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Meet Operations Manager Clint Nicholson

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Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, Clint joins us after working his way around the world: Central Europe, the Middle East, Papua New Guinea and Australia where he gained logistics and management experience from working in the heavy industrial sector. As Arciform’s Operations Manager, Clint will manage our Project Management & Estimating Teams and keep the construction process running smoothly.

Read on to find out what inspires Clint:

What attracted you to working with Arciform?

I have a strong personal interest in restoration and renovation from back home in New Zealand where I personally completed 3 full house renovations. I was familiar with Arciform from the advertising around town and was super excited when I randomly found the Operations Manager position, which would lead to a job in an industry that I have personal passion for.

What are you looking forward to about the job?

Working with a great team, being involved in a business that is Design/Build (not just one or the other), making a quick positive impact across my responsibilities, and facing/solving the challenges that will come with change and growth.

What inspires you about restoring and renovating older homes?

Both revitalizing the craftsmanship in older properties, incorporating the old with the new (eg: cast iron tub with modern sink/spigot/shower solutions).

What drew you to this line of work?

My professional experience comes from heavy industry operation management and my personal experience comes from the restoration and renovation of 3 properties between 90-115  years old, back in NZ, where I did most of the work myself (demo, framing, drywall, painting, flooring, tiling…..)

Describe one of your favorite past projects.

A 3 bed Villa House in NZ. Personally designed and completed most work myself with my partner. You can see it here:  http://www.platinumhd.co.nz/videos/residential/nz/kingsland-auckland/4-richbourne-st-29398.html)

What were the challenges? What were some of the features that made it memorable?

Everything that made it memorable was a challenge. We redesigned the back deck to flow, changed it from 1 bath to 1.5 and exposed the beautiful ceilings that were hidden.

Tell us what you consider are the hallmarks of a well-executed project. How do you know when something is right?

High level product turned out every time (design and build), consistently. Customer is happy during project and ecstatic with final result.

 What are the top 3 things on your “bucket list?”

  1. Have a family reunion as we are all spread across the world – I have 4 brothers and 16 cousins.
  2. Race/ride at the Dutch circuit in Assen, Netherlands.
  3. Break a record and/or 200mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

 

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Meet Junior Designer Anna Foltz

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Anna is one of our newest Junior Designers. She studied fine arts for two years at Pratt Institute, in New York City, before deciding to relocate to the West Coast, where she earned my BFA Interior Design at the Art Institute of Portland, with a minor in Sustainability. Prior to Arciform, she worked in sales and production at Pratt and Larson Tile and most recently, did design and renovation coordination for a senior living community.

Read on to find out what inspires Anna…

 

When did you know you wanted to be an architectural designer? Tell us how you got inspired to do this work.

After several years working in the service industry, I started noticing how small details could really affect the functionality/dysfunctionality of a space. Around this time I was trying to decide on a career move that would build on my creativity and fine arts background, while serving a functional purpose. I chose architectural design because it holds the possibility to create beauty in the world, while improving the quality of people’s everyday lives and paying respect to the built and natural environments.

Describe one of your favorite design projects. What were the challenges? What were some of the features that made it memorable?

I was on a team of designers that was selected to remodel the Green Room (where musicians hang out back stage) at the Doug Fir Lounge. The challenge was to create a multi-functional space out of a 400 sq. ft. cement hole. If that weren’t challenge enough, we were assigned to embody the look and branding of the establishment on a $2000 budget, while meshing the personalities of five strong-willed designers! In order to stay on budget, we did some out-of-the box thinking to re-purpose unconventional materials, including bike tubes that were woven into upholstery and wood pallets used as room dividers. The result was a fun and funky rock ‘n’ roll lair that serves as a memorable place which traveling musicians can’t wait to come back to.

Tell us what you consider the hallmarks of a well-designed project. How do you know when something is “right?”

This answer is likely a boring one, but I really just believe something is “right” when there is harmonious marriage of form and function. It’s a wonderful thing to have a space that fills the user with a sense of delight in its beauty. More wonderful still, is when the same space efficiently supports the functions for which it was intended.

What’s your working style? How do you like to work with a client?

Whether it’s picking out paint colors or doing a full gut/remodel, I try to make each client feel as if they are my one and only. I think open communication is key, with an emphasis on listening and asking the right questions.

What are the top 3 things on your “bucket list?”

  1. Take a helicopter ride over Denali National Park
  2. Win a salsa competition
  3. Go to Burning Man under a false identity

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Meet Junior Designer Bianca McKelvy

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Bianca is one of three new Junior Designers. She joins us straight from the Portland Community College Architectural Design and Drafting program.

When did you know you wanted to be an architectural designer? Tell us how you got inspired to do this work.

When I was growing up my parent’s loved going to open houses on Sunday afternoons. They would throw us kids into the car and drag us to house after house. It became a traditional thing for us to do as a family. My siblings and I would always fight over who would have the bigger bedroom in each house we went to.

When my parents finally decided to just build a new house they involved me in a lot of the design decisions. I fell in love with the entire process and knew then that I wanted to design homes for a living.

Describe one of your favorite design projects. What were the challenges? What were some of the features that made it memorable?

Unfortunately, I haven’t been a part of any “real” design projects, but school has definitely provided me with some challenging design assignments. My favorite one was from my Space Planning studio. The challenge was to convert an existing two story garage into a home for a young newlywed couple. They had lots of different needs that all had to fit into the existing footprint of the small garage. In the end I was able to create a space that not only fit all of the different programming required but also had a nice open floor plan that I believe would have been a very comfortable space for my hypothetical couple.

Tell us what you consider the hallmarks of a well-designed project. How do you know when something is “right?”

I believe that a well-designed project should have an equal balance of several things. It should be a beautiful and functional space that meets and exceeds all of the client’s needs. Good design is not necessarily trendy, but instead it is timeless and made to last a life time. Finally a good design should keep sustainability and energy efficiency in mind. When you have a good balance of these things you are headed in the “right” direction.

What’s your working style? How do you like to work with a client?

I’ve always believed that communication is one of the key drivers to any successful project. So that means listening to everything that a client wants and needs, then combining that with my expertise for a healthy working relationship and a client that is happy with the entire process and the end result.

What are the top 3 things on your “bucket list?”

  1. One of these days I’d like to buy a ticket to a random country and have at least a week to explore a new culture.
  2. I have a lot of siblings, five brothers and one sister. We have never been in the same place at the same time so getting us all together for a trip to Disney would be a dream come true.
  3. I could keep going with this list but I think that running a full marathon in Paris, France would be amazing!

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Which Counter Top Material is Right for You?

Yoo_1914_Kitchen_A_P_Pro_ (7)A richly veined granite counter top adds great texture to this classic kitchen… but it requires a regular maintenance schedule to stay looking beautiful. Project designed by Kristyn Bester.

Are you easygoing but stylish? Glamorous but fussy? Rough and tumble and ready to rumble? Your family’s personality has a huge impact on which counter top material will be right for your kitchen.

Schaefer_1937_Kitchen_A_1_P (3)This unusual Icestone counter has beautiful little flecks of pearlescent shell and glass embedded in it. Project designed by Anne De Wolf.

With so many choices out there it can be hard to pin down what’s right for you.

Guitteau_1929_Kitchen_A_7_P_ProThis soapstone counter will develop a beautiful natural patina but needs to be oiled routinely to keep it looking its best. Project designed by Anne De Wolf.

Fortunately, we ran across this nifty quiz on Houzz that does a pretty great job of helping you identify the counter material that will be a perfect fit.

NeelyDonoher_1904_Kitchen_A_P_Pro_ (2)The thin, stainless steel counters on this breakfast nook are great for busy families: indestructible but still so stylish.

Take the quiz here and then let us know what your results were in the comments below!

Runyon_1928_Kitchen_A_P_Pro_ (13)This Caesarstone counter provides a crisp white counterpoint to the stylish black millwork on the windows.

For more design inspiration, feel free to join us at our Kitchens that Work Design Workshop  on Wednesday, May 27th. Get the details and RSVP here.

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Meet Client Services Manager James Kistner

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After working as a Project Manager for Arciform for a little over a year, James has been promoted to the senior member of our new Client Services Management Team. This mission-critical position is tasked with advocating for clients’ goals and budget throughout the design and construction process and consulting on buildability and feasibility for each of the projects in his portfolio.

Read on to find out what inspires James:

How long have you worked for Arciform? What has been your favorite part about working at Arciform so far?

 I will have worked at Arciform 1 year 6 months on the 12th. My favorite part has been getting to work with all the different departments and being able to collaborate to make projects successful.

What inspires you about restoring and renovating homes? What drew you to this line of work?

To me the most important part is the sustainability aspect, in not only reusing something and restoring something, but also in helping people grow and live in their homes in a way that makes their lives better. I was drawn initially to this without even realizing it was happening. I worked in high school and college for a family friend who was an extremely talented craftsman, just as a job that I could do on the weekends and vacations. I was always fairly good at building stuff and interested in architecture, so it just really became something I grew into over time. After college I continued working in the field because I could take on projects that let me have flexibility in scheduling around playing music and traveling, and then I really became interested in building science and sustainability, which just further solidified my interests in staying in the field.

Describe one of your favorite past projects. What were the challenges? What were some of the features that made it memorable?

I have a lot of projects that are favorites. The best challenges are when there is a high level of structural and site work involved in tandem with a modern, sleek design. You really have to take the end design into consideration from the very early part of the work to make sure things line up and fall into place correctly. I love designs that take a holistic approach in what is trying to be accomplished and heighten the level of sustainability, not only in the construction itself, but in how the occupants will interact and live with the design.

Tell us what you consider to be the hallmarks of a well-executed project. How do you know when something is “right?”

One of the most important things to a successful project is communication and clarification of details with all parties involved, either with clients, designers, subcontractors, engineers, whoever. When this happens the work reflects it and the client is usually always more pleased with the outcome.

What’s your working style? How do you like to work with a client?

I really like to collaborate at whatever level is allowable. I tend to over communicate but I just really like to make sure everyone is informed and educated not only about the design but in how and why we are building something the way we are, in helping the client understand that we are always looking to construct things with the best practice and information we have available to us.

 What are the top 3 things on your “bucket list?”

I have honestly never really thought too much about a bucket list, but the thing I would like to accomplish most is co-creating and developing a pre-fab building company.

I think this would be rewarding on so many levels that are of interest to me and my ideas and philosophies about building. This would hopefully be not only in building homes, but even bigger projects where whole sections of structures were built off-site and then assembled to create the building. There are just so many exciting challenges and design possibilities that I feel are not really considered by the general building world that can become really important and valuable in helping with how humans inhabit the world.

Other than that, probably going to a NBA finals game that the Bulls are in (which requires them to get there), and maybe a pretty extensive backpacking trip through eastern Europe and into the Middle East to check out all the architecture that has been standing forever because I want to appreciate that construction first hand.

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Meet Client Services Manager Andres Zacharovas

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Originally from Vilnius Lithuania, Andres lived in London England for 15 years where he started his career in construction. After winning the green card lottery, he and his wife moved to Portland, Oregon, sight-unseen. Andres worked as a lead carpenter at Otis Construction for 18 months before joining us at Arciform to be one of our Client Services Managers. Andres joins Jeremy Gould in a team led by James Kistner that will be tasked with with advocating for clients’ goals and budget throughout the design and construction process and consulting on buildability and feasibility for each of the projects in his portfolio.

How long have you worked for Arciform and what has been your favorite part about working at Arciform so far?

I have been here for six months. I enjoy the type of projects we get and the clients we work with. Helping clients get what they are really looking for by giving them the best support I can and seeing the final project makes me really happy.

What inspires you about restoring and renovating older homes? What drew you to this line of work?

I love architecture, it plays a big role in my life. I enjoy being a part of the entire process of creating something. It amazes me that we can recreate original materials and complete the installation to make it seem like it has always been there.

Describe one of your favorite past projects. What were the challenges? What were some of the features that made it memorable?

While living in London I managed a project where we turned a run-down hotel into a 5 star, luxury oasis. The biggest challenges were the tight budget and four week time-frame. I managed 60 employees and 10 subcontractors…and lost a lot of weight and sleep! It was memorable because we achieved stunning results in such a short period of time with a limited budget.

Tell us what you consider the hallmarks of a well-executed project. How do you know when something is right?

My main goal is to see a happy client, they are my number 1 priority. I’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that they are satisfied with the results. The client’s eyes tell me everything, that’s how I can tell if something is right.

What’s your working style? How do you like to work with a client?

I listen to the client’s needs then give my opinion on what would work best for their project. I let them know that I am there for them throughout the entire process to guide them through with the least amount of stress.

What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?

1. I want to see all 50 states, starting with California.

2. I’d like to skydive at the Grand Canyon.

3. I want to build a house from the ground up. I’ve started sketches and am working on the mental preparation! My preferred location would be on the hill so I’d have a view of the mountains.

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Knife Storage Solutions

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We asked our Junior Designers for some of their favorite knife storage solutions. Read on to find out what Bianca and Kat have been seeing lately…

Bianca says…

This is the knife block that I have at home. I absolutely love it because it’s a beautiful way to display my knives and very easy to access.

west elm knife block

Kat and Bianca agree…

The best knife storage solutions are easily accessible in a prep area but are still out of the way of little hands. The drawer insert is probably one of the best options and would also age appropriately with the home. They keep countertop clutter to a minimum and protect the knives, too. You can have drawer inserts custom-created to fit into a very shallow top drawer for flat things like spatulas, etc.

DuraSupreme.com Knife drawer

Because Bianca is a sucker for unique design, she loves these options…

wrench knife

saddle knife

Kat says…

Another popular option for very busy chefs who prefer to have everything in-sight and readily accessible is a magnetic knife board. Easy to grab what you need, easy to put it back after washing.

Magnet Knife Rack

Other unique options we’ve been seeing…

6 kitchen storage trends - pullout knife drawer

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Looking for more design inspiration for your kitchen? Join us for our Kitchens that Work Design Workshop on May 18th. Get the details and RSVP here by May 15th to attend FREE.

Explore the Arciform Project Galleries | About Arciform | Schedule a Design Consultation

Meet Client Services Manager Jeremy Gould

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After working as a lead carpenter for 2 years, Jeremy Gould was promoted to Carpenter on Call Manager, a position that was responsible for sales, estimating and project management of small projects and home repairs. After some internal restructuring, Jeremy has now been promoted to be one of three Client Services Managers for Arciform.  This mission critical position is tasked with advocating for the clients’ goals and budget throughout the design and construction process and consulting on buildability and feasibility for each of the projects in his portfolio.

Read on to find out what inspires Jeremy about restoring and remodeling vintage structures:

How long have you worked for Arciform and what has been your favorite part about working at Arciform so far?

I started as a lead carpenter 4 years and 8 months ago. My favorite part has been the really great people here – everyone has such a great attitude and you can tell they genuinely want to be here. Being around positive people is big for me.

What inspires you about restoring and renovating older homes? What drew you to this line of work?

The thing that inspires me the most about restoring and renovating older homes is the architecture, craftsmanship and quality of the original materials – they are all things that you just don’t see nowadays. I also love re-using or re-purposing things just for the simple fact that it won’t go into a landfill somewhere. The people that usually purchase these older homes are so amazing to work with because they appreciate all of these things as well.

Describe one of your favorite past projects. What were the challenges? What were some of the features that made it memorable?

One of my favorite past projects was the Ranchel closet renovation. We hand built a reading nook designed by Anne De Wolf out of scrap steel parts. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen! We call it “The Egg,” it’s very steampunk. The biggest challenge was installing “The Egg” since it didn’t fit up the stairs. We had to fully build it in the shop, dismantle it for delivery, and then re-assemble it onsite.

Tell us what you consider are the hallmarks of a well-executed project. How do you know when something is right?

There are a few things that I consider to be hallmarks of a well-executed project. Number one by far is a happy client. I’ve had clients hug me at the walkthrough and tell me how much they love Arciform. Of course it’s important to stay within the estimated budget with few change orders. At the end of the project you should look at it and ask “Does the project look like what we intended?” Does the client look at it and say, “That’s exactly what we wanted?” If the answers to these two questions are a resounding “Yes,” then we’ve succeeded.

What’s your working style? How do you like to work with a client?

I want the client to feel like I am here to help them navigate through what could potentially be a long and complicated process with lots of decisions to be made. I never try and sell something I know is not right for the client. I’ve had several occasions where I met with a client and quickly realized that they don’t really need to do this larger project, and we were able to scale it back to fit their needs and their budget.

What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?

Well I’ve already done so many things on my bucket list like driving fire engines with the lights and sirens going, riding a bull and racing a race car, so my first thing would have to be helping my daughter experience life to its fullest and have a great time doing it. That couldn’t make me happier. For me, I want to drive the Cannonball Run, a cross country outlaw road race from New York to California. I’d also love to fly a P-51 Mustang in a dog fight.

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A Backsplash with Personality

A backsplash is a great place to showcase your personality in the kitchen. Whether you are looking for a simple solution with a pop of color or a unique modern twist, there are endless options to choose from.

Add extra convenience with a niche at your range to store spices and oils or a special curio.

Spice up your niche with a fun Arabesque tile.

What better place to put a special curio that makes you smile.

Add a pop of color!

These homeowners added some pizazz to their kitchen by selecting a colorful glass tile.

Add some pizzazz to a classic kitchen by selecting a colorful, yet subtle glass tile.

Ocean lover? Bring the sea to your kitchen with a multicolored glass tile.

Are you a salvage king or queen? Show off some of your treasures!

This tile was salvaged from the original 1913 kitchen and found a home above the range in the updated one!

Maybe classic is your thing. Try breaking up a simple subway tile with a unique piece that adds an extra touch of sophistication.

Break up the subway tile and showcase a gorgeous handmade tile.

What about an option that looks more like art?

Go with a large format tile that looks like wallpaper.

Looking for a modern twist that’s easy to maintain?

This modern kitchen kicked it up with a stainless steel backsplash to compliment their stainless steel cabinets.

This client kicked it up with a stainless steel backsplash to complement their stainless steel cabinets and range.

There are so many ways to give your backsplash personality, while respecting the era of your home. Let us help you find your perfect fit.

Looking for more design inspiration for your kitchen? Join us for our Kitchens that Work Design Workshop on May 18th. Get the details and RSVP here by May 15th to attend FREE.

Explore the Arciform Project Galleries | About Arciform | Schedule a Design Consultation

Meet Design Department Manager Marty Hegg

Marty vacation

Here is Marty after a Cape Lookout hike with “my two favorite people in the whole, wide world, Erik & Birgita.”

After working with Arciform for several years, we are delighted to promote Marty Hegg to the role of Design Department Manager. This recognizes the extremely important (but often behind the scenes) role she plays in every design we execute for our clients.

We sat down with Marty to learn a bit more about what inspires her about the design process.

When did you know you wanted to work in architectural design? Tell us how you got inspired to do this work.

I have a hundred technicolor & tactile memories from Kindergarten: my best friend’s living room walls (Easter egg lavender)…

couch

…our green scratchy frieze upholstery on the “davenport”…
…the oh-so-fancy red, flocked wallpaper at Eve’s Buffet (Fred Meyer’s restaurant)….

brick floor

… the brick-look flooring in my Aunt Mary’s kitchen….

terrycloth bedspread

… and my parents’ terrycloth bedspread I used to pretend was a fancy garden for my Fisher Price toys to play in.

Going over to friends’ or relatives’ homes, I often gave myself a secret, solo house tour to get the layout in my head. I have been drawn to interiors ever since I can remember, especially how different materials and colors can change the look and feel of a space.

Describe one of your favorite Arciform projects. What were the challenges? What were some of the features that made it memorable?

Hardison_1902_Exterior_A_2_P_Pro
The Hardison home is one of my favorite Arciform projects. I used to think Victorian homes were a little stuffy and formal, but these clients, Anne and all of the crew infused their home with such a sense of play. It is beautiful yet welcoming, cozy and creative, designed for the whole family to really enjoy.

Hardison_1902_Dormer_A_4_P_NonPro

Getting the submarine hatch up to the deck at the 3rd floor addition was a huge challenge! Actually, finding and purchasing the submarine hatch alone was a little scary.
Hardison_1902_Dormer_Rooftop_A_3_P_NonPro
What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love hunting for and finding anything from tile to cabinet hardware to great paint colors, then sharing them with the design team or clients. Pinterest is one of my favorite ways to collect gems to spec for our clients (paper-free, so I don’t fill any file cabinets).
I work with some incredible people, too! It is a beautiful thing to work alongside people who are both creative AND problem solvers. The design-build world is such a dynamic environment. I love walking out in the shop and seeing designs take their beautiful shape. I learn something every day from at least one person under this big roof.

What are the top 3 things on your “bucket list?”
1. To be an aerial photographer over North & South America for a month or so (childhood dream career).

2. To trace my maternal roots while exploring as much of Mexico and Spain as possible.

3. To visit Slovakia and see the house my grandfather grew up in, discover the Tatras Mountains & travel up the Danube.

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