At Home in Northwest Crossing

Ridgeline Custom Homes brings Craftsman style to a couple’s dream home.

Diane Dunn knew she loved Craftsman style homes; so much so, she bought an empty lot behind her first Craftsman home in Bend’s NorthWest Crossing neighborhood so she could build another, hoping to make every last detail perfect the second time around.

Her first Craftsman sat on a smaller lot, and while Diane and her husband Rick enjoyed the house, she knew there were additional details, historically accurate to the style, that she would choose for her new home. She hired Ridgeline Custom Homes, a local company known for exquisite Craftsman-style homes, for her project.

The Dunn’s high-end Craftsman home, completed last summer after a year build-out, is 3380 square feet with four bedrooms and 3.5 baths. Diane says it’s her dream home, where she and Rick—empty nesters—will age in place. “We specifically designed this home so we could live on one level,” says Diane. “Two guest bedrooms are downstairs, but most of our living is done on the first level.”

Ridgeline Custom Homes followed Diane’s lead in pursuing a vintage Craftsman bungalow feel and look, beginning with decisions about placement of the home appropriate to the lot and the neighborhood. The NorthWest Crossing neighborhood is intentionally planned to have medium-to-high density, with ample green space, such as large parks. It also includes a mixed-use village center, which anchors the neighborhood to small restaurants, bistros and businesses.

From an aesthetic standpoint, the neighborhood on Bend’s Westside has a strict building code that all architectural designs must reflect a vintage American style, such as Craftsman, Prairie, American Four-Square and Mid-Century Modern.

Ridgeline Custom Homes has been building homes in Central Oregon since 2002, and is one of two-dozen guild builders approved to build in the NorthWest Crossing neighborhood.

It was a marriage of the perfect location and the perfect builder for the Dunn’s home.


2215-lolo-dr_0075_401_600An Iconic Style

The American Craftsman architectural style is often described as simple, elegant, well made and always welcoming. First built in California in the beginning of the 1900s, as an offshoot of the British Arts and Crafts movement, American Crafstman homes emphasized the handmade over the mass-produced. During that time period, England was in the throes of the Industrial Revolution, and artists and wood workers’ crafts were being displaced by mass production.

In America, Gustav Stickley (known primarily for his furniture designs) started a magazine, The American Craftsman (1901-1916), that extolled the virtues of quality workmanship over mass production. During the run of that magazine, the company put out more than 222 American Craftsman design plans for homes, which provided home templates for America’s burgeoning middle class. Before this time, craftsman details in a home were reserved for the rich.

What these original homes all had in common was an open floor plan, using plenty of natural materials, which included hand-crafted, built-in furniture. “The house should be constructed in harmony with the landscape and natural materials,” Stickley once wrote in his magazine. Consequently, the houses were also designed with an abundance of windows so that the view would be as much a part of the home as any of its elements.

The American Craftsman style has stood the test of time—as original Craftsman homes still stand throughout the country—and its timeless design philosophy is as applicable today as it was at the end of the beginning of the 20th century.

Ridgeline Custom Homes designer and co-owner Nate Connolly has long been in love with the Craftsman style. “A truly well done Craftsman, like this home, will have genuine, quality workmanship throughout,” he says. “Being a carpenter by trade, I love to see quality millwork showcased, with its fine finishes. What makes it the real deal is attention to the little details; every nook and cranny is finely finished, and you can see the labor that was put into it. Because of budgets and time, you don’t always see this kind of craftsmanship any more.”

A Walk Through Time

The entrance to the Dunn’s low-pitched, wide-overhanging, gable-roof home is several feet above the sidewalk and street level. The home is set back, up a slight hill, giving the couple plenty of privacy.

In tune with the welcoming style of Craftsman homes, the Dunns have a full, deep porch that runs the length of the façade, which enables the couple to take in the neighborhood while sitting in their wicker chairs in the warmer months. The entryway has a built-in window seat, and it opens up to the expansive and light-filled great room.


2215-lolo-dr_0106_401_600The workmanship is evident at the very entrance of the Dunn home. The home’s woodwork also includes six-inch window casings and ten-inch baseboards. “You just don’t see that kind of detail in newer tract homes,” says Connolly. “This house probably has the most detailed millwork as in any house we’ve built.”

Drawing on the the philosophy of blurring the lines from the indoors to the outdoors, the south-facing wall is made up of a wall of windows and sliding French doors that provide an unbroken view to the landscaped, fenced backyard. Clerestory windows (high windows above eye level) and French doors provide even more natural light into the great room, which has vaulted ceilings. “Two of those clerestory windows automatically open, to provide cross ventilation to the house,” explains Diane.

Opening the large, south-facing windowed doors creates additional space, allowing a summer party to be held both inside and outside. Diane had a pergola built over this patio area, to help provide shade from the sun.

Opposite the wall of windows is a rock fireplace that anchors the great room. The white mantel is balanced with a large taper column reaching the ceiling, in a design that matches the columns that front the porch. Next to the fireplace area is a wall with beautiful stained glass panels, custom-made for this home by Bend glass artist, Richard DeWilde. “I thought instead of a solid wall here, it would be better to break it up with these stained glass windows, which gives that hallway behind this wall more light,” explains Diane. The effect is beautiful; light from the hallway shines through and gives the great room a sparkle.

Felly Smith of Fiddleback Furniture crafted all the cabinetry and built-in furniture throughout the house, including white streamlined cabinetry with black reproduction antique pulls in the kitchen. The kitchen is self-contained but openly connected to the dining room and great room. It has a farmhouse feel with its white paneled ceiling and tongue-and-groove wainscoting walls. The corner window above the sink opens up to a view of the side yard. All the appliances, except for the stainless steel oversized range, are panel-ready, keeping the Subzero refrigerator and dishwasher nicely hidden behind the white cabinetry, to preserve the period-style kitchen.

The white paint tone keeps the kitchen light and bright, but contrasts nicely with the black, honed granite countertops. A large multi-use kitchen island is used for breakfast dining, and also serves as a barrier between a food prep area and the great room. Above this island is a hanging reproduction Tiffany lamp, consistent with the Craftsman time period. Though the kitchen is not large, the open layout is designed to bring a sense of spaciousness. Diane, who hosted a party for 60 here, says the open floor plan is perfect, because whenever you throw a party, everyone ends up in the kitchen area.

The kitchen opens up to a light-filled dining room with a built-in sideboard and wine hutch. Six-and-a-half foot windows and detailed millwork make the room stand out.

Connolly says, even with the open floor plan, the intention was that each room still felt like its own space, which was accomplished by putting different ceilings in each of the open rooms. “The great room has the large, vaulted, stucco ceilings, the kitchen has the wood paneling and in the dining room, we put in boxed panel ceilings,” explains Connolly. “You’ll also notice every wall has a destination point of interest, whether it’s the windows that draw your eyes outside, or the fireplace wall. Each wall has balance—a pleasant place the eyes can go.” The point of interest is often subtle in this Craftsman house, and that’s the beauty of this understated dwelling.

The simple but elegant master bedroom is accessed down a small hallway from the entrance foyer, and painted a color by Denton Paints called blue dolphin, which contrasts beautifully with the white millwork. Diane found a crystal chandelier to hang in this room, and crown molding surrounds the room, with a lower picture molding paralleling it. “In the old days, when these homes were first built, they put in this extra picture molding, because it would allow people to hang their pictures from this wood instead of putting nails in the stucco,” explains Connolly.

The master bathroom is thoroughly modern with separate his-and-her marble vanities and sinks. A large, freestanding, white porcelain soaking tub separates the vanities. What gives this bathroom the wow factor is the 15-foot ceiling, but the wood paneling and the additional clerestory windows above the vanities allow natural light to flood the room and keep the space from feeling cavernous. The oversized shower opposite the bathtub is enclosed in glass and tiled with white subway tiles. An inlay of matching marble from the vanities is at the center of the spa shower.

Adjacent to the master bathroom is the 15-foot high, walk-in closet, which contains three tiers of racks all around. A sliding ladder held up on a rail allows the Dunns to reach the highest racks. This is a big improvement from vintage Craftsman designs, where closets were never built to this magnitude.

A special powder room allowed Diane to put her creative skills to work. She found an antique bureau that she thought would make a perfect piece to hold a bathroom sink, in which she added a reproduction waterspout fixture.

An additional two bedrooms and bathrooms were carved downstairs. To construct the downstairs basement living area, the Dunns had to excavate 11 feet of earth before they even began to build. “Before we built the house, we had this great big hole on this property,” recalls Diane, who was grateful they didn’t hit any lava rocks. One of the bedrooms serves as Rick’s office, in which a queen size Murphy bed was built into the wall, so it can be converted into an overflow guest bedroom.

The family room is also down in the basement area, where Diane has plenty of toys neatly stored for her grandchildren. From the family room, another door leads outside to a private alcove and spa. Privacy is created by a berm of landscaped gardens, providing a natural wall. “This house sits on an extra large lot, so we were able to create this private outdoor space, making a sunken patio,” explains Connolly. “It’s pretty unique.”

The Dunns are thrilled with their historically accurate, new custom construction home, which exudes all the character of yesteryear with the creature comforts of the 21st century. Says Diane, “Every day, we love this house.”

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