A Vacation Rental in Bend, Oregon

It all started when...

In December 2011, against our friends’ advice we bought an old, rickety, fixer upper home on the west side in Bend, Or.  It needed new everything, but the house had so much character that we were hooked on old houses and Seth and his uncle started buying homes and transforming them, giving them new life.

Fast forward to December 2012 and in the middle of the recession this funky little duplex close to downtown came up for auction.  We looked at it and though at the time it looked like a dump, we saw a ton of potential. After a ruthless bidding war, Seth and his uncle were able to walk away with the keys. And that’s how it all begun.

This little house was full of character, it was built in the 20’s and it turns out it had been built to house mill workers from  Shevlin-Hixon Lumber Company and Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Company, who had competing mills across from each other (with the Deschutes River flowing between them); which explains why it was built as a small duplex. The mills were the primary industry in Bend at the time and having workers living close by proved handy.

This small bit of history created the backdrop for our vision. It was really easy to get behind this too, especially since Seth’s family has a logging background so it just made it that much more unique.  His grandpa was a logger, as were his dad and his uncle at various times in their lives, sometimes even all working together.  It was a no brainer that we had to honor the house’s milling background, but it needed to serve modern day needs, and it needed to have a twist otherwise it just wouldn’t be us, somewhere between a mill house and a modern cabin with a mixture of comfort, character and practicality.

To top it all of  Seth’s uncle found out that his friend had just acquired two trees that had naturally fallen on the McKenzie Hwy: a Doug Fir and a Chinkapin. They would both be enough for all the woodwork needed in both units so the kitchen, counters, trim and benches in both units are all made from one single tree respectively.

We had discussed that we wanted one side to pay homage to the era the house was built in (No1), and the other side to be more modern and rugged (No2) giving each side its own personality.  We foraged countless of thrift and antique shops from Jacksonville, Or to Portland, Or in search of unique and functional pieces to mix in with others from big box stores.

Working on this house has been one of the highlights of our careers, but what was interesting was the palpable sense of excitement from everybody working on it. From the floor guys to the landscapers, from the cabinet maker to the painters. Everybody seemed so excited to be working on this little millhouse.

Right from the beginning we knew this home was meant to be shared and designed it to be a place that would trigger our guests’ curiosities and a place where they could create memories. A place full of character, history, comfort, in a city where adventure and fun abounds.

If you’d like to read a detailed recount of our remodeling journey head to our old blog: https://heylenthienes.wordpress.com/category/jefferson-millhouse/