Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Fun and Games’ Category

Designing an Adventure-Ready Home


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:

MilliganUsher_1926_Basement_Entry_A_P_Pro (1)

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.


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).


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.

Schaefer_1937_HotTubArea_A_P_Pro (1)

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.

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

Designer Holiday Gift Guide: Part 4


For Part 4 of our Holiday Gift Guide, Junior Designer Bianca McKelvy shares her favorites local goods…

Not sure where to start? This is a great way to find local businesses, listed by neighborhood.


My nephew loves this sling shot that I got him for Christmas last year (his sister not so much). Boys Fort has some fun, unique things.

cloud nine

Cloud 9 Comics has an amazing selection of comic books. My younger brother was in heaven when he visited, and they have their entire selection listed online.


Löyly Spa has two convenient locations – one in NE and one in SE. I like to go just for the sauna visit which you can buy a sauna visit package for. They also offer a variety of massage and skincare services, as well as gift certificates.

bar ware

Bull In China has nice local made barware for the mixologists in your life and it’s all made in the USA.


Adored Vintage has beautifully curated vintage clothing and jewelry.

paxton gate

Paxton Gate has lots of cool little oddities and pretty minerals.

Next up in Part 5, Designer Jeffrey Kelly and Senior Designer Kristyn Bester share their holiday must-haves.

Missed the first part of our guide? See them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

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

Designer Holiday Gift Guide: Part 3


In Part 3, Design Department Manager Marty Hegg and Junior Designer Tara Keefner share their favorites and must-haves for this holiday season.

Marty’s Picks

pendleton gloves

These Pendleton gloves are festive and long, to keep forearms warm!

light box

For those who have a hard time with the winter darkness, this cheery and therapeutic light box is great!


And maybe a stash of full spectrum bulbs for all of our lamps from our favorite, local light bulb lady, Kay Newell of Sunlan.

star wars rug

For the Star Wars fan with an eye for design, a more refined nod toward the galaxy with this gorgeous wool rug.


Look at this practical and pretty gift: an extension cord with USB ports! The Exto USB by Conway Electric, made in the USA.


And for the person who does not need or want more things, Kiva provides gifts via loan, domestically and around the world.

Tara’s Picks

porch light shawl

I’m recently obsessed with Porch Light on NW 11th & Everett, thanks to Bianca. Specifically, their alpaca shawls and throws.


Not local, but I’m really jonseing for a Kindle Paperwhite. I’ve resisted for a long time and still prefer real books, but I’m so out of the habit of reading I’d like to remove my last excuse. Plus the Kindle has WiFi, so if I’m connected I can get a new book almost instantly which is cool!

A trip to the Garage Sale Warehouse in Beaverton. Basically a huge indoor flea market, with new goodies all the time. They have two locations now, and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

Missed our last posts? See what the team recommends in Part 1 and Part 2!

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

Designer Holiday Gift Guide: Part 2

Cleveland Flea - Holiday -100 (2)

For part two of our Holiday Gift Guide, Senior Designer Chelly Wentworth shares her favorite items and places to find something special for someone special.


Danner Boots

I’m inspired by the Movie ‘Wild’, and this boot is made in America! With three stores in Portland, this should be an easy one to knock off the list.

Appetite bag

Appetite Ann Shoulder Bag

This beautiful tote is hand-made in Portland with local Pendleton wool that is so pretty and practical.


Pigeon Toe Ceramic Bowls

These bowls are made just down the street from Arciform! Another pretty and practical gift, and the celedon interior just makes me happy.

pdx nursery

Classes at Portland Nursery

It’s about time I became a better gardener! Portland Nursery offers a wide range of useful and informative classes.

cotton throw

Schoolhouse Electric Cotton Throw

I’m allergic to wool so this 100% cotton throw would be sooo cozy. And it’s pretty!

If you missed part one, take a look at suggestions from Junior Designer Anna Foltz and Senior Designer Anne De Wolf.

Part three of our Holiday Gift Guide will feature ideas from Junior Designer Tara Keefner and Design Department Manager Marty Hegg.

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

Designer Holiday Gift Guide: Part 1


The holidays are here again which means it’s time to start thinking about the special people in your lives. The Arciform Design Team has put together lists of their personal favorites to help you get started and satisfy even the trickiest person.

For part one of our guide Junior Designer Anna Foltz and Senior Designer Anne De Wolf share some of their favorite places shop at and items to buy for the holiday season. Take a look and get inspired to brave the crowds to get the perfect gift for the loved ones on your list.

Anna’s Picks

john fluevog

John Fluevog

Canadian shoe designer, John Fluevog draws inspiration from Victorian fashion and Art Deco design. If these funky men’s and women’s shoes are not draw enough, the SW Stark St. store (really more of a shoe “museum”) is well designed and full of eye (and foot) candy. I have a really hard time going in here because I LITERALLY drool over every pair!


The Joinery

With a showroom/workshop on SE Woodstock Blvd., The Joinery uses classic woodworking techniques to create beautiful handcrafted furniture in modern and traditional designs. I find it inspiring that they take pains to honor the classic craft of traditional joinery to make a variety of pieces that are both sculptural and functional, while celebrating the inherent properties of the wood. The Joinery strives to use FSC certified and locally sourced wood and the manufacturing facility runs on solar power!

iron oxide designs

Iron Oxide Designs

Amy Fox is a local Portland artist who creates finely crafted handmade jewelry from reclaimed metals and quartz. I love the edginess of the metal patinas with the sparkle of quartz. Shop her unique, yet affordable Iron Oxide Designs online at Etsy or at Altar PDX on SE Hawthorne Blvd.

andy and bax

Andy and Bax

The outdoor enthusiast in your life will LOVE Andy and Bax, on SE Grand Ave. Andy and Bax is a magical wonderland of old-school military surplus, and the finest selection of high-quality camping and rafting gear that you’ve ever seen! You will not find rows of neon-colored high-tech fabrics in this store, but what I most enjoy is the air of WWII nostalgia and superb customer service that make this feel more like your Grandpa’s camp store.

melissa jean made

Melissa Jean Made

This Portland artist uses hand-dyed, natural fibers to make beautiful, vintage-inspired macramé pieces. They are wonderful for hanging plants or just adding some decorative, organic texture to a room. Shop her website here.

Anne’s Picks


Filling Spaces

Located in NW Portland, this could be the one-stop shop for most of the people on your list! I especially like their poufs, they are the perfect boho-chic addition for your home.


Liebeskind Bags at Ink and Peat

Still a favorite, Ink and Peat offers a wide selection of home goods, jewelry and house plants. My current must-haves include Liebeskind bags, I love them!

That’s it for part one of our Holiday Gift Guide, stay tuned to see what the rest of our Design Team suggests!


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

What Color Should You Paint Your House?

By selecting a vibrant color palate for this Victorian, the intricate millwork is highlighted.

Is your home a traditional Victorian or craftsman cottage? The style of your house is an important consideration to take when selecting an exterior color palate.

A neutral color for this Cape Cod cottage complements the roof and landscape.

Think about the roof: the colors you select should complement your existing roof.

The bright door on this mid-century home adds a pop of character. 

Choosing a pop of color for your front door is an easy way to add some character. If you love your current front door, be sure to select an exterior paint color to complement it.

A multi-toned color palate for this Victorian showcases the exterior details but is subtle and sophisticated.

Consider your neighborhood: will your color selections be neighbor approved? Do you live in a historic neighborhood that will need to approve your new color palate?

We ran across this fun quiz on Houzz that can help you identify the best exterior colors for your home.

Take the quiz here and then let us know what your results were in the comments below!

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

Steal this Idea! Summer Design Contest | Bracket A | NoPo

Ox Exterior

This is the first round of our Steal this Idea! Summer Design Contest. Each week we will spotlight a few pairs of restaurants from a different Portland neighborhood. Each post will highlight stealable ideas for your own home.

Want to play? Here’s how to do it:

  1. Complete and submit a bracket
  2. Vote in the comments of this post for which restaurant’s vibe you’d most like to steal for your own home

Click here for more information and contest rules.

First up, rustic Ox will battle it out against eclectic Broder Nord!


Located in the Eliot neighborhood, the Argentinean-inspired NW fare is cooked on a wood-fired grill.

Stealable Idea #1: Vintage Refrigerator

Our favorite back-bar item is this vintage style refrigerator…


This 1931 era appropriate kitchen features a Big Chill refrigerator. Design by Kristyn Bester

One of Arciform’s favorite retro refrigerators is Big Chill. Available in a number of sizes and colors.

Stealable Idea #2: Globe Pendant Light Fixture

Light fixtures can help to achieve the look and style you’re after which is why we love these sleek globe pendants.


A similar item can be found at Rejuvenation.

Rejuv light

A perfect frame for the vanity, these custom globe pendants fit perfectly in this sleek bathroom . Design by Kristyn Bester. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Stealable Idea #3: Rustic Wide-Plank Floors

We love these wide-plank floors because they look like they’ve always been here and give the space a rustic vibe.


Wide-plank flooring in this fun kitchen is rustic and charming. Design by Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits

Pioneer Millwork here in Portland is a good option for your salvaged flooring needs.

Broder Nord

Also in the Eliot neighborhood, this Swedish inspired spot is a popular brunch destination.

Stealable Idea #1: Concrete Floor

Concrete flooring is a great option for a heavy traffic area as it extremely durable while giving off an industrial yet modern vibe.


A concrete floor was a given for easy maintenance in this 1924 basement wet room. It also allowed for extra, much needed headroom for this tall client. Design by Kristyn Bester. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

A polished, stained or painted concrete floor makes for easy maintenance and gives a modern feel to the space. Finishing products can be found through most large paint retailers.

Stealable Idea #2: Vintage Prep Cart

Here at Arciform, we LOVE salvaged materials which is why we like this vintage prep station.

Restaurants_BroderNord_ (1)2

The salvaged metal frame was updated with a custom butcher block counter and wood shelving. Design by Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Do you have a special vintage or salvaged piece that needs some updating? Versatile Wood Products‘ custom shop can fulfill just about all of your custom woodworking needs.

Stealable Idea #3: Brick-Set Ceramic Tile

A simple brick-set subway tile is classic yet sophisticated, always a great option for that timeless look.


A simple brick-set subway tile is a perfect fit for this 1912 kitchen. Design by Chelly Wentworth. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

There are so many options when it comes to tile, but one of our favorites is the Rittenhouse Square from Daltile.

Which restaurant’s style would you steal? Choose one and tell us why in the comments below.

Steal this Idea! A Summer Design Contest

Restaurants 043

Are you one of those people who spends more time at your favorite restaurant surreptitiously snapping photos of your favorite design details than instagramming your dinner?

Restaurants 108

With  so many wonderful, stealable design ideas at Portland’s favorite restaurants, we don’t blame you.

We thought it was time to help you figure out how to translate some of your favorite restaurant looks into your own home design projects.

But which design details to steal? This is where we need your help!

With that in mind, we’d like to cordially invite you to join us this summer for our Steal this Idea! Summer Design Contest.

Here’s how it will work: Each week we will spotlight a few pairs of restaurants from a different Portland neighborhood. We’ll highlight some stealable design details from each spot.

Restaurants_OlympiaProvisions_ (6)

Your job will be to vote in the comments for which restaurant’s vibe you would most like to steal for your own home.

We’ll tally up the results, March Madness style, and everyone who participates will be entered to win dinner for two at the restaurant that gets the most votes in the final match up.

Want to play along? Click here to download your bracket.

Email your completed bracket with your best guesses to to be entered to win dinner for two at the restaurant that wins the contest.

Bonus Round: If you correctly guess the winning restaurant on your bracket we’ll have a little bonus prize waiting for you at our Designed for Entertaining Workshop on August 19th.

Ready to play? The first match -up will be posted Wednesday June 10th at noon. Here we go!

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

Designer Holiday Gift Guide (Part 3)


This is the third and final installment of our designer holiday gift guide.  For our final part Senior Designer Chelly Wentworth and Junior Designer Trisha Hopkins share some great ideas to take care of those final people on your list.


Chelly’s Picks


Portland CSA

A share of a CSA is an excellent present for the cook, foodie, or health nut on your list.  Locally farmed, seasonal produce is delivered to your door to keep your fridge stocked without having to think about going to the store.


Portland Homestead Supply

A gift certificate for a class at Portland Homestead Supply (who doesn’t want to learn how to make cheese or stock up on canning supplies?)  Here is a list of recipes to get your holiday canning juices flowing.


Fieldwork Flowers

Who doesn’t love to be treated to a fresh bouquet of flowers?  During these dark months of Winter a fresh arrangement can do wonders to brighten up a home.  Fieldwork Flowers can help you put together a beautiful, locally grown bouquet.


Hand Eye Supply

For the creative on your list, a stop at Hand Eye Supply will surely provide an answer to your gift giving quandry.  They have a great selection of work wear that will keep your loved one styling while they work.

art of shaving chair

The Art of Shaving

Celebrate the end of Movember with a  gift certificate for a lux shave from The Art of Shaving.  Maybe your honey needs to clean up for your new years kiss.  This gift is a perfect way to make him feel pampered without knowing that you want that scratchy beard gone.


Muffin Head

Don’t forget your pooch and get him or her a warm coat from Muffin Head.  Each garment is made here in the USA from recycled materials so you can feel good about keeping your furry friend warm.


Christmas Family Adoption Foundation

Let’s not forget that this is the season of giving.  If you have someone on your list that has everything this is a great option to help some of those that don’t in their name.  It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday fervor but if we stop to help those around us, we can enrich our own community.   So consider adopting a whole family in need by donating to the Christmas Family Adoption Foundation.


Trisha’s Picks



Betsy and Iya

Betsy and Iya jewelery is handmade in Portland. I love everything they make. It’s different, funky and delicate.



Everything Jadeite! Plates, bowls, cups and so on. You can find some good antique pieces on Ebay and Etsy. Or buy new from Sur La Table.



The Kobenstyle line of pots and pans from Dansk cookware is my all-time favorite. Originally designed by Jens Quistgaard in 1965, this line is now being reproduced by Dansk again.  It is so classic and modern. You can find it in town at Schoolhouse Electric.



I love these gold rimmed plates available at Food52. Very organic and oh so lovely!



I have always wanted a pair of these chairs from Rejuvenation. And one day I will own them!


Design Within Reach

Who could resist the urge to buy the iconic lounge chair and ottoman designed by Charles and Ray Eames?  This piece is definitely a splurge item but will stand the test of time and provide many years of comfortable sitting while looking exquisite.

Want More?

Check out the other parts of the series:

Part One: Anne De Wolf, Marty Hegg & Kat O’Neil’s Picks

Part Two: Kristyn Bester and Jeffrey Kelly’s Picks

Phew!  This concludes our designer holiday gift guide.  We’ve had a great time putting these lists together and hopefully you had a great time reading them.  Now get out there and start crossing off the remaining people on your list.  Let us know if any of these items make their way into your loved one’s hands.

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

Designer Holiday Gift Guide (Part 2)



For part two of our designer holiday gift guide Senior Designer Kristyn Bester and Junior Designer Jeffrey Kelly share some of their favorite ideas for holiday gifts.  Whether you’re shopping for an adventurer, foodie, or vintage enthusiast, we have something that will knock them off your list.  Take a look and stay tuned for our third and final installment of our designer holiday gift guide.


Kristyn’s Picks


Cannery Pier Hotel

One of my most favorite places to stay.  Astoria is a fun, sleepy town to wander around. If the weather turns bad, the hotel is an easy place to lock yourself away with a good book and cup of coffee and never leave.  The view is incredible from every room and the spa is super relaxing, so don’t forget to book a massage!


Julie Nolan Jewelry

For a special and personalized gift, a brass constellation bracelet or necklace with your loved one’s star sign is a beautiful option.  They are made by New York artist Julie Nolan and are available on her Etsy shop or in person here in Portland at Lizard Lounge.  You can see the Sagittarius bracelet here.


Pacific Pie Company

I am obsessed with Pacific Pie Company, who I think makes the best savory pies in Portland. They offer Pie Making 101 to those who want to learn the art of pastry, crust, pies and more!  You even go home with a fresh baked pie and extra pastry.


Antique Stores

I like to go antiquing for unusual and one of a kind gifts.  I love Kenton Antiques in North Portland, Stars Antiques in Sellwood, Grand Marketplace on Grand Avenue in SE Portland, and the salvage section at Rejuvenation.  Outside of Portland, my favorite is Vintage Hardware in Astoria.  Some of my finds for gifts include vintage art and books, collections of ledgers for my accountant husband (I found one from someone living in Paris during WWII), mirrors, and small furniture pieces.  You are certain to find the most unique gift!


A Night Out on the Town

I love to give and receive experiences as gifts, so I often look for upcoming events such as a Timbers game or a play at Portland Center Stage.  I buy one ticket for the lucky recipient and one ticket for myself – then we are guaranteed a date together in the future!



Jeffrey’s picks


Olo Fragrance

Who doesn’t like to smell good?  These hand made fragrances from Portland’s Heather Sielaff are a perfect gift for the guy or gal on your list that wants to smell nice but not overpowering.  With offerings mixing scents like cardamom, Indonesian vetivert, tobacco, wood, lemon, and bergamot, these unique perfumes stand out in the crowd of typical fragrances.  You can visit their newly opened shop Milk Milk Lemonade on SE Belmont to see their workshop and pick from their line of perfumes.


Hazel Cox Jewelry

I’ve known Hazel for many years and have always been in love with the things she designs.  There is something about her aesthetic that is so beautiful to me and it fits perfectly here in Portland.  You can buy directly form her or at stores like Yo Vintage! or Palace.


Beckel Canvas

Made right here in Portland, Beckel Canvas products are a perfect gift for the outdoor enthusiast looking to get back to the roots of camping.  They hand make their line of canvas bags, tents, and accessories in their Clinton St. storefont.  I was recently on a rafting trip and one of my fellow companions was able to set up his Miner tent, pictured above, with two oars and some rocks before any of us even had our tent poles constructed.  I was impressed to say the least.


Heath Ceramics

It’s hard not to fall in love with every piece of this iconic line of ceramics.  From their fantastic tiles and house wares to their classic line of dinnerware, there is no denying that Heath Ceramics has earned it’s status as a coveted item for any home.  Pick up a platter or bud vase for a loved one and you are sure to please.


Portland Meat Collective

If you have a foodie on your list then the butchery and cooking classes offered by Portland Meat Collective are a great way to give an interactive gift.  Ranging from basic animal butchery to charcuterie to multi-day courses, there is bound to be a class that matches the level of your cook’s skill.  I was lucky enough to have received this as a gift and will always remember the techniques I learned in class.


The Good Mod

This showroom, located directly off of Burnside, contains some truly drool-worthy pieces.  Specializing in mid-century and industrial furniture, The Good Mod curates a jaw dropping selection of pieces you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else.  If you want the real deal pick of furniture you’d expect to see in a magazine or history book, this is your place.

I hope you found some good ideas in part two of our gift guide.  By this point your list should be dwindling but just in case it is still lengthy, we have one more installment to help you finish up your holiday shopping.  In our next and final part of our gift guide senior designer Chelly Wentworth and junior designer Trisha Hopkins share their go to places for inspired presents.

Want more? Check out the other parts of this series:

Part 1: Anne De Wolf, Marty Hegg & Kat O’Neil’s Picks

Part 3: Chelly Wentworth and Trisha Hopkins’ Picks

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