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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!

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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.

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An Atlanta Arciform Project

What do you do when you’ve just started to enjoy your dream whole house renovation only to land a job that has you moving across the country?

For one Arciform client the answer was simple. Have Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf adapt their favorite design elements from their Portland home to work in their new Atlanta home.

Here’s a look at how it all turned out.

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The clients loved their Arciform kitchen, with its classic grey, black and white color palette, custom island,  and pendant chandeliers. Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf.

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The new kitchen features an island with similar design details and cabinetry that matches the millwork details of the original design. A glint of brass in the pendant lighting fixtures and cabinetry hardware gives a touch of Atlanta luxe to the revised design.

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The white on white palette is warmed up with brass hardware accents. Below, a full wall of cabinetry with glass multi-lite doors offers display space for favorite serving pieces. The fridge blends into the cabinetry behind integrated panels.

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In the master bath, Arciform’s Portland project (below) featured a walk-in marble lined shower with  dual shower heads and a bench seating. The custom vanity featured marble counters and old Hollywood inspired design details.

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The Atlanta version of the project brings the same classic elegance and custom vanity details to the project. The more generous square footage of the new Atlanta master bath (below) allows the walk in shower to be supplemented with a soaking tub.

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The rest of the home offered opportunities to play with the same classic color palette on a much larger canvas.

Here are some of the highlights:

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The lines of the dramatic entry staircase are punctuated by a glossy black handrail.

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At the top of the stairs, an custom obscured glass skylight floods the  landing with natural light while adding depth and dimensionality to the space.

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Custom full height display cabinets in the dining room feature dramatic X-shaped muntins on the glass doors.

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Black, white and a glint of brass carry through every detail, even down to the under sink pipes in this WC.

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The living room features classic millwork accents that draw the eye upward towards luxuriously high ceilings.

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It was such a rare and enjoyable opportunity for us apply the Arciform design sensibility to a project in a different part of the country. It’s a useful reminder that, although you can’t take your Arciform kitchen with you, you can definitely recreate your favorite design details (with a little help from our design department).

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Restoring a Historic Oregon Barn

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by Client Services Manager Jeremy Gould.

Greetings all, I wanted to take this chance to introduce everybody to the Shipley-Cook barn restoration project. Arciform founder Richard De Wolf has vowed to remove one building from Restore Oregon’s “Endangered Places” list each year, and the Shipley-Cook barn is this year’s choice. Past projects include the DAR cabin in Champoeg, the Smokehouse in Dayton and the First Congregational Church in Portland.

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One of the many cool things about this project is that since this barn is on the historic registry, Adam needed to use “period correct” lumber and construction methods. This means we had to special order “circular sawn” lumber from a saw mill out of Idaho. Circular sawn means that the lumber was cut with a very large circular saw blade (as opposed to a band saw) that measure three feet in diameter. These blades give the lumber a curved striation on the face.  Because different sized blades have been used throughout the years, you can actually judge the age of the existing lumber by measuring the curve of this striation.

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The barn was partially collapsing because the siding was missing which allows rain to access the interior. This project is basically replacing one of the main foundation/mud sill beams that has almost entirely rotted out.

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This will be no easy task since the beam is approximately 12” x 12” and a little over 30’ long! The lumber company tells me the beam weighs almost 2000 lbs. On top of replacing the beam, project manager Adam Schoeffel and lead carpenter Eric Delph needed to raise that end of the barn approximately 6” or 7”, replace all the siding there and some of the framing members (perlins and posts).

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Rick Cook is the owner of the Shipley-Cook barn and as you can tell from the name, this barn has been in his family for awhile. He currently is a teacher for West Linn High School and is incredibly grateful for Richard’s help in making this project happen as well as Brandon with Restore Oregon. The project is being funded by a grant that Richard and Brandon helped Rick attain. Here is a link to a really cool video showing the barn with footage from a drone http://restoreoregon.org/event/barns/. Click on the video once you follow the link and also look for the barn to be mentioned in future Restore Oregon events and advertising.  You can also look for Eugene Wine Cellars wine made with grapes grown on the Shipley-Cook property!

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Here you can see the completed project. We were proud to save this little piece of Oregon’s Pioneer history.

 

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Flex Your Basement for Your Growing Family

When the family is growing and something’s gotta give, the basement is often the first space you look at to provide a little extra elbow room.

What are the most important things you should consider when evaluating your basement for a potential family-friendly remodel?

Keep it Flexible

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This basement renovation designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf tucks flexible guest space behind two sliding panels. Photos by Photo Art Portraits.

Do you need more family space? Play space? Craft space? An exercise room? A place for guests? All of the above? Creating a basement with flexible “zones” that can be reconfigured to serve multiple purposes can help you accomplish more of your renovation goals within the same footprint. It will also allow you to evolve the purpose of those rooms over time as your family’s space needs change, without incurring additional costly remodels.

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A guest bedroom space opens to the basement and doubles as a hang-out space after practice in the client’s music room. A sliding panel offers privacy when required then tucks out of sight. Design by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Faux the Finish

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This basement renovation omits a drop ceiling and wood floor in favor of polished concrete and a loft-like feel. Design by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Putting in a wood floor and a drop ceiling will certainly give your basement that finished feel. But do you really NEED the added expense? If ceiling height is tight (or the budget is squeezed), consider polishing the concrete floors and spraying the ceiling joists a uniform color for an industrial look that still looks pulled-together. That will allow you to preserve your budget for more important items, like a basement bath or a more luxurious laundry set-up.

NeelyDonoher_1904_Basement_A_P_Pro_ (1) - CopyRe-configurable carpet tiles add visual punch to this basement family room. A built-in wraparound bench designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf fits in with the loft like vibe while adding sophisticated seating options. Photo by Patrick Weishampel/blankeye.tv.

Walk-in Waterworks

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This basement wet room with an adjustable handset shower and floor-to-ceiling subway tile features an ultra-narrow wall mounted sink which helps a small space feel expansive. Design by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

If a basement bathroom is on the wish list, consider making it a walk-in wet room. The open shower configuration and floor-to-ceiling waterproof finishes make rinsing off after outdoor family adventures a snap. Kids and furry family members can clean up without concern for splashes or mess.

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This basement bath features a walk-in shower with a clever detail in the subway tile layout that adds a twist to the classic look. A fold-down teak bench offers welcome respite for family members young and old. Designed by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Laundry Luxuries

A basement renovation is an ideal opportunity to luxe up your laundry routine. Be sure that you are planning in space for sorting, hanging, folding and pre-soaking as well as storage for supplies and sundries.

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This basement laundry room integrates folding and hanging space above the washer and floor-to-ceiling storage for all those “occasional use only” items. Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

If a bathroom is also on your basement wish list but you are tight on space, consider integrating the bathroom and laundry functions into one flexible space.

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This basement bath (above and below) tucks stacking washer and dryer behind a rolling barn door. A long adjacent counter with sorting bins beneath provides space for laundry prep and folding. Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

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These are just a few considerations when designing a flexible basement that will grow with your family’s needs over time.

Ready to learn more? Join us on May 18th for our Designed for Your Growing Family Workshop – find the details and RSVP here.

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Restoration at Lan Su Chinese Garden

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A guest post by Client Services Manager Jeremy Gould.

Arciform just finished up an amazing window and door restoration project at the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland’s historic Old Town Chinatown. Andres Zacharovas put the project together and Mike Adair was the Project Manager. We couldn’t be more pleased how the project turned out and Lan Su feels the same way. I recently caught up with Andres and Mike to ask them a few questions about the project.

Here is Andres’ take on the project:

What was the scope of work at the Chinese Gardens?

The project was to refinish the 6 Tea House doors and 22 windows.

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What was your favorite part of this project?

I was so pleased to be a part of such a historic project. Wood carved ornaments on the doors and windows are unique and beautiful to see with so much detail that takes you back to ancient times. Truly a magical experience.

What were some challenges you had with this project?

I would say the biggest challenge was the winter season weather.

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And a few words from Mike:

Who worked on this project?

We’d like to give recognition to the employees who worked on the project, they all did an amazing job to help make this project successful: Eusebiu Brindusesc, Matt Kaminski, Rene Flanagan, Larry Roberts, Mike Perkins, Lee Foxall and numerous other shop helpers.

How long did this project take?

6 weeks (we finished one week early).

What were some challenges you had with this project?

Cold weather had a slowing effect on the project.

What was your favorite part of this project?

Completing the project a week early!

Arciform is very proud of the work that was accomplished on this project. Ultimately, we ended up with a very happy client that we look forward to working with in future. Since completion, a number of our clients have enjoyed visiting the gardens, as well as some Arciform employees. Enjoy these before, during and after pictures of the project and the feedback from the client:

Thanks a million for your FABULOUS work on the Teahouse windows WOW!

-Jane DeMarco, Executive Direction, Lan Su Chinese Garden

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Kid-Friendly Kitchens

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Incorporating a space just for kids keeps them close-by during meal prep. Design by Principal Designer Anne De Wolf, photo by Patrick Weishampel.

In preparation for our Spring workshop we will share a few posts on kid-friendly spaces.
First up: kitchens. Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing your kid-friendly kitchen.

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Caesarstone is a durable & kid-friendly countertop. Design by Principal Designer Anne De Wolf, photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Surfaces

The largest, most used areas of your kitchen are counters, floors, cabinets and appliances – choose finishes that are durable and easy to clean.

Your most durable countertop options are Quartz, Corian and Swanstone. They require little maintenance and largely resistant to staining, scratches and heat. Granite is another good option – when sealed properly your counters can be non-porous as well as heat-resistant.

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Hardwood floors are warm and easy to maintain. Design by Senior Designer Kristyn Bester, photo by Photo Art Portraits.

When it comes to flooring options, selecting a hardwood or durable large-format ceramic/porcelain tile will serve you well. A wood floor is warm, can be refinished and is somewhat impact-resistant. Spills are easy to clean on a tile floor and typically won’t cause damage if left for a longer period of time.

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Stainless steel appliances make the space shine. Design by Senior Designer Chelly Wentworth, photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Appliances take up a large amount of surface space in your kitchen, so consider the finish you select. Stainless steel looks great but will show hand prints and smudges. There are a few stainless steel finish options that resist marks more than others – Frigidaire’s “Smudge Proof” for example. You could also invest in a good cleaning product that will make removing smudges effortless.

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Pullout drawers allow for easy access to all of your pantry items. Design by Senior Designer Kristyn Bester, photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Pantry

Having a pantry that is kid-accessible will make it easier for your little ones to be self-sufficient and will provide ample storage. By adding pullout drawers, everything will be at eye-level.

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This open-plan kitchen is not only great for entertaining, it keeps your family close by as well. Design by Principal Designer Anne De Wolf, photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Open-Plan

Create an open-plan kitchen to encourage your children to do their homework nearby while you cook or help out in the kitchen during meal prep. By incorporating an eating space at an island or nearby nook, the kids can be nearby during snack times.

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A nook off the kitchen is a great place for family meals or games – don’t forget to incorporate a place for your furry friend! Design by Principal Designer Anne De Wolf, photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Nook

Nooks serve well as a family eating space or spot for homework, games or crafts. Think about incorporating a space for your furry friends too that will keep them close but not too close during meals.

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A large island is a great place for snack time and for kids to do homework or crafts. Design by Senior Designer Kristyn Bester, photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Island

If you spend a lot of time in your kitchen and like to involve your kids, think about lowering the island countertop to make it kid-accessible. Islands also serve as a great place for eating/snack time, homework, crafts and games. If you are pinched for space, rolling carts can serve as islands that easily stow out of the way. Consider collapsible or retractable counters – these are perfect for snack areas or work stations.

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Microwave drawers in the island allow kids to heat up their own snacks. Design by Senior Designer Chelly Wentworth, photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Refrigerator &  Microwave Drawers

Refrigerator and microwave drawers can be placed below countertop level which gives kids easy access. Refrigerator drawers are a great place to keep healthy snacks and drinks.

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A designated drawer for pet food keeps it out of the way but easily accessible. Design by Principal Designer Anne De Wolf, photo by Patrick Weishampel.

Pets

Are your pets your babies? Consider built-in storage for food and water bowls and other fun ways to incorporate them into your space.

These are just a few considerations when designing a kid-friendly space. Ready to learn more? Join us on May 18th for our Designed for Your Growing Family Workshop – find the details and RSVP here.

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Your Whole House Plan Part Three: The Basement and Beyond

Now that you have completed your upper floor renovations you are ready to tackle the basement and some exterior finishing touches. You should have already addressed any water management, seismic or hvac updates, allowing you to focus your energy on the creation of living space that will make good use of your basement real estate.

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This daylight basement, designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf with interior styling by Shannon Quimby, serves a dual purpose as the family’s media room and a swanky space for entertaining.

The real attraction of a basement renovation lies in the glory of all that untapped potential: a whole house footprint of space just waiting to be claimed for the good of the family… or guests… or the mother-in-law. Which brings us to the most important questions to ask when tackling the basement portion of  your whole house plan:

  • Who will be the primary users of this space?
  • Which activities will the space be used for?

This will affect your design and budget in a variety of ways. For example, those polished concrete floors (shown above) make a sophisticated statement as a party room or home office but may be a challenge for small children.

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This basement renovation by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester builds convenient bike racks along with essential storage tucked behind lockers and in under-stair niches. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

On the other hand, your mother-in-law may not value easy access to bike storage, but your teenagers certainly will.

Some practical logistical questions to address with your design team will be:

  • Does the space have enough ceiling height to meet code as a finished space?
  • Which modifications (if any) need to be made to the interior or exterior stairs to accommodate your plan?
  • How will you provide code-required emergency egress?
  • How will you provide access to mechanical systems (like furnaces and electric panels)?
  • Where will you put everything that used to be in the basement (including laundry facilities)?

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For this daylight basement remodel designed by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester, a new staircase was installed with custom millwork. Dead space under the stairs was transformed into an adorable little playspace for their daughter. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Unless your stairs are unsafe or placed in a location that is unworkable with your proposed design, we will often recommend leaving the existing stairs in place, since existing stairs are often “grandfathered in” and will not need to comply with current code.

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 For this project designed by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester, we spiffed-up the existing stairs with carpet, paint and updated millwork. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

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 For this basement designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf, a stacking washer and dryer were tucked behind a barn door in the bathroom, retaining the room’s original use. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

You’ll also want to consider egress. If there will be a bedroom in your basement, it will need to have a window that fits specific criteria designed to allow for escape in case of fire or emergency.

There are other options for meeting egress requirements depending on the location of your doors and stairs. Your design team will help you identify the most cost-effective solution that fits your design goals.

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A peaceful Buddha peeks in through the egress window in this this basement renovation by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf, setting a serene tone for the room.

Next  you’ll want to consider which level of finish your rooms require. This can range from fully-carpeted rooms with a finished ceiling to a more industrial look with polished concrete and exposed ducting.

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By spraying the ceiling a dark color and sealing the concrete floor, Arciform designer Kristyn Bester was able to give this basement family room a polished look at lower cost. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

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At the other end of the spectrum, carpeting and a dropped ceiling with integrated can lights give this basement designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf a finished and family-friendly feel.  Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Finishing Touches

 Once your interior renovations are complete, you are ready to tackle some of the finishing touches to your exterior that are best-saved for last.

Here are the 3 things to save till last on your whole house to-do list:

  1. Replace Your Roof

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Any mechanical upgrades to your home or additions can lead to your existing roof getting pierced in multiple places to allow for venting and other components to be installed. If you are contemplating a whole roof replacement, wait until your interior projects are complete.

2. Paint Your Exterior

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The intricate paint job on this “painted lady” Victorian would have been easily damaged by workmen and equipment going in and out of the home as the interior projects were completed. Project designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Painting the exterior of your home before your interior renovations are complete is a bit like putting your makeup on before you finish getting dressed. You CAN do it without having to re-do the paint job when you are through, but do you want to risk it?

3. Install any Landscape or Decorative Concrete

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The decorative pavers and succulent-focused landscape design were designed and installed after this main floor master suite addition designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

You won’t want construction equipment and debris rolling over and passing through your brand new concrete driveway or patio. And of course delicate plantings need minimal foot traffic in order to be established properly. So save your exterior landscape and concrete work for the very end.

A thoughtful and detailed whole house plan will save you time, money and heartache over the lifetime of your home. Whether you choose to execute your whole vision over a span of a few months or one phase at a time over a decade, your plan will ensure that the end result will be architecturally cohesive, logistically efficient and truly suited to your family’s changing needs over time.

Ready to get started on creating your own Whole House Master Plan?

Contact restore@arciform.com to schedule your initial design consultation.

We look forward to helping you create a vision that will support your home renovation goals for years to come!

Want to Review Your Whole House Plan?

Your Whole House Plan Part One: A Solid Foundation

Your Whole House Plan Part Two: A Plan for Every Floor

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

Your Whole House Plan Part Two: A Plan for Every Floor

In the second part of our series on the whole house plan, we’ll share some step by step ideas and best practices for your internal renovation plan.

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This adventurous Victorian in Sellwood added clever features to each floor that were designed to inspire exploration, discovery and play. Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Start at the Top

As much as you may have been dying to tackle that kitchen renovation first, we usually recommend that you plan your renovations from the top down, starting with the roof (including dormer additions) and working your way to the basement.

This helps ensure that any new electric, plumbing or structural changes that may affect the lower floors will happen before you’ve done all the beautiful finish work on those floors.

Dormer Details

When developing your dormer design, you’ll want to weigh the interior practicalities (headroom, floor space) against the exterior aesthetics. Adding a dormer dramatically changes the look of your home and you’ll want to consider how the design looks from all angles to ensure a cohesive result.

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This shed dormer designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf continues the long, low lines of the house’s Mid-Century architecture and features a dramatic eight sash casement window custom built by Versatile Wood Products.

While developing the design for the exterior of your dormer, you will also want to ask:

  • How will rainwater be managed on the newly-proposed roofline?
  • Will the new siding, windows and roof elements be accessible and easy to maintain?

Building out a dormer is also a great time to consider insulating your attic crawlspaces to ensure that any new heating routed to the newly-finished rooms will function at peak efficiency.

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This master bath dormer addition tucks dual sinks and a luxurious walk in shower into a compact shed dormer footprint. Extra-deep medicine cabinets offer elegant, out-of-site storage for all the bathroom sundries. Designed by Arciform Senior Designer Chelly Wentworth. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

The most common reason for a dormer addition is to add a bathroom upstairs. If a bath is on your wish list, your designer will consider:

  • Where is the existing main floor bathroom in relationship to the new proposed bath?
    Typically it will be less expensive to site a new bathroom above an existing bathroom to take advantage of the main plumbing stack.
  • Which direction do your floor joists run to prevent issues with the routing of the drain lines?
    Are they sized to support the increased weight of your proposed rooms and will the drain lines fit within the cavity?
    It’s worth opening a hole in the ceiling to take a look at your joists early in the design process since the size and direction of your joists will have a large impact on your project’s feasibility and cost.

Mastering the Main Floor

Modern preferences tend toward a more open floor plan for the main floor; removing walls and eliminating formal dining spaces is a common request.

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The central focus of this Mid-Century Modern whole house renovation was the creation of an open plan living, dining and kitchen area that made the most of the gorgeous views of Mt Hood in the home’s wraparound picture windows. Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Your designer will help you identify which walls in your home might be the best candidates for opening up the space and will help navigate potential structural reinforcements to the home that may become necessary.

Cost vs. Value

We typically recommend that you invest first in the main floor project that will have the largest positive impact on your home’s future value. This is usually the kitchen or a master suite bathroom.

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This kitchen renovation mixes an on-trend color palette with classic elements like subway tile and Carrara marble to create a timeless update that will improve the home’s value for decades to come. Designed by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Little Spaces, Big Impact

While you are planning your main floor, don’t forget the little spaces that can have a big impact on your guests’ comfort.

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It may be a small space, but your powder room can offer the opportunity for a big design statement. This powder room (above) features a bold pop of color and a fun twist with a wallpaper called “Brooklyn Toile” designed by Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys. Designed by Arciform Senior Designer Chelly Wentworth. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Consider:

    • Should you add or update a powder room for guests?
    • How will you tackle your mudroom needs?

Whether you design a full mudroom addition like the one below or simply designate an area adjacent to the back door, you’ll want to consider how the essential functions of capturing coats, keys, shoes and other items will be handled in your master plan.

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This mudroom addition to a Sellwood Victorian includes secret pass through doors to load athletic equipment through and an unusual ceiling assembled from salvage cabinet doors.
Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

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This entry area tucks away mudroom storage behind a set of stylish built-ins beneath the stairs. A bench seat offers a handy spot for shedding rain boots and packages on the way in the door.
Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Patrick Weishampel/BLANKEYE.

Next on the renovation list should be the basement. Whether you are building in an investment opportunity with an ADU or giving the kids room to spread out, the basement should be the last room on your to-do list.

Such a flexible and complicated space is worthy of its own post, so look to Part Three for details on making the most of your basement renovation.

Part Three: The Basement and Beyond

Previous Post: A Solid Foundation

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Thriving During the Remodel

You’ve been waiting for this day for months – construction is starting! While exciting, remodels can also be daunting, especially if you are losing the functionality of your kitchen or bathroom for a few weeks. Here are some tips from our design team on how to cope.

Depending on the scope of the project, some clients consider renting temporary accommodation (be sure to include this in your remodeling budget!), staying with family or “roughing it” for the duration of construction.

If you’ve decided to “rough it” and stay in your home, consider the following:

  • Temporary kitchen
  • Temporary bathing facility
  • Storage
  • Kids
  • Pets

 

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Temporary Kitchen

Consider setting up a temporary, minimalist kitchen. Keep the essentials close by – fridge, coffee maker, toaster and/or toaster oven, microwave, induction hot plate, utensils. Plan for quick and easy meals that can be prepared in a toaster oven or microwave. If the weather permits, utilize your grill or camping stove. Think about cooking and freezing food that will make your life easier – sauces or stews that you can easily add a grain or vegetable to. Also consider washing facilities – outdoor sink, bathroom sink or bathtub.

 

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Temporary Bathroom

If you are remodeling multiple bathrooms, phase them if possible. This may mean sharing one bathroom with your family, but it’s better than the alternative of none. If you only have one bath, think about where you will shower – neighbor, gym, office. At the very least, we are often able to leave the toilet functioning.

 

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Storage

Moving and remodeling are two of the best times to purge – haven’t used that thing you don’t recognize in a while? Get rid of it! Other options are offsite storage units, PODs or moving items into unaffected rooms.

 

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Kids

This is perhaps one of the biggest considerations when planning your remodel. Not only do we take steps to ensure the safety of your family – lead safe practices, zipper walls and partitioning parts of the house – we will work with you to discover your families’ needs and do our best to minimize additional disruption. Some clients choose to start the construction phase during summer holidays – this is a good option especially if you are able to go on vacation(s) and it makes cooking outdoors much easier. Upside: most kids are resilient and enjoy the process with all of the trucks and tools!

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Pets

Some pets may require daycare due to noise and others may just need to be kept in a separate part of the house.

The Emotional Rollercoaster

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This is an image we often refer to in our office. David Lupberger argues there is a psychological connection between home and self that accounts for the intense feelings many homeowners experience.

A home, he says, is often a reflection, or an extension, of who the homeowners perceive themselves to be. A place of self-expression, contains our most cherished memories, it’s a safe place where we can feel nurtured and let down our guard. So it’s understandable why a remodeling project feels disruptive to clients. When clients have to move out of a kitchen, or shroud half their house in plastic, it feels like an invasion of their most personal space, Lupberger says.

How did you survive, and thrive during your remodel? Share your tips and advice in the comments.

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