Once upon a time, there lived a handsome mason, who could turn sticks and stones into beautiful castles.
He came upon a beautiful local maiden named Paige and convinced her of his mason magic.
Soon this young couple found a plain, tired white clapboard 800-square-foot home, and in 2005 their journey of marriage, new home and baby began.
It sounds like a fairy tale, but this one is nonfiction, and the proof is their castle.
Brett Fristrom bought this tiny two-bedroom house in the heart of Bend, but it was in need of much repair eight years ago. Being a mason by trade, he wasn't scared of hard work; instead he thrived as he carried each stone that would eventually turn it into the Fristroms' dream castle.
Though his wife, Paige, couldn't spin straw into gold, she could help with design work, and she did her share of stone lifting and encouraging.
Brett and Paige worked on their home every weekend and holiday for the past eight years. By day, Brett, 32, owns his own construction business, Pacific Wonderland Company, which has a bit of a fairy tale ring to it — and it's no wonder (pun intended), as he worked on other people's dream homes.
Still, he was never too tired to work on his own dream.
“Brett turned every last stone and stick in this house; he deserves all the credit. He has the eye for design, and he's the hardest working person ever,” said Paige, while admiring the front of their remodeled and expanded 2,100-square-foot home. “Honestly, had we known how much work it would be, we probably would've bulldozed the house down and started all over.”
The original 1940s, two-bedroom white bungalow with a low-slung roof is now a three-bedroom, three-bath home, with fairy tale gabled roofs. Paige never doubted Brett could turn it into something special, and her faith held fast, even when dirt was flying into the home.
“When I first bought this house, it was a plain mill house with a dirt driveway that came up all the way to the front door,” said Brett. “There was no privacy at all from the street, so I built the stone fence, added the garage and a carport.”
Paige added that the wall that surrounds their property is made of solid rock, a foot and a half thick, and each rock was handpicked.
“Our neighbors call it the 'Great Wall of Galveston,'” said Paige, 30, with a smile.
Inside the castle
As we walked into the home, Paige pointed out what is now the dining room, which used to be the original master bedroom.
“When we started with the addition, I would be handing Brett stones through the original bedroom window,” recalled Paige with a laugh.
The entry of the home has the original cast-iron wood-burning stove in the corner. Brett said this is what heated the original home. The entry has a cozy kitchen nook, with a small natural wooden table and bar stools.
A few steps past the table is the small but well-designed kitchen, which has a commercial stainless steel Wolf stove and oven. (It was a gift to the princess in this story, who loves to cook gourmet meals for family and friends.)
Beautiful, thick golden granite counters give this small kitchen a professional look.
All the dark wood cupboards are new, and the flooring in this part of the house is an engineered birch wood.
“We had to use this type of flooring because I had to pour the floors to make them level, and then I had to float the floor,” said Brett. “But the rest of the floors upstairs and on the stair treads are made from recycled barn wood from an old barn that was being torn down in Powell Butte.”
In the entryway to what is now the dining room is a large overhead beam, which had also been repurposed.
“This big beam here was actually from the old mill here in Bend. It was used in the river as a retainer to help float the logs downriver,” said Brett.
Above the guest bathroom, another old mill beam tops the doorway. In this bathroom, Brett built the stone vanity and placed a copper basin into it. The bathtub in here is original.
We passed the dining room, where Paige has placed an antique crystal chandelier with real wax candles that burn and reflect light off the large window of the dining room looking toward the front of the house.
From here, we stepped into the addition and expansion of the Fristrom home. The first thing I noticed in the family room was the enormous double-stacked fireplace, built stone-by-stone by Brett. The fireplace and chimney run up to the second story, where another fireplace graces the master bedroom.
In the family room fireplace, Brett inset several large amethyst stones split in half. The lavender crystals within the stones glisten and glitter.
“When the fire is burning in the fireplace and we have candles burning near these amethyst stones, it's really beautiful because it reflects the beautiful light,” said Brett.
The slab used for the base of this fireplace was so large and heavy, it had to be placed before Brett walled in the room.
Ornate Mexican tiles are used in this family room.</p><p>Attention to the smallest details gives the home a cohesive look.
For example, the guest bathroom has onyx wall tiles throughout. The stair treads made from the reclaimed barn wood have hand-painted Mexican tiles on the risers that the Fristroms handpicked.
Two skylights framed by matching reclaimed barn wood keep the master bathroom light and airy. In here the Fristroms used a white and grey swirled marble and found a cast-iron claw-foot tub. There's also a large, modern marble-tiled shower.
The Fristroms' master bedroom with vaulted ceilings features skylights to allow natural light to shine through.
Like any good fairy tale home, there's not just one balcony but two.
“Paige designed the balconies. She really wanted those,” said Brett. The small balconies on either side of the double-stacked fireplace have small French doors that lead outside. It's here one might think of Rapunzel, who let down her long hair from the balcony window.
The mantel of the master bedroom is also made of repurposed wood.
“This came from the old, original Miller lumberyard. It weighs a ton, too,” said Brett.
“For most of this wood, I did all the work in the alley behind this house. The barn wood was covered in dirt and cow manure. It had to be washed and sanded, and then I milled each board.”
Brett smiled as he pointed out a BB still stuck in the wood above the couple's headboard.
Baby makes three
Downstairs, they showed us the room that makes them perhaps the most proud — the baby's room.
Baby Louie, just 6 weeks old, made this house into a family home.
The happy couple cooed and rocked Louie, very satisfied that the happy home came together just as Louie came into the world.
In the well-manicured backyard, Brett has built a stone water feature, complete with a small waterfall. Paige pointed out the stone backyard fireplace, also built by Brett.
Brett has more plans for the outside. “I think later this summer we're going to build a brick stone pizza oven.”
This magical outdoor space is where Brett's creative energy is taking flight again.
Paige cradled baby Louie, knowing that if Brett can dream it up, he can certainly build it. So this is not the end of the story ...