The O’Donnell house sits in a heavily wooded site in the southeast hills of Eugene. The owners have lived in the house for a number of years and have raised their family there. While they had a deep appreciation for its lovely private setting and for the basic character of the house, they felt that there were changes which needed to be made.

In the course of the work, the original concrete beams and columns were uncovered and developed as signatures of the larger framework of the central unit. They were left exposed and painted the exterior color to articulate their structural identity and to reinforce its inside-outside relationship. The interior components were given warmth and character through the use of rift-sawn red oak for cabinets and paneling. The design establishes an interplay between the exterior envelope and the interior “furniture”. This technique simplified the finishes, and changed the spatial system from separate rooms to places that are more open and connected.

The O’Donnell House additions and remodel illustrate the importance of using design strategies that not only reinforce the primary characteristics of the original but that also unlock the potential that lies within.