|Written by Elizabeth Dunham|
|Wednesday, September 11, 2013|
Cheryl Janis and Philip Morgan tried not to laugh every time their coastal construction crew made reference to their cutting-edge, eco-friendly modular residence.
“It is a pre-fabricated home, but they would call it ‘the mobile home’ or ‘the trailer home,’” recalls Janis, an interior designer and feng shui consultant. “So we started doing that too. If we said, ‘Our pre-fab is on the way,’ they would just give us a blank stare.”
The finished product, a beautifully constructed, energy-efficient home made by ideabox in Salem, is hardly the stuff of trailer parks. Nor is the location — pristine, creekside acreage in an old-growth forest near Pacific City.
On first glance, the 875-square-foot orange rectangular house seems dwarfed by the huge trees. But inside, white walls and deeply contrasting coffee-colored floors and slate ceilings lend an air of expansiveness that is further enhanced by south-facing floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors that take in the hills, creek and big trees.
“That one we call Grandma,” Janis says, pointing toward a gorgeous moss-covered maple. “We had an arborist out here and that tree is about 165 years old. She’s very vibrant and healthy, like the matriarch of the land. And then Grandpa is over there by the pump house.”
Janis, 44, and Morgan, 38, made the jump from Portland to coastal Cloverdale thanks to a serendipitous chain of events over the past several years. A love of nature and travel was part of what drew them together in the first place — and they both gradually realized they were growing tired of too much stimulation in the city. They also realized they could do their jobs from pretty much anywhere. Janis does her consulting over the phone and Internet and drives to Portland for certain clients. Morgan, a technical writer, works almost exclusively from home.
“We are both very sensitive,” he notes. “And after five or six years, the city turned out to not be the greatest. We love being in nature. Now, when I think of living someplace else — and having to drive to get to this kind of place — it feels like something I don’t want.”
Janis had a field day turning a hard-edged, modern structure into a softer, feng shui-inspired retreat. She describes herself as a “modern feng shui consultant” who eschews the clichéd approach of using lots of gold and red accents with Chinese statuary. Many of her clients in Portland are owners of holistic clinics for humans and pets.