The Owl's Nest
- Cliff Newell
- Lake Oswego Review - News
One of the most remarkable things about Barbara MacIntosh's home is how it gives people a sense of déjà vu.
'It looks so old,' MacIntosh said. 'People try to remember when they've seen it before.'
But they haven't. Not unless they've driven on Fairway Road in the past year. It may look like a prime candidate for the Lake Oswego Historic Home Tour, but it is not.
Dubbed by MacIntosh as 'The Owl's Nest,' the home's construction was completed only late in 2007.
Still, if its looks are deceiving, The Owl's Nest communicates a true feeling of old Lake Oswego when the first English-style country homes were built back in the 1930's. It's a vision in brown, built entirely in aged-looking wood, with just a touch of Lakeridge High School blue.
'I call it my blue moon,' MacIntosh said of exterior round vents. 'It's part of my whimsy with our all-brown house.'
Still, it helps make the house 'look like it's been there forever.'
'It's like one of those romantic English country homes,' MacIntosh said. 'We wanted to bring back that Old Oswego feeling. We wanted to be responsible to this neighborhood and make our neighbors feel good. It is not one of those 'McMansions.'
'We've received tons of compliments on how nicely this home has fit in.'
More irony: MacIntosh and her husband Brian and son Chris lived for years in the home right next door to The Owl's Nest. That home, built in 1937, was on the first Historic Home Tour. But the couple decided they wanted a smaller dwelling.
'It was so convenient,' MacIntosh said with a laugh. 'I could always see what was going on with the builders and could always talk to the person I wanted.'
It must be said that Riverland Homes, the builders, incorporated items into the home that bring delight to the MacIntosh family.
Most unique is the bocce ball court (sort of an Italian type of bowling, popular since the days of the Roman Empire) that has already provided a special sort of fun for MacIntosh and her friends.
'It is so nice to sit down and drink wine and play bocce ball,' MacIntosh said. 'It is so European, there's a very European feeling about it, even though the court is brand new. We want to get in some tournaments in the spring.'
Also highly favored by MacIntosh is the giant birdbath, which she based on the one at the home owned by Wallace Huntington in Donald - the oldest home in the state, she said.
'It is really fun to sit in the dining room and watch the birds land and bathe,' MacIntosh said.
However, MacIntosh has to keep her eye peeled for a water-loving Labrador puppy that lives down the street, who happens to love the birdbath.
'I have to chase him,' MacIntosh said. 'He's so heavy and solid that he would break it.'
In the interior of The Owl's Nest, MacIntosh builds even more on the old Oswego feeling - 'a lot of gracious infill.' She has even taken great care with the light fixtures, avoiding recessed, or 'canned,' lighting and choosing antique light fixtures from shops throughout Oregon.
Brown also reigns in the chocolate-brown dining room, with floors done in character grade oak. A little wear and tear only makes the floor look better.
'Anyone who has ever had a dog or a kid knows what I mean,' MacIntosh said. 'I've embraced the damage. The character is already there, and adding more is fine. It's much nicer than regular oak flooring and has much more character.'
Even better, MacIntosh noted, it was cheaper than regular oak flooring.
If The Owl's Nest seems a little too good to be true, credit MacIntosh, whose vision of her home combines artistry, taste and tenacity.
However, she did offer a peek inside the guitar-strewn room of her son. It is typical of a 16-year-old boy, and after all of the gracious perfection it comes as a relief.
But The Owl's Nest has had some real challenges for MacIntosh. Built entirely of wood, it looks like heaven for woodpeckers, and sure enough MacIntosh began to have trouble with the pesky feathered varmints.
But MacIntosh is practical as well as artistic.
'I put up some plastic owls from Home Depot to scare the woodpeckers away,' MacIntosh said.
Certainly, the owls don't diminish that 'warm, homey, old Oswego feel.' They also helped MacIntosh give her home a very fitting name.