Open the door to Laurel Walter's and Steve Brummett's chalet-style loft and let in the quiet splendor of the Siskiyou Mountains.
"The main floor is basically one big room with 18-foot ceilings, and that makes the house feel very open — like an open hand," says Walter, who co-owns Twist Designs in Ashland. "The world is all right out in front of me."
Built in 2005 and purchased by the couple a year later, the 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bath house sits on half an acre in what Walter calls "our little secret."
"This area was a surprise — a little pocket in Phoenix with a view like Switzerland," she says. "Fields and cows build up to mountains and we've got drop-dead views of Mount Ashland."
For the interior, Walter veered from her usual colorful style toward a more industrial and masculine approach. She brought in her Twist Designs partner, Jennifer Bright, and interior designer DeWayne Lumpkin, owner of Home Economics in Grants Pass, to help realize her vision.
"I call us the trifecta — we understand each other and have worked together for years," explains Walter. "A lot of the basics are mine and there are several custom pieces heavily influenced by them."
Walter's talent for creating fetching vignettes is immediately apparent in the 4-by-8-foot entry. Old schoolhouse lockers and repurposed YMCA bins line one wall for storage. A bench catches keys and bags and is sometimes dressed up with stacks of books. Accents include a metal structure supporting a papery, delicate beehive and a vest Walter picked up at a Turkish bazaar.
The entry's showpiece is a 1960s photograph of Brummett's father at work in a Detroit tool-die factory. "It means a lot to Steve, and I wanted to incorporate him into things because he's so open to letting me do what I do," says Walter. "It's really cool and was a good way to get the whole blended-family dynamic working."
A custom farmhouse table made by Lumpkin from a vintage table base and fir floor planks dominates the home's scenic southeast corner, flanked by two antique mannequin floor lamps and an eclectic ensemble of chairs. Walter added color with a brown, red, orange and green rug by Dash & Albert Rug Company.
"The schoolhouse light draws the eye to the raw pine ceilings," says Walter. "All the doors, trim and woodwork are fir and the floors are bamboo; the mixed wood gives even more of the ski chalet feel."
A door near the table leads to an east-facing deck, and all the windows are simply dressed in beehive shades; a nearby staircase divides the dining and living areas, leading to two downstairs bedrooms, a full bath, laundry and garage.
"When I walked in and saw the hood over the Wolf range, I thought it was a great architectural piece," Walter says of the stainless-steel centerpiece. "There's no better artwork, especially for an industrial look."
Brummett (the house cook) was extremely pleased with the chef-designed kitchen. Slate-look, porcelain, floor tiles over radiant heat provide coziness, while cherry cabinets and a variety of light fixtures add character to the vertical space.
"The schoolhouse look comes back with the vintage globes that wrap around the entire upper cabinets," says Walter. "We love to travel, and it's just inspiring to me — like the world with no borders."
A dining nook features schoolhouse stools and an old birdcage filled with ... tennis balls!
"Steve is an audiophile and blogger and, this being one big room, we didn't have a place for a studio," explains Walter. "So we carved out this little music space."
A table made from an old door defines the area. Lumpkin contributed a dentist's chair and a blackboard globe. Two Naugahyde chairs add a mid-century feel to the coffee table, which was constructed from a tree grate and yellow acrylic. The designers repurposed a vintage, circular nail bin into a combination album and book shelf.
Walter loves the whimsy of the "X07" bus-route light over the desk.
Take a Left
To the right of the entry is another homage to Walter's colorful side. A modern, lime-green, drum lampshade covers a 1950s-style, myrtlewood lamp atop an old, rusty table. "We scavenged bright yellow letters to spell out 'LEFT,' " says Walter, an avid reader who often decorates with numbers, letters, words and books.
Stretching across the back of the house is the couple's sizable, cottage-inspired master suite, decorated in neutrals with yellow accents. An old plane propeller takes flight over the suede sleigh bed, rising to a wall of cathedral windows. Alabaster lamps from Ashland Recycled Furniture are freshened up with drum shades Walter bought at Target, and Lumpkin made the table from a metal base and a slice of tree trunk found in Cave Junction. Lumpkin also found the little Chinese table with its crumbly, smoke-damaged top; Walter calls it her "most fabulous piece."
A Dash & Albert rug keeps feet warm, an old-fashioned dress mannequin from Bright keeps Walter company and a landscape by Rogue Valley artist Olga Prell speaks to the homeowners' love for contemporary art and travel.
"This eclectic mix of stuff all works together — it's not just all modern, all cottagey or all vintage," Walter says of her one-of-a-kind home.