Walking inside the home of Phoenix residents Terry and Vickie Helfrich is like happening upon a friendly conversation on a sunny afternoon. The spacious home tells a tale of the Rogue Valley's rich soil and Terry's love for his work as an orchardist.
From a view of sprawling orchards nearby to antique fruit labels and orchard keepsakes throughout the home, the very fruits that brought fame to the Rogue Valley add rich color and a sense of rustic appeal to the 2,400-square-foot home.
Terry designed and helped build the place he and Vickie, a teacher, have called home for 11 years. Tucked on one of Phoenix's steeper hillsides, neither could envision a building on the lot they first viewed back in 1995.
"When we first saw the lot it was like, 'Hmm"» well, how do you build on it?'" Vickie recalls. "I don't think we were too sure, but then we turned around and saw the view and we both said, 'this is it. This is the lot!'"
While the exterior of the home has a traditional Craftsman appeal, with various dormers and paned windows, a wraparound porch adds a touch of Americana to the charming two-story.
Up a set of wooden stairs and onto the porch, a friendly border collie leads the way through a pair of French patio doors. First impressions are far from a traditional "boxy" Craftsman. Throughout the home, a "no hallways" approach ties various living areas together with ample amounts of living and storage space.
"With a lot of the old Craftsman-style homes you have a lot of hallways and a lot of unused, dead space," Terry says. "We wanted to utilize as much space as we could."
At the center of the downstairs, a cozy seating area surrounds a reproduction of an old wood stove. To one side, a dining and kitchen area are seamlessly connected with shades of whites and greens — Terry's favorite color — from Coke bottle to emerald to olive. A simple ledge spans over a breakfast bar draped in red and green grapes.
Kitchen cabinets and flooring are done in simple pine. Throughout the kitchen, colorful vintage fruit labels, lithographs from the 1920s and 1930s, add rustic appeal. On a ledge above, tools used to tend the earth add rich character, from a century old pitch fork and retired smudge pot lighter, to a worn out "seeder" and a hen-shaped wire egg basket.
At the center of the kitchen, the couple's only oven, a 1925 Hotpoint, basks in shades of reds and greens.
Back out front, a set of winding stairs serves double time with a coat closet underneath and, inset into the wall, a control center for whole-house audio. In a master bedroom, a trio of large windows frames a view of the valley floor. Shades of green continue and a single rocker basks in a bright spot alongside a pale green antique armoire and an old trunk.
"This makes me think of the kind of a place Hemingway would sit and read a good book," Terry says of the sitting area.
Back in the living area and up the winding stairs, large windows are framed in brick red faux shutters. At the top of the stairs, a pool table offers a nice retreat. A girl's room is outfitted in cream colored walls with antique walnut furniture and a simple white down comforter.
A boy's room, which doubles as an office, is colored with traditional northwest flavor (pine trees and bears) with a Mission-style bed built by Terry (a footboard doubles as a trunk) and more green and red. Each room has its own vanity while a bathroom in between provides a laundry chute and shower.
Back downstairs, the front porch connects to an outdoor kitchen alongside a small pool. Nearby, an old deck was turned into flooring for a carriage house style workshop and potting shed.
Even after 11 years, Terry admits it's hard to imagine any other place to call home.
"Before they pounded a single nail, I knew how I wanted everything to be," he says.
"It turned out exactly the way I imagined."