Oregon Bunkhouse

Every once in a while I visit a home and think, "Wow. I would love to feature this place on La Maison Boheme." Usually, I don't have my camera and usually I'm too chicken to ask for a second visit. Not this time! Karen Kettlety owns and operates a sheep ranch in the quiet, rural and extraordinarily beautiful community of Richland, Oregon. Richland is in the Eagle Valley just west of the Snake River. Karen's lambs are 100% grass-fed on lush pastures which are irrigated with snow-melt from the pristine Eagle Cap Wilderness. Karen recently completed phase one of her new home, which she is building out of re-purposed and recycled materials. I am completely smitten with the bunkhouse she has created above her garage. Please forgive my less than stellar camera work and enjoy Karen's home and handy work.

Much of the wood used in the loft is reused from the property's pre-existing barn. She also made use of the barn's corrugated metal roofing. Brilliant.
Karen's loft bed is enclosed with a wire garden fence.
...and here is Dot, the retired sheep dog.
The rungs on her loft ladder were taken from a branch that had fallen during a storm.

One of my favorite details is this sliding bathroom door - a great idea for small spaces.
The view from Karen's bathroom window is amazing.

Let's head outside...

Every barn needs a barn owl. I caught this big guy taking a snooze up in the rafters. Isn't he astonishing?

In Karen's own words:

Last year at this time, I was living in a camp trailer smaller than your bathroom, in full view of the end of a construction project that started in April. When I bought this place, I knew that someday I would replace the derelict house I was living in. It wasn't that bad, just that the roof leaked, frogs would emerge from the hearth and hop across the living room, the pipes would freeze in winter and so would I. Recovering from a kidney donation surgery in that cold house the winter of 2007 gave me plenty of time to think that living in a new, cozy, everything-works, nothing-breaks-down house would be nicer to have sooner rather than later. So I launched into planing and design and hoped to be shovel-ready by June. But first, I had to tear down the old house and the cracked and broken root cellar to make room for the new one-bedroom house plus garage with bunk house above. The only thing worth saving in all that mess was an old claw-foot tub and a hive a wild honey bees that had made a home within the double concrete walls of the root cellar. I ended up camping out for nine months in the little trailer with a porta-potty behind the chicken coop and a make-shift kitchen set up under an awning. At the end of January 2009 I moved into the wonderful little nest I had built above the new garage, in the shade of my magnificent English walnut tree. The house itself is still a dream to be realized.

Karen, thank you for inviting me into your home.

Interested in purchasing some of Karen's grass-fed lamb?
Visit her website at www.karensgrassfedlamb.com.