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Rescuing a 100 Year Old Wisteria


Normally we work to conserve the integrity of 100 year old homes. In this case, we had a unique opportunity to restore the architecture holding up a rare and beautiful 100 year old wisteria vine, protecting this extraordinary plant and providing our client with a safe and beautiful space to enjoy the beautiful days ahead this summer.

neulinger final 001

The challenges were obvious and many: This vine had twined around and through the pergola structure, making it extremely difficult to identify where the rotting and failing pergola wood stopped and the vine began. Arciform carpenters needed to find ways to gently remove the old wood and re-weave the new wood into the structure without compromising the support the wisteria needed.

Arciform client Janell Neulinger shares her “client’s eye view” of this unusual project here:

What were your goals for this project?

This wasn’t, as you know, a new construction project. The existing pergola was rotting and threatening to take down at least one of the hundred-year-old wisteria vines. My goal for the project was to replace the structure with a new design that is strong, durable, and architecturally compatible with the house.

What challenges did the project face?

The obvious challenge was supporting the plants and working in close quarters with them while dismantling the old structure and building the new.

What is your favorite part of the completed project?

I really like the way the new structure fits into the landscape. The heft and blunt corners match up really well with the house and the scale of these ancient vines. The dark color ties in with the fence and makes a nice contrasting background for the new growth.

 Tell us about the experience of working with Arciform:

Working with Arciform was painless and pleasant. The carpenters were very friendly and happy to answer questions. They seemed pretty jazzed at the “puzzle” of supporting the vines during demo and construction. It wasn’t easy for the guys to thread the rafters through the branches of the plants, but they managed to do it, cheerfully, and with minimal damage to the plant. The site was reliably tidy during and after each workday. We had a few schedule changes, but everything was promptly and effectively communicated.

We very much enjoyed working with you too, Janell!

As we enjoy this week of unexpectedly beautiful weather, what structures are you considering adding to your garden to make the most of the summer sunshine? A pergola can be a simple and beautiful way to add shade and create a home for your favorite climbing flowers and vegetables.

Want some more outdoor living inspiration? Join us for our Bringing the Inside Out Summer Home Design Workshop on June 13th. Get the details and RSVP here.

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And the Winner Is…

We are delighted to announce that the PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN and have selected Goose Hollow Kitchen as the winner of our Portland Monthly Small Kitchen Makeover Contest!

Collectively, you cast over 11,000 votes and 30,000 page views in support of our finalist kitchens. Thank you for your dedicated assistance in helping us make this extremely difficult choice.

Monica Cifelli

We’re extremely excited to work with this family to illuminate the heart of their home on the outskirts of downtown Portland.

If only we could have offered this prize to every worthy finalist who tugged at our hearts and fired our imaginations throughout this process. We can’t quite do that, but our contestants can each look forward to receiving a thank you gift from Arciform that can help get them started down the path of a rejuvenated kitchen when they are ready.

In the mean time, what’s next for Goose Hollow Kitchen?

We’ll be coordinating with the winner to discuss her design goals and outline the scope of the project. And we’ll invite you all to join us every step of the way, with blog posts and behind the scenes photo galleries as we work with our contest co-sponsors to give them the small kitchen of their dreams!

Thanks to Versatile Wood Products, Standard TV and Appliance, Schoolhouse Electric, CZ Becker, Emerson Hardwoods, Oregon Tile and Marble, Classic Marmo, George Morlan Plumbing and of course Portland Monthly for making this project possible.

Thank YOU for lending your votes to help us choose the winner and thanks to everyone who participated.

We have big ideas for each and every one of your kitchens. We’ll be in touch 😉


CZ Becker logo

George Morlan logo

Oregon Tile and Marble logo

Schoolhouse Electric logo

Standard TV logo


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Vote for Heceta Head out of Canned Goods


Check out Arciform’s scale model of Heceta Head Lighthouse made out of Campbell’s soup cans! Compare it to the real deal here:


Practically identical right?

Here’s the view from above:


Help us win the People’s Choice Award (and check out the other cool structures designed and built by local architecture and construction firms) by “liking” the picture of our project in the Facebook Album here.


Check out how the team managed to replicate the inset windows in the work house and create the “red tile roof” out of tomato sauce cans.

You can watch Arciform and Ankrom Moisan in action (and get a look at how the structure was put together) with this video clip from KPTV’s Joe on the Go.

Deep thanks to the Interstate Fred Meyer for helping us secure our cans and congratulations to the Arciform and Ankrom Moisan Team, who were up at 4 am on Monday to stack their way to Historic Preservation success, all in support of a great cause!

Why Heceta Head Lighthouse, you ask? We had the honor of restoring doors, millwork and flooring in the lighthouse in partnership with our sister company Versatile Wood Products.

Here are a few images from that project:







We invite you to check out our team’s hard work at Pioneer Place Mall. The Canstruction projects will be available to view (and vote!) through April 27th, 2013.

We are so proud to participate in a project that does so much good for Oregon’s most Vulnerable Families. Join us in supporting the Oregon Food Bank.


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Which Historic Preservation Project will Arciform Celebrate at Canstruction this Year?

On Monday, April 22nd (at 4 AM!) Arciform will team up with Ankrom Moisan Architects to build an 8 foot tall structure entirely out of canned goods.

Its all in support of the Oregon Food Bank, and you can check out the results of our work all next week at Pioneer Place Mall.

Which iconic Oregon Landmark will we be recreating out of cans of soup, green beans and tomato sauce?

Here’s a hint:


Wish us luck!

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Help an Arciform Staffer Race for the Cure by Joining Her NBA Bracket Pool!


It’s that time of year again… NBA Finals! This year you can join our Finance Manager, Jennifer Barrow, in supporting a great cause by participating in a Bracket Pool for a Cure.

Jennifer explains:

In celebration of my running BFF Lisa Bayha, who KICKED CANCER’S ASS,  I am joining her and her daughter to work with Team in Training (TNT) to raise money for a cure.

TNT is an organization that raises money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

In turn, they will send the three of us to a race of our choice. We are trying to get to San Francisco to run the Nike’s All Women’s Marathon. (We’ll be running the half marathon).

For a $10.00 donation on Jennifer’s team page, you can submit your picks. The winner will not only have bragging rights but will be awarded a gift card ($50.00 value) to celebrate their win.

There will be a prize for the Biggest Loser as well!


Here is how it works:

No later than midnight, April 19, 2013, make a minimum $10.00 donation to Jennifer’s Team in Training Page:

Then email to receive your fillable bracket. Email back the bracket by midnight April 19th with your teams filled in and the number of games you predict for each series to go.

In case of a tie please guess the total score of the final game and the person with the closest score will win the tie-breaker.

Winners will be based on points as follows:

First Round = 1 point
Semifinals = 2 points
Conference Finals = 3 points
Championship = 5 points
Round by Round: Guess the correct number of games per series for 1 point

Let the games begin……

Celebrating Saul Zaik

(This kitchen was restored by Arciform for the owners of the Feldman House, a home built by architect Saul Zaik in the ’50s that is considered a quintessential example of the Northwest Regional Modernism style.)

One of the pleasures (and challenges) of working in older homes as we often do, is the weight of history that can hang over each renovation and restoration choice we make with our clients.

Each space has its own distinct personality, and sometimes that personality shines straight through from the original builder’s intent. Other times, the space has been papered over with updates that mask the original style and purpose of the home. In every case, we must strike a balance between:

1. Recognizing that a home is a living building that must first and foremost serve the needs of the family living in it.

2. Respecting the fact that a home also has a unique history and perspective that adds to its value and should be preserved whenever possible.

Sometimes you get lucky and have the opportunity to work on a home whose architect’s purpose and design goals are so clear, thoughtful, practical and beautiful that 60 years later the home still feels fresh and new.

darin brown 004

(Here is an image from of the Feldman House kitchen before the renovation. )

arc18-1f(Here’s a similar view after the restoration was completed. Like many of our projects, our goal here was to integrate needed updates as subtly as possible into the existing space. If you can’t tell where the original elements end and the new things begin, we have done our work well!)

Saul Zaik, a Portland architect responsible for many iconic houses in the style that has come to be called “Northwest Regional Modernism,” creates  homes that are full of personality distinctive style and yet prioritize the comfort of the people who inhabit them and the landscapes on which they are sited.

Portland Monthly explains:

Mid-century modernism is a popular style, often seen as retro, a look back or a revival of something that started more than half a century ago. But in some ways, here in Portland, there’s nothing retro about it. Northwest Regional Modernism is simply a vibrant approach to architecture and design. It thrives, continues to evolve, and is aging gracefully.

change(This image, of Saul Zaik’s personal residence, perfectly illustrates that combination of human scale and connection to the NW environment that was a hallmark of his work.)

Brian Libby, a passionate Portland architecture advocate,  shares this insight into Saul Zaik’s take on Northwest Regional Modernism on the blog PortlandModern:

Asked if he thinks northwest regional is a valid style, Zaik’s response comes without hesitation.

“It is absolutely valid,” he says. “It is site-oriented in terms of sun and weather. It respects the vegetation of the site. Our attitude was that the best thing you can do is something nobody can see as they drive down the street. Well, I shouldn’t say that. Maybe it is better to say that it is something discreet. I think it has to do with a northwest lifestyle. Our clients were outdoor people, who appreciated the landscape and wanted to be connected to it and to preserve it.”

In addition to many distinctive Portland residences, Zaik was deeply influential in the design of some of Oregon’s iconic resort locations, including Sunriver, Salishan, Timberline Lodge (for their 1960’s addition) and the adaptive restoration of the Crater Lake Lodge grounds. Chances are, if you have vacationed in Oregon, you’re experience has been enhanced by his unique sense of place.


About the Feldman House

One of Zaik’s first houses to come out of this period, the circa-1956 Feldman House, is one of his most celebrated and one he still recalls fondly. Built for Philip Feldman, heir to Mt. Hood Borax Company, the structure has a cantilevered, low-pitched gable roof and vertical tongue-and-groove cedar siding. Its broad overhanging eaves express the sheltering element that Zaik brought with him from his University of Oregon studies and which he considered fundamental to the style.

“It is extremely modern in using very flush surfaces and wide panes of glass,” notes architect Don Rouzie, one of Zaik’s longtime collaborators. “It is very simple. It doesn’t jump out at you as being this terrific thing. But you get in there, and it’s just awesome. You realize what northwest regional means.” The house was honored by the Oregon chapter of the American Institute of Architects and was featured in an issue of Pacific Architect magazine. It was also was featured on the 2008 Street of Eames Homes Tour and garnered much praise as a crowd favorite.

We deeply enjoyed participating in the preservation of this iconic Portland residence and we are delighted to join with the Historic Preservation League of Oregon to celebrate Saul Zaik on their upcoming Mid-Century Marvelous Tour of several key Zaik residences on May 11th.

Unfortunately the Feldman House is undergoing some additional restoration and will not be available for viewing on the tour, but there are several other Zaik houses (including his own personal residence) that will be showcased.

We encourage you to check out the tour, which is a fundraiser for the important preservation work being carried forward by the Historic Preservation League of Oregon.

zaik home 2


When: May 11th 10 am to 4 pm

Cost: $40 per person  ($30 for HPLO members)

Buy Tickets Here.

Details from the Historic Preservation League of Oregon:

Take advantage of a unique opportunity to visit six outstanding Northwest Regional Modern homes designed by Saul Zaik.

Tour goers will appreciate the beauty of these houses and how they take full advantage of their wooded locations. They are all recommended by Saul himself and include his own home.

Check in at the Portland First United Methodist Church in Goose Hollow (1838 SW Jefferson) where, at 1pm, we will also present a lecture on Saul’s work and the Northwest Regional style.

This will be a driving tour. The homes are in Portland’s west hills and there are some steep driveways and walkways.

After the tour there will be a “Snappy Hour” ’60s themed costume party and cocktail hour, where tour goers will have an opportunity to meet Zaik and ask questions about the homes on the tour.

We  hope you will join us in celebrating this true icon of Northwest architectural style.

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Friend of Arciform Shares her Experience of the Boston Marathon Bombing

Melissa Fryback, a good friend of Arciform ( and owner of Option 4, a design and marketing agency that provided marketing and design services for Arciform in the past) recently fulfilled a lifelong dream by participating in the Boston Marathon.


She is safe and sound, having completed the race well before the bombs were detonated, but the Oregonian did catch up to her to capture her experience of the race, the bombing and its aftermath.

Here are some quotes from that story. We are relieved that Melissa is okay and wish a safe and speedy recovery to all of the race participants impacted by the bombings.

From the Oregonian story:

Melissa Fryback, a 42-year-old runner from Beaverton, finished the Boston Marathon with one her best marathon times ever, clocking in at the finish line in 3 hours, 43 minutes and 46 seconds…

They were about 4-5 blocks from the finish line when they heard the first explosion.

“I said ‘What the heck!?’ It almost sounded like construction, but it was very loud. Then we heard a second explosion,” she said.

You can read the rest of her experience here.


Help Us Choose Our Small Kitchen Makeover Winner

This month we are partnering with Portland Monthly Magazine to give one Portland resident an Arciform Kitchen makeover.

Thanks to our makeover partners Versatile Wood Cabinets, Schoolhouse Electric, Oregon Tile and Marble, Standard TV and Appliance, George Morlan Plumbing, CZ Becker Floors, Classic Marmo and Emerson Hardwood, the winner is going to receive a kitchen makeover valued at over $25,000.


We’ve narrowed the entries down from over 130 to just under 20 finalists.

We need YOUR help to pick the winner.

Below you’ll find images from all of the finalists.

Decide which kitchen most needs the makeover and then click over to the Portland Monthly Facebook Page  to cast your vote!

Thanks for your help! We can’t wait to give one lucky Portland area family a refreshed and restored kitchen.

Ross Honeyfield
What a Nightmare!


Casey Trimble

1950’s One-Butt Kitchen – Help in Lents District
Approximately 10×8 Dimensions 😦 – Quite small and non-functional for our house of 3 (2 Adults, 1 Toddler). Outdated and in need of help for health and wellness of our home and family. Can’t afford remodel on our own.

Adam MichaudMichaud Rummer Kitchen

10′ w x 15’5″ l

Calvin Rasmussen

50’s Ranch, Galley, Lot of Windows
About 8 feet by 16 to 18 feet

Emee Pumarega

1947 Pink and Blue Kitchen in Need of Remodeling Love!
10’x 12′ approx.
Vote for 1947 Pink and Blue Kitchen Here

Emily Puro

Kitchen Makeover
8.5′ x 13′

Tayah Butler
Courage Kitchen

Owner Tayah Butler says, “8 wide by 13 long- this kitchen has raised three generations of families in north Eugene. Currently a mother and daughter eat, pack lunches, do homework and live every day in the care of this tiny kitchen- she may be old but courage to be her best keeps her giving!

Julie Morgan

It’s a Kitchen! It’s a Laundry Room! It’s Both. 😦
8.5′ x 12.5′

Kathryn Hile

A Little Off
14′ x 10.5′

Kristin WalkerOriginal 1942 Cabinets Have Lost Their Charm
9′ x 7.5′

Linda Conratt
Cook Needs Counter and Storage
It is approximately 127 square feet.  It’s not a true rectangle.
The largest length is 16.5 feet and widest section is 9.75.

Miranda KeenanCute Lil’ Kitchen
8’2″ x 11’6″

Monica CifelliOld Charm in Goose Hollow
Built in 1912, the same year as the titanic, this house presents itself with plenty of original charm. Dark hardwoods can be found throughout the house residing against the original 12 inch white wood trim which is a great contrast to grey walls and the box ceiling in the living room. When we purchased this house, the same family had resided in it for more than 85 years. We took care and effort to paint and upgrade many of the different rooms however the kitchen still remains untouched. We have looked at many of the pictures from Arciform and would consider it a pleasure if you could transform our kitchen.
Dimensions- 8×11

Rich Millward36-Year Old Kitchen Desperately Seeking a Makeover
Avid cook and family of four would love to get our kitchen remodeled. We’ve been in our home for five years with a cooking space that needs a new look. Please help!
Plus we’re tired of cleaning the boys’ spills off the carpet and glueing down the formica.

Dimensions 10′ x 14′

Sara WesterfeldToo Small, Ugly, and Painful – Help Me!
8′ x 10′

Susan Addy
Stuck in the 50’s- Pink and Ivy
10′ by 15′
Vote for Pink and Ivy Here

You have until April 19th to vote for your favorite.

Thanks for helping us decide!

And thanks again to our contest partners:


CZ Becker logo

George Morlan logo

Oregon Tile and Marble logo

Schoolhouse Electric logo

Standard TV logo


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