- Photo by Brian Prechtel

A Well-crafted Home

Many tales are told in more than one volume and such is the case with the Saladoff family home, built two years ago in Ashland's Siskiyou Academy historic district. Craftsman in its most basic form, this innovative, 3,500 square foot home snuggles onto a southern-facing slope that gradually descends into the Rogue Valley.

Built by owner and architect Robert Saladoff (whose home office occupies the cool and sleek daylight basement), the five bedroom, 3.5 bath house presents itself in two distinct sections, which Saladoff refers to as "volumes."

When designing the home, Robert took two main things into consideration: How to respect the property's natural assets and historical uses, and how to make it the perfect setting for his family's busy life, their pets and a love for entertaining.

Through historic photographs, Robert discovered that a farmhouse and a barn had been built on the property in 1890. He used these as guideposts for his own structure.

"The new design points to its history with a two-story volume orienting the house toward the street," he says. "And there's a simple, single story volume at the rear of the house reflecting the barn that once stood there."

Taking its design cue from the Craftsman style pioneered by the Greene and Greene brothers and later, in Southern Oregon, by Frank Clark, the first volume is decidedly formal.

"This is our interpretation of Craftsman, with a bit more of a contemporary feel," explains Robert, who is drawn to Craftsman details like exposed wood and intricate joinery but didn't want to be married to the method.

The classic center hall is floored in FSC-certified cherry wood, which is the first sign (along with low-E double-paned windows and doors and deep exterior overhangs and vegetation for shading) of the Saladoffs' nod to sustainable design strategies.

With its notable width, the center hall's oat-colored walls and creamy woodwork and trim make a commanding statement. Simply decorated with light russet-toned rugs and drum-shaped lights with mica paper resin inserts, it leads into both of the home's volumes.

To the left is a formal parlor in the bungalow style. Sage walls, cases of books, an inviting conversation area and a custom-designed, Stickley-inspired mantel invite guests in for an evening of cards.

Across the hall is a formal dining room where the Saladoffs entertain around an ornate Stickley table and chairs crowned with an Art Deco stained glass pendant light. Lining the burnt rose-hued walls with their Frank Lloyd Wright Art Deco wallpaper border are two custom buffets and a sideboard. Asian art and statuary provide elegant décor.

"We were in Thailand as a family and brought some of these things back," says Robert. "We seem to like the interplay between the Asian and Craftsman and contemporary feel."

At the end of the hall is the kitchen, outfitted with stainless steel Energy Star appliances including under-counter crispers. A rectangular cove ceiling with suspended decorative beams made of reclaimed Douglas fir sets the room's tone—one of an organic connection to the side yard's wildflowers and rock gardens visible through the kitchen's many picture windows.

"It's the idea of an implied interior trellis," Robert describes. "Basically it's powder-coated steel brackets that are screwed up into the flooring structure above."

Specialty poured and rounded concrete countertops with visible aggregate add another signature touch, as do the three gold glass pendants that hang over the semi-circle island with its built-in butcher block.

"All four of us can cook in here at once and of course it's where everyone gathers," says Robert.

The far end of the kitchen opens onto a staircase that leads up to three bedrooms and a bath, all situated over the front of the house. Also off the kitchen is the mudroom and family room.

"Here's where the house changes," Robert says, gesturing to slate floors, unpainted, flat trim, a two-step descent and 15-foot family room ceilings. "My idea is that the front of the house is more traditional and a little more elaborate while this back part is more like a big, open barn."

More Douglas fir beams lean up the ceiling's slope. An adjustable cable rail lighting system clearly makes the family room's contemporary vibe known. Adding to that is the built-in fiddleback maple entertainment center, floor to ceiling stone fireplace, steel-topped coffee table and double glass doors that lead out to the three-tiered pool area and pool house.

The nearby master suite is also floored in slate and has its own patio. The bedroom's Japanese accents continue into the master bath, where cherry cabinets showcase fronts made of Shoji paper and a large soaking tub is just a step away. Light sage-colored concrete countertops feature integrated sinks and a glass-fronted shower displays a slate bench and pebbled floor.

Attention to detail, green building practices and innovative design are apparent throughout the Saladoff house.

"But it's more than just systems and materials," concludes Robert. "Until you put laughter and tears and stories into it, it's not a home."

With two full volumes and a rich future, this house has plenty of what it takes.

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