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5 Kitchen Remodels We Love

There’s a reason they call kitchens the heart of the home. A kitchen is where you spend  time not just making food for yourself or others, but also where you grow your family. Kitchens are lively and full of energy when friends and family gather. They’re a calm and comforting nest after a heated discussion. They’re strong and stable when the rest of the world is chaotic. Kitchens are full of love.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Creative and Spirited

kerri-p-1909-4-1This 1909 kitchen had undergone a previous remodel in 1980. Our goal was to refine it so that it was reminiscent of a time when kitchens were just beginning to be social hubs—the 1950s. We covered the walls in subway tiles which gives it a functional feel and makes clean up easy after cooking splatters! The unique gas oven by LaCanche in delft blue, works with the family’s antiques. We added an industrial edge with polished chrome fixtures and steel open shelving. The result is something the homeowner calls “creative and spirited.”

Super Modern with Classic Architecture

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One of the best parts about residential design is the freedom to mix styles and eras. We love to do this while carefully respecting the home’s history. When looking at this kitchen, you might not guess that it’s in a home built in 1909. The homeowner’s aesthetic in appliances and materials was more modern. We worked with that while keeping the open kitchen in harmony with more traditional adjacent spaces. Details like dark-hued lower cabinets tie to the original fir molding. Needing an elegant, serene space to unwind after emotionally-taxing days as a counselor, our client appreciated the clean lines and soothing colors.

French-Inspired 

quarum-1913-1-1It’s true what they say about yellow: it’s the color of happiness. Pairing this butter-cream shade with classic white subway tiles is fresh, light and makes things sunny even on a gray Portland day. Versatile Wood Products built a custom island just the right size to prove useful, beautiful and space efficient. As a nod to French Country style, we built flour bins lined in zinc and incorporated the mudroom and back porch into the kitchen. The bistro table, rattan chairs, pressed tin ceiling and decorative range hood make you feel like you’re at a boulangerie in Normandy!

Classic & Modern at the Same Time

ericstephen-wk-1925-kitchen-_2_-1How do you separate a kitchen and dining room without completely closing them off? With triple-hung windows! They can be closed to keep cooking smells and sounds out of the dining room, while the textured glass lets the light in. The combination of natural stone and a professional stainless steel oven works to bring the modern and classic styles together in this kitchen. A quartzite-topped custom island makes chopping and food prep easy. We loved making the dining room shine like a jewel with bright turquoise walls, restoring the 1925 chandelier from the original home and maximizing natural light.

Unpretentious Craftsman

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Like a painting by Dou Gerrard, the natural hues in this kitchen evoke warmth, subtlety and grace. Paying particular attention to details, we used concrete countertops on unfinished honey maple cabinetry, which feels both utilitarian and comforting. A mobile island allows for flexibility in the kitchen and an open book shelf for cookbooks keeps time-honored recipes close at hand.

What would your dream kitchen look like? What’s your favorite style and why? Which of these kitchens do you like best? Let us know in the comments below!

The Morris Marks Diaries: Structural Development

An update from project manager, Joe McAlester

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Perhaps while stuck in traffic, you’ve noticed the old house sitting at the intersection of Southwest Broadway Drive and Grant Street—you know that busy intersection to get on or off I-405 near SW 6th? It’s an area you might not have given much notice before, other than that cool retro motel sign. Now you find yourself gazing at what looks like a very old home. You may ask yourself, “Just how old is that home? Was it always there?”

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In fact, it’s 138 years old. It was cut in half a few months ago and moved from its shady home near PSU with towering new buildings on each side. You probably hadn’t noticed it before, but now it’s come out of the shade and into the light. It might look a little run-down, but don’t worry, it will be a shining part of our city soon. And a shining part of history as well.

The house was built in 1880 by architect Warren H. Williams for Morris Marks, a successful shoe merchant, at what was then #254 Twelfth Street. This is the first of two homes Marks had built. Apparently, he was he was a man who appreciated architecture, as this is perhaps one of the best examples of Italianate architecture our city has to offer.

Arciform founder Richard De Wolf gave me an update on the home a few weeks ago:

“Now that the house has been set on a new foundation and structurally ‘tied back together,’ the historic review portion of the project can happen. Lots of decisions are made during this process. Our history with the city puts us at an advantage with historical restoration projects. We know what to expect and how to make it as efficient as possible.

The use of the building dictates how we move forward. An office building requires different codes than if it were used as a home. Things like ornamentation, rot, siding, etcetera, will be addressed in either scenario, so we can move forward on those common items. Seismic retrofitting is also a concern when deciding which code we apply to the building envelope. Once those are finalized, we can remove the addition on the roofline and restore the beautiful shape that has long since been gone. With a dried-in roof—watch out—we can go crazy on interior finishes and exterior restoration.”

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The process is like a large puzzle in which Arciform’s Project Manager puts together the pieces. Today, photographer Christopher Dibble and I get to explore the inside of the house and find out what’s going on, straight from the Project Manager, Joe McAlester.

We feel pretty lucky to get the inside scoop on this home. With an average of 5-6 projects going on at a time, Joe McAlester isn’t usually free to sit and chat about his work, although he seems quite relaxed and happy to do so for us today.

“We’ve never had any top-down, house-lift projects quite like this. There’s a lot of structural stuff to be done. At this stage, we’re finishing structural repairs in the basement. Then we’ll remove the out-of-context dormer that was added on in the 70’s and restore the home to its original style, updated for today’s world,” says Joe.

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The home has been a boarding house for many years with numerous children, adults and families as tenants.

”We’ve had several people walking by stop and inquire about the house; they share memories of living in the house and take photos.”

As we walk through the home, I notice layer upon layer of plaster and wallpaper on the walls. Large sliding dining room doors, a beautiful old marble fireplace, high ceilings in every room.

Things like bathrooms weren’t a thought in the 1880s—indoor plumbing didn’t exist yet! Which might be why we find a toilet underneath the stairwell (where Harry Potter would have lived if this were a J.K. Rowling novel).

Joe tells me the house will be done in about 9 months. As we look around and he lists everything that needs to be done, he says, “…maybe a year? Let’s say 9-12 months.”

Heading down to the basement, site lead Jack Ouska and his team are working inside the structural build.

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Original beams are being replaced. New, larger beams allow for a more open floor plan with fewer posts.

They are also changing the way the beams are installed to improve headroom. The original beam was installed under the floor joists.  

 

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“To install the new beam, we cut a channel in the floor joists. The new beam will be installed in that channel, and the floor joists will be attached to the side of the beam. This will create roughly 5 inches more of headroom from the basement floor to the bottom of the beam. In addition to fewer posts, this will really help open up the space,” Joe explains to me as I try to grasp how in the world they’re making this old home stand strong again.

Written by Snow Blackwood

Photos by Christopher Dibble

A Kitchen for Cooking, Cats and Comfort

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Clockwise from left: Linda’s baking supplies as she prepares her Chewy Ginger-Molasses Chocolate-Chunk cookies (recipe here!), Denali loves the camera and the kitchen; Simple ingredients and natural light are a recipe for the heart.

“I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.” – Jules Verne

Linda Schmidt loves cats. This is the first thing I noticed about the 1929 Tudor home. The cat shaped topiary as I walk through the front door, the bengal cat, Denali with it’s striking fur coat, cat paintings on the walls by Jonathan Blum.

Linda gives new meaning to the term: “cat lady”. This cat lady, is not one with loud wallpaper and leaky roofs. This cat lady has a restrained color palette and refined taste for antiques mixed with a traditional-modern style.
“Sometimes you get lucky and land a client with optimal taste and personality.” Anne De Wolf, owner of Arciform, has been working with Linda for over 9 years on the remodel of her 2,300 square foot home in Portland’s beautiful Southwest Hills overlooking a green yard brightened by magnificent yellow and orange fall leaves today.
Over the years, to say the two have developed a friendship would be putting it lightly. It’s obvious to see they have a uniquely close relationship. One that perhaps can only be obtained through the process of working on a project so close to your soul as one’s home.

 

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“This is really Linda’s masterpiece. I didn’t do much.” De Wolf is humble. As the restoration-designer of historic homes, Anne turns others’ dreams into realities. And as a designer myself (though not of homes) I recognize the skill in taking one’s perspective and being able to turn this into something that’s expressive of them without projecting your own ego onto it.
“It comes down to a love for your work and having fun.” Anne doesn’t take herself too seriously and she believes creating and design should be fun. “You can see the difference when the process was fun.”

During our photoshoot, Anne and Linda’s contagious laughter fills the house. They playfully make jokes about “Sue” the imaginary neighbor who’s been causing upheaval with her loose ways. Never has it been so easy to get people to laugh and smile for photos.

As we walk around the dining table I admire the rustic-modern chairs—all from Restoration Hardware.

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Framed photos of Linda’s family tree.

“Everything had to be perfect. Symmetry and perfection is important to Linda. I mean look at this!” Anne says as she shows me the intricately placed collage of photos which frame ALL of Linda’s history. She has black and white photos from the 1800’s of her German ancestors. Framed immigration papers from her “Papi”—the term both Linda and Anne use for their fathers. Both are of German descent.

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Balancing a rustic, antiquey style with perfection and symmetry is not always easy. However, the way it’s done here works amazingly well. That—I can only guess—is in large part because of the relationship that Linda and Anne have developed over the years.
The dining room table is on wheels flanked with wide old boards that display a warm patina.
“We left it large even though the dining room is small, it creates intimacy.” says De Wolf.
The beautiful aged-wood balances the cool color palette and symmetrical precision of the arched entrances to the stairwell and front door. Every arched entrance was widened and changed so they matched in size creating a Escher-esque view from room to room.
The kitchen was the most recent part of the remodel. Having already completed the other parts of the home, only the basement remodel remains.

Linda loves to bake. So elements like the slide-and-pull shelving unit that go way back into the cabinetry were important. The kitchen is small, but the use of space makes it efficient.
The black cabinetry, mixed with gray and white is matched to a black range make the space feel incredibly elegant. And as Denali dances into the room lured by Linda baking ginger-chocolate cookies, the view is picture-perfect.

Written by Snow Blackwood  Photos by Christopher Dibble

Linda’s Chewy Ginger-Molasses Chocolate Chunk cookies

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Recipe modified from Martha Stewart’s December/January 1997 issue

INGREDIENTS (makes 8 dozen – you’ll need alot for the Holidays!)

64 TJ pieces (4 bags Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chunks)

6 cups plus 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

5 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

4 sticks of butter

4 tablespoons freshly grated ginger (ginger from the tube in the produce section works great!)

2 cups dark-brown sugar, packed

2 cups unsulfured molasses

4 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup granulated sugar

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cocoa
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 5 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with plastic wrap; refigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. Roll dough into 2-inch balls; piece 2 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll dough balls in granulated sugar and return to baking sheets. Transfer to oven and bake until surfaces crack slightly, about 13 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

 

The Holiday Party

We’re excited to celebrate another year here at Arciform and this year we held our holiday party at the De Wolf’s new home: The Isam White house. Here’s a peek inside the home and festivities:

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Junior Designer Stephyn and Designer Tara share a smile

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“We chose Benjamin Moores’ Slate Teal for the walls, paired with green couches from Anthropologie. The chandeliers were restored from the previous owners.” -Anne De Wolf

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Project manager, Joe Hoffman and site lead Jamie Whittaker’s wife, Jill enjoy the night

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Richard De Wolf’s mom, Michal Ann Russell, shares the home with her son and daughter in-law, as they remodel the second level. Nick Truog and lead carpenter, Eric Delph are ready for a refill!

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“We kept the tree in the basement to add cheer as you enter the not so cheery ‘chapel’ and create lighting for the ping pong table,” says Anne.

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“The Chapel”

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Richard and Anne received some wonderful gifts from their team; a donation to the Oregon Humane Society and a brick inscribed with their names in Pioneer Square.

 

Inspired by the Story: An Interview with Anne De Wolf and the Kitzis-Strasfeld Family

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“Designed by Portland’s most renowned architect, A.E. Doyle, this home creates a harmonious marriage of the grand and majestic spaces found in palatial mansions with the warmth and ease of lifestyle prevalent in the Craftsman cottage.” – Dan Volkmer

Moving from their beloved Victorian home in Goose Hollow, Lynne, Alex and their two children, Margot and Anderson, have lived in their current home for over 3 years now. After being referred by Dan Volkmer to Anne De Wolf as a talented designer who specializes in historic remodels, they began a whole-house remodel with Arciform.

“What we liked most about Anne was she knew her stuff when it came to historic home restoration, but she also had a funky flair about her designs,” says Alex as I step into the gorgeous home built in 1909 by local architect A.E. Doyle. Doyle also designed the Multnomah County Central Library, the Meier & Frank Building and the famous Benson Bubblers!

I notice wallpapers that are a clear trademark of Anne’s style and relish in the light, fun and sophisticated feel the Kitzis-Strasfeld home emanates.

This striking L’Oiseau Moderne wallpaper epitomizes the most exuberant Deco style that was popular between 1925-1930. “When done right, historic preservation is never boring,” says Anne.

Lynne Strasfeld and Alex Kitzis are doctors. They’re used to chaos and high stress situations. I keep this in mind when they tell me they chose to live in the home throughout the remodel.

“Living in the home during construction allowed us to be a part of the process, and we were able to make on-the-fly decisions and adjustments to the remodel plan,” Lynne tells me.

“Things like adding a counter below the microwave in the kitchen and replacing the mudroom were decided in-the-moment,” says Alex.

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The original mudroom was rebuilt as part of the addition with, tile flooring and walls and built-ins. “The home has many small efficient spaces coupled with large public rooms,” says Anne

“And best of all, Jamie and Adam [Arciform’s lead carpenter and project manager on the project] were always respectful of our space; in the end they became like family,” Lynne says

Two weeks ago I was here getting photos of the home for both Arciform and interior designer Jenna Sheingold. During the photoshoot I played ping-pong in the fully finished basement with 9-year-old son Anderson – he shamelessly beat me five times in a row.

12-year-old Margot showed me her beautiful bedroom. I notice the light sea green ceiling (painted in Benjamin Moore’s Neon Celery) and the attached bathroom with beautiful details like classic white hexagonal tiles with black accents on the floor, the Carrara marble shower threshold and pretty wall-mounted sink by Duravit. The walls have been painted in Ice Blue by Benjamin Moore.

“I like how light and bright my room is,” says Margot.

Today I’m at the home with the Lynne, Alex, Anne, photographer Christopher Dibble and their cheerful golden retriever, Sadie. We’re getting a few more photos, and I’m learning more about the remodel. Anne brought pastries from Ken’s Artisan Bakery and we sit down to enjoy them in the garden room and chat more about the home.

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What I love most about these interviews is hearing Anne talk about historical architecture. First of all, she has a charming German accent. Second, she knows her stuff and is passionate about design.

The remodel included expanding along one wall of the kitchen by three feet, removing a wall from the dining area to the living area, adding a new family room and bathroom to the basement and restoring historical details such as the oak hardwood flooring, large, west-facing windows and the pass-through butler’s pantry, among other things.

“The Kitzis-Strasfelds loved their previous home as well. They moved from an old Victorian just ½ mile from their new house. They were especially fond of their former kitchen with its cozy nook, so we took those elements and carried them into their new home. We expanded the kitchen, added wainscoting and banquette seating to the existing nook and used the same paint color—Gaelic Garden by Columbia Paints,” says Anne.

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The existing kitchen with butler’s pantry has been updated to modern standards while respecting the vintage of the home

As we exit the house through the cheery red front door, Lynne tells me, “we had many happy hours sitting in our old kitchen, and now we feel the same about our new kitchen.”

This house is on the Ainsworth Holiday Home Tour which happens this Thursday, 11/30! Be sure to check it out.

Written by Snow Blackwood

Photo Gallery (photos by Christopher Dibble):

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The Morris Marks Diaries: Moving Day

If you were downtown on Saturday, September 30th, you may have noticed a 2,860 square foot historic house moving through the street… in two pieces. Don’t believe us? Check it out here:

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That’s right, we cut an 1880 Italianate in half, and with the help of OXBO, moved it 1.5 miles through PSU’s park blocks across the 405 freeway and to its new home at the intersection of Southwest Broadway Drive and Grant Street.

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“The original location of the home placed significant development pressure, causing the house to sit vacant for years without investment and placing it under constant threat of demolition.” says Arciform co-owner, Richard De Wolf.

After ten years of levying for the homes preservation, Arciform started work in preparing the Morris Marks House for its new location on Friday, September 22nd.

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“Cutting a house in half is no easy task. The intricacies involved include making sure services are out of the way, determining engineering requirements, predicting how the house will behave while traveling and then doing the actual cut and shoring of the building. The process took us 4 weeks, with 3 team members working on it from 7:30am-4pm each day.” says De Wolf

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The Morris Marks house weighs approximately 84,000 lbs. Steel beams were inserted underneath the home’s foundation and each half (42,000 lbs each) was lifted using hydraulic lifts.

“It may look a little run down right now, but don’t worry, we’ll have this home shining like it once did years ago. At the same time, all of its services and foundation will be engineered for the future.”

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“I’m happy they left the ivy on!” owner Karen Karlsson exclaims as her home moves through the PSU park blocks.

Wallpaper

 

Inside the home there are many examples of wallpaper spanning several generations. The woodwork is mostly intact, the original wood floors will gleam again soon and the curved staircase and rails will show its craftsmanship to new generations to come.

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Outside the home, the wide projecting cornices with heavy brackets and richly ornamented windows, porches, doorway and single bay define the classic Italianate style.

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The plan right now is to convert this home into office space on the upper floors and an apartment in the basement level.

“We’re in the permitting stage right now, there is amazing potential for the restoration of this incredible home and we’re so happy to have saved it from demolition,” says DeWolf.

Originally built for a shoe merchant, it’s last use was a boarding home and in recent years, it has avoided demolition by the thankful efforts of the Blindheims (previous owners), Rick Michaelson and Karen Karlsson (current owners and developers), the City of Portland and all of its departments, OXBO (the team that rolls it down the street) and the tireless efforts of the Arciform crew.

Stay tuned for the exciting transformation as we continue to update you here!

Six Local Decor Shops for Interiors

Does your rec room need refreshing? Maybe the bedrooms feel blah or your mudroom is miserable? Don’t fret. No matter what your style or which of your rooms need attention, Junior Designer Amy Wigglesworth has six fabulous furnishing finds right here in town.

1. Canoe  offers “simple, beautiful, & functional objects that can be used & enjoyed everyday”. As you wander through the showroom, it’s easy to see the essence of the  Pacific Northwest in the most fundamental ways. Their selection of Oregon-designed housewares is a must for any contemporary living space. You’ll find them across from the Portland Art Museum, at 1233 SW 10th Ave.

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2. You don’t have to be a historical furniture nerd like me to appreciate the work of designers such as Pierre Jeanneret, Mies van der Rohe & Ray & Charles Eames. Hive Modern, located at 820 NW Glisan, represents some of the most trusted & innovative furniture brands including Herman Miller, Cassina, & Knoll. So whether you are in the market for high end luxurious furniture or not, I highly recommend stopping by & immersing yourself into the Womb Lounge Chair,  Wassily Lounge & the Barcelona Couch.

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3. Just down the street from Hive is another fanciful showroom, EWF Modern. This furniture showroom explores the symbiotic relationship between modern & organic aesthetics. The playful combinations of form & texture support their philosophy that “design takes its cue from nature”. Check them out: 1122 NW Glisan St.

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4. Looking for a more eclectic vibeCielo Home is a treasure trove of new & antique furniture & housewares. This classic Portland shop has everything from sophisticated Louis XVI chairs to enchanting light fixtures. I mean, what more could you ask for? Located at 528 NW 12th, this is a place to get lost in.

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5. Another great shop for those with a more eclectic palate is Digs Inside & Out at 1829 NE Alberta St. This showroom is perfect for interior & garden design.  Digs believes in lots of color & combining old with new. This is evident throughout their boutique, mixing contemporary hanging planters & light fixtures with vintage furniture & classic posters.

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6. For those of you who hold sustainability close to your heart, look no further than Salvage Works.  Lumber from deconstructed homes, warehouses & barns here in the Pacific Northwest are curated into selections of heritage lumber, wall cladding, & custom furniture here. If you are in the market for a reclaimed beam, live edge shelving or a custom made table, check out Salvage Works at 2024 N Argyle St.

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This is just a little taste of remarkable showrooms here in the Portland area. Whether you’re due for a whole house overhaul or want a special piece to perk up your home, there is a showroom here for you. Let us know, in the comments, your favorite spots to shop, & keep an eye out for future posts on more great resources both here in town & online.

–  by Amy Wigglesworth; edited by Stephyn Meiner

Richard De Wolf Interviewed on StreetTalk’s Podcast

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This week Richard was interviewed by Amy Rosenburg on Veracity’s StreetTalk Podcast which digs deep into Portland’s ever-changing communal landscape. Listen here to hear why Historic District’s are important and how you can help save them.

 

Adventures in Remodeling, Part 3: The Kitchen

If you imagine your ideal kitchen, do you dream of a spacious room connected to the outdoors through a sunny breezeway that provides lots of storage?

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In this 3rd chapter about our 1920 bungalow project, Arciform’s lead carpenters Jamie Whittaker & Eric Delph share stories about the kitchen addition, with all of its special touches.

Jamie tell us that this kitchen is the hub & heart of the home, a space for living & creating. It’s full of ideas from the whole team that became reality, but not without challenges.

Some of his favorite features: the two beautiful dutch doors, one leading to the new covered back porch & the other to the the side yard.

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The custom kitchen table, which provides space for eating or lounging while watching a TV that can be concealed behind a drop-down panel in the wall.

Another favorite piece is the fridge. It started as a big, modern appliance & we “dressed it up” like a vintage cooler you might see in an old general store.

The spacious salvaged island provides plenty of room for family time, & the built-in storage has a pressed tin door panel to resemble a pie safe.

Eric lists the 1929 Magic Chef range as a gem. Our client bought it online from some distant state & had the seller store it while we remodeled. When our client called for delivery, he learned that the seller had passed away & the range could not be found! Our client had to fly someone down to find it & bring it home.

He also lists the large vintage sink as a favorite element, with its built-in double drainboards and legs.

We turned the original kitchen into a little walk-through library

Jamie installing the cabinetry in the breezeway

& PM Adam enjoying a hard day at work

Arciform & Versatile Wood Products Teams on this project included:

  • Brad Horne, senior drafter, responsible for documentation & working with the city of Lake Oswego. We could not have done this without him.
  • Marty Hegg did all the fixture & finish specifications.
  • Principal Designer Anne De Wolf worked closely with the creative clients.
  • PM Adam Schoeffel led the construction team, helped with detail development & found treasures like the kitchen island.
  • Devin Morrow assisted with project logistics.
  • Dave Thomas managed deconstruction, salvaged material organization & labeling, which was crucial.
  • Eric Delph was our primary site lead! Among many contributions he personally co-designed (with the client) & constructed the garage storage & its icebox doors, & kept the crew on track.
  • Jamie Whittaker was our co-site lead, chief of special projects & master of craftsmanship.
  • David Gamble built the cabinetry, walnut kitchen table & worked on the salvaged table & fridge panels.
  • Dan Brindusesc & Eric Voss built the exterior doors & did sash work on the stained glass windows.
  • Rene Flannigan & Brent Dickey did all specialty finishes on the salvaged table, wine cellar door & panels in the garage.

Thanks to our wonderful, creative & inspiring clients, we were all able to do what we love to do!

If you missed part 1 or 2 of this series, check them out here.

Professional photos by Photo Art Portraits & Blankeye.

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