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Arciform is Your Resource for Historic Review Expertise

As the built environment of Portland evolves at an astonishing pace, we place an immeasurable value on the preservation of our city’s architectural integrity. One of the ways that Portland protects the charm and character of our city is through the designation of Historic Districts. These are neighborhoods that have been deemed to be of particular historic or cultural significance and are protected by certain rules and regulations. If you are lucky enough to own a home in one of these special districts, (or if you are considering buying a home in one), you need to know what this means for your house and potential remodel projects. Luckily, you have a team of experts at Arciform to help you stay informed!

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If you are considering a remodel that will alter the exterior of your Historic District home, it is very likely that your project will have to pass Historic Review. During this process, we are required by the City to produce detailed drawings and documents that demonstrate how the proposed project will enhance (and not degrade) the historic architecture of the home and neighborhood.

Whether you are building a dormer or adding a window and door (as in the above Alphabet District home), the City will carefully analyze the proposed design to make sure that the historically significant details of your home’s architecture are preserved and incorporated into the design. These details include (but are not limited to) such things as: balance, proportion, massing, roof pitch, building materials and millwork profiles. As experts in historic remodeling, Arciform is well-versed in the requirements for Historic Review and thus, we are able to effectively get ahead of the process and set client expectations for budget and timelines.

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The beautiful home pictured above (located in the Irvington District) underwent an extensive Historic Review process for the proposed exterior work and new back steps and patio. Upon completion, the homeowners had a newly invigorated and more functional space, while maintaining the integrity of the 1915 Prairie Style architecture.

If you have been considering a remodel on your Historic District home, we are the firm for you! We can educate you about tax incentives and the Historic Review process, as our experienced Designers and expert carpenters ensure that your very special home will stay true to its unique character and to the intrinsic value of your neighborhood.

-By Anna Foltz

Designer Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Part Three

Today brings you our final edition of our Designer Holiday Gift Guide for 2016. Over the weekend we put up lights, festive greenery and baked gingerbread unicorns, angels and crustaceans, naturally. Now it’s time to for us to check things off of our gift lists!

Part Three of our guide brings goodies selected by Design Associates Anna Foltz and Bianca McKelvy. Maybe you’ll find something for someone on your Nice List?

Anna’s Favorites:

For your Favorite Dog 
Do you love outdoor adventuring with your canine companion? Ruffwear dog boots are a wonderful way to protect your pal’s paws from the elements. Find an assortment of colors and sizes locally at Pet Loft on SW Macadam Ave.

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For the Kitchen

Out of the Woods of Oregon
These beautiful wood cutting boards and utensils are made in Eugene, OR from sustainably sourced native red alder. The cutting boards are available in the shape of any of the 50 states, so offer a home-state gift to your friends and family in any part of the USA! Purchase locally at Presents of Mind on SE Hawthorne Blvd.

For that Quirky Friend

In a city that prides itself on weirdness, Paxton Gate is a source for oddities and ephemera for those who might appreciate a gift that’s a little. . . different. The shop feels a bit like a neo-Victorian biology lab, with eclectic displays of framed insects, taxidermy, exotic plants and jewelry/apparel inspired by nature. This is a fun and funky shopping experience that you don’t want to miss!

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Adornment 

For the discerning fashion enthusiast in your life, Xtabay Vintage Clothing Boutique  is a gem on SE Clinton St. This charming boutique features a choice array of vintage apparel, jewelry and accessories, all in impeccable condition.

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For the Home

Obsidian Windchimes
Handmade in Portland, these unique wind chimes are made of obsidian dug from lava beds in Eastern Oregon and driftwood from the West Coast. The delicate music they make is as enchanting as their organic sculptural designs.

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Bianca’s picks:

Something to Make

I love getting my hands dirty and am always trying to learn how to create things instead of buy them. Gifting a workshop from WildCraft Studio School would be great for a crafty friend.

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For the Home

Maven Collective on SE Stark in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood always has a well curated selection of vintage home goods, furniture and plants.

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Last Call at Jimmy Maks

Jimmy Maks, one of the last great jazz clubs in Portland, is closing at the end of the year. So if you’ve never been, I highly recommend you make it down to the Pearl District and treat yourself to the awesome sounds of the Mel Brown Quartet before their closing night Dec 31st.

Wearables

Ace & Jig creates some of the most beautiful and eclectic textiles and turns them into comfortable, fun garments.

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Ceramics

I found local artist Martina Thornhill on Instagram and fell in love with her beautiful ceramic pieces.

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Animal Handmade

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Have you ever seen embossed leather this fun and creative?! I want one of every bag, in every color.

Here’s wishing you all the best as you create or look for that special something for all you hold close in your hearts this Holiday Season!

-edited by Marty Hegg

Designer Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Part Two

It’s Friday, and time for Part Two of our Designer Holiday Gift Guide! Today we feature picks from Design Associate Tara Keefner and Design Department Manager Marty Hegg. You might find inspiration for your weekend shopping or crafting below.

Tara:

Clothing and Home Goods

Modcloth is a vintage-inspired online retailer I am unreasonably obsessed with. They recently had a pop-up store in Portland, and will soon open brick-and-mortar locations in a few lucky places around the U.S.!

Kitchen & Dining Accessories - Thanks So Matcha Tea Set in Rose Garden

Date Night

Little Bird Bistro serves French cuisine (the seared duck breast is my favorite). The atmosphere is intimate and they have a great wine list! There are gift certificates available, and they take reservations: a great idea for someone who deserves a night out. 215 SW 6th Ave in downtown Portland.

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Charitable Donation

Cure Tay-Sachs Foundation (or a charity organization of your choosing): make a donation in someone’s name! My aunt and uncle started this foundation when my cousin was diagnosed with juvenile-onset Tay-Sachs disease. They discovered that not much was being done to find a cure, in spite of progress made in genetics and disease research. This particular cause is near and dear to my heart, but any donation to a good cause, made in the name of a loved one, is a meaningful gift for someone who doesn’t want more material goods. Every donation, no matter how small, can do so much and go so far.

Marty:

For the Kitchen

For the baker on your list, Williams Sonoma carries the 11-lb capacity digital scale by OXO.

OXO Food Scale, 11-Lb. Capacity

For the home

You can’t go wrong with a wool blanket from Pendleton Woolen Mills. I like this Crater Lake design. Wool is durable, resilient, a natural flame-retardant, and long-wearing.

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For your favorite Portlander

A brick in Pioneer Square is a fun way to commemorate someone in Portland’s Living Room. My dad loves seeing his name out and about. He was born here in 1934 and has always loved living in his special City of Roses.
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For the homebody

A few years ago, my daughter broke her leg. A wiggly child in a cast + so much time on the couch = one shredded upholstery job. I would love to have it reupholstered locally by Revive!

For the coffee lover

I have two favorites to share, both smooth, dark and spot-on:

First, the Kobos Bistro Blend, served by my favorite local spot, the John Street Café.  

Second, by Nossa Familia, is Mathilde’s French Roast. This is what we drink at home. Muito obrigada, Mathilde!

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Rain Gear

People say true Portlanders don’t use umbrellas. Well, this native who walks a lot AND wears glasses loves umbrellas. Panorella lets you put a 360 degree view inside yours. Remember when you hiked the trails of the Cinque Terre, took your first look at the Grand Canyon or saw an amazing sunset at your favorite beach?

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Gifts for kids

The Art of STEM is a small but mighty gem in St Johns. They have toys, books, events and camps to encourage young, creative minds to learn while they play.

Homemade Gifts

If you’d rather make than buy gifts, here are some winning ideas!

Your favorite berry jam, fresh bread and cloth napkins make a sweet gift, via Martha Stewart.

A fragrant culinary herb wreath would be lovely and fun to make, year-round.

Make a fresh herb wreath that smells terrific

Charitable Donation

Give in someone’s name via a microloan through Kiva. Enterpreneurs in 80 countries (US included) apply for loans, Kiva takes it through the underwriting and approval process and posts to their site for crowdfunding. After funds have been raised and granted, the borrower will repay the loan. Then the lender can re-lend to another cause, donate or withdraw their funds.

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Did you know you can donate the sound of your voice? This is quite amazing. Check out vocaliD and help someone who cannot speak be heard in more than a generic, robotic tone.

We’ll wrap up our Designer Holiday Gift Guide series with Part Three next week. Enjoy your weekend!

-edited by Marty Hegg

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Designer Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Part One

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Tomorrow we flip our calendars from November to December! If you haven’t already started, it’s time to make or buy holiday gifts for those special people in your life. The Arciform Design Team has some ideas to share with you!

For Part One of our guide, Principal Designer Anne De Wolf and Senior Designer Chelly Wentworth have picked some of their favorite shops and goodies for those on their lists:

Anne: On a neighborhood run, I found some cool places to investigate near our office.

Lark Press is a small letterpress studio with lovely cards made right in the building, books, art prints and other gifts. 3901 N Williams Avenue.

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Tree House Children’s Boutique carries new and resale items for little ones, and is owned by a mom who knows her stuff.  3954 N Williams Avenue.

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Flutter is a feast for the eyes and a fantastic place to find unique gifts for that someone who has everything. 3948 N Mississippi Avenue.

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Just off of busy Interstate Avenue is a small gem called Lowell, where you can find anything from a beautiful vase to Southwestern antiques to clothing: 819 N Russell Street.

Chelly:

Find beautiful guitar straps here in a wide variety of styles and colors. I want one to replace a broken strap on my large leather bag. Feedback Straps

Vintage Folk Flowers Guitar Strap

Who could resist a cooking class from a local chef in a beautiful setting like Middleground Farms in Wilsonville?

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A wearable gift with a conscience: a gift certificate to a store with ‘Radical Transparency’, like Everlane:

A useful gift: a high tech design studio, like this Surface from Microsoft:Surface Studio

A philanthropic gift: for every product sold, United By Blue removes one pound of trash from our world’s oceans and waterways

Winter is Coming Gift Pack | United By Blue

An experience gift: set up a private session or join a drop-in event to paint while drinking wine at centrally-located shop Bottle & Bottega

Private Painting And Wine Parties Portland

-edited by Marty Hegg

Envisioning Your Basement and Bonus Room’s Potential

As the seasons change, many of us dream of creating cozy spaces for our families and guests to curl up in. Your basement has the potential to add the living space your family needs and get you that bonus room you have been dreaming of for years. Here are some considerations to help you look past the cracked walls and cobwebs of your basement.

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1. Work the structural elements into the design

When looking at the layout for your basement remodel, try not to fight the location of the existing structural members. Moving posts and beams can be costly and trigger upgrades to meet current codes. Your best bet is to integrate the posts and beams into design elements. This can be as simple as hiding them within new walls. Posts can be used as an end point for half walls or could be exposed as design features.

2. Don’t forget the rest of your home

In finishing your basement, you will be restricting access to the systems that service the rest of your house. This is the perfect time to look at the state of your electrical, plumbing and HVAC. If your remodel requires these systems to move, then think about what upgrades can be combined to get the most out of your investment. Central air, re-piping of your house and additional outlets for the floors above are great additions to the scope of a basement remodel.

3. Level of finish

It’s up to you to determine what level of finish and investment you want to put into this project. If you are not looking to add legal livable square feet, there are plenty of ways to clean up your basement and make it function better for you and your family. You’d be surprised how big an impact you can make by cleaning and painting the walls and ceiling. Pair this with a lighting plan to brighten the dark corners and add warmth with furniture.

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4. Classic or Contemporary?

Understanding the architectural details that define the era of your home will help you when planning the aesthetic of your remodel–whether you want to design within the style of your home or move in a different direction. Looking at the architectural elements, like existing millwork and built-ins, can help. Think of your basement as a blank canvas and have fun making it reflect your personal style.

5. Flexibility is key

One great way to approach your basement remodel is to plan for the spaces to have multiple uses. Do you need a dedicated guest room or can that also be a home office? If you are adding a bathroom and currently have laundry on this level, think about combining these rooms to save on plumbing costs and space. Are you comfortable with your new guest suite being used as a part time rental? Better to ask yourselves these questions now than later.

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6. Creative Storage

It’s easy to focus on how much space you will be gaining by finishing your basement, but don’t forget about what you are giving up. The typical basement acts as a catch-all for the items that we don’t want in the rest of our house. It is important to plan on how and where those items will get stored once the basement is finished. Hidden doors, built-ins and creative pantries are all great options to keep your basement looking spic and span after the remodel.

7. Does your remodel have the potential to work for you?

It’s hard to escape the ADU and Airbnb discussion when considering a basement remodel. The first step will be to assess what the current structure of your home lends itself to. There are differences between the requirements for an attached ADU and converting your basement to a livable space. Make sure you explore how each option affects the scope of work and what benefits you will see once the project is complete before moving forward with your design.

These are just some of the topics that will be addressed at Arciform’s Basement and Bonus Rooms Workshop on November 9th at 6pm at the Hotel deLuxe.

Contact martha@arciform.com to be added to the event wait list.

Click here to hear more from the Arciform design team.
http://www.arciform.com/

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Understanding the Design Process: Final Steps

Whether you’ve never tackled a remodeling project before or you’re a seasoned home-improvement pro, the design process can seem daunting at times. Many firms have their own way of doing things and sometimes these methods are a bit convoluted or mysterious.

In this series, we’ll take you on a step-by-step tour through the Arciform design process so that you know what to expect when planning a home improvement project. In case you missed them – be sure to start with Part 1 which covers measuring and documenting existing conditions, and part 2 which covers conceptual design & details.

 

Step 5: Construction Documentation

Most of the projects that we design require city permits, and many require engineering. We take care of that for you! As the design process unfolds we have multiple scheduled check-ins and walk-throughs with our construction team members & subcontractors to get eyes on the project from all parts of the process. Our goal is to address as many potential issues as possible long before the hammers start swinging.

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Here you can see an example of a structural page for the nook addition on the cottage we’ve been talking about.

 

Accurately developing the plans and getting all of the details onto paper is the most critical step in our process. We do this to make sure that every detail of your project gets built as closely as possible to the finalized design. There’s no way to catch everything, but the more we address from the beginning the fewer headaches there will be during construction – something our Project Managers definitely appreciate!

 

Step 6: Build & Enjoy!

 

As you can see from this side-by-side comparison, the rendered perspective is remarkably close to the finished product!

There’s a whole new ball game to go along with this last step (the entire construction process, for example!) but you’re now equipped with a highly detailed set of plans and specifications to get you through. Our designers make it a priority to remain available to you during the construction process as well; you can rest assured that you’ll have the help of a professional to deal with anything unexpected that may come up during the course of building your project. Because of all the steps you’ve taken to fully flesh out and detail your design plans, you’re well prepared for construction!

-Tara Keefner, co-author

Understanding the Design Process: 2nd Steps

Whether you’ve never tackled a remodeling project before or you’re a seasoned home-improvement pro, the design process can seem daunting at times. Many firms have their own way of doing things and sometimes these methods are a bit convoluted or mysterious.

In this series, we’ll take you on a step-by-step tour through the Arciform design process so that you know what to expect when planning a home improvement project. In case you missed it – be sure to start with Part 1 which covers the first steps in the design process, measuring and documenting existing conditions.


Step 3: Conceptual Design

After documenting the existing conditions, Senior Designer Kristyn Bester was able to come up with a number of options for this cottage remodel based on the client’s wants and needs for the space. Here at Arciform it is important to us to respect the history and architecture of your home, so the designer will always keep that in mind when designing.

One of the client’s main goals was to open up the kitchen with an addition off the back of the house. After coming up with a few preliminary designs, Kristyn presented the client with some options like the one above here in the design office. This first design meeting covers the schematics and general layout of the design. You will get to see what it feels like to be in your remodeled space.

Sometimes it can be hard to visualize your remodel from just a floor plan; luckily, the program we use enables you to see perspectives like the one above which are very true to how the final product will look.

Step 4: Details, details, details! 

The steps following the first meeting can be very fun, or at least we designers think so! We will pick out the materials, finishes and fixtures that give the remodel flare and character. You can have as little or as much involvement in this process as you like. We find Pinterest to be a particularly great tool for clients and designers to use during the initial design stages; see the joint board that Senior Designer Kristyn Bester and the client started together here.

Once the space planning and layout for the kitchen and the nook addition was complete, it was time to get into the details of the plans and specifications. The specifications help to create a purchasing “to-do” list for the items which need to be selected. The plans include elevations of all walls to help detail out spatial needs for the rooms affected, including any special notes of concern for our field crew. Designers will often sit down with the client to go through each elevation within the remodeled space, addressing any aesthetic and spatial concerns.

This elevation example shows the type of details that need to be addressed which aren’t always easy to see in plan view, such as how the lights & shelves line up and the relationship between vertical elements such as backsplash and mouldings.

The final phase of design is the technical jargon that provides “instructions” for what is to be built and what that entails, such as permitting and engineering and the like. Stay tuned!

-Tara Keefner, co-author

Understanding the Design Process: 1st Steps

Whether you’ve never tackled a remodeling project before or you’re a seasoned home-improvement pro, the design process can seem daunting at times. Many firms have their own way of doing things and sometimes these methods are a bit convoluted or mysterious.

In this series, we’ll take you on a step-by-step tour through the Arciform design process so that you know what to expect when planning a home improvement project. As you follow along with this 1928 English cottage remodel, you will learn what to expect, how we work and why we do what we do!

Step 1: Measuring the Site and Recording Exiting Conditions

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After the Initial Design Consultation, Senior Designer Kristyn Bester and the Arciform design team visited the home to measure the existing floor plan and site footprint of this charming cottage. The goal of the site measure is to document every single detail down to the nitty-gritty. We document the existing materials, millwork profiles, door and window styles, etc – and occasionally get into your dusty crawlspaces – all in an effort to mitigate any issues with the unforeseen during the construction phase.

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The client had multiple phases in mind for this cottage project, making a whole-house site measure the best solution. A whole-house site measure allows the design team to understand how all floors of a home are being affected when designing; it also helps to smooth the transition between phases and, of course, you will have a set of current and accurate plans for your house!

Step 2: Turning the Measurements and Documentations into a Drawing

After measuring the space and documenting the details, we bring all of the information back to the office to draw up in our CAD software. This “as built” drawing then serves as a canvas for the design. Our computer program also creates a 3D model which lends the opportunity to generate different types of drawings & renderings, making it easy for the designer and client to visualize an accurate depiction of the possibilities.

AS BUILT. RUNYON & ENGLE-Floor Plan Image

Above is the “as built” floor plan for our example cottage, which gives a good idea of the kind of information you can expect to find on this plan. Different symbols & tags help the designers easily identify what is going on in the space. For example, the red symbols & lines represent mechanical, electrical & plumbing elements; the blue hatching means that there are no changes being made to the space.

Stay tuned for the next installment on our journey through the design process, outlining the “conceptual design” phase of this Laurelhurst home remodel.

-Tara Keefner, co-author

Everyday Luxuries: A Winning Wine Cellar

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Adding a wine cellar sounds like the kind of investment that would only make sense in a grand residence- and there are certainly some gorgeous wine cellars in some of Portland’s most gracious homes.

Not everybody has that kind of square footage, of course. Is it possible to carve out a little piece of luxury when all you have to work with is a clean and dry corner of a bungalow basement?

This was the question we hoped to answer as part of our Wine Cellar Giveaway collaboration with Portland Monthly. Our wine cellar winner had a wonderful collection of French and Northwest wines… and absolutely nowhere to store it or display it.

Could Arciform Designer Jeffrey Kelly take this dry but unappealing corner of their basement and turn it into a stylish and functional temperature-controlled wine cellar?

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Our first step was to devise a modular, flexible storage rack system that could handle different bottle sizes and shapes (including Magnums) while maintaining a clean and consistent look.

As an additional challenge, we looked for a design that would make use of off-cuts from our custom wood shop, removing waste from the waste stream and re-purposing it in a practical and beautiful way.

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The solution: A series of modular rack components constructed from pieces of reclaimed clear vertical grain fir that were salvaged from our custom window manufacture process.

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The racks were installed on two walls, providing an extraordinary amount of bottle storage in a tight footprint. Salvaged wood paneling along the accent wall tied the space together while a WhisperKool air conditioning unit keeps the space at the optimum temperature for storing wine. A small wine fridge keeps whites chilled.

Congratulations to our Portland Monthly Wine Cellar winner.

It was a pleasure to add a little touch of everyday luxury to your basement!

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

Designing an Adventure-Ready Home

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The weather is perfect for getting out of the house to explore the beauty of our fair state. Its also a great time to consider how your home can better support your family’s active and adventurous spirit.

Here are a few of our favorite active family design solutions:

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Designed by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Biking may be a year-round sport in Portland, but with 8 months of rain it’s important to consider how to keep the bike dry and safe when you are not riding it. For this Portland client, we integrated bike storage into a basement mudroom to give the whole family a place to prep for the ride in comfort.

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Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

The transition from home-time to adventure-time is more fun when everything you need is organized and ready to hand. A great mudroom keeps all of your outdoor gear right where you need it (and NOT on the kitchen table or in a pile in the corner of the basement).

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Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

A bit of whimsy can make even the chore of loading out gear more of an adventure. This hidden door offers direct pass-through access to the mudroom for sports equipment, bikes, and other outdoor gear. It’s also spectacular for hide and seek with the new kids on the street.

MilliganUsher_1926_Basement_Entry_A_P_Pro (4)Designed by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Another great option for stashing gear is to add lockers in your mudroom space. These were integrated into the space under the stairwell, making clever use of an otherwise wasted space in the home.

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Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Even in the glorious summer months, there will be rainy days that require at-home activity and adventure. Some activity-friendly finishes can turn your basement bonus room into a place for dancing, yoga, or even  an indoor soccer arena. The wraparound metal trim in this basement family room allows the kids to roll back the rug and push back the furniture for a little rainy day footie match when needed.

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Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

All that adventure can really work up a muddy mess of sweat, and you probably don’t want your master bath to bear the brunt of the clean up. For this we recommend a wet room in your basement or adjacent to your mudroom that minimizes the distance your family has to travel to wash up after a day’s hike in Forest Park.

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Designed by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Wet rooms are designed with floor-to-ceiling water safe finishes that are designed for maximum mess with minimal clean up. This basement wet room (above and below) takes a narrow space and gives it style and practicality with floor-to-ceiling subway tile and polished concrete floors.

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Designed by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Last but not least, a weekend full of adventure often leads to a week full of laundry. Taking the time to design a thoughtful and convenient laundry space in your basement, mudroom or even upstairs like this family (below) can make preparing for your next adventure more pleasant.

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Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

And then, when all the tromping and stomping and climbing and rolling and cleaning is complete, isn’t it time for a nice, relaxing soak in your outdoor spa? This family (below) tucked an elegant spa area in a wooded corner of their yard, creating a peaceful post-adventure oasis in the heart of their home.

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Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

How can we help you make your home more adventure-ready? Explore our design galleries and get inspired for your next project here.

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