Because the Butlers prefer unobstructed spaces, there are only two doors inside: one for the guest bedroom and one for the bathroom. The rest of the 2,000-square-foot interior is a series of expansive rooms that spiral up and around the fireplace. Sparsely furnished, the emphasis is on the sense of space and the view rather than on belongings—it’s a place for the couple to relax after hard days on their bikes. Perched on the third floor, overlooking the back courtyard, the master bedroom is a light-filled aerie. In temperate weather, the Butlers slide open the six-foot door to the adjoining porch and lie in bed watching the clouds drift above the treetops. “You can’t see the other houses. It’s like you’re in a tree house,” Sue says. With planked ipe wood floors, subtle green wall tiles, and cedar ceilings and doors, the master bath brings the “outdoor shower experience indoors,” Sue says. A toilet is hidden behind a sliding pocket door in a room made entirely of cedar. Light pours in through floor-to-ceiling frosted glass windows.
One floor below, the couple watches movies from the plush comfort of oversize beanbags scattered on the floor of the media room, or entertains guests in the expansive adjoining living room, warmed by a gaslit fireplace. The ground floor, where the dining room flows into the white oak custom kitchen, is perhaps the most extroverted of the spaces. Here, friends balance on bar stools while the Butlers grill salmon or prepare a salad. When the dining room’s full-length glass doors are open, the outdoor courtyard simply becomes part of the room.
As for the Butlers’ bicycles, those live across the courtyard in an outbuilding divided into two spaces. The first space, at the end of the driveway, is a garage for bicycles. “It’s pretty idiosyncratic,” Martin says. “Not many people have a garage that doesn’t work for cars.” Inside, bicycles hang on hooks in neat lines. Rows of labeled plastic bins hold spare parts, nutrition bars, and gels. A stacked washer and dryer in the corner stand at the ready for muddy jerseys and tights. Outside, there’s even a warm-water hose for washing off dirty bicycles on cold, rainy days.
The other half of the outbuilding is separated from the mud and grease of the bicycle storage area by a small breezeway. Part of the space encompasses a modest bathroom, tiled in white to evoke a feeling of clean simplicity. The main room is a home gym that features what Sue calls the “Wall of Fame”—photos of the pair’s racing exploits. The pictures document Sue’s impressive rise in just five years from complete cycling novice to a competitor in last year’s UCI Cyclocross World Championships (she’s sponsored by MonaVie Cannondale). In the corner, at the top of two large Columbia basalt stone steps (another reference to the Gorge), sits a slender cedar bench that leads into an all-cedar custom sauna furnished with more movable benches. “It’s really nice after a cold ride,” says Sue. “When it’s chilly, Tim takes a shower, then goes in the sauna, and he’s as happy as a clam.”
After moving into their new home last winter, the Butlers finally feel like they have a house that fits their needs and their aesthetics. “I’m pretty happy being in the top 20 in the world at a sport,” says Sue. “And the house helps. It’s less stressful living here. Packing bikes is easier, everything is accessible and organized, and I don’t have to haul things three flights down. It’s all been a fun ride.”