From the outside, this cream-colored home with a two-car garage in Newport, Oregon, looks like any other building on the block. Inside, however, is a totally different story–the chosen decor resembles the grandeur interior of an opulent Renaissance-era castle.
The thick, hand-carved doors and antique stained-glass windows speak volumes about the resident who currently owns the home. It seems like this place is fit for royalty, and that's exactly who lives there. The Right and Honorable Dowager Countess of Shannon, Almie Barton, bought the building from the original owner in 1979, and she's made significant changes in the nearly 40 years she's lived there. “It was an ordinary suburban house,” Barton tells Yahoo! Real Estate. “The owner built it with just basic materials in a very, very sturdy way. But when I went in and saw the small little space, it just didn't feel right to me.”
Barton knocked down walls, transforming three smaller rooms into a large front foyer that opens into a grand living space. Gilded beams, crystal chandeliers, ceiling frescoes, and furniture from the 17th and 18th centuries are all part of the owner's unconventional design choices, making this interior truly one-of-a-kind.
Clad in deep red textiles and wood paneling, the house looks dark inside, despite the amount of windows that line the room. Barton acknowledges this fact by explaining: “Normally American houses aim for light. But there's a reason for that [darkness]. We have 18th-century stained glass in many of the windows, and just like in a cathedral, the darker interior makes these windows light up like gems throughout the day. As the light changes, the windows change.” She adds, “It's like living inside a Rembrandt painting.”
With such a striking difference between interior and exterior, you might wonder why the two don't match, especially considering how meticulous Barton was in selecting the decor. The reason why is simple: taxes. Because the home has undergone such significant additions (that raise the overall value) since she moved in, Barton didn't want her tax bill to increase. So, she left the exterior unchanged and no one was ever the wiser.
The three-bedroom home is now on the market for $399,000.