Winter Home

An A-Frame Renovation Creates a Mountain Chalet

Before the boom years, Bend was a transitioning mill town with a ski mountain. And when there were few buildings west of Century Drive, there was First on the Hill, an eclectic neighborhood with a mix of log-, luxury- and family-styled places (plus an occasional geodesic dome) all with a close commute to Mt. Bachelor—the ultimate winter homes.

For active residents Mike and Denise Gorman, First on the Hill was the perfect place to create their family residence. Seventeen years ago, the couple came around what was then a gravel road and saw a 1970 A-frame 1,300-square-foot house paired with a for sale sign and a sunset and it was inspiration for what is now their 3,760-square-foot mountain chalet.

Mike, an architect for 33 years in Portland, Hood River and Bend, designed the home with Denise after they lived in the A-frame to consider the lot, its visiting wildlife, vegetation, light and views. “You can forecast, but until you experience a site, you can be surprised what (those things) are really like,” Mike Gorman says. To manifest their vision, they moved the house 80 feet north to maximize the plot and lifted it to create bedrooms underneath for their growing family. A new great room and kitchen were built above a garage which was a hub for ski wax parties and storage for four seasons of sports gear. The Gormans are skiers, bikers, wind- and kite-surfers as are their children, Sadie Ann, 19; Michaela, 17; and RJ, 16.

Of their home and neighborhood, Mike Gorman says, “This spot is very ‘Bend-ish.’” Even as the city has grown up and around First on the Hill, residents can still ski or access mountain biking trails outside their front doors.  For the Gormans, creative endeavors continue nearby. Their next project is renovating the geodome down the street. “From an A-frame to a dome,” Denise Gorman adds, “Only in Bend.”


STORAGE + Think of the ways activities will intersect with places in your home. Accommodate storage in various spaces, not just the garage.

NOISE + “As an architect, sound is an important consideration,” says Mike Gorman. Whether from nearby roads, or within the home itself, consider various forms of insulation, including ICF (insulated concrete forms) not just for regulating heat but for creating quiet.

MAINTENANCE + Be mindful of short- and long-term maintenance issues, from landscape to a home’s decks and siding.