MOUNTAIN HOUSE REVEAL WEEK, DAY 3! (Quick catchup: So far, we’ve revealed the living room and entry, as well as the downstairs guest bed and bath suite.) If you want to know where I’ve been many weeks of this summer, it’s here, in the loft writing these posts and attempting to write my next book, due VERY SOON (check out the living room, and guest bed and bath reveal if you missed it). Despite being distracted by five groups of friends visiting over the summer, I’ve gotten a decent amount of writing done because this space is honestly inspiring. I wake up at 6 am (on a good day, the night before determines the exact hour) and write/work until 11 am which isn’t a full workday, nay, but for someone who is trying to enjoy the fruits of my labor (I’m turning 40, it’s about time) I feel like 5 hours while on “vacation” is pretty darn good. Welcome to the loft reveal. You get it. It’s my writing space and it’s everything I’ve ever wanted.
For anyone who’s been along on this journey the last year and a half, you’ll likely remember this “before”…orange wood ceilings and all:
The light was always so great up here, this lady just needed a makeover.
Our Goal for this Space:
I wanted to create a peaceful, calm room for me to write the blog and book, while being able to take breaks and stare at some trees, all while engulfed in beautiful wood. It’s a space that is free of clutter, with beautiful light and oh so cozy.
It’s quiet in every way, that is until those two children wake up, realize I’m working and then I have to make the following choice: let them manipulate me into putting on Wild Kratts (but mom, just until you are done working or daddy wakes) or they ask that I play princess/kitty/ninja with them (which I can’t say no to). By the way, isn’t life hilarious/ironic/cruel that there seems to be a few hours a day where you seem to be best at everything? For me, from 6 am to 11 am is when I’m the best mom, the best writer, the best leader, the best housekeeper, the best athlete…it’s the only time I like to work out and it’s definitely when I’m most creative. My brain often shuts down at 4 pm (only to wake back up at 9 pm) but at 6 am, I’m on point. So when they wake up at 6 am, it’s a real reckoning of choices. Workouts go out the window. Writing is disrupted. Parenting is hard.
But hey, I have a gorgeous writing space for hopefully one hour a day.
How We Accomplished It:
1. A neutral color palette. You walk up the stairs, turn the corner and ahhh. It’s so lovely and quiet. Most of this is due to the light and trees, so we didn’t want to distract from that and add a ton of color or pattern. It’s why we called this the yoga loft for months. I did approximately 12 minutes of yoga here one day, and thus birthed the name, but there is something that feels so peaceful about this space so it needed a neutral color palette to let the trees sing.
2. The desk is huge. I have a condition that I’ve historically referred to as “clutter body.” It stems from growing up driving in a car with six kids and so much stuff in every corner of the car, and you think you are fine. you think that all the stuff at your feet won’t bother you. But the longer you drive, the more your feet move and you kick things, and they shift, and you just want to stretch out SO BLOODY BAD but you can’t because you have so much stuff surrounding you, engulfing you. I called this clutter foot. Not sure if other people have this syndrome or if I invented the name. But it has grown into a much large problem—CLUTTER BODY. My team knows it well. While I create chaos, I also am allergic to it. It’s a form of claustrophobia. That’s all to say I need a big desk so I can spread out, and this one (from Article) is perfect. It’s actually a dining table, but if you are like me and like a big desk, IT’S GREAT. I LOVE it.
3. Seating. While technically I won’t be joined by many people up here, I like looking at that black vintage chair (previously seen in the living room but we realized it was PERFECT for this corner so we moved it up). In the other corner, we have my Target wingback (released last fall and it’s SO so good) and just creates a cozy vibe.
4. A cozy rug. This area would be far too echo-y without a rug, and this rug is one of my favorites that I’ve used many times (here in Portland, and also Jess picked it for her living room). We shipped it down after the Portland project because I loved the way it looked in the living room there. I didn’t know what we would use it for, but alas it’s found a home.
5. Storage. I need somewhere to house all of my parenting and self-improvement books. That cabinet from Skagerak does it. Plus, it’s so pretty and has gorgeous hardware.
The wood. This space was pretty easy to decorate, the biggest problem was the tone of the wood. The original wood was so dark orange and after a year of trying to come up with a solution (remember when we walnut blasted it and then it created a super deep texture and became pink AND orange?). Brian Henderson was the one who figured it out. We recladded the tongue and groove (the horizontal wood pieces in between the rafters) and just sanded down the texture of the rafters (or beams). We used the same reclaimed beech wood as the flooring and cabinets throughout the house, from Ross Alan Reclaimed Lumber. I think this ended up costing about $7k in labor—or at least that is how we were quoted, but since we paid “time and material,” it might have taken more time and thus cost more. If it were on a normal ceiling, it wouldn’t have cost nearly as much, but because it’s so high, it required scaffolding which means you have to hire a company to bring it in, and then doing any work over your head just takes so much more time than say, recladding walls. But I’m SO glad we did it.
I love how the floor and ceiling meet now; it’s just so seamless. And the light in this space is south facing, and just incredibly dreamy all day every day. It never gets blasted.
The windows up here are obviously the star, and if you are just tuning in, they were replaced by Marvin, in their white oak. Obviously, they are stunning.
HOT TIP: Know the direction of your windows before you buy a house. There are so many houses on the lake that we drive by in our pontoon that get blasted by the sun all day every day so they have to keep blackout shades down all day. It’s not something you really think about when you are shopping for houses at 10 am, but especially in these houses with massive windows, it can be a real bummer to have to close off the house during the most beautiful times of the day.
I have been following the artist Joelle Somero for a while on Instagram and love her work, and after we featured her, she offered to make a piece for the house, which I LOVE. It’s pretty perfect up here on this quietly stunning Skagerak cabinet.
I snagged the mobile from the Atlanta project, and boy do I love it. The desk chair is vintage, from Midcentury LA and the lamp I’ve had for a while. If you are wondering where we plug it in, we snake it down the leg and we snipped the rug and fed it through to the outlet that we had placed below. You can’t tell at all.
I write mainly on a laptop so no need for a monitor up here, so while we did take it out for a few shots, you can see it above.
One of my favorite things about the house is the railing. It’s not something that most people notice, but I just think it’s so beautiful. My team, this time led by Velinda Hellen, helped execute the design and we had to find our own fabricators for it which was a challenge. It was installed directly into the wood flooring, and due to code (and safety which we were big on), it is as minimal as possible while still being safe. We put supports every few feet, and topped it off with maple (which was the same tone as the beech flooring).
Lastly, that Allied Maker sconce is so simple, modern and yet warm. Again, warm minimalism, modern mountain. That’s what we did here.
Where We Saved:
Most of the pieces up here are high end; I’m not going to pretend it’s a budget room, but the Target wingback chair and the IKEA side table are elevated by the rest of the pieces, and affordable. In this house, we tried to find a place for a lot of leftover furniture and rugs from other projects, so the rug, and vintage mobile and vintage lamp made their way into another space (this one).
How We Live In It/Has Anything Changed?
It’s pretty much exactly as you see it here. I might swap the lamps because the white mushroom lamp (from West Elm) I think is a better contrast with the mobile than the black vintage one, plus it gives off better ambient light. Otherwise, it’s EXACTLY the same. I love this space very very much.
Now, time for some side-by-side before and afters:
If you are into anything that we used to design it, here are all the resources:
White Oak Contemporary Windows by Marvin | Beechwood Flooring and Tongue and Groove Ceiling Cladding by Ross Alan Reclaimed Lumber | Antique Bronze Light Switches by Forbes & Lomax | Wall Mounts by Alpine Metal Design (no longer available) | Beechwood Hand Rails by 3D Stairs & Wood Works | Balusters by 3D Stairs & Wood Works | Beechwood Stair Treads by Ross Alan Reclaimed Lumber
Jut Cabinet by Thomas Jenkins from Skagerak | Seno Dining Table (Desk) by Article | Guido Faleschini Desk Chair from Midcentury LA | Wingback Chair by Target | Side Table by IKEA | Black Tubular Chair from Pop Up Home
Art & Decor:
Citra Rug by Dash and Albert | Mobile from Antique Factory in Atlanta | Emily Abstract by Joelle Somero | Vase by Rejuvenation (no longer available) | Black Footed Tray from Lawson Fenning (no longer available) | Tall White Vase (on desk) from Lawson Fenning (no longer available) | Printed Throw Pillow by Target (coming soon) | Faux Fur Throw by Target (coming soon)
Of course, I wanted to give a great big thank you to my incredible team who made this house a possibility: Julie Rose, Velinda Hellen and Grace de Asis. Photos are by our own Sara Ligorria-Tramp, styled by me with help from Emily Bowser, Erik Staalberg and Veronica Crawford. Our contractor was Jeff Malcolm and our architect (that we used at the beginning of the project) was John Lyles.
Check out the rest of The Mountain House reveals here: The Kitchen | The Kitchen Organization | The Kitchen Appliances | The Powder Bath | The Living Room | The Downstairs Guest Suite | The Kids’ Room | The Hall Bath | The Upstairs Guest Bath | The Dining Room | The Family Room