"You live in the jewel of the neighborhood." That's the feedback homeowner Jana Rea hears most often about her light-filled, contemporary home in Newport, Oregon. "Jewel" can also describe the faceted angles of the home’s variated rooflines, absorbing and refracting the fleeting coastal sunshine, in addition to the home’s position as the street’s crowning architectural achievement.
"If you'd have asked me 10 years ago about moving to the Coast, I would have said no way!" says Rea, who moved to Newport from West Linn. "But we can’t believe how we have fallen in love with this place and the lifestyle we get to lead here.”
Rea and her husband, Neal, the retired former co-owner of Portland’s Stoner Electric Group, left the traditional suburban home where they raised their family to live closer to their grandkids. Their son-in-law and daughter, Dustin and Amanda Capri, also happen to be the team behind Capri Architecture, based out of Newport. The Reas purchased the lot, which had a run-down 1960s cottage, because of its potential for stunning views of the Yaquina Bay Bridge, the working fishing port and historic town of Newport. It was a no-brainer that Capri Architecture would design them a new, custom home on the lot; the biggest question became not the where but the why.
Incorporating universal design principles, the Rea residence places the master suite on the ground floor, allowing the Reas to age in place. Although the bedroom also takes advantage of the stunning views, it is carefully positioned to offer privacy through the windows and from the rest of the entertainment areas of the main floor. “Every day we wake up and say to each other how lucky we are that we get to live here,” says Jana.
“The leitmotif for the entire home is focusing all views to Yaquina Bay,” says Dustin. “Every angle in the house is oriented to capture the dramatic bridge, the energy of the working fishing port and the bustling town.”
Inside, every detail draws your eye to the view. In the great room, the grain of the hickory floor flows in tandem with the shed roof to the wood ceiling, gently inviting you to contemplate the coastline. The upstairs office/hobby room has a large cantilevered deck, providing an elevated outdoor space without the disruption of support posts or beams necessary in traditional deck construction. High-performance windows from Innotech Windows + Doors and advances in building envelope products allowed the designers to go big without compromising on weather resistance – or product warranties – something every experienced builder on the Coast takes very seriously.
"The view becomes the artwork for the home," says Dustin.
All these windows have another, more technical purpose. Using what’s called “daylighting” principles, light (and solar energy) are captured through the evolving cycle of the sun to help light and heat the home. For the occasional hot day, the couple used cross-ventilation techniques to cool the home passively and deep overhangs on the west side to help mitigate solar heat gain.
"Our best views and highest amount of glazing are facing west in this northern, Pacific hemisphere. It isn't the ideal side for optimal thermal dynamics, but it still plays into the concept of daylighting to achieve maximum natural light throughout the day," Dustin explained.
Light and white finishes throughout the kitchen and great room reflect the light and keep distractions from the panoramic views minimal. Capri Architecture tempered the bright palette with natural wood to give texture and warmth to a space that may have otherwise come across as too cold and angular.
The fireplace and hearth were explicitly designed to hold personal mementos and keepsakes the Reas wanted to showcase.
The Reas also wanted a full-time residence that would allow them to enjoy all the seasons of living at the Oregon Coast – even the harsher ones. Inside, those big windows can be opened on a hot day or cleverly tilted to let in sea breezes on a mild, wet day without letting in the rain. The design also incorporated flexible outdoor space with sheltered outdoor areas, which allow them to take advantage of the outdoors every month of the year.
“Even though we talk about the challenge of wind-driven rain, in truth the temperature is quite moderate most of the time," says Dustin. “So often with coastal construction, the outdoor space consists only of a deck attached to the front of the house– one that’s hardly used because it’s situated in the most exposed area of wind and rain."
Projects like the Rea residence – ones more contemporary in design – are cropping up all around Newport.
“People want the home we build them to be a statement, and that’s easier to accomplish with more contemporary styles," Dustin says. "We have so many exciting projects, but the Rea residence captures what is possible when you explore the intersection of contemporary design with pride of place and lifestyle aspirations.”