Washington state

Wonder what Oprah's house is like? This Bellingham team knows it inside and out

Larry Pederson knew he was in for an interesting day earlier this month when he started getting texts asking if he built Oprah's house.

While the house, known as Madroneagle, was originally built for someone else in 2007, Pearson Construction of Bellingham was the contractor for the house Oprah Winfrey reportedly purchased on Orcas Island for more than $8 million.

The three-story main house sits on 43 acres and comes with a gazebo, barn and a workshop, according to media reports.

When the texts started coming in, including from his mom, Pederson, who is president of the company, had to look at media reports before realizing what was going on. He said that if it's a place Winfrey uses, he expects she will be pleased with not only the house but the views.

"It's an amazing house," Pederson said, noting that it was a custom-built house using special reclaimed wood. Some of the wood came from the former Sears building in Chicago, according to an article in Architectural Digest. "She's smart enough to know that is one of the best places in the world."

A local architectural firm was also involved in the designing of the house. Jeff McClure of RMC Architects said what he remembers most is the beauty of that portion of the island and that the original owner of Madroneagle building wanted it designed to complement the landscape, not dominate it.

"It has breath-taking views and wonderful beaches," McClure said. "It was exciting to be a part of it."

Workers take a break during construction of Madroneagle. Pearson Construction of Bellingham was the contractor for the house, which was built in 2007. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald Pearson Construction

John Wynne, site supervisor for Pearson, said around 250 people worked on the house at some point, with much of the material and equipment arriving by ferry or barge. Several artists were also worked on the house, creating unique artwork from the hand-forged iron railings to the cabinetry.

"When it was all done, to see the craftsmanship that went into it was really something," Wynne said.

It's unclear whether Winfrey will use the property herself or whether it will be an investment property. According to Variety, the house has four bedrooms, three full and two half bathrooms in 7,303-square-feet.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz
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