Photos by David Papazian
Angela Todd of Angela Todd Designs describes her first visit to the home of Doug and Diana Boss as somewhat magical. “Daisy, their yellow Labrador retriever, came galloping toward me through the lush landscape and onto the blue stone pathway leading up the front of the house,” she recalls. “The springtime dew and aromatic budding shrubs and flowers were energizing. It is hard to explain in words, but all of my senses were aware this was a special place.”
The Boss family agrees. Their six-acre property near Oregon City is a mix of peaceful pine forest and welcoming open spaces. Diana, a pharmaceutical researcher, and Doug, who owns an equipment rental company that supplies the film industry, have spent their entire marriage on the parcel. It’s the only home daughters Darian, 11, and Darcy, 9, have ever known.
Although the family loved the property, their 2,600-square-foot home presented some challenges. Todd could see that immediately upon entering. In stark contrast to the energy of the outdoors, the interior felt heavy. The main living room had “miles and miles” of blank drywall, Diana says. “No matter how hard I tried, the room always felt cold.”
Another issue was the small, outdated kitchen. “I was hoping for a more inviting space for guests,”Diana says. “I wanted my home to feel elegant yet casual.”
Diana’s description of an atmosphere she hoped to achieve, rather than a precise set of instructions, was a perfect fit with Todd’s work style. “From my perspective, great designers are skilled empaths,” she says. “How a client sees good design is sometimes hard for them to articulate in words. If you aren’t a designer and don’t have a design vocabulary or the ability to draw your ideas, how can you accurately tell a professional what you want?”
Though comfortable, the old master bedroom felt awkward, with the headboard and posts projecting over the window casement and glass. The new one features a rustic-looking, wood-veneered “beam” to bring the polished farmhouse-style theme to the space along with a new bed, tailored bedding and more crisp window treatments.
She prefers to get to know clients, then use her intuitive ability to guide the whole design process. “Diana and Doug are both amazing people—very down to earth—and I wanted to give them a home that matched who they are,” Todd says. “What I appreciated most about them was that they trusted me immensely to bring their vision to life.”
Todd had some immediate thoughts about what to do with the interior. “I knew the Bosses’ home needed to be filled with more light,” Todd says. “It needed more texture and color, and I needed to sprinkle in the magic I felt outdoors.”
It was also going to need substantial remodeling. For that, Todd introduced the Boss family to Jeff Jones with Olson & Jones Construction. The general contracting firm has over 30 years of experience on remodeling and construction projects. Todd knew Jones was a kind and no-nonsense partner interested in helping designers and homeowners achieve their vision. She and Jones collaborated at every step to ensure the finished project looked seamlessly executed.
Before she starts any design project, Todd comes up with a theme statement. For the Boss family, it was “Farmhouse Whimsy.” These words helped her meet her goals of bringing the land indoors and expressing the playfulness of the family.
Although the focus of the project was improving the interior, the exterior also needed some help. Jones recommended taking small dormers off the back of the house and creating simple skylights that allowed sunshine to flow indoors. His team altered the front of the house and roofline so the front door became a focal point. They painted the exterior siding and replaced heavy river rock along the wainscoting with stacked stone.
To break up the large expanses of drywall in the great room, Olson & Jones installed Todd’s recommended millwork and new dark-stained ceiling beams. Small rail lights mounted along the beams helped brighten the space. So did 12 feet of sliding glass doors that replaced a small row of windows at the rear of the house.
The stones used outside show up again in one of the great room’s feature elements: a wood-burning fireplace that creates a cozy gathering spot for the family. A distressed-wood mantel is full of wormholes and other imperfections that give it texture and interest. Furnishings include a Nepalese rug, a custom sectional with large farmhouse nailheads and white distressed hoof ottomans upholstered in a contemporary animal print.
The corner gas fireplace surrounded in heavy-looking river rock was changed to stacked stone and redesigned to be wood burning. Beams were added to the ceiling to add interest and emphasis. Acacia hardwood floors, a Nepalese rug and whimsical hooved stools are among the rich details creating a specially tailored space for the Boss family.
To tie the entry, living room and kitchen together, Jones and his team added acacia walnut hardwood throughout. “I love these floors,” Todd says. “They feel both modern and rustic.”
Wood wrapping the transitional header between the kitchen and great room provided a similar feeling of continuity between rooms. Todd, who is typically known for infusing lots of color into projects, kept the shades simple in this room. The wood cabinets are stained so the wood grain can show through. Copper accents are sprinkled among cream tiles in the backsplash. Todd removed a breakfast-bar peninsula that created a barrier into the kitchen and replaced it with a quartz-topped island that runs parallel to the rest of the counters. The island has a wine storage rack built into one side.
Olson & Jones also gave the master suite a face-lift. Here the farmhouse part of Todd’s whimsical theme is particularly apparent. A barn-style door rolls over the closet entry. A neutral color palette and animal-inspired accessories bring the outside in. The master bath features barnwood-inspired porcelain tiles, a granite countertop made with a remnant from the remodeled kitchen, and a vessel tub where the children take their baths.
Diana couldn’t be more pleased with the results. “I loved that Angela not only redesigned our interior but took the steps to allow the outside of our home to match the feeling and casual atmosphere of the interior,” she says. “The subtle changes of the exterior and dramatic changes of the interior have made us feel as if we are living in an entirely different house.”