Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Our Other Oasis - Part Five (the final chapter!)

Before we bid a fond farewell to our river retreat, let me show you a few pictures of the magnificent scenery that surrounds us there.

These shots were taken by my son, Matthew and his girlfriend, Christine, the stalwart hikers in the family.

There are many wonderful hiking trails in the area, and they hiked all of them, even the mountains. From the top of Castle Rock, the closest mountain they took most of these views of the surrounding peaks.

Foremost among them the Three Sisters, still snow capped and majestic. The evening shot just after sunset showed me just what the phrase "purple mountains' majesty" means. It's all so lush and green and mossy in the forest. A very different world for us.

Another amazing natural feature is the abundance of awe-inspiring waterfalls that surround us.

The greatest is Sahalie Falls, about 20 miles from our house. It was so refreshing to climb to the top and stand in the mist. Refreshing but really cold so we didn't linger long there.

One of my favorite aspects of nature at the McKenzie River in June is the beautiful wildflowers. Completely different from the hugely prolific bushes and trees of blossoms everywhere you look in Key West. These are shy and gentle blooms sometimes hidden in the greenery of the forest floor.

Christine was the wildflower expert among us and not only photographed them but brought us pretty little bouquets to enjoy at the house.

I had never before seen the lovely orange columbine. We only found out later that is a protected flower indigenous to Oregon and illegal to pick. So sorry -we'll know better next time!

We'll be back to visit our river retreat at the end of the Summer. And until then, I'll be dreaming of wildflowers and blue water crashing over rocks. But in the meantime, this isn't the worst trade off...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Our Other Oasis - Part Four (More Before and After)

Today, I'm finishing up the Oregon house redo posts (see the rest of this week for earlier installments) with the bedrooms.

I hate to start any before and after post with something ugly (even though that would be the "before") so here's a preview of the "after":

That out of the way...here are all of the "before" pictures of the bedrooms we could find:

So, yes - you can see why I didn't make the before-transformation photo shoot a priority. It was pretty bad. But on to the changes!

The master bedroom was added to the first floor around 1969. Upon entering, you are greeted by that sweet nook in the first picture, with its comfy pillowed bench. The bench is an antique sleigh seat and it's a perfect spot to curl up and read or just daydream while gazing at the river.

The bedroom itself is probably the grandest in the house with its vaulted ceiling, massive field stone fireplace, and wall of sliding glass doors and balcony right over the river.

The only change we made here was to take up the old wall-to-wall carpet and put down real wood floors. That and the colorful bedding with lots of pillows, matelasse coverlet and quilt on the new king bed made a huge difference. The king bed fits the big room's scale and it's very high so you can sit up in bed and see the river flowing by.

The second largest bedroom was a real transformation.

The grey Formica paneling and flat hollow-core doors were replaced with hand-hewn stained pine and the acoustic tile ceiling was ripped out to make way for pickled pine planks. The queen bed takes up less space than the original two twins, and it makes room for nightstands and a dresser. The soft monochromatic blue and ivory bedding also adds to the illusion of space and comfort, and I love how the pickled baluster lamps blend with the whole scheme.

This bedroom originally featured twin beds, but we made it into a king.

It's quite large but with it's sloping ceiling and vintage wallpaper it's very cottagey and cute. New bedding to update the vintage quilts, a brightly colored woven rug, and a fresh coat of paint on the trim was all it needed.

Finally, the last of the four...

This bedroom has only ever had one twin bed, but the closet is so large, we can put a dresser inside to save floor space. Now we have room for another twin bed, with beautiful bedding, of course, and a chair.

New calico curtains for all rooms are on the way, but I think they still look one hundred times better and far better suited to the lovely views.

Speaking of views...check back next week for some hiking scenes. In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Our Other Oasis - Part Three

The tour continues (see the last few posts for the beginning):

Here we have the dining rooms - yes we have two different areas that adjoin with a large open archway. The square room with windows right on the river had been added in the late 60s. I call it the breakfast room because it's where people seem to congregate in the morning. The views in daylight are spectacular.

We didn't have to do any renovating here. Just added a large antique oak round table and 4 very comfortable armchairs, also the fun striped woven rug. That left the adjoining open space between the living room and kitchen. Since we and our renters often have family gatherings I thought we needed another table and chairs. Thus the open space became a second dining room and altogether with the additions of some smaller chairs we can seat 10 or 12. This also gave me the opportunity to add a chandelier (I just love chandeliers) and I had one in mind. This wrought iron branch spoke to me. I think it's perfect for a house in the woods

On to the kitchen:

We didn't do too much in the kitchen. A full kitchen redo wasn't in the budget. So we painted the Formica paneling white, polished up the 1960s maple cabinets and most importantly, tore out the acoustic tile ceiling. We replaced it with pickled pine planks like the living/dining areas, and added new lighting. With the addition of a new stainless steel stove it doesn't look so bad. I would like to get rid of the "shiny vinyl" sheet flooring, but that's another project for another year.

Tomorrow, we'll look at the four bedrooms - these were the most fun for me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Our Other Oasis - Part Two (Before and After)

Yesterday we introduced you to our vacation home in Blue River, Oregon - about as far away from Key West as you can get in the Continental U.S.!

We also described the level of renovation that was needed to make this the inside of the house as inviting as the outside. Not to mention - make it more appealing for vacation rentals...

So here is a tour with some before and after images.

This is what the living room looked like before we started our updates:

Not the coziest of scenes... But here is the same space with new furniture and accessories:

Upon arrival, you walk into a sitting area that is actually an extension of the living room.

This whole living area was gutted, lots of structural work done, and old Formica paneling (gray faux wood) replaced with real pine hand hewn paneling. The previously acoustical tile ceiling was also done in same pine. The walls were stained and the ceiling, pickled to visually add light and height. A new really big picture window makes the most of the river view.

We had to replace the 1960s wood burning stove with a new and much safer up-to-code version made in Vermont. The room is too small for a fireplace, so this was our best option. With a real stone paver floor pad and the wonderful diagonal panel wall backing, we're very happy with it. I have to give credit to our wonderful contractor, Mike Schosker for the diagonal wall treatment. It was his inspiration - he really knows what he's doing.

Mike also made solid wood panel doors for this area, as well as all the bedrooms and closets. That made a huge difference.

While he was working his magic, we planned the furnishings - big comfy sofa and chairs with washable slipcovers in colors that are not bright Key West colors but bright enough to lighten the overwhelming presence of wood. Who would have thought I'd ever like living with so much wood but, strangely, in this setting and part of the world, it feels right to me and I love it.

Tomorrow we'll go on to the two adjoining dining rooms and kitchen. Until then...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Our Other Oasis

Yesterday Kate asked if you could guess where Terry and I had spent the last two weeks...

Guess what? You were right! We were the Rillerah.

The Rillerah is our cabin on the banks of the rushing McKenzie River in Blue River Oregon. The little community where the house is situated actually used to be called "Rainbow" until the Post Office was closed and it was annexed to Blue River.

Boo hoo, I'd much rather say I live in Rainbow. How delightful! It feeds all my color dreams. Oh well, I still like to think we're in Rainbow.

But back to the Rillerah. As you can see, the house is tucked in among the trees, blending into the scenery with its gentle greens and browns.

But of course I had to jazz it up a little with coral-red wicker porch furniture, very soft and cushy, the perfect spot to lie back and watch the river in its never-ending flow.

And we had to add a cheerful coral red door to give a hearty welcome.

This was all very exciting for us because it was our first view of the house since renovations began last winter. We think the house was built in the 1940s with small remodels along the way (lots of Formica, linoleum and asphalt tile). And then, in 1968, the addition of a lovely small dining room hanging right over the river - windows on three sides makes it feel that you are in a boat floating down the river.

Added at the same time, the huge master bedroom with vaulted ceiling and immense field stone fireplace. It was somewhat of a schizophrenic little house, sorely in need of attention. My job was to unify everything, bring it up to code, and all around prettify it.

I'd love to give you a tour. Come back tomorrow for more pictures!

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