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The Morris Marks Diaries: Old House Revival Tour!


Shown above are some of our favorite tour-goers’ Instagram photos. From left: @c.easter.c, @ninaleejohnson and @rebecca.pnwrealestate.

The month of April was a busy one for us here at ARCIFORM. Not only did we host a workshop on ADU’s and Short-Term Rentals, a Design Week Open House and a Lan Su Chinese Garden benefit party at the De Wolf home, we also showcased what is becoming one of Portland’s most beloved old houses: the Morris Marks House. This home was recently featured on the Architectural Heritage Center’s Old House Revival Tour.

“We were thrilled to have the Morris Marks House on the tour because it was a rare opportunity for tour goers to see an example of Italianate architecture. Although the Italianate style of home was popular at one time in Portland, only a few of these homes have survived,” says Jean Zondervan, the AHC’s new Communications Director.

The Morris Marks House was the only home on the tour in an unfinished state, and it may have been the most popular one, with over 500 visitors!

“This project clearly has a big following. People were very curious and spent a lot of time in the house. One visitor even recognized that their uncle was part of the historic list of inhabitants! There was a very exciting and nostalgic energy to the day,” says ARCIFORM’s co-owner and principal designer, Anne De Wolf.

ARCIFORM staff members and AHC volunteers were stationed throughout the house to answer questions.

I asked the project manager Joe McAlester for an update on the restoration progress of the house. Here’s what he said:

“The project is under historic review and permitting with the city right now. In 2-3 weeks we will be backfilling around the foundation. After that we’ll be able to start on exterior repairs in preparation for repainting.”

I asked him about paint colors – is there any word on what color the exterior will be? Unfortunately, that’s currently top secret information.

Thanks to the homeowners, Karen Karlsson and Rick Michaelson, the home’s history and even a “family tree” of tenants over the years were on display during the tour. Below is some information from the posters, created by Erin Riddle of Klik Concepts. Read on for the interesting history…


Visitors read the posters provided by Klik Concepts. Photo by @amywigglesworth

Why Did the House’s Address Keep Changing?

Based on the multiple addresses of this 1880 house, you’d think it was moved multiple times! The house did move, but only once in 2017 (That’s the one ARCIFORM helped with – see the video here!). Here are the various addresses for the 1880 home over the years:

In 1880, when the house was built, its address was 254 10th Street.

In 1882, the city changed the street designations and the address changed to 254 12th Street.

In 1933, the city established quadrants and renumbered all buildings. The address changed again to 1134 SW 12th Avenue.

In 2017, the house is ACTUALLY relocated to a new physical address at 2177 SW Broadway.


The Italianate style house was built in 1880, located at 254 10th Street. The house’s original owner was Morris Marks, a Polish shoe merchant.

Local architect Warren H. Williams was the designer of the house (he later becomes a prolific Portland architect whose work includes The Old Church and several cast-iron commercial buildings that still stand in Old Town).

Morris, his wife Annie, and their three children Meyer, Jessie and Rachael lived in this house until 1882.


Morris Marks has a larger Italianate house built at 321 9th Avenue, also designed by Warren H. Williams. The Marks family moves into the larger house, which eventually becomes known as the official Morris Marks House.

Also in 1882, Moses and Fanny Fried, along with their four children Leo, Marcus, Hannah and Delia, move into the 1880 house.


Delia Fried married Julius Durkheimer and lived with her parents in the 1880 house. Fanny and Moses Fried die in 1896 and 1899. The 1900 census shows Delia and Julius Durkheimer, along with their son Selvan and Delia’s brother Marcus Fried, living at the house with a newly assigned address of 254 12th Avenue.


Julius, Delia, and Selvan Durkheimer and Delia’s brother Marcus Fried moved out of the 1880 house to another home at the address of 221 24th N. (This house eventually is given the address of 2415 NW 24th Ave and becomes the historic Durkheimer House, a stop along the Architectural Heritage Center’s 2012 Heritage Home Tour!)

It is unknown who lived in the 1880 house between 1901 and 1910.


The 1910 census shows Mary J. Davidson, her two daughters, her brother, and 11 lodgers living at the house at 254 12th Avenue. Thirty years after it was built, the house began a new life as a rooming house.

Also in 1910, the official Morris Marks House was sawed in half and relocated to its present site at 1501 SW Harrison Street. Today, it is on the National Register of Historic Places.


The 1920 census shows Emil F. Lostrand, his wife, three children and 13 lodgers lived in the house at 254 12th Avenue.


The 1930 census records show Martha M. Marks (likely unrelated to the house’s original owner Morris Marks), her daughter and 10 lodgers lived in the house at 254 12th Avenue.


Census data after 1930 has not yet been released, however in 2003 when the 1880 house was last occupied, it was still serving as a rooming house.


Between 2003 and 2017, the house remained vacant. Many times it nearly faced the wrecking ball as various efforts to save the house fell through.

Finally, the house was purchased by Rick Michaelson and Karen Karlsson—two Portland preservationists—and complex planning efforts were put in place to relocate and restore the house. On September 30th, 2017, the final stages of the move were executed when the 1880 house, sawed into two pieces and mounted on wheels, traveled through the streets of SW Portland. One day later, it arrived at its current home near the I-405 interchange at SW Broadway and SW Sixth Avenue.


Fried Family Tree (1816-1984)


1910 census showing 15 residents in the 1880 house.


1920 census showing 18 residents in the 1880 house.


1930 census showing 12 residents in the 1880 house.


The 1882 Morris Marks House pre-restoration, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (c 1963)

Surrounded by Churches


In 1880 and 1882, when Morris Marks built his first two houses, the area was dominated by housing and religious institutions. In 1882, the Calvary Presbyterian Church was built at the corner of 9th & Clay, just three blocks south of the 1880 house and kitty-corner from the 1882 Morris Marks House. The architect who designed the church was Warren H. Williams, the same architect who designed both of Morris Marks’ houses.

In the photo to the left, you can see the Calvary Presbyterian Church under construction. The church is Gothic in style with stained glass windows made by Portland’s Povey Brothers Studio. This church still stands at 1422 SW 11th Avenue and today it is referred to as ‘The Old Church’.


Just a half a block north of the 1880 house, on the opposite side of the street, the magnificent Temple Beth Israel was constructed in 1889. Again Warren H. Williams was the architect. This was the temple that Morris Marks attended. In the photo below, you can see it just to the left of the house. The temple was described as semi-Gothic and Moresque in style. Its two towers were 165 ft tall and towered over the area. Sadly, this structure was destroyed by fire in 1923. The fire burned for two days and could be seen for miles around.

The Old Block 32 Reservoir

Around 1871, a reservoir was built by the Portland Water Company on Block 32 in the Caruthers Addition. It captured water from Caruthers Creek in the undeveloped southwest hills. The City grew and the demand for water required supplementing the creek with water from the Willamette River. The cost of expansion was high, and the privately-owned company was not able to make a profit. In 1886, the Portland Water Company sold the water works, conveyance pipes, reservoir, and all other equipment to the City of Portland.

The reservoir provided water to downtown Portland, including the 1880 house. However, sometime in the early 1900s, new reservoirs in Washington Park (fed by water from the Bull Run Watershed) replaced the need for the Block 32 reservoir. In the mid-1900s, a new road named SW Coolidge Square was built, cutting diagonally through the block. After that, Block 32 consisted of two triangular sites.

In 1969, I-405 was built and the northwest triangle became part of the freeway. All that is left of Block 32 today is the land where the 1880 house sits now.


The 1880 house’s new site when it served as a reservoir, looking Northwest from Grant and S. Seventh (now Broadway Drive) c. 1920s

An Urban/Nature Fusion: The Eugenis & Amy House



Christy Eugenis stands at her front door, carved by artist Tom Cramer, with its handle from a 1954 Chevy Bel Air hood ornament she found in a local salvage shop. The door’s design was inspired by the shapes and forms of both natural and urban landscapes.

We surprised Christy Eugenis on Thursday. Arriving a bit early for our scheduled meeting to discuss Design Week, photographer Mitch Hose and I wanted to get a few shots for a blog piece as well. But Christy, a former photo stylist, videographer and fashion show producer, took it in stride.

“I would have picked up a bit more had I known there were going to be photos! Ah well, let’s do it,” she says with a smile.

The midcentury home is truly a masterpiece. Christy will open her doors for ARCIFORM’s Design Week Open House on Thursday, April 19th from 4-7pm.

“Portland sculptor Alisa Looney will be here to tell us about her metal window screen, and Christiane Millinger will join us to share about the rugs she sells in town,” Christy tells me.


The custom window screen by Alisa Looney and hand-carved door by Tom Cramer make the home stand out as a midcentury masterpiece that showcases art.

Christy’s latest endeavors include the remodeling of her home and operating several extended-stay vacation rentals.

“I’ve enjoyed coaching some of my single friends on how to increase their income by investing in real estate and creating interesting environments for guests.”

Christy will also be speaking at ARCIFORM’s Home Design Workshop about ADUs and Short-Term Rentals on Wednesday, April 18th from 5-8pm.

I take in the expansive, bright and calming space. The ceiling, clad in fir tongue & groove paneling, is perhaps the most impressive element on the main floor. The roofline, angled slightly upward, gives the space an airy, urban-nature feel.


A George Nelson Saucer pendant, walls in Hearts of Palm green and custom-mixed turquoise blue and warm-toned wood give the home the urban-nature/Palm Springs feel we were after

“The first concept for the new roofline had the original gable slope on the east side, and the west side lifted up,” Christy explains as she holds her fingers together showing this angle.

But instead ARCIFORM removed the entire roof, a giant wood beam was craned into place at the center of the structure, and the roof rebuilt around this, making it the most significant part of the house remodel.

The next thing I note is the blue textured wall with curved lines. It looks like an ocean.


A custom mahogany cabinet by Versatile Wood Products curves into the wall sheathed in panels by Textures-3D  

“I love the architecture and color of Palm Springs, which influenced the re-imagination of our Portland home.”

My favorite thing about their home is all of the color.

“We live in Portland. Why would you want more gray?!” Christy exclaims.

“Few people are doing color these days, it’s all grays. This is so much fun,” Anne De Wolf agrees.

Anne worked closely with Christy and Stan on the design of their remodel. The project included the new roofline, large windows and doors facing their city view and the back deck as well as the remodel of the interior with exception of the kitchen, which had been done only a few years prior. The floor plan is mostly original, with walls moved only to create the master bathroom and reconfigure the basement’s laundry room and bathroom.

Christy and Stan enjoy collecting art. The driftwood horse on the mantle by Eastern Oregon sculptor Brenna Tyler  was purchased in Joseph while doing Cycle Oregon, and also works as their Christmas tree in the winter. As we walk into the master bedroom I admire the framed artwork above her bed.

“This textural piece was the first artwork I ever purchased, from Victoria Frey at  Quartersaw Gallery in 1990. It’s by Oregon artist Ken Hunt. ” Its handmade paper with rough edges and deep blues is truly captivating.


ARCIFORM created a corner window to capture more of the view which frames a cobalt blue Zircon gas fireplace by Malm

“Blue is my favorite color,” says Christy. “It’s one of nature’s best colors. With all of the wood paneling ARCIFORM added, it feels so wonderful in this space.”

The wood paneling and built-in shelving is truly magnificent, looking just like the midcentury spaces so sought-after today.


Inspired by her grandmother’s stories, Christy started a video biography business in the early ‘90s called “Family Legends”

On our way out of the bedroom, I glimpse the master bath with pebble flooring against tile. Here you see the artistic metal window screen from the inside. It’s a whole new way of experiencing it.


Subtle marine hues in the master bath set a soothing tone. United Tile’s Q-Stone tile shares the floor with sliced pebbles, which run up the shower’s plumbing wall. A view of the custom window screen is framed by Pental’s Satin dimensional tile in Bianco Wave. Custom vanity by Versatile Wood Products

There is a whole room dedicated to the closet. It’s clear Christy is not only passionate about art but also about fashion as she shows us a Pucci dress.

“We took out a wall to expand this space so Christy and Stan could have a closet with a dressing area and a daybed, in case visitors cannot use the stairs down to the guest rooms,” Anne comments.

Next, we head downstairs, into a fully refinished basement with a lounge room, office, kitchenette and bar. ARCIFORM made the lounge room cozy with a new fireplace surround and more connected to the back yard with a wall of windows.

Their style continues on this level with a pendant light and matching lamp shade gifted to Christy by her friend and midcentury collector Ron Wallace of 3 Monkeys Boutique.


As we stand in the backyard and feel the sun for a bit, Christy recollects the evolution of the deck. “When we bought the house in 1994, there was only a small balcony off the master bedroom, which was transformed to a wonderful L-shaped deck with metal railings Richard Brown designed for us. Over the years we found it was a bit too small. Now the roof carries out over a larger deck for a dramatic effect over the outdoor dining area.” ARCIFORM was able to reuse the existing deck railing by making only a few changes.


The French Gyro Focus fireplace is one of Stan’s favorite features – it is functional art



Feeling the sun on our backs while talking about how the deck was done


Christy talks about her latest development project: “Birth Control by Architecture”



Christy describes for me her journey into creating video biographies. The oil painting behind us is by her grandmother, who inspired her to begin documenting people’s lives through video. The Versatile Wood Products custom screen adds ’60s flavor



“The fully-refinished basement is all ready for us as we get older. We’ll just live down here and our nurse has a kitchen to cook in for us while we rent the upstairs out,” says Christy



by Snow Blackwood
Photos by Mitch Hose

A Night to Remember

Last Thursday night we celebrated 21 years of preservation, remodeling and design, 24 years of marriage and the launching of a new website—very soon! For those of you who have ever built a website, you know that sometimes it takes longer than expected…

Richard and Anne answered questions on the stage in the beautiful TOC Concert Hall, we mingled, we drank J. Seeds Apple Cider Whiskey cocktails.

Take a look at photos below… we hope to see you at our next event!


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Reimagining a Master Suite for Comfortable Style Now – and in Years to Come

This week I caught up with ARCIFORM Designer Tara Douglas on a master suite remodel the firm completed last month for a couple in the Irvington neighborhood. A major focus of this remodel was to create spaces that suit their needs now while preparing for future aging-in-place.


A soothing color palette in the master bedroom: crisp white shutters and trim, bedding and walls in ethereal pale green

“The clients want to stay in their home for many years to come, so we incorporated design features that could be helpful later in life,” Tara tells me. The house, a beautiful 1925 Craftsman Bungalow, was in excellent condition, but rooms were small and the floor plan was cramped. The central focus was on reconfiguring a ground floor bath and two bedrooms into a new master suite. The goal was to combine classic and modern styles to echo the Craftsman details and feel of the house while achieving efficient, contemporary livability.


New full-height pantry cabinet in the hall is steps away from the kitchen, made by Versatile Wood Products

To that end, Arciform’s team reconfigured the existing space, turning the original bathroom into a walk-through closet, with the smaller bedroom becoming a new, more spacious bath. The original master bedroom was expanded, with the old closet now serving as a TV nook. The hallway includes a new broom closet and a full-height, built-in pantry cabinet. Existing wood floors were patched and refinished. The existing vanity and medicine cabinets were reused, with new surfaces and fixtures throughout.

“I started working on the project as the Design Associate, but took over as Designer once construction started,” says Tara. This was a perfect arrangement since, as the Design Associate, she had sourced all the products for the clients and was well-acquainted with the look and feel they wanted.

The Irvington neighborhood takes pride in preserving the historic integrity of its homes. The community’s Irvington Home Tour (on May 20th this year) brings more than 800 visitors to peruse the insides of these classic homes each year, so the team kept in mind that their work served both the needs of their clients and the historic sensibilities of the neighborhood.


A Victoria and Albert tub proved to be the perfect combination of classic grace and modern economy of design that the clients were looking for. A floor-mounted Ashbee Tub Filler by DXV is lovely in polished nickel. The freestanding limestone and resin tub sits elegantly in a room with louvered shutters, white cabinetry, stone countertops and a marble-clad shower. The clients love natural stone and, working with Alpha Stoneworks, they found a remnant of Superwhite Quartzite for the vanity countertop. In the shower, Carrara marble is echoed in the hexagonal floor tile, while charcoal gray tile in a chevron pattern provides pleasant contrast to the predominantly light room.

Throughout the new master suite this subtle interplay of classic and contemporary, warm and austere, elegant and functional sets the mood. Moldings and trim are classically white in Behr’s Ultra Pure White while the bedroom and closet walls are painted a fresh, soothing Sea Salt, complementing the original oak floors.


The new shower is tiled in Carrara 3×6 tile at the walls and 1″ hex on the floor. Shower fixtures are Kohler’s Artifacts. A new built-in cubby keeps towels close at hand.

The new space incorporates some very deliberate choices. Radiant heating under the master bath floor tile creates a warm, comfortable feeling and can be set on a timer. Although they do not need them now, blocking was installed in the walls of the shower and WC to provide support for future grab bars. The curbless shower provides a hazard-free transition.

This remodel preserves the beauty of one of Portland’s Craftsman homes while creating an enduringly stylish and functional environment that will provide years of comfortable living for its owners.


Tara (above) has worked for Arciform since 2015. She holds degrees in Residential Architectural Design, Drafting, Kitchen & Bath Design. PHOTO BY CHRIS DIBBLE. INTERVIEW BY SNOW BLACKWOOD

Stone Essentials 3×6 tile, Bianco Carrara from Z Collection:


Victoria & Albert Monaco Freestanding tub from Ferguson:

DXV’s Ashbee Tub Filler from Ferguson:


Local fabricator Alpha Stoneworks for Superwhite Quartzite remnant:

Natucer’s Shapes porcelain Chevron tile in Oslo Charcoal from Z Collection:


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


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.


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


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


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?”


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.”


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.


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.


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.  



“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


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.



“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.


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.


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


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


  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:


Junior Designer Stephyn and Designer Tara share a smile


“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


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


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!


“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.


“The Chapel”


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


“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.


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.


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.


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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