HOSPITAL ITY A lodge-loving Oregon native builds a log home hangout for his family and friends, and a good time is had by all.
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY SIMONE PADDOCK HOME BY LOG MODE CONSTRUCTION AND SWISS MOUNTAIN LOG HOMES
FUN HOUSE. Steven Strauchâ€™s Northwestern home provides plenty of room for friends, family and Sage, his beloved yellow Lab.
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WARM WELCOME. A custom-made front door welcomes visitors, while red trim and chairs add a touch of Adirondack style to the front porch.
MOUNTAIN MAN. “My house was designed so the mountain would be in the dead-center of all the windows,” says Steven, referring to the majestic Mount Bachelor that’s virtually in his back yard.
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If a home reflects its owner’s character, Steven Strauch’s striking abode offers the sum of his personality on a silver platter. Step into Steven’s large-but-livable log home and your eyes are drawn to one thing: the breathtaking view. There—perfectly framed by warm lodgepole pine logs and a spectacular wall of glass—stands Mount Bachelor, the towering snowcapped volcano ruling the central Oregon landscape. This “wow-factor” was by no means accidental. “When I first bought the property, I stood right here and decided this home was going to be my window on the world,” Steven says, making a frame with his outstretched thumbs and forefingers and peering through it. “My house was designed so the mountain would be in the dead-center of all the windows.” As a matter of fact, Steven’s entire home is a marvel of planning and meticulous design. From the flowing, open floorplan with its calculated proportions, to the four strategically placed fireplaces, everything comes together to create a visually stunning yet intimate atmosphere. “There aren’t many rooms, but there are lots of spaces,” says Steven. “One person could be sitting on the couch in the living room, holding a conversation with someone in the kitchen, while somebody else could be relaxing with a book by the big window. “I wanted to build a place where my friends and family could hang out and have a good time,” Steven continues. “In fact, many of them have their own keys, so they can visit or even stay on their own.” According to Steven, if you build it right, they will come. And build it right he did.
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GREEN PEACE (opposite). Interior designer Diane West appointed the country kitchen with soapstone counters, a farm sink, chalkboard-front cabinetry and basketwoven bar stools. HOLD THE LINE (above). Crisp, white chinking was used inside and out, continuing the lodge look that Steven was striving for. LIVING HISTORY. The home reflects the history of the land it’s built on through the Native American blankets and artifacts found throughout.
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ROCK ON (opposite left). Red-hued Montana rock was used for many patches of interior flooring in Steven’s home. SWEET DREAMS (opposite right). A studio apartment was built above the three-car garage and provides a perfect guest retreat, complete with its own kitchenette. PERSONAL TOUCH. Rustic details abound from wrought-iron balusters to a fish-themed dresser.
When Stars Align It all started in 1998, when Steven stumbled upon the 5-acre property where his home now sits. As part of the exclusive 400-acre Vandevert Ranch and situated just south of the popular Sunriver Resort, the grounds offered stunning views of majestic mountains, lush meadows, evergreen pine forests and a small river that winds its way through the property. “It was unbelievable,” Steven recalls of the day he first laid eyes on the land. “I saw the site and instantly fell in love.” To bring his log home retreat to
life, Steven knew he’d have to put together an all-star design team. First, he hired Portland architect Thomas Thompson, known for his Pacific Northwest architectural style. The two of them worked together for a solid year, researching and drawing floorplans along the way. For the log work, Steven chose two local outfits, Log Mode Construction and Swiss Mountain Log Homes, both out of Sisters, Oregon. When it came time to pick a general contractor for the project, Steven didn’t have to look far to
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find Paul Dehen of Aware Construction in Sherwood, Oregon. “Paul and I have been friends since 8th grade. We built another house together in Portland, so I already knew how he operates. I had complete confidence in him,” says Steven. A home with this level of detail is no easy feat—even when owner and builder are as in tune with each other as Steven and Paul are. From property purchase to movein, the home took a total of five years to complete—26 months for construction alone—proving that
good things truly do come to those who wait.
Bold & Beautiful When it came to the style of home Steven wanted to build, there was never a question. For one, the Vandevert Ranch has a log homeonly policy, but luckily Steven’s vision was in line with the community’s codes. “I wanted a home reminiscent of an 1850s Adirondack-style lodge, with a little flavor of Timberline Lodge (the historic lodge on Mount Hood)—wrapped in the mold of the
Vandevert Ranch log style,” says Steven. From that vision sprung a masterpiece, complete with red-framed windows, a dark log exterior with crisp, white chinking and pinegreen kitchen cabinets—a true reflection of Adirondack style. The inspiration for the hip-roof design, timber-framing details and the log staircase: the Timberline Lodge. To re-create the old-fashionedlodge look, Steven and Paul hauled 150 tons of red-hued rock from Montana that they dry-stacked on portions of the exterior and used
for the interior floors throughout the home. Dutch doors were handcrafted to let in cool afternoon breezes, while the homesteader kitchen—with its farm sink, soapstone counters, chalkboard and chicken-wire-front cabinetry— provides the perfect setting for impromptu parties. Finally, random-width pine plank flooring—ranging from 6-to12-inch widths—caps off the 1850s mood. “Imperfect was the look I was after,” says Steven. “In the olden days, they didn’t have the equipment or the resources to make
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GARDEN PARTY. Perfectly positioned on the sought-after Vandevert Ranch, Steven’s home was sited so that there would be enough flat space in the back yard to accommodate the swimming pool, hot tub and horseshoe pit.
things uniform. Everything was a little rough around the edges.” Portland interior designer Diane West then added the finishing touches—handmade custom furniture, rawhide lampshades, Pendleton fabrics and fishingthemed accessories—that polish the home’s rugged design. Through the numerous blankets, framed artifacts and handpainted shades with Native American motifs, Steven even managed to weave some local history into his house. His property is the very site where local Native Americans made their camp and hunted for deer almost 200 years ago. The small obsidian tools he
keeps finding in his lawn are ample evidence of this colorful history.
Fun, Family and Friendship For all its history and sophistication, another, more whimsical characteristic of the house shines through: This is a place built for fun. Not only does it sport a large outdoor swimming pool, it also boasts a horseshoe pit, Ping Pong table, shuffleboard, full-sized pool table and a large dorm-style room with 10 bunk beds, perfect for summer sleepovers. As a special commemoration, Steven has a framed, hand-written tribute hanging in his entryway.
It’s an ode to all the people who’ve worked on the house, listing the names of everyone involved, with a special dedication to his friend Paul that reads: “And to Mad Dog—You did it! Wow! Time to enjoy. Let’s party!” We couldn’t agree more. ■
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