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Embracing subtle elegance

Metke Remodeling and Woodworking transforms a lake cottage into a contemporary oasis featuring crisp, minimalist details
by: SUBMITTED PHOTOS / FABIENNE PHOTOGRAPHY & DESIGN, The master suite has heated slate floors, walnut closet doors and outswinging doors to a balcony.

Upon entering Frank and Anouk Paulus' home in Lake Oswego, you'd wonder how often their family of four is actually there. No dishes are in the sink. No bookshelves or collectables line the walls. No pictures in picture frames. No drapes. No throw pillows on the couch. No door to the bathroom.

What is there?

Everything they adore - crisp, clean, minimalist architecture. White walls. Glistening stainless steel. Cabinets without knobs. A world without clutter.

When the Pauluses moved to Oregon from Holland two years ago they said they were drawn to Oswego Lake.

'It was so beautiful,' Anouk said. 'It makes us feel relaxed.'

After looking at 140 houses, they were infatuated with a lot off West Bay Road in Lake Oswego with a 'big tree in the back,' Anouk said.

So, when it went up for sale, they nabbed it and enlisted the help of Jeff Metke and his team of professionals at Metke Remodeling and Woodworking from Lake Oswego to remodel the lake cottage with small rooms and dark wood paneling. They wanted to create a bright, contemporary space with clean lines, a smart layout and neutral color pallet.

'It was planned that every room should see the lake,' Frank said.

And to build this vision, Frank said he was extremely pleased with Metke's crew because they researched Holland design practices and used many of those principals to build this home.

DESIGN: The 3,437-square-foot home was created for, 'living inside when it's cold and outside when it's warm,' Anouk said.

From the street, the home opens to the middle story containing the kitchen and great room.

'Everything is basic,' Anouk said, 'and has clean lines.'

The sun reflects off the stark white walls and white ceiling. There is no crown molding. Only the furniture - a long table with chairs, two sitting arrangements and three paintings - provide color to the museum-like space.

'The white walls really make the furniture and art stand out,' Anouk said.

A wall of doors opens out to an upper balcony. Anouk noted that doors in America - 'unless it's a commercial building' - open inward.

'When they open out you're extending yourself out,' she said. 'And (they) don't hit the furniture.'

Walls in the house do not contain crown molding to accentuate the sleek look of the walls and create the appearance of taller ceilings.

'In Holland they're (accustomed) to the doors having a very limited reveal,' Metke said, noting that to support these interior doors, door jams in the ceiling were placed above the door so it could pivot and was then covered with sheetrock.

Just off the kitchen and up a short flight of stairs is the master suite, which contains a bed and sitting area and attached master bathroom without a door.

'Why would we need a door?' Anouk said. 'It's our room.'

The lower level contains a guest quarters, a laundry area and Nina and Sophie's rooms - their 3-year-old twins.

Metke said that this project entailed a lot of work up front to make sure the Pauluses and Metke's team were on the same page.

'People interpret things differently,' he said. 'We had to always make sure we were both thinking the same thing.'

Like how the Pauluses wanted horizonal lines to be the same parallel in the space.

'If you look at the windows,' Frank said, 'they're all at the same height.'

MATERIALS: The home warms using radiant heat beneath 3-foot-by-3-foot imported Brazilian slate floors.

'Everything has to look clean, crisp and well thought through,' Metke said. 'It's all about that versus how 'showy' it is. They wanted big stone floors.'

'The big tiles make the room feel bigger, and it's peaceful,' Anouk said.

The kitchen features no upper cabinetry, no knobs on drawers and no freezer. Instead the Paulus' have two refrigerators flushed against a wall so they don't stick out into the space.

'In Europe you don't buy bulk food and store it in the freezer,' Metke said, emphasizing his client's focus on cooking fresh foods.

Minimal trim is used in the home and all doors are walnut.

'I love the look of the walnut against the white (walls),' Metke said. 'I love the fact that we were able to truly hear what the client wanted and execute it even though it was remarkably different than styles we had done before. And in so doing, be as enamored with that style as what we were used to.'

Metke refers to the light fixtures imported from Europe, unique shower drains and plumbing fixtures. Even the railings were a topic of conversation.

'Railings have to be continuous. Sometimes our codes don't make (the design) as visually pleasing as they could be,' Metke said. 'They wanted three straight chunks of rails of different rakes. Our code says we have to return them to the wall and have to be continuous and have to match the slope.'

BACKYARD: The backyard features a boat house which matches the exterior of the home, grassy area and tiered deck that runs the entire width of the house.

'The deck definately evolved,' Metke said. 'Part of that was sight-driven and how it cascades out to the grounds is really spectacular.'

At night, trees planted within the deck illuminate. Contemporary seating arrangements take advantage of the space.

The Pauluses have guests staying with them half the time, they said, and their open, yet private floorplan, allows visiting friends and family members to feel a part of activities but also able to enjoy a quiet retreat.

'The house feels like a hotel,' Frank said.

The Pauluses said they use the family room and kitchen area the most because it's so versatile.

'This way,' Anouk said, 'everyone can gather in one space. That was our whole idea for the house from the beginning.'

Metke agreed, saying the final design is sleek, modern and 'unbelievably warm.'

'This house is a celebration of limited detail,' Metke said. 'It's all about the lack of ornamentation. It's about the detail in its (pureness).'

For more information, visit the Web site at www.metkeremodeling.com .