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Written by Lee Lewis Husk
Photos by
Cheryl McIntosh

Explore Modern Elegance in a West Bend Home

Owners do yoga in front of their Shevlin Commons home

​​​A world of surprises awaits visitors who cross the threshold of this west Bend residence. Its modern design finds harmony with fine art, architectural nuances and uncommon finishing details in metal, wood and plaster.

While living in the Bay Area, the homeowners, Janie and Steve (last names withheld at their request) looked for several years to find a lot in Bend and finally found it in 2020. While standing on the property, Janie said, “We’re going to do this,” intending to build their forever home there. They assembled a team of seasoned Bend professionals: Brandon Olin of Olin Architecture LLC, PJ Hurst of PJ Hurst DESIGN LLC and Jeff Ferrell of Jeff Ferrell Construction LLC. “The architect and designer create a vision of what the homeowners want, and it’s my job to make that happen,” Ferrell said.

shevlin commons living room

The owners and team members met for a year before breaking ground, often by Zoom, to develop architectural and interior design concepts. Hurst created construction documents for interior elements. “It was as if another architect was on board,” Olin said. “PJ’s drawings were thorough and brought a lot of ideas for design, materials and finishes. For example, in the living room, she designed the hearth, mantle and plaster finish around it.”

Carved into a rocky slope, the structure is split into two levels–a front-door entry and garage off the street and the upper section with the main living quarters. “The constraints of the site presented a scheme of what the house wanted to do,” Olin said.

open kitchen shevlin commons

Unlike a foyer or expansive great room to guide guests into the home, visitors traverse a long hallway with an elegant mudroom tucked into one side for stashing shoes and coats. The other side sets a design tone with a wall of vertical “fluted” white oak that extends to the second story, a hall table, alabaster lights and a concealed door to the garage. At the end of the corridor is a sculptural stairway that beckons people upward.

At the top, a kaleidoscope of Cascade Mountain views, sleek surfaces, wood ceilings, big windows, glass doors and original artwork spins around the great room. A multicolored, large-scale painting by German artist Jutta Haeckel hangs above the stairwell created by pushing paint from the back of a burlap canvas to the front for texture and visual effects. The art defies convention.

shevlin commons entryway

An open-air courtyard acts as an intriguing centerpiece for the home. Olin said he had a rare opportunity to align an indoor-outdoor connection from front to back. With access on two sides of the courtyard, the homeowners can walk in a straight line from the back patio through the family room, courtyard, great room and out to the front patio.

The initial idea was to cover the courtyard with glass panels to keep water and snow out, but ultimately it was too expensive. Instead, beams cantilever over the middle, converging at the ridge. A significant overhang provides shade on hot summer days. The courtyard is “an interesting concept and really cool,” Ferrell said, adding that he’d never built one in the middle of a house before. In winter, heating elements beneath the courtyard melt snow to prevent any accumulation of water.

shevlin commons bedroom

Many of the walls of the 3,500-square-foot dwelling are painted white or neutral colors to allow the homeowners space for their art collection, while other rooms break into vibrant colors and textures without apology. A powder room is hand-plastered in a coral-hued suede-like texture by plaster artist Juanita Perdomo. A striking blue pendant from the Czech Republic hangs in the corner in contrast with the warm walls. “It’s like jewelry,” said homeowner Janie.

Toward the back is what Janie and Steve call “the blue room.” It features a large-scale, metallic-paint, bee-motif painting by German artist Stefan Kürten, making a connection with the natural landscape outside the glass doors.

The couple oriented the primary bedroom toward the mountains, and adorned it with artwork, including an abstract by Central Oregon artist Kenneth Marunowski. Vibrant reds, oranges and pinks reminiscent of a high desert sunset dominate the room. Bed coverings and the back wall in a soft beige infuse warmth into the space with a gentle kiss.

bathroom in shevlin commons

A wall in the guest bedroom is painted half-way up in olive green, matching the bed linens. An abstract black-and-white painting with curvy shapes breaks up the vertical lines of the two-tone wall.

In the great room, a red tapestry on the wall between the living room and bedrooms “adds warmth and texture,” Hurst said. “We took a sculptural approach to the house, bringing vintage pieces to modernity.”

They inverted conventional materials for floors and ceilings. The great room features a warm, reeded-wood ceiling crafted by wood artist Matthew Sellens, while the floor is made of huge, four-by-four-foot porcelain tile, mimicking cement. The kitchen island is topped with black quartz, matching the black steel stove hood surround and cabinets by Doug Wagner of MODERNFAB. “His specialty is making a hard element feel warm and refined,” Olin said.

open air bathroom

A painting of an English bulldog by German artist Cornelius Völker adorns the wall in the dining room, in honor of Janie and Steve’s pug Wally. A white pendant light hangs over the live-edge walnut table “like a cloud,” according to Hurst. “We had to be very careful that the light didn’t take away from the view [of the mountains out the front window].”

An unexpected surprise is an elevator virtually invisible at the center of the home–without any outward signs. Adjacent to the courtyard, the shaft has a door from the garage and an exit on the hallway above. “Janie and Steve plan to live in the home for a long time, and they wanted it to be accessible,” Olin said. They use it to carry groceries and Wally upstairs from the garage.

pink bathroom shevlin commons

The build-out took 20 months and was completed in June 2023–just in time for Janie and Steve to hold their wedding in the courtyard.

“When we wake up and get our coffee, and look out and see this magnificent view, we pinch ourselves,” Janie said. “The house is perfect.”

shevlin commons home at sunset

Architecture: Brandon Olin, Olin Architecture | Design: PJ Hurst of PJ Hurst DESIGN LLC | Construction: Jeff Ferrell, Jeff Ferrell Construction | Tile: Baptista Design | Cabinets: Finer Custom Cabinetry & MODERNFAB | Siding: Ellis Building Group

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