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Posts from the ‘Client Profile’ Category

Project Profile: Creating Space for a Growing Family


What do you do when you find the perfect home in the perfect spot, but you just need more room to accommodate your growing family? For Melissa and Gary, the answer is to employ Arciform to help them expand the footprint while maintaining the unique character of their Lake Oswego bungalow. Above is a historic image of the home that is being used to drive the design of the addition.

Arciform co-owner Anne De Wolf has been working with the family for two years to create a plan that will accomplish their goals and meet their budget. They’ll begin construction this summer.

Here’s a peek into the progress so far.

1. How did the clients discover Arciform?

Anne: They lived in Florida and found us searching for remodeling companies on line.


2. What are the goals of their project?

Anne: To add living space to the house – a large kitchen, a master bathroom, flexible storage space, a covered back porch and a two car garage. The client wants to furnish the space with salvage including windows and doors and cabinetry.


3. What are some of the challenges the project faces?

Anne: The city of Lake Oswego is enforcing alley-facing garages in the ABC District.

The client had requested a tandem garage to keep the profile of the garage structure small in relationship to the house. This caused some juggling.

Also, the client did needed a firm estimate to commit to moving forward with the project. We went through extensive design options over two years including estimating to create a project that meets the client’s needs and financial goals. And we want to use salvage, so we have had to hunt for some of the pieces during the design phase so that we can design accordingly.


4. What are you most excited about in the design so far?

Anne: All of it! The house will provide a lot of flexibility as the spaces can change with the family’s needs. Also, the client’s philosophy with regards to salvage and style are very much in sync with my own. I am looking forward to seeing the finished product.

5. What are some of the personal touches in the project that really fit their personalities?

Anne: Gary collects salvage architectural elements. We are working with them to find and integrate salvaged windows and doors into the design plan.

(Check out one of the salvage window elements we have collected for the project below.)


Anne: Also, the breezeway, back porch and mudroom – the family has two small boys, and they will be spending a lot of time there.


We’ll keep you posted on the progress of this project as it moves into the construction phase. We couldn’t be more excited to help Gary and Melissa create new, comfortable spaces for their family to enjoy.

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Give Your House a Voice


If your house could speak, what do you hope it would say?

Would it be a cheeky affirmation?


Or a friendly reminder?


Maybe just a morning directive:


Whatever the message, consider giving your home a voice with light up letter forms that spell out the feelings that are close to your heart.


Arciform client and good friend Maria Hardison decided to create her first set of these charming light up letters as a surprise gift for her husband. They now grace the wall in their basement family room.

IMG_8767 corrected

That project proved so popular with friends that soon she was creating custom letters for friends and business contacts. There’s Maria in the photo above, working with her friend (and now business partner) Tom.


Then, after the “Pig Out” sign she created for new Portland restaurant Lardo was featured in a ton of great reviews, she decided to get serious.

The result: now she has launched a business creating custom vintage look marquee letters  you can purchase to illuminate your home and give it a voice.

So… if your home could speak to every guest who stops buy… what would YOU like it to say?

Tell us the 3 word phrase you’d want your home to shout from the rooftops (in glowing marquee letters) in the comments below and you’ll be entered to win a FREE custom letter light of your choice from Maria’s new company.


You can check out Maria’s new website and get the details on creating your own custom sign here.

Explore some other options for adding letter forms into your home design in our Pinterest gallery.

We can’t wait to hear what your home would say if it could speak!

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Client’s Eye View: Restoring a Vintage Kitchen with a Touch of Tiffany Blue

Meet Marty and Matt, clients whose beautiful vintage kitchen renovation is featured on this year’s Architectural Heritage Center’s 2013 Kitchen Revival Tour.

Marty's iphone 1353

You can check out their kitchen on the Tour on April 13 (get your tickets here), but before you go, we thought you might enjoy Marty’s take on the goals and outcomes of her project, along with a few comments from project’s lead carpenter, Jeremy Gould, about some of the pleasures (and challenges) of a vintage kitchen restoration.

Arciform Asks: Marty, What were your goals for your kitchen renovation?

Stockton_1929_Kitchen_B_ (4)(Here’s a peek at the kitchen prior to the remodel.)

  • Installing a dishwasher (our first in 10 years)
  • Adding an island and increasing the work/counter space in the kitchen
  • Opening up the kitchen by eliminating the dark enclosed hallway, which led to the back door
  • Creating a space that would become the heart and activity center of the home
  • Maintaining the vintage charm, which was one of the reasons we fell in love with this house

Arciform Asks: What were your concerns going into the remodel process?

Simply living in a kitchen remodel, especially … with two young children and a dog.

This was not our first major remodel, but it was our first with kids. We addressed this by expanding the use of our laundry room to include a temporary kitchen by relocating the microwave, slow cooker, toaster and a small kitchenette set. All was very doable and kind of like inside camping.

Stockton_1929_Kitchen_D_ (6)

(Here is the kitchen renovation in progress. Hard to imagine where you could make a sandwich, isn’t it?)

Arciform Asks Lead Carpenter Jeremy Gould: This was a client who wanted to retain and enhance the vintage character of her kitchen.

What unique challenges does it pose to work in a kitchen where many elements are older/original?

One of my bigger challenges was removing the wall at the left hand side of the tile counter top without disturbing the tile backsplash which was on the wall. I had to work like a surgeon and gently remove small pieces of wall at a time to not crack the grout.


Our other challenge was finding cabinet hinges that matched existing to install on our new cabinets so when looking at the kitchen you couldn’t tell where the old stopped and the new started.

Stockton_1929_Kitchen_B_ (17)(Here’s a close up of those original cabinet hinges.)

Arciform Asks Marty: What did you learn during the process?

We learned to take advantage of when the walls were open by adding structural supports for a future remodel phase and extending electrical work to a hallway niche for art. We also learned that there is an art to orchestrating all the tradesmen and subcontractors. Having an onsite carpenter is like having an extended family member and liaison to the project manager and rest of the team.

Arciform Asks Marty: What are your favorite elements of the completed kitchen and why?

The sheer amount of space is a luxury especially in an older home.


The soft lighting options and the jellyfish etched on the light shades adds a touch of whimsy and speaks to our family’s interest in nature.

The “Tiffany blue” wall color is both calming and uplifting.


Keeping the original tile around the sink is almost a match to the house I grew up in on NE 32nd Ave/NE Fremont just blocks away.

A bookcase built at the end of the island is perfect for my mom’s cookbooks.


The reclaimed hardwoods are almost a match to the rest of the house.

Having a dishwasher!!!!

Arciform Asks: Tell us about the experience of working with Arciform.

Arciform to us is Anne, Richard, Marty, Adam and Jeremy, all professionals who advocated both for us and for the integrity of our home.

When we first met with Anne and Richard, they shared an immediate reaction to keeping the tile around the sink, and the cabinetry and its hardware. Working with Anne and Marty during the design was a joy and I would have liked to have spent more time in the design process, but for our house the design decisions were fairly simple and in keeping with a vintage kitchen.

The construction period was navigated with Jeremy and Adam. Jeremy was a pleasure to have in our home and did fine work, daily communication and keeping our house liveable.

Adam went the extra mile, assisting us with the following: finding our reclaimed hardwoods; hunting through bins at Hippo Hardware for the perfect match to supplement our existing hardware; and finding a vendor for new vintage vents for the kitchen.

Stockton_1929_Kitchen_D_ (4)(Check out the reclaimed hardwoods that Adam helped to source.)

Arciform asks Lead Carpenter Jeremy Gould: What are some of the things you appreciated most about working with the Stockton family?

The Stocktons were very easy to work with and just really nice people. I couldn’t have asked for better clients to work for/with. It was fun hearing the girls’ feedback each morning in the demolition phase of the project. They called me “The Destructor”!

Stockton_1929_Kitchen_D_ (10)

Jeremy adds: This was a very fun project that I think turned out very well!

Marty's iphone 1354

(Here is the whole Stockton clan enjoying the use of their new kitchen during the holidays.)

Arciform would like to thank Marty & Matt for opening their home for the tour and for being such inspiring clients!

Looking for more design inspiration for your kitchen? Join us for our Kitchens that Work Design Workshop on May 18th. Get the details and RSVP here by May 15th to attend FREE.

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Renovation Advice from Pair of Inspiring Arciform Clients

We like to say that our clients are our inspiration and their homes are our teachers.

This is particularly true of two of Arciform’s current clients, Hoa and Nikhil. This family is funny, smart, and have just that little bit of an edge about them that make them really enjoyable to work for. They are in the midst of creating a master suite addition on their Beaumont home.


We asked them to share their insights about family life, giving back to the community, and how to successfully navigate the home renovation process as a couple. Here’s what they had to say:
1. How did you meet?

We met while both living in San Francisco through a mutual friend.

2. What advice do you have for couples who considering a home renovation?

The best piece of advice we can give to other couples is to try and think ahead for big events such having children. Really think about the layout and specifications and what you will need before deciding to settle in on your longterm home. We’ve lived in a few different homes together and each time we’ve been at a different stage in our lives. Before having kids, had someone told us to go spend a weekend with someone who already has kids in their home, we probably would have thought it was a crazy idea but looking back, it makes sense. You’ll really see what life with kids is like and how the space you are in can make your life easier or more difficult on a day to day basis.


Here’s a look at their project in process…

3. Tell us about your renovation with Arciform. What challenges were you hoping to address? And how do you feel it went (or how is it going, since we aren’t done yet!) ?

When we decided we needed to do a house renovation, our biggest challenge was finding a company to help us think up ideas and execute them. We had some general ideas but nothing specific and needed someone to do the thinking for us. We wanted our home to be a place where we want to be and something that would work for our active family and lifestyle.

As a family, we spend the most time together in our kitchen but since our house is an older home, we really wanted to create an open concept so we could all be in the kitchen without feeling like we are on top of each other. Additionally, our days are so chaotic and having our own master suite that we can escape to at the end of the day was also important (hence our decision to build an addition).

So far, our renovation is going great! We couldn’t be happier. Having two young kids, we expected the worst. But, it hasn’t been bad at all. Arciform has been able to help us in all aspects.

4. Tell us about some of the causes you are most passionate about- where do you like to contribute your time, resources and talent?

We think it is so important to love where you live including the neighborhood and community. We’re really lucky that we feel this way about our house and community which includes our local schools and small businesses. As owners of Mosaic Property Management, which we started two years ago, and parents of two young children there is not much free time but we try to be as involved as we can by volunteering in our schools and know that our contribution is making a positive impact in our community. We also make it a point to support our local small businesses. As small business owners we truly understand the importance and the impact that this has on our community.

We’re so delighted to be working with the Thayers. We hope you find them inspiring as well!

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A Client’s Eye View… of Richard and Anne

Sometimes the best way to see yourself… is through the eyes of a friend. Recently we asked Arciform client and good friend to share here “Client’s Eye View” of Arciform husband and wife team Anne and Richard De Wolf.

Here’s what she had to say:

Anne and Richard – bio from a friend

Has this ever happened to you? Monday morning is rolling toward you, but instead of dreading it, you’re excited. Why? It will be a break from your honey and the kids. For at least eight hours you won’t have to listen to them.

Now imagine that you work with your spouse. You’re together ALL the time. With employees. With bills to pay and argue about not just at home, but at work too! How much fun is that?

Welcome to the world of Anne and Richard at Arciform. Why do they do it? For the love of creating. For the love of design. For the fame, the publicity, world domination. And of course – for the clients. The wonderful, grateful, annoying-as-hell clients. As one of those clients, and as a friend who’s known them for 20 years, I have some insight about why a couple would work together.


First of all, let’s get this out there:  Anne and Richard are both so creative it pisses me off. I met them back when they were living together in a loft on Everett. It was a gallery space, so they were required to open it up on First Thursday to everyone. They had their own artwork displayed – there are two pieces I remember best. Anne had a painting showing a series of apples – first as an apple, with each successive picture showing it morph into a woman. Richard had an Ernie and Bert set of paintings that got them into a bit of trouble. See, he painted them with their pants off. One small lawsuit later, the paintings were no longer displayed. Very creative, right?


Back then they had very little money, but that famous creativity was everywhere. The loft was tiny, so the queen mattress was hung in a hammock-type support made of rope close to the ceiling. It was a space saver, though I’m not sure it offered tons of back support. But they were young! Anne hung every bouquet of roses Richard gave her from the beams to dry, and soon there was a row of them as décor. They kept their motorcycles inside, and they served as artwork as well. I think there was a chopper in the front window? I considered them my “cool” friends. Still do.

Do you see a theme here? Artist in an artist’s loft, living downtown, creating from what is at hand? Let’s continue.

Back then Richard exercised his wheeling and dealing flair– but on a smaller scale – by buying and selling their only car. In the first couple of years I knew them they had a VW wagon painted with big, hippie-trippie flowers, an old Land-Cruiser, some kind of Audi, and many motorcycles. He made money on each one. Anne was in school and working, She commuted on a motorcycle to Marylhurst to save on gas, with her artist tube / portfolio strapped to her back. What did she do when it rained, you ask? She wore a bright yellow rain-slicker jumpsuit on the motorcycle. Thrift and creativity and cool, all rolled into one. And a bit of craziness.


It really seems obvious that they were destined to become a design / construction firm. Richard went to get a contractor’s license and was appalled at the lack of business knowledge evidenced by the others in the licensing class. Anne was working at design firms and furniture stores while finishing the Marylhurst design program. She bought classic furniture and a fantastic price before they had a place to put it. Since they’re both the best at what they do, with whom else would they work?

So Arciform was started. It was just Richard and one employee at first, but soon Anne joined them. And here their differences are put to good use. Richard can figure anything out – whether it’s a contract or how to move an historic cabin to a better location. Anne takes the toughest design problems because they’re the most fun for her. Like riding a motorcycle in the rain. Richard buys buildings and businesses; Anne keeps getting her picture in magazines and papers.

Can you imagine them doing anything but running Arciform? And when they say it’s hard, as a client I only have one response. Suck it up and deal, guys. Your clients need you.


About Nancy Ranchel:

Nancy is an accountant who offsets the practicality of her day job with extravagant and outrageous remodeling projects, often involving massive amounts of scrap metal.  In her free time she can be found dreaming up new ways to turn her house into an art installation, digging through scrap heaps, and contemplating a world without plastic. Check out Nancy’s blog here:

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