Mountain Retreat

 A European-inspired and outdoor-oriented home in Southwest Bend

Bend, Oregon, is defined by its outdoor charm and adventurous attitude. Surrounded by forests and volcanic peaks, resident explorers are invited to play in nature. Therefore, it is only fitting that many Central Oregon homes take inspiration from the outdoors in both form and function.

The Mountain Retreat home is such a home, set in a neighborhood defined by finely-crafted homes, Deschutes River gorge views and the Cascade Mountain skyline, known as Mountain River Estates. Seventeen of the nineteen houses built on the street, including the Mountain Retreat home, were built by father and son Jesse and Aaron Alway of Alway Homes. “Each house has a unique look,” explains Aaron Alway. “But together, the neighborhood is very cohesive and offers familiar architecture throughout.”

Winner of Best Architecture Design and Best Feature on the 2014 Central Oregon Builders Association Tour of Homes, the Mountain Retreat house employs the European/Old-world style the Always are known for, and simultaneously pays homage to Oregon’s sawmill history with wood accents throughout.

The roughly 2600-square-foot house was designed by Muddy River Design in Bend, and Jesse and Aaron Alway were given free rein to craft the home based upon the wishes of an outdoorsy Californian father and son looking for a second home.

A stained concrete driveway and front walkway leads visitors away from the street and towards the home. A waist-high metal gate acts as a faux-separation between the new world left behind and the old world that awaits. The exterior of the home combines dry-stack stonework walls, black handmade shutters, reclaimed barnwood siding and stucco to create its front facade. Passing through the gate leads you to the first sign of an outdoorsman’s home. A hand-carved mahogany front door, created by local Old Creek Company, shows an athletic fish jumping out of water on the front side, and a majestic buck beneath a mountainous backdrop on the inside.

Entering the home, visitors might immediately guess the builders are world travelers by the European features that accent the design. Exposed reclaimed beams, cross-curved ceilings and windows framed by reclaimed wood sills adorn the majestic abode. A terra-cotta-orange ceramic tile floor, laid out in a herringbone pattern, lies at your feet, while the first of many arched ceilings simulate a castle’s open feel. Glass double doors to the left open to an oak-floored front office. Further adding to the expansive feel of the house, a see-through fireplace gives an advance preview of the living room.

A walk through the entry to the living room reveals double chandeliers and more exposed beams. Culled from a retired sawmill on Oregon’s coast, the living room beams are married together to create unique cross supports. Jesse Alway got the idea for the beam design from a neighbor in his Colorado youth, who, unable to afford a long beam for his house, connected multiple beams to achieve the required distance.


Situated adjacent to the living room, the kitchen is a microcosm of the house, combining old-world design and modern appliances. Alder cabinets from Bend’s Made To Order Woodworks frame the German-made DCS appliances, while the six-centimeter chiseled-edge granite slabs with diamond plate backsplash surround the white farm sink. An island, housing kitchenware storage and fronted by stools, floats amongst the sea of oak flooring, canopied by a curved, brick-tile ceiling. No detail is spared, including the metal range hood, painted to match the woodwork.

The dining room connects to the kitchen and is highlighted by a deer-antler chandelier hanging from the wood-wrapped inverted soffit above. The hallways are marked with carved designs and closets enclosed by dark, hanging barn doors. The master bedroom features a walk-in closet and slate-tiled steam shower. Furniture-style vanities have toe-kick lighting. The light-colored, beveled-edge vanity countertop covers his and hers sinks. The Jack-n-Jill bedrooms share a tiled bathroom and come with in-room sinks. One of the bedrooms is used as an office and features a space-saving, custom-designed Murphy bed.

Sometimes builders follow design plans to the letter; other times there are a few modifications to be made. For the crew at Alway Homes, their award-winning second floor was carved out of client wishes and imagination. A walk up the cavernous stairs—completely wrapped in wood, from the oak steps to the reclaimed fir walls and ceiling—leads to an innocuous Missouri-Made custom safe door that opens to a gem of a hunter’s man-cave and workspace, a space that became COBA’s Best Feature award winner.

The centerpiece of this room is the custom-wood gun cabinet built to hold seventy-two rifles in magnetic slots. Cloth-lined drawers showcase the pistols. Meanwhile, tucked in a windowed gable, a custom wood desk serves as the reload station. And, what man-cave would be complete without an oversized leather couch and mini-refrigerator?

The main living areas are bookended on one side by an oversized two-car garage. The back patio opens out of the kitchen and comes complete with gas lines for the grill and heat lamp. On another side of the house, a stone fire pit sits in the middle of a rock-lined grotto, perfect for telling tales or planning mischief. This is where the adventuresome men who live at Mountain Retreat gather on a summer night, enjoying a home that truly lives up to its inspiration—the Central Oregon outdoors.

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