This residence in Lake Oswego cascades down a hillside to embrace its waterfront locale.

When Kricken and James Yaker envisioned their dream home in Lake Oswego, Oregon, just outside Portland, the couple wanted to go big—but to also keep a modest profile.

Though their 6,000-square-foot, five-bedroom home, completed late last year, appears to be a relatively modest two-story structure from the street, it descends two further stories down a hillside to integrate the primary living spaces with the backyard’s lakeside view.

The home keeps a modest profile as it faces the street before spilling down the hill to capture waterside views.

The home keeps a modest profile as it faces the street before spilling down the hill to capture waterside views.

Luke Lozano

“We didn’t want to be those people that come in and build the McMansion,” explains Kricken. “But it was really exciting to push and stretch ourselves creatively, to create a home that we wanted to put our name on and represents who we have become.”

After years working as actors in New York and Los Angeles, including a starring, Off Broadway role for James as well as appearances on TV’s The X-Files and Cybil, the couple was ready for a change. They then found renovating their home in Venice Beach, California, so rewarding that, when they decided to pack up for the Portland area to be near extended family in 2006, Kricken and James were ready to take on a new role: as design-build entrepreneurs.



The home’s great room can easily extend onto the outdoor deck thanks to glass walls that slide away.

The home’s great room can easily extend onto the outdoor deck thanks to glass walls that slide away.

Luke Lozano

Over the ensuing years their company, Vanillawood, has become a popular combined furniture retailer and design-build service. But the couple wanted a demonstration house to show clients what was possible, and a space large enough to entertain family and friends.

“There are a lot of things to love about Oregon, but one thing we thought was lacking was urban contemporary home design,” says James. “And living in this gray environment eight months out of the year, we still get a little stir crazy. We missed being on the water and having that bright indoor/outdoor living. That’s why we brought it with us.”

The great room is situated on a lower floor, down the cantilevered staircase from the foyer, with a Nicoline Italia sofa and a variety of textures and patterns enlivening the minimally designed space.

The great room is situated on a lower floor, down the cantilevered staircase from the foyer, with a Nicoline Italia sofa and a variety of textures and patterns enlivening the minimally designed space.

Luke Lozano

See the full story on Dwell.com: An Actor-Turned-Designer Couple Build a Dream Home in Oregon

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