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Photograph by Gary Hayes
When you open an excellent Oregon Pinot noir, pour that first glass, swirl the deep ruby liquid and take in the heady complexity of the well crafted wine, your sense of taste and smell seem to expand beyond their normal boundaries in an attempt to fully appreciate the offering at hand. As you pass through the portal of Doctors Sharyl and Patrick Boyles' vacation home at Otter Crest, your eyes find themselves tasked with a similar challenge.
The visual feast begins with the location - oceanfront. But not just any oceanfront; the west-facing wall of this home, perched on a volcanic basalt outcrop, is just 60 feet from the surging Pacific.
Entering the home, your eyes are drawn to the breathtaking view of the ocean, close enough to touch through the large picture windows at the far end of the dining room. But to get there, you must run a gauntlet of visual temptations, beginning with the entryway. The Boyles' love of art becomes instantly evident, as the foyer is, in actuality, a broad gallery of art. The south wall holds three autumn landscapes by Santa Fe artist, Robert Striffolino. The north wall "is still a work in progress," according to Patrick Boyle. The eight-foot-high gallery opens up to an exposed Douglas fir beam and truss ceiling, reminiscent of some great mountain lodge.
The dining room is a visual explosion of color and contrast. The room's centerpiece, a custom crafted, contemporary, solid Cherry wood dining table with ten chairs, rests atop an intricate blue and burgundy Afghan rug. The hardwood floors throughout the main level are bamboo, an ecologically friendly, renewable resource. An intimate deck off the dining room seems to float above the waves, where migrating Gray Whales are often seen feeding barely 25 feet offshore.
On the dining room's north side, centered on a dramatic two story cobalt blue wall, hangs one of Boyle's favorite pieces, one he refers to as "a large arguing piece. The rest of my family hates it. I wanted something that would just jump off the wall and the large morning glories in white with a little bit of blue running through it works." Hints of blue, suggestive of the shimmering Pacific, are found throughout the home.
Separating the dining and family room is a two-story Texas limestone fireplace. The Boyles selected this particular stone for its soft buff color and the myriad marine fossils embedded in the stone.
An open kitchen and family room are located on the south side of the home, with the kitchen designed for gourmet fun and multiple chefs. The porcelain tile flooring has a cocoa brown pigment infused throughout to prevent discoloration if chipped. The countertops are all Norwegian Blue Ice granite, alive with gleaming sapphire-toned flecks.
A compact 250-bottle, temperature controlled wine cellar is located just off the kitchen. When asked what types of wines make up his collection, Boyle smiled as he opened the glass fronted door. "The whole point of the wine cellar was to do just Oregon Pinots. Everything else we just buy and drink."
The family room's four overstuffed, butter soft, black leather swivel chairs sit on another blue and burgundy Afghan. The swivel feature affords their occupants the ability to enjoy conversations, kibitz with the kitchen crew, enjoy the Texas sandstone wood burning fireplace, watch the wall-mounted LCD flat screen television or take in the ever compelling view of the Pacific Ocean. At the far west end of the family room, facing the ocean is a solitary sofa, inviting you to simply relax and absorb the mesmerizing view.
The master suite comprises a small sitting alcove with ocean view, (the perfect spot for morning contemplation over a cup of coffee), a master bath with glass shower and spa tub and walk in closet, all done in soothing earth tones of cocoa and taupe. The exception is the bold Brazilian blue granite stone surround for the tub. Large picture windows in the bathroom offer unobstructed views of the Pacific. There is even a peek-a-boo ocean view window in the private commode. The wall behind the bed is bird's-eye maple paneling with three framed marine fossils from Israel centered on the wall.
A large rice paper nautilus shell in relief casts subdued lighting onto the wide bamboo stairs descending to the home's lower level, where the two children's bedrooms and an elaborate home theater are located. The home theater has a full Dolby surround sound entertainment system, complete with 84-inch projection screen, surround sound speakers and six oversized leather recliners with cup holders.
Architect Dan Gilbert from Albuquerque, New Mexico and builder Paul LaMont of Newport, Oregon worked closely with the Boyles in the design and construction of the home. Patrick Boyle explained, "My wife was really the driving force in the design of the house. The finishing materials were left up to me."
Boyle discussed one of the many challenges in building a six bedroom, four bathroom home perched on the edge of a rocky precipice. "They had to drive steel girders into the rock as part of the foundation." Since the home was completed in 2005, hurricane force winds gusting to 120 miles per hour have hit the Otter Crest headland. The house held up just fine.
The wall surrounding the lower concrete deck was modeled after rock barrier walls found at Multnomah Falls in the Columbia Gorge. Boyle explained the reasoning. "This deck was an afterthought actually, but I thought, to have nothing here just didn't feel finished and we've had some big waves come in. We've actually had waves hit 20 feet below and the power carries it all the way up. You can feel a deep pitched resonance travel through the home when the really big waves hit the rocks."
The two transplanted Oregon natives plan on returning. "We always wanted a house on the ocean. This originally was going to be a weekend home, but now we are planning on retiring here." As with every other aspect of the home, the Boyles put a great deal of thought into their retirement years here, including an elevator shaft that some day will help them get from one floor to the next when stairs become too much of a challenge.
Imagine a crisp, clear autumn day, as the sun's burnished hues settle over a shimmering topaz ocean. The Boyles are seated on their family room sofa, sipping a fine Oregon Pinot noir. As they gaze out over the Pacific, a migratory Gray Whale rises to the surface, purging a great plume into the air, a scant hundred feet from their couch. This truly is living life on the edge.