This 680-Square-Foot Rental Is Like a “Creative Treehouse”

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My home is located high in the hills above Ashland, nestled in the woods with views in all directions of the beautiful Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges. Ashland is a small, artsy town in southern Oregon, just 15 miles north of the California border and home to the famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Name: Bridget Steed. I share my home with my art and my plants… and the dozens of wild turkeys who come to visit every day!
Location: Ashland, Oregon
Type of home: House (I call it my, “Creative Treehouse!”)
Size: Approximately 680 square feet
Years lived in: 8 months, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I moved to Ashland from Santa Fe, New Mexico last spring and this was the first—and only—place I looked at. I fell in love with it immediately and couldn’t (still can’t!) get over how expansive such a “small” space feels. The large windows, high ceilings, skylights, open floor plan, lofted sleeping area, and nearly 360-degree mountain views from the wrap-around deck truly make me feel as though I’m living in a treehouse. I thank my lucky stars to have found such a dream space!

I am an Expressive Arts Therapist and painter, and I always longed to live in an environment where I would be immersed in beauty and visually inspired everyday. Here, I truly feel at one with the natural world, as I’m literally surrounded by it! Among my daily visitors are wild turkeys, jackrabbits, deer, and a mama bear and her cubs, who I believe are currently hibernating. Every season in this house has been more beautiful than the last. My intention, once the weather warms up, is to hold expressive arts workshops and “open studio” gatherings here. The deck is just calling for easels and paints!

As far as the style, I wanted to keep it simple to allow for the surrounding natural beauty to serve as the focal point. I sold or gave away most of my belongings when I left Santa Fe, so I came here with very little—mostly just my paintings, art supplies, a beautiful handmade wooden bed frame I purchased on Etsy years ago, a bench, a few small tables, and some clothing. Ashland has a great recycled furniture store where I found my couch, a chair, and a small end table, and I made the trek down to Cost Plus World Market in Redding, California for most of the textiles (rugs, pillows, shower curtain, and towels).

Unlike my typical style, which has always been very bright and colorful, I was drawn to a softer, more muted color palette (pale pinks, grays, greens, tans, and browns) for this space. The feeling up here in the woods is very peaceful and quiet, and this space is so “zen,” that I felt anything too “loud” would be disruptive to the energy. (It’s Ashland so I had to mention energy at some point). I could go on forever about this special space but I’ll stop there!

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: “Southwest meets Pacific Northwest”… creative, cozy, and simple.

What is your favorite room and why? This home has an open floor plan with a lofted sleeping area, which really makes it feel like one giant room—which, I suppose it is! I think what I love most is the sleeping loft, because of the giant skylight and incredible views of the mountains out the windows at the head of my bed. I purposely left all of the windows bare so I could enjoy the beauty of the seasons. On clear nights, off in the distance, I can see the lights of the cars traveling along the I-5 corridor, and in the morning, the sun streams in from every window. It is the coziest, most peaceful bedroom I have ever had!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I recently bought the cutest, tiniest, handmade end table at my favorite used furniture store in Ashland and I adore it. It was made by a local “Ashlandian” who was, apparently, trying his hand at woodworking. It is a bit slanted and looks slightly cobbled together, but the grain on the wood is beautiful and it certainly has character!

Any advice for creating a home you love? Unlike most of the places I’ve lived, where I’ve moved in and immediately gotten busy “decorating,” I really let myself live in this space before I began slowly acquiring furniture and putting things on the walls. It all came together so slowly and naturally that it never felt like “work,” or like I was “trying” for any one style or look. One day, I just looked around and thought, “Wow! This feels exactly like ‘me’ and I don’t even remember ever “decorating!’” So, I suppose my advice would be not to force anything. Allow your home to truly reflect who you are by letting yourself spend some time living in it before pressuring yourself to have every room designed perfectly. Speaking of perfection, throw that idea out the window, too! Allow for the uniqueness, quirks, and “imperfections” that make you, “you,” to shine through, and that beautiful authenticity will surely be felt by all who enter!

This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.