A Passion for Design Guides the Creation of a Nordic-Inspired Home

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By Paige Alexus / Published by Dwell
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When Shevi Loewinger first left Tel Aviv for San Francisco seven years ago, she landed in the Bay Area with the eager anticipation of finding the perfect place where she and her family could call home.

Coming from a background in film and journalism, her relocation to America and the subsequent house hunt stirred her love of modern design and architecture—and she immediately began to explore it more than ever before. 

Loewinger’s three-bedroom Russian River house was constructed in a year with the combined efforts of Loewinger, architect Ravit Kaplan, contractor Chris Zipperian, and a handful of local collaborators. Though her original plan was to create a black exterior, she ended up covering it with cedar, which accounts for the various shades of light-hued wood. It’s topped off with a simple metal roof. 

Loewinger’s three-bedroom Russian River house was constructed in a year with the combined efforts of Loewinger, architect Ravit Kaplan, contractor Chris Zipperian, and a handful of local collaborators. Though her original plan was to create a black exterior, she ended up covering it with cedar, which accounts for the various shades of light-hued wood. It’s topped off with a simple metal roof. 

She knew she had to find a way to act upon this passion. During the year she spent searching for the right home for her family, she began to buy houses wherever she could and turn them into projects. After designing the interiors and bringing the homes to life, she would then turn to Airbnb to offer the spaces up for rent. By doing this, she found a way to practice her love of interior design, while simultaneously creating inviting modern spaces that she could share with travelers.

The living space sits underneath metal stairs that lead up to the mezzanine. Loewinger worked with a local metalworker to create the staircase. She purchased the furnishings from both HD Buttercup and CB2. 

The living space sits underneath metal stairs that lead up to the mezzanine. Loewinger worked with a local metalworker to create the staircase. She purchased the furnishings from both HD Buttercup and CB2. 

The ultimate test came when Loewinger decided to take on a construction project of her own where her family—who had been settled in for a few years at that point—could escape from the bustle of the city whenever possible. It all started when she found a flat and sunny piece of land in Guerneville, California, a quiet town that sits next to the Russian River. Only two hours north of San Francisco, the final result is also now available to rent through Airbnb.

Loewinger opted out of building a big island that would take up the entire kitchen. Instead, she kept the cooking surface confined to the far wall and used the rest of the space to create an open dining area. The oversized hanging pendant lights are from Ikea. 

Loewinger opted out of building a big island that would take up the entire kitchen. Instead, she kept the cooking surface confined to the far wall and used the rest of the space to create an open dining area. The oversized hanging pendant lights are from Ikea. 

The three bedrooms are clean and minimal—only filled with what one would need for a weekend getaway. The overhead pine beams and the clerestory window act as constant reminders of the surrounding nature. 

The three bedrooms are clean and minimal—only filled with what one would need for a weekend getaway. The overhead pine beams and the clerestory window act as constant reminders of the surrounding nature. 

Inspired by Nordic design, Loewinger worked with local companies to help piece together her vision of a modern family cabin that’s comfortable, open, and minimal. Though she went into the project with an imagined design, she worked with local architect Ravit Kaplan to bring it to life. "The Guerneville area is mostly made up of traditional homes. The year-long construction was a learning process for both myself and the local companies I was working with," she explains.

Loewinger points out, "The mezzanine has become the fun room in the house. The kids and their friends regularly hang out up there, without being too separated from the rest of the family." 

Loewinger points out, "The mezzanine has become the fun room in the house. The kids and their friends regularly hang out up there, without being too separated from the rest of the family." 

When she approached the interior, she began by creating a minimal furnishing scheme with a mix of both vintage and new pieces. She saved money by designing the interior herself and by mixing in affordable furnishings from Ikea and CB2, along with bringing in some pieces of art that she created herself. Throughout the open layout, the setup includes concrete and wood floors, plain white walls, pale wood throughout, and a formation of tall windows. The angled ceiling is lined with substantial wood beams made of pine, giving the space warm and organic overhead shelter.

Loewinger worked with Blomberg Window Systems to outfit two sides of the house with sliding doors and an overhead layer of windows, both encased in black metal. When you’re standing at one end of the house, you can see through the far windows, all the way to the other end of the property. 

Loewinger worked with Blomberg Window Systems to outfit two sides of the house with sliding doors and an overhead layer of windows, both encased in black metal. When you’re standing at one end of the house, you can see through the far windows, all the way to the other end of the property. 

Right when you enter the yard through the gate, you’ll find a simple tree house that was built for Loewinger’s daughter. 

Right when you enter the yard through the gate, you’ll find a simple tree house that was built for Loewinger’s daughter. 

The house is made up of a wide open main floor with high ceilings and a mezzanine that looks over the combined living, eating, and cooking spaces. When it came time to outfit the backyard, Loewinger created her own little meadow by planting simple trees and greens throughout, while installing a hot tub on the sizable deck. The spotlight of the yard is the hefty redwood tree that sits at the center of the meadow. Loewinger and her family call it the "king of the garden."

When Loewinger consulted with her daughter about how she imagined the interior of the tree house, she chose a two-tone blue tile treatment from Flor. The child-size outdoor chairs are from Ikea.  

When Loewinger consulted with her daughter about how she imagined the interior of the tree house, she chose a two-tone blue tile treatment from Flor. The child-size outdoor chairs are from Ikea.  

If you’re looking to get away from the bustle of San Francisco for a weekend tuned into nature, while being in the vicinity of miles of picturesque vineyards, Loewinger’s house could be the perfect place to stay. Just a short drive from a quaint downtown area, you’d also be near the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, where you’ll find a variety of hiking trails and relaxation zones waiting to be explored. To reserve your stay now, follow this link.

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