The hallmarks of a happy family retreat can all be found at the R&B Ranch outside Sisters, Oregon. Think summer days spent lazing on the dock, relaxing sunsets with a glass of wine on the patio, and miles of fragrant pasture and forest trails explored on horseback. Such High Desert pastimes were designed into the fabric of the ranch, thanks to the vision of Rick and Barbara Morrow and their architect, Juan Carlos Ochoa.
Priority number one was to create a destination where the Morrows’ large family and many friends could visit together with ease. “They were really thinking in terms of a family compound,” Ochoa said of his design brief. The stunning result, completed in 2011, includes an impressive 14,666-square-foot main home, plus separate guest and manager houses, as well as high-end facilities to accommodate the family’s love of horses.
The ranch’s 507 acres came with a local history. In 1885, Alfred Cobb and his wife built their homestead there, sixteen years before the nearby town of Sisters was plated. The Cobbs became known throughout the area for their hospitality, as she conducted a way station for travelers and he operated a blacksmith shop for wagon repair and farrier business. That spirit of companionship with people and horses alike would endure when the Morrows started designing the R&B with Ochoa in 2006.
Ochoa hasn’t forgotten the first time he saw the historic property. “It was just raw land. Nothing but scrub and a lot of pine trees,” he said, recalling that he was so impressed with the landscape—and its views of mountain peaks—that it was overwhelming at first.
“You go to the site and you don’t know where to look with such a vast space,” recalled Ochoa. To address this, he anchored the main home in the setting by making it an elegant, elongated C-shape that backs up to a sizeable pond. That way, most rooms embrace layered views, beginning with the water in the foreground and ending with mountains in the distance.
This framing starts at the front entry. Once over the threshold, the great room’s expansive windows work in tandem with the exterior roof eaves to frame stunning peaks. “The Sisters mountains were the main focus,” said Ochoa. “In the house, some of the rooms are actually slightly tilted, because the idea was to capture the views as much as we could.”
With the vistas appropriately featured, Ochoa arranged the rest of the home’s layout to allow family members to cohabitate with ease. Thus, the main home includes eight bedrooms and eight-and-a-half baths allotted along its axis, as well as a cook’s kitchen, butler’s pantry, separate wine storage and formal dining room for communal meals.
As such, wide-plank wood floors complement textured plaster walls and stone clad fireplaces. The pattern and coloration of the stone, called Montana Moss, echoes the surrounding landscape, while also acting as a striking focal point on its own. “The shape of the building and the finishes were mainly driven by what we saw in the area.”
Since shared family recreation was paramount to the overall design, Ochoa incorporated multiple spaces on the property to bring family together. In the main home, an in-house movie theater is complete with comfortable seating, a large screen and balconies.
A separate recreation barn hosts a half basketball court, game station and pool table. For the horse-loving household, there are top-notch facilities. “The arena was designed so that the grandkids could practice their horse-riding skills,” said Ochoa. Indoor and outdoor arenas are complemented by a quarter–mile racetrack with bleachers, plus miles of trails.
Ochoa’s attention to detail throughout the design process knitted the large property together as a cohesive unit. One such thoughtful detail is the incorporation of timber beams in the main house and their repetition in the truss work spanning the ceiling in the indoor riding arena.
All in all, such thoughtful design decisions make the R&B Ranch an ode to the legacy of family. “From the theater to the rec room, [the Morrows] were always thinking about the grandkids and how they would be using the space,” said Ochoa. “Everything was really just family-oriented.”
Learn more about the R&B Ranch and see more photos on the full listing.