Welcome to Kate from the Pacific Northwest; a blogger trying out for a place on the Apartment Therapy editorial team as a House Tour Contributor. Enjoy her work!
Location: Rio Dell, California
Size: 1850 square feet
Years lived in: 28
Fondly referred to as Masion Un (which means House One in French), this home seems almost hidden among the lush, overgrown plants, orchard, pond and alluring views all vying for attention over the five acre sprawl. Owner and designer Jennifer has the pleasure of calling this magnetic place home.
Although the house feels as if it has always been there, nestled in amongst the redwoods this region is so well known for, this is far from the truth. Off an old logging road, in the middle of a clearing left over from the days of clear cutting, the house was built from scratch where almost no original top soil remained. In the first 10 years, Jen didn’t even see snails, but loads of soil, mulch, and manure changed all that. The beautiful grounds are a witness to just how much work and love have gone into the place.
The house itself is octagonal in shape. The two-story circular design allows for a maximum number of views of the redwoods and residing hills. The extremely high ceilings and numerous windows lend a greater sense of space to the small layout. Boasting a generous entry way, three bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen, dining and living area, a music/library room, a tower loft, and a cabin there is ample room to move about and get lost in. Throughout the years, Jen has mostly filled the space with hand me downs and second hand treasures, taking her time to make it a place she and others feel comfortable in. Jen herself is a talented artist and owner of Chia Jen Studios, and a majority of the artwork and textiles come from her hand.
Among the home’s most interesting elements is an ancient wooden butcher block that serves as both a kitchen island and a conversation piece. Adjacent to the main house resides a rustic cabin complete with two old horse troughs ready to be scrubbed and soaked in whilst enjoying the sunset. Climb the 20 narrow and steeps steps through the main bathroom and you’ll reach the tower room. A large loft bed and eight windows greet you, allowing a view in every direction from the highest point within the house. An outdoor shower below deck on the sub-level provides views of the hillside and pond. The marriage of fun and function, nature and need are apparent everywhere you look.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Creative, untraditional, less is more, color as accent, contemporary and eclectic.
Inspiration: The beautiful redwood scenery surrounding the property.
Favorite Element: The high ceilings and decking that wraps the full south and southeast sides. I designed these elements in order to make the most of the hillside and surrounding natural scenery. It’s a feast for the eyes!
Biggest Challenge: Finding a way to create a handicap access that did not draw away from the initial building. The master bath and shower is handicap accessible as is the beautiful ramp entry on the north eastern approach to the exterior deck.
What Friends Say: Some of the words friends use to describe my home are magical, artistic and cozy.
Biggest Embarrassment: The house sits on a five acre parcel, complete with an orchard and a plethora of plants and vegetation—I simply can’t keep up on yard maintenance!
Proudest DIY: It is almost entirely DIY.... Perhaps the brick patio that was put together from bricks left at the city dump when a big earthquake struck about 12 years ago.
Biggest Indulgence: The custom wood and glass library shelves built by a local craftsman in the music/library room downstairs.
Best Advice: Let the space speak to you before you fill it with furniture and art. Notice the light at different times of day. Live in the spaces before deciding what mood each area is really best for.
Dream Sources: The Mediterranean and travels abroad.
Resources of Note:
This is minimal because so many of the pieces found in the home are hand me downs, from second hand stores and antique shops found mainly in the local area. A majority of the textiles, including furniture upholstery, rugs, and artwork were created by Jennifer herself, along with a few pieces from local artists. The few pieces that are recently store bought, such as the lime green leather couch, are from Crate & Barrel.
Images: Kate Stockman
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