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Posts from the ‘Mudrooms’ 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:

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Designed by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Biking may be a year-round sport in Portland, but with 8 months of rain it’s important to consider how to keep the bike dry and safe when you are not riding it. For this Portland client, we integrated bike storage into a basement mudroom to give the whole family a place to prep for the ride in comfort.


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.

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Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

How can we help you make your home more adventure-ready? Explore our design galleries and get inspired for your next project here.

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

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


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

Start at the Top

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

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

Dormer Details

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mastering the Main Floor

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


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

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

Cost vs. Value

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

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

Little Spaces, Big Impact

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


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


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

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


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


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

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

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

Part Three: The Basement and Beyond

Previous Post: A Solid Foundation

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Your Whole House Plan Part One: A Solid Foundation

You may only be thinking about a quick update to your master bath or basement right now. But have you considered how the choices you are making on this remodel will affect the future plans you may have for your house?


Creating a whole house plan will ensure that each step you take to improve your home will be thoughtfully considered and efficiently executed with the needs of future projects in mind. This will save time, prevent costly re-dos and offer the peace of mind that each improvement you make will dovetail seamlessly with the projects before and after it.

In this three part series, we’ll break it down step by step to offer which questions to consider and which best practices to keep in mind for each phase of your plan to ensure a result you’ll be happy with for the lifetime of your home.

Part One: Creating a Solid Foundation for your Whole House Plan

1. Identify Your Goals

Before you spend any money on your home, it will be important to consider carefully the following questions:

  • Which investment will be right for your home based on its current value?
  • How does your plan fit in with the style and scope of homes in your neighborhood?
  • Which kinds of improvements are most appropriate for your stage of life and the life cycle of your family? Some remodeling projects recoup nearly 100% of their cost in increased home value- others may not but may be worth the investment for other reasons.

You’ll also need to keep both your family’s long term and short term needs in mind.

  • How will your family’s needs change over the time you plan to be in your home?
  • Will you need to accommodate an aging parent?
  • Make room for your family to grow?
  • Prepare for an empty nest?

2. Assemble Your Team

Assembling the team of professionals you’d like to work with at the beginning will ensure clear communication and avoid unnecessary overlap or conflict between the responsibilities of each professional.


At minimum, you’ll want to identify your:

        • Architectural Design Team
        • Construction Team
        • Interior Decorator
        • Landscape Architect

Keep in mind that each of these teams will have existing relationships with city officials and subcontractors who will also end up being an important part of the decision making process as you develop your plan.

As a design|build company, Arciform offers an integrated design and construction team that will stay with you every step of the way and coordinate all of the other professionals you will need to complete your projects.

3. Develop Your Design

Your whole house design will take into consideration any engineering, systems upgrades (like new heating or electrical) and structural changes required to meet your long term goals.


It will also develop the design details for each proposed project so that they will fit the architectural style of your home while showcasing your family’s unique tastes and personality. Along the way your design team will help you consider the following questions:

  • Which layout changes will make your home function better?
  • What storage needs do you have?
  • Which appliance or technology upgrades are you hoping to incorporate?
  • Which architectural details will integrate well with your home’s era and style?
  • What mood and design aesthetic would you like the finished spaces to evoke?
  • Which colors, shapes, textures and design details would you like to see integrated into the finished project? Every detail of your proposed project that can be selected in advance will save costly delays and change orders later.

4. Deal with the Foundation First

If your goals include updating the seismic bracing, mitigating water infiltration or expanding the head height in your basement, these are all projects that should be tackled prior to any interior renovations. This includes digging out your foundation or lifting your house if necessary.


Getting your basement completely dry will often also require a look at your rooftop water management systems, your landscaping plan (to be sure water is being directed away from your foundation with appropriate grading) and may include the installation of underground french drains to route groundwater around and away from your home.

5. Update your Mechanical Systems

Are new furnace or heating systems part of the long term plan for your home?

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As un-sexy as these basic mechanical upgrades can be, they can make a huge difference to your comfort in the home. They also require ripping into walls, usually on multiple floors, so it is best to take care of them early before you start any internal renovation projects.

The last thing you want to do is tear into your beautiful new paint job to arrange the installation of a  heating duct.

6. Button Up Your Envelope

After your mechanical systems are updated, its time to consider what energy performance upgrades might be needed in your home.


Sealing the cracks and air holes that create drafts, adding insulation and installing new windows and doors can all happen prior to any internal renovations.

Thayer Perspective

Next Step: The Fun Part! Planning your Interior Renovations

In the next installment we’ll take it floor by floor to offer insight into which projects to tackle first and what questions to ask as you design your dream kitchen, master suite and basement.

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Postcards from the Field: April

This morning we thought we’d take you on a quick virtual tour of some of the projects we are currently working on here at Arciform…

Here are a few of the projects underway…


This mudroom in Lake Oswego is getting a very cool tile treatment….

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A gas pass-thru fireplace in SE Portland is being installed in a mid-century whole house remodel…

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Some views are being re-framed at a different mid-century addition project….

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… with the help of a VERY large crane.

exterior front - porch underway 4

A porch is coming together out in Beaverton…

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… while some very groovy tile is being set for a mid-century bathroom in Hillsdale.


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Bike racks and lockers are going to add some cool kid style to a basement renovation in NW Portland…

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….while this elegant custom radiator cabinet is being prepped for install up in the SW Hills.

Coming soon to Arciform… a historic Portland church gets a bell tower restoration, a Corvallis National Register property gets a new kitchen and the roof gets raised on a collection of dormer addition master suites all over Portland.

So… what are YOU working on?

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Mudroom Magic

Hardison_1902_Mudrm_A_3_WDesign by Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

As the fall weather turns mercurial and the schoolbags begin piling up on every surface, the urge to corral all that indoor/outdoor stuff into one tidy location can become overwhelming.

But where to put it all?

For one Arciform client, the solution was to build a small mudroom addition to their Sellwood Victorian, complete with a covered “study loft” balcony, secret doors and ingenious integration of salvage materials to showcase the creative, eclectic personalities of this busy family.

Here’s a look at that project in detail. What ideas and solutions can you apply to your own mudroom update?

Hardison_1902_Mudrm_A_12_WDesign by Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

This small addition packs a lot of design punch. Salvaged columns, railings and windows help the addition integrate with the quirky Victorian style of the main house, and a touch of gingerbread over the balcony adds whimsy and charm.

Hardison_1902_Mudrm_A_7_WDesign by Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Glass entry doors maximize the natural light in the space, creating a warmer welcome than the home’s original side door.

Check out the ceiling in the space- it is assembled from salvaged cabinet doors!

We asked Arciform owner and designer Anne De Wolf  how this particular idea came about. She explains,

I came up with the idea when I saw a bunch of cabinet doors at Hippo Hardware. I went back to our shop to ask if we had some extra doors, which of caurse we had. The challenging part was the layout- each door was a different shape and size! But the result was so fun it was worth it.

Hardison_1902_Mudrm_A_5_WDesign by Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Another cool feature of the project was the addition of “secret doors” that were invisible from the exterior but provided the kids their own fun way to enter and exit the space. the doors also create a convenient way to stash lacrosse equipment, gardening tools and other bulky items directly into the mudroom space.

We asked Anne: What inspired the secret doors? They are such a cool idea!

This was the client’s idea as the parents and the children have very active imaginations and are very playful.

Hardison_1902_Mudrm_A_11_WDesign by Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

The final fun touch to the space was the inclusion of a ‘study loft’ balcony. This all-weather reading and study nook gives the kids room to stretch out with a good book or a tricky assignment, while keeping their imaginations fueled with plenty of fresh air and a great view of the neighborhood.

Arciform owner/designer Anne De Wolf suggests that this family’s approach to the project has good lessons for anyone contemplating a mudroom renovation. She explains,

The mudroom is a great space to let out your inner artist as it has “permission” to be a fun, functional and informal sort of space.

Hardison_1902_SalvagedPieces_D_ (11)Design by Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

We’ve been delighted to help this family address a practical back-to-school issue with an inspiring and playful solution that fits both their family’s personality and the unique style of their Sellwood Victorian home.

Their next project? A Jules Verne inspired roof deck and play loft, complete with submarine hatch.


We can’t wait to show you the pictures of that one!

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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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