Where Asian and Lodge style meet in the Northwest
Sally Salsig knew that moving from 19 acres of rolling, lake-peppered terrain in Northern Minnesota to the relative high desert of Southern Oregon wasn't going to be easy. But in 2003, when she and her husband, Winter, set eyes on the large, pie-shaped lot with its gracious, lodge-style home in east Medford, something told her everything would be all right.
"We were looking for a one-level and when we walked into the entryway here, we said, 'This is it.'" says Sally. "We both had an immediate liking — it has an open feeling that drew us in."
And they didn't even know the best part, yet. When their real estate agent showed them the house, she was so sure it would fit the couple's needs that she didn't even mention the fabulous pool, pool house/guest cottage and landscaping potential in the backyard.
"I've always wanted a little guest cottage, so that was perfect," Sally says, looking over the formal yard from the open-plan kitchen.
Along the back curve of the pool, Winter plays fetch with the couple's two miniature long-haired Dachshunds, Taksi and Tug. The private yard and added bonus of a rolling green lot that has been left undeveloped beyond the side fence lend to a palatial feeling, making the Salsigs' transition from a wilderness setting a little smoother — although Southern Oregon's weather doesn't hurt, either.
"He's 'Winter' only in name," says Sally with a nod toward her husband. "He likes the warmth here."
Moving into the Mike Pagnini-built, 2600-square-foot, three bedroom, two bath home presented a design challenge for Sally, whose previous home had been a very contemporary, architectural three-story structure. To fill their new house, they looked toward an almost "minimalist/Asian-meets-Northwest lodge" sensibility. The feeling starts at the entry, where 12-foot ceilings and saltillo tiles introduce Sally's interest in Asian antiques.
An Asian trunk faces visitors while a large gold disk above the trunk keeps the visual clean and just a little fancy. To the right are life-size sculptures of cranes, standing gracefully amidst a scattering of smooth stone. Chosen by Winter in San Francisco, they are an artistic surprise.
Further investigation of the spacious living room with its large fireplace reveals the depth of Sally's eclectic curios. An open cabinet and floating shelves display tiny, intricately decorated Chinese slippers (some of which were given to Sally by an aunt who lived in China in World War II), her grandfather's typewriter, a sampling of her abacus collection, African woven fish traps, Peruvian black clay masks, a darling lineup of oil cans and even Winter's childhood toy truck.
A Chinese painting table and elegant screen provide contrast to the curly maple end tables, rustic exposed ceiling beams and neutral lodge furniture in autumnal colors.
Completely open to the living room, the kitchen has a U-shaped island that serves as headquarters for most of the Salsigs' home life. Knotty pine cabinets and a wonderful nook add character; the latter has been turned into a "wine center" decorated with iron hooks, branding irons and other Old World collectibles.
Left of the entry is a relaxing den and guest wing, with two bedrooms separated by a guest bath.
To the right of the entry is the Salsigs' artsy bedroom, which Sally visually enlarged by mounting a three-way mirror directly onto the largest wall. Across from the mirror is an unexpected reading area with a pitched ceiling and soft chaise lounge. Bed linens are sophisticated silk shantung in plum with a spray of Asian-inspired florals.
The master bath illustrates Sally's appreciation for sleek lines and gorgeous materials. What was once a room dominated by four-inch white tiles and mirrors is now floored in rich saltillo tiles and surfaced in Euro fantastico granite. The granite — a mix of gray, black and cream — extends to the walk-in, glass-walled shower where a dramatic confluence of the stone's natural design meets in a three-way corner, creating a grotto effect.
More drama comes from Sally's addition of a glass brick section between the double sinks that frame a striking red orchid.
A third door in the bathroom leads to the backyard, which Sally and Winter have transformed into a mosaic of plants, shrubs and trees.
"It's evolved from a perennial garden with indigenous dark rock into a landscape of cactus," says Sally, who was inspired to combine desert flora with the azaleas, rhododendrons and ferns. A short stone wall keeps them neat, while two palm trees, several towering potted plants and a Japanese maple provide silhouettes as interesting as the home's roofline.
What was once a hot tub area is now a private dining space overlooking the sparkling pool. A new outdoor fireplace welcomes intimate evenings and the pool house, charmingly decorated with miniature porcelain dog statues that had belonged to Sally's father, and outfitted with bath, kitchenette and queen size bed, is a great place for guests to relax.
"Guests feel so comfortable out here," says Sally. "It gives them privacy and us privacy as well."
The entire backyard comes alive at night thanks to the fireplace, pool lights and a line of new, Asian-inspired copper FX Luminar lights that hug the pathways.
Designed to complement the Salsigs' quiet lifestyle and love of the outdoors, the patio and house both reflect serenity, calmness and an appreciation for beautiful objects.
"She's got a knack for making it our home," says Winter, just in from playing with Taski and Tug.
As the whole family — visiting guest and dogs alike — gathers around the kitchen island, it's clear this house is a sanctuary.