Family nostalgia mixed with "good bones" makes Jim and Carol DeKorte's 1964 rancher an authentic example of Rogue Valley architecture and lifestyle. Remodeled in the late 1990s, this 4,000-square-foot home features three original fireplaces, rare redwood ceiling beams and slate floors.
When the DeKortes moved into the house in 2004, they decided to capitalize on its 40-year-old pedigree by creating a "country cottage" interior that relies on the many era-specific design elements.
Living in the country often translates into less need for full window coverage — especially when there's a wraparound view of the Rogue Valley. To find a balance between bringing the outdoors in while keeping warmth and privacy, Carol and Jim DeKorte decided on several solutions.
"I don't need a lot of window treatments because of my location," admits Carol. "But I still like some sense of coverage."
Even when closed, the roller screen shades on the kitchen's French doors let in lots of light. Vinyl backing give the Hunter Douglas shades durability while the grass cloth front adds style to the brick, slate and redwood room.
She chose a brick red cut velvet valance to coordinate with the facing fireplace. A strand of beads hand-sewn to the material's edge delivers a luxe touch.
To accessorize a stretch of floor-to-ceiling windows in her living room, Carol hung cut jacquard drapery side panels at each narrow bit of wall, trimming them with beads and decorative rods. Heritage lace curtains add romance to the attached music room.
"They're ready-made and not too expensive, depending on how many panels you use," says Carol. "But don't use too many — a few will give depth, but you still want the pattern to show."
A variety of materials and flourishes create a window wardrobe that still provides this country-loving couple their days in the sun.
"Why destroy any of it?" asks Carol. "When you remodel these houses with these good bones, you need to decide which things to keep for historical value."
The kitchen's gray-toned slate flooring and red brick wall outfitted with an Avalon wood burning stove insert create a warm, welcoming atmosphere. It's all brought closer by relatively low ceilings that are striped with clear heartwood beams. Carol painted the room's other three walls a soft brick color, leaving the exposed ceiling white for contrast.
Gray Corian surfaces on the countertops and island match the floor while keeping the décor true to its pre-granite, 1960s roots.
The big change in this hearth-centered space was a major cabinetry upgrade. Custom knotty hickory built-ins with ribbed doors add to the country cottage look, while adjustable, rolling shelving keeps each cabinet tidy and accessible.
"They wouldn't have used knotty wood back then because it wasn't considered desirable," says Jim. "But the beauty of this wood is in its imperfection."
Slate floors reach from the kitchen along a short hallway to the rarely used front entry, which separates a 70-foot stretch of plushly carpeted living space. The generous living room opens onto a sweeping valley floor view on one side and is enclosed by a second brick wall and fireplace on the other.
A third wall anchors a formal dining area, decorated in Carol's signature nostalgic style.
"When you're married for 40 years, you've got a lot of goodies," says Carol. Her goodies include a long Duncan Phyfe mahogany table refinished by Jim and set under an antique Austrian crystal chandelier handed down from Carol's family.
Two hutches display Jim's mother's old country rose-patterned china and a wall-mounted wooden rack is the base for one of Carol's vintage vignettes.
"This is a collection from my grandparents, who moved to Fern Valley Road from North Dakota in the 1940s," Carol says. "It's all the beautiful things she made, tatted and crocheted."
Across the entry is the DeKorte's music room. Here, a grand piano, cushy chairs and lace curtains set the scene in front of an enormous, stone-faced fireplace. Jim's model train snakes around the piano's legs as photographs of the couple's "antique relatives" gaze from atop a turn-of-the-century scalloped corner table.
Three large bedrooms on the north side of the house offer more country charm, especially the guest room with its handmade quilt, gingham dust ruffle and screen accessorized with hats and nightgowns from the 1950s. Carol's doll collection animates the softly decorated master bedroom and a sweet vignette of baby clothes adds cuteness to the third room.
"Neutral" is the directive in each of the baths, where knotty hickory cabinets provide plenty of storage and glass block panels let in natural light.
Carol and Jim love the home's corridor-style, single-level floor plan that puts rooms "right where they're supposed to be."
This is the first home the couple has lived in that Jim (a semi-retired general contractor) didn't build. Calling their remodeled rancher a "culmination of those six beautiful custom houses," Carol considers it a real gift.
"To come in and have had it all done for me was a treat," she says. "In all the other homes, I planted trees for the future owners. When we got here, there were 40-year-old trees just for us."
"Us" includes the DeKorte's daughter and granddaughter, who live in a nearby house and board horses at River Valley Ranch — a pasture, arena, round court and big red barn with 20 stalls on the property.
The whole family pitches in to keep the acreage and ranch vital and running.
"There's a lot of responsibility to owning a ranch — it's work and we have lots of lawn to mow," says Jim. "But I like the openness and being away from everybody and it's just a fun place to live."
Homey, comfortable and nostalgic, the DeKorte's ranch-style home captures the outdoorsy, country spirit of Southern Oregon.