A collaboration with Aligned Architecture makes a homeowner’s dream come true.
Photos by Steve Smith Photography
This Eugene homeowner remembers a time when she used to dread coming home.
She would pull into the driveway of homes she used to live in and feel no urge to go inside because they felt dark, cold and uninviting.
Thanks to a unique and total reconstruction of an old home in a hilly Eugene neighborhood—led by Aligned Architecture—she now loves pulling in at the end of the day.
“I am excited to go home and be home and host my friends. It feels like I am still part of the neighborhood, but it also feels like a true haven from the rest of the world.”
She initially bought the property, which has an expansive view out to the Coast Range, more than five years ago. She had plans drawn up, but they really didn’t fit with what she’d imagined. Before she knew it, a few years passed. She had a son, and then began to think again about creating a home for them and a haven for visiting family and friends.
She connected with Eugene-based Aligned Architecture and began working with senior designer Roger Ota. After some deliberation, they decided that the existing house on the property—a run down home built in 1949—had to go. However, Ota determined that the basement was more than capable of supporting the new reconstructed home, saving significant resources and budget.
“The concrete was in excellent shape, and the position of the old house was about where we wanted it to be on the lot,” Ota says. “Much of the design process was informed by the set dimension of the basement, which really worked out for what our client had in mind.”
What the client had in mind was a design that would integrate the house with the landscape and make it as easy to enjoy the outside of the home as it did the inside. That meant lots of windows and natural light, common spaces that were warm and inviting, and outdoor spaces that didn’t feel separate from the home.
“I wanted light, warmth, Pacific Northwest sensibility and integration with the outdoors,” she says. “And a place where friends and family want to stay.”
Collin Kayser, an interior designer with Eugene’s Bar Kay Design Co. who worked with the client, says his goal in the design of the home was to create something that was both welcoming and unique.
“To achieve this, I focused on a tonal and complementary palette with our finishes and selections in the main areas, but added extra wow factor in adjacent rooms,” he says. “This is most prominently seen in the office and powder bathroom. They still relate to the home and stylistic thread throughout but have been amped up with personality and character.”
Another aspect informing the design was the real possibility of the client’s parents eventually moving in with her. As a result, the home essentially has two master suites, one on the main level and one upstairs.
“It’s really a forever kind of family home, which allows an owner to be a little more thoughtful and considerate about the long-term vision,” Ota says. “We massaged the room adjacencies, the proportion of the spaces and the overall building form until it was exactly what it wanted to be. A collaborative dynamic between owner and architect is essential for successful results, and it was certainly the case with this project.”
The rest of the design and construction team all had important contributions. Aligned Architecture and the owner worked with general contractor Paul Allen (Allen Co Design It! Build It!); interior designer Kayser; landscape designer Dustin Welch (Land Sight); and Pioneer Structural Engineering. The close collaboration worked out well and achieved the owner’s hopes and aspirations for her home.
The interior and exterior spaces, along with the building volumes, were all carefully designed to address each direction in specific ways, responding appropriately to each of the surrounding conditions: the street on the east; neighboring residences on the north and south; and long and short vistas to the west, with an orchard in the lower portion of the city-block-long property, expansive views of the city and the Coast Range at the western horizon beyond.
One unique feature of the home, which evolved from keeping the original basement intact: a wine cellar that’s naturally temperature-controlled due to the below-ground concrete and an insulated interior wall.
“I can honestly say everything that was important to me is present in the home,” the homeowner says.