Magazine article Sunset

Pacific Coasting: An Oregon Beach House Is an Idea-Filled Retreat

Magazine article Sunset

Pacific Coasting: An Oregon Beach House Is an Idea-Filled Retreat

Article excerpt

Portland architect Jo Landefeld and husband John Richardson wanted to build a convenient getaway where they and their two daughters could relax and refuel throughout the year. They settled on a rectangular lot near the beach in Neskowin, a small town about two hours southwest of Portland.

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Landefeld designed a roughly L-shaped 2,200-square-foot house--the living-dining area and kitchen are in the shorter leg, facing the ocean, and two bedrooms occupy the longer one. A media room and a library convert into guest rooms when the family has company. The house is a study in flexibility: It feels comfortable in all types of coastal weather, and it accommodates a revolving guest list of friends and family. "We give them a walk-around tour when they arrive, and after that they know where everything is," Landefeld says.

Neskowin can be stormy in the fall and winter, so Landefeld wrapped the house around a 425-square-foot central deck. "We put the deck in the protective angle of the L, which forms a windbreak," Landefeld says. "It's sheltered enough to use most of the year." Two smaller decks face the ocean, for use on warm, calm days. Banks of windows in the living-dining area and kitchen overlook the water and the dunes. "It's really neat to be here during a winter storm," she says, "because you feel like you are outside without getting wet."

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Low maintenance, high style

Landefeld organized the house for maximum efficiency and comfort. A mudroom-utility area is conveniently located next to the kitchen and opens to its own small deck, where there is a protected outdoor shower. The master suite sits over the garage, at the far end of the bedroom wing, and also includes a small deck. The relative isolation makes it a true retreat.

Throughout the house, Landefeld applied the lessons she learned from beach rentals. "We often stayed in houses with wood floors, and the sand always trashed them," she says. In this house, she used linoleum tiles to create a striped floor pattern. Not only do the light and dark gold and reddish brown stripes mimic the color of the sand (hiding any brought in on shoes and bare feet), the tiles are water resistant and don't scratch easily.

The living room sofa and window seats are covered in durable, washable denim and cotton-canvas fabrics. …

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