Self-sufficient sanctuary

It's unlike any other house in the Rogue Valley, this "hybrid" that sits in the Neil Creek/Eden Farms area south of Ashland. Each "block" is a different shape and color, tied together with a dark roof and dark-brown, inset windows. The 3,500-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bath home is gently geometric, softened inside by arched doorways and curved walls.

"The home combines the beauty of form with the efficiency of function equal to that of our age," says homeowner Steve Sirianni, whose years of living abroad (including stints in Japan and Italy) exposed him to new ideas about how to create and live in a space.

Elements of a hybrid house

To assist Steve and Lynda Sirianni manifest their vision of a pan-ethnic home with a unique design, Carlos Delgado, owner of Carlos Delgado Architect in Ashland, listened closely.

"Lynda came to the first meeting and brought photographs of Southwest architecture, and Steven was like a kid in a candy shop with so many different ideas," recalls Delgado.

After spending a couple months in the design phase, Delgado and the Siriannis settled on a stark, boxy house that could be further customized with curves and colors.

"I knew Steve was going to take it and run with it, so I kept it to diagonal lines that wouldn't conflict," says the architect. "I wanted to keep typical-shaped rooms, so he could play."

Signature traits of the Siriannis' home include distinct areas separated by defining spaces and an eclectic blend of eco-friendly building materials, including Faswall (made in Philomath from 85 percent recycled wood chips and 15 percent cement), SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels made with a core of rigid, foam insulation sandwiched between skins of oriented strand board) and regular construction.

"Not many houses are done with that mix, and I really wanted the exterior to demonstrate the different materials, which can be very difficult to marry together," says Delgado. "Steve blended them in using colors."

Innovative design and materials aren't right for every project.

"It would be great for people to understand that Steve really did experiment, that mixing and matching is a tricky thing, and 'going green' is risky business," explains Delgado. "Because Steve's the builder, he made it his pet project, so there wasn't a risk."

When an unconventional approach is desired, homeowners are advised to search for a builder who's experienced in their chosen architectural style and building materials.

"They should believe in your ideas, too," says Delgado. "Because it's the builders and subcontractors who really make it shine."

Sirianni, who owns Walls of Time Builders in Ashland, and wife, Lynda, purchased the 1.25-acre lot five years ago. After scrapping two earlier designs, they settled on a south-facing house situated on the lot's north end; they took their ideas to Ashland architect Carlos Delgado, who helped mesh the couple's mission for unconventional eco-innovation with permits and planning requirements.

"It all started from a permaculture perspective; we really want to be completely self-sustaining, growing our own food and generating our own energy," says Sirianni, who insisted on passive solar heat, geothermal-assisted, in-floor heat, no air conditioning and a 28,000-gallon water-catchment system. Lynda Sirianni describes the latter as a "huge cement pool" that sits under the house and holds a combination of well water and rain.

Exterior walls are either stucco or siding — made with repurposed wood from the Ashland High School gym — and the main floor's 1-foot-thick interior walls "breathe" thanks to the employment of "papercrete." A blend of cement, lime and newspapers poured over framing blocks, papercrete makes for efficient insulation and durability.

More than 25 colors are used throughout the house, starting in the deep-purple entry with its deep-blue ceiling and elegant, Spanish, crystal chandelier. Steve Sirianni's office, painted a mottled shade of green, is on the right, and the pale-pink great room beckons through a Mexican-inspired, scalloped arch.

The great room's shed roof tops out at 16 feet along the south wall, allowing for plenty of passive solar heat through two sets of patio doors and several windows. Great wooden ceiling beams salvaged from Bellview School in Ashland and a custom, 8-foot-tall entertainment center — made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified birdseye maple and bamboo — on the east wall give heft to the combined living, dining and kitchen space.

The same wood combination is used for kitchen cabinets and an L-shaped island, all capped with whimsical Glasscrete counter tops made in Cave Junction. A white farmhouse sink goes modern with an industrial Italian faucet; other contemporary touches include a Wolf range with Viking hood, a Viking dishwasher and Sub-Zero fridge.

Although the rest of the main level's flooring is finished concrete, the Siriannis installed recycled, Southeast Asian rosewood on the kitchen floor, lending visual warmth and a little padding.

Lynda Sirianni's colorful touches — pink vinyl seats on antique, turned-wood dining chairs; an eye-catching Andy Warhol statue perched atop the curved corner pantry; and numerous vibrantly painted trunks — seem to flirt with her husband's inspired design.

"I like the mix of industrial and Old World," she says, "but the lighting was the most challenging part." She chose cable-suspended, stainless-steel track and pendant lights for the kitchen and simple, oval-shaped sconces for the great room's large south wall.

"I didn't want to take away from the details everywhere else, like the arches."

Indeed, more arches are visible through a rectangular doorway on the great room's west wall, where an ample stairwell divides the socializing part of the house from more private areas.

"I try to have a visual and energy 'stop' between areas," explains Steve Sirianni. "I went with a really simplistic line for the stairwell, with square pillars inspired by a church."

Brown Japanese tiles, found at Habitat for Humanity's ReStore in Medford, line the stairs leading to an upper playroom, guest room and bedroom wing for the Siriannis' two daughters. Each bedroom features a custom, paper chandelier, a private loft and colors chosen by the girls. Romy, 8, went with blue, and Pyper, 13, picked purple. The super-girly, Frenchified, pink bathroom has an arched bath, a white double vanity with black granite counter and a show-stopping crystal chandelier.

Back downstairs, to the west of the stairwell, is a breezeway that offers awesome views of Rattlesnake Butte and wandering wild peacocks. Lynda Sirianni's art studio and the "Mexican bathroom," with its rough-edged travertine shower and yellow Imperial plaster walls, are located here.

"Le chambre" is accessed through a cool, vibrant-purple hallway, past a generous double closet and under an Old-World groined arch. A flexible bamboo screen provides privacy for the bed, which stands alone, lit by oil-rubbed-bronze sconces and a north-facing picture window.

"All the wall colors take on such a soft feeling at night," says Lynda Sirianni. "It's a very calming and serene room."

Serenity reigns in the master bath. A walk-in steam shower with green-gray subway tiles and glass-block accents joins a Peruvian walnut vanity with Glasscrete trough sink and a soaking tub surrounded by Labradorite. Exposed aggregate in the concrete floor completes the room's "Japanese-spa" aesthetic.

Although the Siriannis originally envisioned a smaller home, they are thrilled with their finished product.

"We wanted to stay at 2,500 square feet, but you have to think about the future and the way things are going," says Steve Sirianni. "What if the kids don't move away and we end up doubling or even tripling up? We really built this home for my grandchildren's grandchildren."

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