Personality-plus in an Old World Shady Cove Home

Off the kitchen and past a hallway leading to a utility room and powder room is the couple's master bedroom. Blue takes center stage with three walls painted "Hydrangea Bloom" and a slighter darker accent wall in "Evening Glow."

Raising a family and running a business under one roof led Tony and Michelle McCullough to plot the perfect design for the contemporary Shady Cove home they bought and moved into a year ago. That meant matching their shared vision for a rustic, Tuscan-style retreat with home-grown touches of whimsy and a taste for high-tech equipment.

"It had really good bones, but it was all white walls and wasn't us," says Tony of the 2,500-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bath home. "For sure we wanted to be very welcoming, and when people come over, we want them to be able to put their feet up and just relax."

raising the roof

With one softly voiced request to his sound system, Tony McCullough's entire Shady Cove house can transform from a rustic Tuscan villa to what seems like the front row of an extra-loud Eagles concert.

The key to the amazing clarity and volume of the McCulloughs' entertainment center is advanced equipment and custom computer engineering.

"They got beautiful, unbelievable stuff that's pretty high-end," says Pearl Jones, owner of The Music Shop in Grants Pass, which supplied the McCulloughs' 7.1 Dolby Digital Surround System, Denon receivers and stereo, Klitsch speakers, two 50-inch plasma televisions and other equipment.

Each room was pre-wired for its part of the sound system, including in-wall speakers in the bedroom and on the front and back patios. A custom media center PC, built by Jason Austin of Falcon Development in Medford, allows Tony to control the entire sound system with his voice, arm gestures, a keyboard and mouse or a remote control.

"It looks like a stereo system, but it's actually a networked computer component that uses his TV as a monitor," Austin says. "Then I output the audio to his stereo system so he doesn't have computer speakers. When he plays music or DVDs or photos on his computer — like iTunes or vacation photos — the sound and images come through the stereo speakers and TV."

Tony's goal was to achieve a "very loud and very realistic sound," Austin says. The combination of excellent equipment and state-of-the-art computing deliver just that.

Costs for custom systems range from $4,000 to $10,000 for equipment and $2,200 up to $7,000 for media center PCs.

Working as their own design team, Tony and Michelle started with a few inspiration pieces, including a dramatic collection of heavy, dark furniture and a framed print in the entry that adds a touch of sky blue to an otherwise rich color palette.

"We're really attracted to the black and we always knew we wanted a red room," says Michelle, of the black furniture in the red formal dining room. The same white moulding and trim work flows throughout the home's variously colored rooms. Mustard yellow drapes, refinished and distressed "antiques" and luxurious flower arrangements lend the room an unmistakable grandeur.

Through the dining room is the kitchen, which also opens onto the living room and an eating nook nestled into a bay that looks onto an outdoor waterfall and playful landscaping. White chairs with red cushions are bright contrasts to the mocha-glazed cabinetry and wooden blinds.

Off the kitchen and past a hallway leading to a utility room and powder room is the couple's master bedroom. Blue takes center stage with three walls painted "Hydrangea Bloom" and a slighter darker accent wall in "Evening Glow." A light shag carpet and pocket pull fabric window shades lighten up the black bedroom set.

Blue, distressed paint dresses up what used to be plain oak cabinets on the master bath's double vanity. But the real stars of the bath are two dramatically oversized mirrors, custom built by Rogue River Glass & Screens, using thick moulding as frames. A chandelier and heavy wooden korbel shelving continue the Old World theme.

Back in the living room, comfort prevails. Chocolate brown leather and tan suede sofas crowd around a rich red rug. Apricot and brown walls lend a soft embrace, and a massive fireplace promises cozy evenings.

The beautiful mantel and surrounding cabinets (and all the closet organizers and other cabinetry throughout the home) were built by Robert Quintana and Brian Lockshaw of Robert Quintana Woodworks in Rogue River.

"We used alder and birch for most of the stuff, which can be painted to make it look antique like they wanted," says Quintana.

Such is the case with the living room built-ins that house the McCulloughs' entertainment center.

The custom sound system, controlled through a media center PC housed in the stereo equipment, is wired throughout the house, including front and back patios. In-wall wiring, hidden speakers and cabinetry built to match the interior make the system fairly innocuous — until Tony tells the computer to play a song and the whole house starts to move to the beat.

"I've always been into high-end technology and when we got the house, I decided I wanted a really great sound system," says the music lover.

Old World décor ends where the kids' rooms begin. Six-year-old Shealein's bedroom is a day at the beach with a turquoise cabana bunk bed, surfboard-shaped shelving, pink plaid accents and charming shantung and terry cloth curtains trimmed with white silk lilies.

Across the hall, on the other side of a tropical-themed bath, is eight-year-old Dakota's jungle bedroom. A trundle bed sports a grass-topped fort while exotic masks and wooden carvings look on. Grass skirting accents the windows and a friendly monkey mural keeps Dakota company.

The curtains for both bedrooms (and for the rest of the house) were fashioned by Michelle. Tony's mom, Ginny McCullough, painted the sky ceilings and murals for each of her grandchildren.

Upstairs is a 12 foot by 24-foot loft-style room transformed from a white-walled shell into an office where the McCulloughs run their freight brokerage company.

On one end, a French Country-themed seating area and large coffee table provides a play space for the kids while Michelle and Tony work from matching desks. File storage is available in the window seat which stretches along the southeast expanse of the room.

There's plenty of room to grow — as a family, as businesspeople and as creative interior decorators — in this whimsical, welcoming home.

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