage of the heightened awareness, anticipation and curiosity we feel when moving from one environment to another. As an architect I am fortunate to work in the Methow Valley, where the landscape not only suggests, but demands a carving out and conditioning of a piece of the environment in order to be connected to our amazing natural surroundings. The success of a project depends on gracefully negotiating the transition from the inside to the outside and also controlling the sequence of arrival, whether by vehicle, on foot or even on skis! In site design, the path of the approach comes first. Driveways don’t have to be just a necessary but uninspiring means to an end. They can be designed to hint at the experience beyond the front
door. By pulling visitors away from the view and around a curve or a copse of trees, the view can be taken away and re-introduced in a more deliberate way. The path from the driveway to the door is an opportunity to re-frame one’s state of mind — a small garden, arbor, a water feature and other treatments can enhance the sense of arrival. This is a broad threshold in anticipation of the very precise one that is represented by the entry door. The arrival point is part of a sequence that can lower blood pressure, build excitement or simply convey the feeling of being home. The front door holds the secret of not only what is inside, but also how that interior frames the view beyond or flows from protective cozy space to the great outdoors.
Crossing the threshold Once inside, that view that was glimpsed on approach can be revealed, but from a protected vantage point. The greatest degree of comfort and effect can be achieved via an entry space that is comfortable and “safe,” a place to get one’s bearings and to assess the lay of the land from an architectural “military crest” — a place of observation but maybe not full participation. After shedding coats (and maybe shoes) in this protected entry zone, one crosses the threshold to a living space. That space may be dominated by the visual threshold of a window wall or large doors beyond. The doors and windows, portals cut through the wall of the house, frame the view and define passage. A technique for managing the next transition from inside to out is that of the vanishing wall. As our technology improves, it is easier to contain a warm (or cool in the summer) interior behind a wall of glass. When that condition is desired, large glassy areas borrow space from the outside, expanding the interior environment in a dramatic way.
By carefully controlling how layers reveal themselves as one proceeds, a feeling of engagement can be accomplished. Photo by Don Nelson
This approach requires careful management of sun, especially on western exposures where the sun dips low late on summer days. There is a winter payoff for these treatments: with the appropriate glass and a heat sink such as a concrete or tile floor, passive solar heat can help keep a lid on heating bills. The last threshold leading from inside to outside, be it a wall of glass, or more modest openings, transitions from living space to more private and tranquil outdoor space. There may be a porch with foreground expression of columns and decking. This covered area can provide shade in the summer and a dry area in other seasons. Stepping from the porch to the yard or the patio is yet another threshold. It may be a military crest, foreground dominant with a sense of vista and the larger valley (or the river) beyond, or it could flow to a clearing in a glade or a walled garden.
Crafting the details The crafted detail of our surroundings, the sense of assembly and respect for the texture, color and tactile rhythm of natural materials are also part of the equation. The ways in which plantings, furniture, cabinetry or casing, tailor and qualify the spaces that they occupy (inside or out) are at play in the way we experience our surroundings. Craft in this sense is the assembly of materials in a way that honors
the best qualities of each material. A fir window sash put together well can be a wonderful thing, but so too can a steel railing or a stone patio. Concrete walls, rockeries and gabions all have their place and can be used to enhance the connection between inside and outside and to color the emotional quality of a building or a site. In addition to their tactile characteristics, each material has a stylistic association. The richest solutions achieve a timeless character through skillful installation of good materials along that path between the secret door and the great outdoors. Our sense of well being and comfort can be strongly influenced by the nature of transition — from an entry path to the interior, from the living room to the garden or simply as we move through space inside or outside. We are at our best when we can assess what is before us and when the signals that we read communicate positive emotions: safety, comfort and even wonder. These conditioned experiences have deep meaning for all of us, even if we don’t always notice. The sense of arrival, anticipation and safety give way to a connection with the natural surroundings. The craft of the spaces and openings, regardless of the stylization that specific materials may bring, will color our experience. And lastly, the sense of a place beyond our own walls is really the key. There should always be a there, there. ◆ Methow Home
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Directory of Advertisers Appliances Alpine Designs.....................................20 Architects & Designers Aiello Architecture..............................42 Balance Associates Architects.............52 Cast Architecture................................15 Clinkston Architects...........................52 David Coleman Architecture..............13 Integrated Design Concepts...............25 Johnston Architects..............................2 Lawrence Architecture..........................2 Office of Shackitecture.......................19 The Patterson Company.....................17 Patricia Brennan Architects................37 Pinto Design........................................38 Shadowline Design & Construction....22 Artists & Artisans Art in the Methow..............................41 Bruce Morrison Sculpture..................38 Hotspot Fire Pits.................................11 Jerry Cole Woodworking....................27 The Slagworks, Barry Stromberger....14 TwispWorks/Methow Made...............51 Building Supplies Alpine Designs.....................................20 Cascade Pipe & Feed Supply...............12 Chelan Glass & Door...........................37 Methow Valley Lumber.......................31 North Valley Lumber..........................40 Perma-Chink Systems.........................48 Builders & Contractors Big Valley Builders...............................18 Brandenburg Construction.................51 D. McLane Construction.....................46 Eric Claussen, Mountain Thyme Design.................8 Hilton Construction............................10 Hungry Mountain Construction........32 JL General Contractor........................14 North Cascades Construction ...........39 The Patterson Company.....................17 Palm Construction..............................47 Schuler Build Co..................................19 Shadowline Design & Construction......22 Varden Construction...........................27 Wolf Creek Design + Construction.....34 WSA Construction..............................24
Conservation Consultants Altitude Design...................................14 Methow Conservancy.........................17 Okanogan Conservation District.......24 RW Thorpe & Associates....................16 Construction Cleanup Services High-Tec Carpet Cleaning...................25 WasteWise Methow............................13 Energy Consultants/Sales Derosa Edwards...................................14 Engineering & Design FL Cooley & Associates.......................38 Equipment Sales & Rental Cascade Concrete................................23 Okanogan Truck & Tractor.................45 Washington Tractor........................7, 51 Excavating B & B Excavating.................................37 Doug Haase Excavating........................9 J.A. Wright Construction...............9, 46 McHugh’s Excavating..........................20 Palm Construction..............................47 Financial Services Baines Title & Escrow.........................23 Bart Bradshaw, CPA............................16 Radwick Financial Group....................35 Flooring Harmony House Interiors..................29 Methow Valley Lumber.......................31 North Valley Lumber..........................40 Garbage Services WasteWise Methow............................13 Geothermal Services Fisher Refrigeration............................41 Fogle Pump & Supply..........................39 Glass Supply & Design Chelan Glass & Door...........................37
Cabinetry Alpine Designs ....................................20
Heating & Air Conditioning Al Ju Stoves & Fireplaces....................12 Cascade Mechanical............................36 Fisher Refrigeration............................41 North Valley Lumber..........................40 Washington Tractor........................7, 51
Carpet Cleaning High-Tec Carpet Cleaning...................25
Home Furnishings Harmony House Interiors..................29
Cafés & Coffee Roasters Blue Star Coffee Roasters.....................9
Home & Garden Decor Hotspot Fire Pits.................................11 Robin’s Egg Bleu..................................17 The Farm Shed....................................41
Concrete & Gravel Brandenburg Construction.................51 Cascade Concrete................................23 J.A. Wright Construction...............9, 46 Palm Construction..............................47
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Interior Design Harmony House Interiors..................29
Insulation Methow Valley Lumber.......................31 North Valley Lumber..........................40 Insurance Melbourn Insurance Co......................35 Irrigation Services & Supplies Cascade Pipe & Feed Supply ..............12 Doug Haase Excavating........................9 Fogle Pump & Supply..........................39 Lester’s Well Pump Service.................10 MVM Quality Drilling.........................21 Washington Tractor........................7, 51 Internet Methownet.com..................................37 Land Use Permits Altitude Design...................................36 RW Thorpe & Associates....................16 Landscaping Services & Supplies Altitude Design...................................14 Carlton Landscape Construction.......12 Cascade Concrete................................23 Dennis Jones Chipping & Tree Service.................................24 Eastern Green Hydroseeding.............24 Eric Claussen, Mountain Thyme Design.................8 J.A. Wright Construction...............9, 46 Rick Fulcher Landscapes.....................32 Washington Tractor........................7, 51 Windy Valley Landscaping..................44 Legal Services Perkins Coie, Sandy Mackie................32
Porta Potty Rentals J.A. Wright Construction...............9, 46 Property Maintenance Housewatch.........................................33 Propane Sales North Cascades Propane Service........43 Okanogan County Energy, Inc...........18 Radio KTRT....................................................22 Real Estate Blue Sky Real Estate..............................8 Coldwell Banker Winthrop Realty......11 Kristin Devin Real Estate....................17 Windermere Real Estate.....................19 Recycling Methow Recycles...................................8 WasteWise Methow............................13 Retail Mazama Store........................................9 Methow Cycle & Sport........................22 Robin’s Egg Bleu..................................17 The Farm Shed....................................41 Roofing Triple T Roofing..................................12 Septic Design FL Cooley & Associates.......................38 J.A. Wright Construction...............9, 46 Monetta & Associates.........................24 Solar Power Derosa Edwards...................................14
Lodging Central Reservations.............................2
Surveyors Tackman Surveying.............................43
Masonry Eric Claussen, Mountain Thyme Design.................8 Windy Valley Landscaping..................44
Tree Services Dennis Jones Chipping & Tree Service.................................24 Okanogan Conservation District.......24
Metal Workers North Cascades Metal Fab..................34 The Slagworks, Barry Stromberger....14
Well Drilling & Pump, Sales & Service Fogle Pump & Supply..........................39 Lester’s Well Pump Service ................10 MVM Quality Drilling.........................21
Office Supplies & Reproductions Havillah Road Printing & Graphics......................................44 Organizations Methow Conservancy.........................17 Methow Recycles...................................8 Okanogan Conservation District.......24 TwispWorks/Methow Made...............51 Painters New Dimension Painting....................33
Windows & Doors Chelan Glass & Door...........................37 Methow Valley Lumber.......................31 North Valley Lumber..........................40 Woodworkers Alpine Designs.....................................20 Jerry Cole Woodworking....................27
For your job big or small, we’ve got it all. Heavy Equipment & Construction Rental Air Tools • Concrete • Carpet Floor & Tile • Drywall • Painting Earth Moving & Construction Generators • Hand Tools Jacks • Lawn & Garden Lift Equipment • Moving Supplies • Plumbing • Tractors
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WashingtonTractor.com 1-877-422-3030 1 Patrol Street, Okanogan Open Mon - Sat, 8am - 5pm (formerly Hamilton Farm Equipment)
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Construction, Inc. www.brandenburgconstructioninc.com
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one beautiful valley, twenty-eight homes and counting...