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An Ashland bungalow embraces past, present and future

Originally built in 1915, the Ashland bungalow was in its sunset years. Nobody wanted it. It just sat there, its 1200 square feet, three bedrooms, one bath and unfinished attic slowly crumbling into the ground … until Jeff and Barbara Hamlett came along in 1999.

"You had to have either vision or a whole lot of money," says Jeff, who has been doing historic renovations for 26 years and owns Hamlett Construction Company in Ashland. "We had the vision."

Over the next six years, the Hamletts and their children, Phil and Nancy, patiently worked on a room-by-room renovation of their new family home. The final product, with a generous sprinkling of antiques, period textiles and vintage artwork, is so accurately rendered it was recognized with a Southern Historic Historical Society award in 2004.

"Our approach was to save the house from being torn down, to bring it back to life and add 21st century amenities," Jeff says. After setting the house on steel beams while a new foundation was poured, Jeff and Barbara turned their "dual and sometimes dueling" vision to the interior. "He's all straight lines and natural wood and I love floral so that's where we have to compromise," Barbara says of the couple's individual design styles.

To bridge the gap between rustic and "girlie," the Hamletts created a color palette that brings softness to the home's newly refinished fir floors. An intimate living room has light green painted panel walls that transition into a gold-hued dining room/kitchen space.

"We like to salvage old historic light fixtures, hardware and doorknobs," says Jeff of the early-1900s crystal green sandcast glass light that hangs over a handmade wooden trestle table. That's not all the Hamletts covet from the past. A stalwart walnut hutch from the late 1800s that originally stood in the Brockway General Store in Winston, Oregon, anchors the dining room. An old sewing cabinet in one corner and a Mission bench in another further reveal an eye for old-time collectibles.

After outfitting the dining room with a lemony coat of paint, gold wainscoting under the wall of windows and white trim, the Hamletts started on the kitchen. "I saw blue from a long time ago," says Jeff of the decorative patina-finished cabinetry. "And for countertops I wanted a classic look that was something different than granite."

He and Barbara chose Carrara marble with an extra-long overhang that expands the kitchen's working space without changing its original footprint.

"Jeff really wanted that look because he was going for an authenticity of era," says design consultant Bev Enright of Stone Tech Inc. in Medford, who helped the Hamletts make their final choice. And it's great for making bread and rolling out pastries, says Barbara.

Commitment to authenticity continues into the small main floor hallway. On the right is a miniature door that leads to a narrow stairway to the attic. Three hundred square feet of living space were added, making it a cozy bedroom. Straight ahead is the bathroom, where Jeff reconfigured the vanity on a diagonal for a more space-friendly blueprint. Chest-high wainscoting and hexagonal porcelain tiles are period touches, as are the original pull chains and vintage lighting. "We rewired everything but were trying to leave it as natural as possible without losing the convenience," he says.

Back in the dining room is another door, this one leading to Jeff and Barbara's master suite. A former bedroom has been transformed into a home office, carpeted in a burgundy fleur-de-lis textured rug that echoes the designs of the 1920s. More richness comes from gold walls, a vintage voter's box and the same picture rails, five-panel doors and little built-in cupboards that appear throughout the house.

"I like to call it our oasis," says Jeff of the attached bedroom and bath to which 236 square feet has been added. The former is serene and calming with a light rose fleur-de-lis carpet, sea foam green walls, floral linens and Barbara's handmade doll collection. The latter, accessed through a pair of windows that have been turned into a door, is rustic and colorful.

A clear story window cut into a 15-foot pitch on the large room's north side lets in views of Grizzly Peak. Burnt red paint brings in warmth and draws out the orange grain in a wraparound wooden band detail. "I didn't know what to do with the floor, so I just left it raw," says Jeff of the painted panels underfoot that are accented with yellow diamonds.

Pine cabinets built from a downed tree on one of Jeff's construction sites add function and an old sideboard with an inlaid sink adds form. Form and function come together in a gorgeous slate tile shower with tiny half-inch slate cubes on the floor.

From old to new, from fir floors to vintage fixtures and from siding to sideboards, this Ashland bungalow is moving into its second century of life in high style.

The Hamletts created a soft color palette that works nicely with the home's newly refinished fir floors. Light green painted panel walls highlight the lovely, period woodwork.