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Restoring a Historic Oregon Barn


by Client Services Manager Jeremy Gould.

Greetings all, I wanted to take this chance to introduce everybody to the Shipley-Cook barn restoration project. Arciform founder Richard De Wolf has vowed to remove one building from Restore Oregon’s “Endangered Places” list each year, and the Shipley-Cook barn is this year’s choice. Past projects include the DAR cabin in Champoeg, the Smokehouse in Dayton and the First Congregational Church in Portland.

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One of the many cool things about this project is that since this barn is on the historic registry, Adam needed to use “period correct” lumber and construction methods. This means we had to special order “circular sawn” lumber from a saw mill out of Idaho. Circular sawn means that the lumber was cut with a very large circular saw blade (as opposed to a band saw) that measure three feet in diameter. These blades give the lumber a curved striation on the face.  Because different sized blades have been used throughout the years, you can actually judge the age of the existing lumber by measuring the curve of this striation.

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The barn was partially collapsing because the siding was missing which allows rain to access the interior. This project is basically replacing one of the main foundation/mud sill beams that has almost entirely rotted out.

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This will be no easy task since the beam is approximately 12” x 12” and a little over 30’ long! The lumber company tells me the beam weighs almost 2000 lbs. On top of replacing the beam, project manager Adam Schoeffel and lead carpenter Eric Delph needed to raise that end of the barn approximately 6” or 7”, replace all the siding there and some of the framing members (perlins and posts).

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Rick Cook is the owner of the Shipley-Cook barn and as you can tell from the name, this barn has been in his family for awhile. He currently is a teacher for West Linn High School and is incredibly grateful for Richard’s help in making this project happen as well as Brandon with Restore Oregon. The project is being funded by a grant that Richard and Brandon helped Rick attain. Here is a link to a really cool video showing the barn with footage from a drone Click on the video once you follow the link and also look for the barn to be mentioned in future Restore Oregon events and advertising.  You can also look for Eugene Wine Cellars wine made with grapes grown on the Shipley-Cook property!

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Here you can see the completed project. We were proud to save this little piece of Oregon’s Pioneer history.


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Flex Your Basement for Your Growing Family

When the family is growing and something’s gotta give, the basement is often the first space you look at to provide a little extra elbow room.

What are the most important things you should consider when evaluating your basement for a potential family-friendly remodel?

Keep it Flexible

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This basement renovation designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf tucks flexible guest space behind two sliding panels. Photos by Photo Art Portraits.

Do you need more family space? Play space? Craft space? An exercise room? A place for guests? All of the above? Creating a basement with flexible “zones” that can be reconfigured to serve multiple purposes can help you accomplish more of your renovation goals within the same footprint. It will also allow you to evolve the purpose of those rooms over time as your family’s space needs change, without incurring additional costly remodels.


A guest bedroom space opens to the basement and doubles as a hang-out space after practice in the client’s music room. A sliding panel offers privacy when required then tucks out of sight. Design by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Faux the Finish


This basement renovation omits a drop ceiling and wood floor in favor of polished concrete and a loft-like feel. Design by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Putting in a wood floor and a drop ceiling will certainly give your basement that finished feel. But do you really NEED the added expense? If ceiling height is tight (or the budget is squeezed), consider polishing the concrete floors and spraying the ceiling joists a uniform color for an industrial look that still looks pulled-together. That will allow you to preserve your budget for more important items, like a basement bath or a more luxurious laundry set-up.

NeelyDonoher_1904_Basement_A_P_Pro_ (1) - CopyRe-configurable carpet tiles add visual punch to this basement family room. A built-in wraparound bench designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf fits in with the loft like vibe while adding sophisticated seating options. Photo by Patrick Weishampel/

Walk-in Waterworks


This basement wet room with an adjustable handset shower and floor-to-ceiling subway tile features an ultra-narrow wall mounted sink which helps a small space feel expansive. Design by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

If a basement bathroom is on the wish list, consider making it a walk-in wet room. The open shower configuration and floor-to-ceiling waterproof finishes make rinsing off after outdoor family adventures a snap. Kids and furry family members can clean up without concern for splashes or mess.

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This basement bath features a walk-in shower with a clever detail in the subway tile layout that adds a twist to the classic look. A fold-down teak bench offers welcome respite for family members young and old. Designed by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Laundry Luxuries

A basement renovation is an ideal opportunity to luxe up your laundry routine. Be sure that you are planning in space for sorting, hanging, folding and pre-soaking as well as storage for supplies and sundries.

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This basement laundry room integrates folding and hanging space above the washer and floor-to-ceiling storage for all those “occasional use only” items. Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

If a bathroom is also on your basement wish list but you are tight on space, consider integrating the bathroom and laundry functions into one flexible space.


This basement bath (above and below) tucks stacking washer and dryer behind a rolling barn door. A long adjacent counter with sorting bins beneath provides space for laundry prep and folding. Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.



These are just a few considerations when designing a flexible basement that will grow with your family’s needs over time.

Ready to learn more? Join us on May 18th for our Designed for Your Growing Family Workshop – find the details and RSVP here.

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Restoration at Lan Su Chinese Garden


A guest post by Client Services Manager Jeremy Gould.

Arciform just finished up an amazing window and door restoration project at the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland’s historic Old Town Chinatown. Andres Zacharovas put the project together and Mike Adair was the Project Manager. We couldn’t be more pleased how the project turned out and Lan Su feels the same way. I recently caught up with Andres and Mike to ask them a few questions about the project.

Here is Andres’ take on the project:

What was the scope of work at the Chinese Gardens?

The project was to refinish the 6 Tea House doors and 22 windows.

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What was your favorite part of this project?

I was so pleased to be a part of such a historic project. Wood carved ornaments on the doors and windows are unique and beautiful to see with so much detail that takes you back to ancient times. Truly a magical experience.

What were some challenges you had with this project?

I would say the biggest challenge was the winter season weather.

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And a few words from Mike:

Who worked on this project?

We’d like to give recognition to the employees who worked on the project, they all did an amazing job to help make this project successful: Eusebiu Brindusesc, Matt Kaminski, Rene Flanagan, Larry Roberts, Mike Perkins, Lee Foxall and numerous other shop helpers.

How long did this project take?

6 weeks (we finished one week early).

What were some challenges you had with this project?

Cold weather had a slowing effect on the project.

What was your favorite part of this project?

Completing the project a week early!

Arciform is very proud of the work that was accomplished on this project. Ultimately, we ended up with a very happy client that we look forward to working with in future. Since completion, a number of our clients have enjoyed visiting the gardens, as well as some Arciform employees. Enjoy these before, during and after pictures of the project and the feedback from the client:

Thanks a million for your FABULOUS work on the Teahouse windows WOW!

-Jane DeMarco, Executive Direction, Lan Su Chinese Garden

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Kid-Friendly Kitchens

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Incorporating a space just for kids keeps them close-by during meal prep. Design by Principal Designer Anne De Wolf, photo by Patrick Weishampel.

In preparation for our Spring workshop we will share a few posts on kid-friendly spaces.
First up: kitchens. Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing your kid-friendly kitchen.


Caesarstone is a durable & kid-friendly countertop. Design by Principal Designer Anne De Wolf, photo by Photo Art Portraits.


The largest, most used areas of your kitchen are counters, floors, cabinets and appliances – choose finishes that are durable and easy to clean.

Your most durable countertop options are Quartz, Corian and Swanstone. They require little maintenance and largely resistant to staining, scratches and heat. Granite is another good option – when sealed properly your counters can be non-porous as well as heat-resistant.


Hardwood floors are warm and easy to maintain. Design by Senior Designer Kristyn Bester, photo by Photo Art Portraits.

When it comes to flooring options, selecting a hardwood or durable large-format ceramic/porcelain tile will serve you well. A wood floor is warm, can be refinished and is somewhat impact-resistant. Spills are easy to clean on a tile floor and typically won’t cause damage if left for a longer period of time.


Stainless steel appliances make the space shine. Design by Senior Designer Chelly Wentworth, photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Appliances take up a large amount of surface space in your kitchen, so consider the finish you select. Stainless steel looks great but will show hand prints and smudges. There are a few stainless steel finish options that resist marks more than others – Frigidaire’s “Smudge Proof” for example. You could also invest in a good cleaning product that will make removing smudges effortless.

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Pullout drawers allow for easy access to all of your pantry items. Design by Senior Designer Kristyn Bester, photo by Photo Art Portraits.


Having a pantry that is kid-accessible will make it easier for your little ones to be self-sufficient and will provide ample storage. By adding pullout drawers, everything will be at eye-level.


This open-plan kitchen is not only great for entertaining, it keeps your family close by as well. Design by Principal Designer Anne De Wolf, photo by Photo Art Portraits.


Create an open-plan kitchen to encourage your children to do their homework nearby while you cook or help out in the kitchen during meal prep. By incorporating an eating space at an island or nearby nook, the kids can be nearby during snack times.


A nook off the kitchen is a great place for family meals or games – don’t forget to incorporate a place for your furry friend! Design by Principal Designer Anne De Wolf, photo by Photo Art Portraits.


Nooks serve well as a family eating space or spot for homework, games or crafts. Think about incorporating a space for your furry friends too that will keep them close but not too close during meals.

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A large island is a great place for snack time and for kids to do homework or crafts. Design by Senior Designer Kristyn Bester, photo by Photo Art Portraits.


If you spend a lot of time in your kitchen and like to involve your kids, think about lowering the island countertop to make it kid-accessible. Islands also serve as a great place for eating/snack time, homework, crafts and games. If you are pinched for space, rolling carts can serve as islands that easily stow out of the way. Consider collapsible or retractable counters – these are perfect for snack areas or work stations.


Microwave drawers in the island allow kids to heat up their own snacks. Design by Senior Designer Chelly Wentworth, photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Refrigerator &  Microwave Drawers

Refrigerator and microwave drawers can be placed below countertop level which gives kids easy access. Refrigerator drawers are a great place to keep healthy snacks and drinks.

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A designated drawer for pet food keeps it out of the way but easily accessible. Design by Principal Designer Anne De Wolf, photo by Patrick Weishampel.


Are your pets your babies? Consider built-in storage for food and water bowls and other fun ways to incorporate them into your space.

These are just a few considerations when designing a kid-friendly space. Ready to learn more? Join us on May 18th for our Designed for Your Growing Family Workshop – find the details and RSVP here.

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Your Whole House Plan Part Three: The Basement and Beyond

Now that you have completed your upper floor renovations you are ready to tackle the basement and some exterior finishing touches. You should have already addressed any water management, seismic or hvac updates, allowing you to focus your energy on the creation of living space that will make good use of your basement real estate.

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This daylight basement, designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf with interior styling by Shannon Quimby, serves a dual purpose as the family’s media room and a swanky space for entertaining.

The real attraction of a basement renovation lies in the glory of all that untapped potential: a whole house footprint of space just waiting to be claimed for the good of the family… or guests… or the mother-in-law. Which brings us to the most important questions to ask when tackling the basement portion of  your whole house plan:

  • Who will be the primary users of this space?
  • Which activities will the space be used for?

This will affect your design and budget in a variety of ways. For example, those polished concrete floors (shown above) make a sophisticated statement as a party room or home office but may be a challenge for small children.

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This basement renovation by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester builds convenient bike racks along with essential storage tucked behind lockers and in under-stair niches. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

On the other hand, your mother-in-law may not value easy access to bike storage, but your teenagers certainly will.

Some practical logistical questions to address with your design team will be:

  • Does the space have enough ceiling height to meet code as a finished space?
  • Which modifications (if any) need to be made to the interior or exterior stairs to accommodate your plan?
  • How will you provide code-required emergency egress?
  • How will you provide access to mechanical systems (like furnaces and electric panels)?
  • Where will you put everything that used to be in the basement (including laundry facilities)?


For this daylight basement remodel designed by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester, a new staircase was installed with custom millwork. Dead space under the stairs was transformed into an adorable little playspace for their daughter. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Unless your stairs are unsafe or placed in a location that is unworkable with your proposed design, we will often recommend leaving the existing stairs in place, since existing stairs are often “grandfathered in” and will not need to comply with current code.

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 For this project designed by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester, we spiffed-up the existing stairs with carpet, paint and updated millwork. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.


 For this basement designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf, a stacking washer and dryer were tucked behind a barn door in the bathroom, retaining the room’s original use. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

You’ll also want to consider egress. If there will be a bedroom in your basement, it will need to have a window that fits specific criteria designed to allow for escape in case of fire or emergency.

There are other options for meeting egress requirements depending on the location of your doors and stairs. Your design team will help you identify the most cost-effective solution that fits your design goals.

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A peaceful Buddha peeks in through the egress window in this this basement renovation by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf, setting a serene tone for the room.

Next  you’ll want to consider which level of finish your rooms require. This can range from fully-carpeted rooms with a finished ceiling to a more industrial look with polished concrete and exposed ducting.


By spraying the ceiling a dark color and sealing the concrete floor, Arciform designer Kristyn Bester was able to give this basement family room a polished look at lower cost. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

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At the other end of the spectrum, carpeting and a dropped ceiling with integrated can lights give this basement designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf a finished and family-friendly feel.  Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Finishing Touches

 Once your interior renovations are complete, you are ready to tackle some of the finishing touches to your exterior that are best-saved for last.

Here are the 3 things to save till last on your whole house to-do list:

  1. Replace Your Roof

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Any mechanical upgrades to your home or additions can lead to your existing roof getting pierced in multiple places to allow for venting and other components to be installed. If you are contemplating a whole roof replacement, wait until your interior projects are complete.

2. Paint Your Exterior


The intricate paint job on this “painted lady” Victorian would have been easily damaged by workmen and equipment going in and out of the home as the interior projects were completed. Project designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Painting the exterior of your home before your interior renovations are complete is a bit like putting your makeup on before you finish getting dressed. You CAN do it without having to re-do the paint job when you are through, but do you want to risk it?

3. Install any Landscape or Decorative Concrete

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The decorative pavers and succulent-focused landscape design were designed and installed after this main floor master suite addition designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

You won’t want construction equipment and debris rolling over and passing through your brand new concrete driveway or patio. And of course delicate plantings need minimal foot traffic in order to be established properly. So save your exterior landscape and concrete work for the very end.

A thoughtful and detailed whole house plan will save you time, money and heartache over the lifetime of your home. Whether you choose to execute your whole vision over a span of a few months or one phase at a time over a decade, your plan will ensure that the end result will be architecturally cohesive, logistically efficient and truly suited to your family’s changing needs over time.

Ready to get started on creating your own Whole House Master Plan?

Contact to schedule your initial design consultation.

We look forward to helping you create a vision that will support your home renovation goals for years to come!

Want to Review Your Whole House Plan?

Your Whole House Plan Part One: A Solid Foundation

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

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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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Thriving During the Remodel

You’ve been waiting for this day for months – construction is starting! While exciting, remodels can also be daunting, especially if you are losing the functionality of your kitchen or bathroom for a few weeks. Here are some tips from our design team on how to cope.

Depending on the scope of the project, some clients consider renting temporary accommodation (be sure to include this in your remodeling budget!), staying with family or “roughing it” for the duration of construction.

If you’ve decided to “rough it” and stay in your home, consider the following:

  • Temporary kitchen
  • Temporary bathing facility
  • Storage
  • Kids
  • Pets


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Temporary Kitchen

Consider setting up a temporary, minimalist kitchen. Keep the essentials close by – fridge, coffee maker, toaster and/or toaster oven, microwave, induction hot plate, utensils. Plan for quick and easy meals that can be prepared in a toaster oven or microwave. If the weather permits, utilize your grill or camping stove. Think about cooking and freezing food that will make your life easier – sauces or stews that you can easily add a grain or vegetable to. Also consider washing facilities – outdoor sink, bathroom sink or bathtub.



Temporary Bathroom

If you are remodeling multiple bathrooms, phase them if possible. This may mean sharing one bathroom with your family, but it’s better than the alternative of none. If you only have one bath, think about where you will shower – neighbor, gym, office. At the very least, we are often able to leave the toilet functioning.




Moving and remodeling are two of the best times to purge – haven’t used that thing you don’t recognize in a while? Get rid of it! Other options are offsite storage units, PODs or moving items into unaffected rooms.


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This is perhaps one of the biggest considerations when planning your remodel. Not only do we take steps to ensure the safety of your family – lead safe practices, zipper walls and partitioning parts of the house – we will work with you to discover your families’ needs and do our best to minimize additional disruption. Some clients choose to start the construction phase during summer holidays – this is a good option especially if you are able to go on vacation(s) and it makes cooking outdoors much easier. Upside: most kids are resilient and enjoy the process with all of the trucks and tools!



Some pets may require daycare due to noise and others may just need to be kept in a separate part of the house.

The Emotional Rollercoaster

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This is an image we often refer to in our office. David Lupberger argues there is a psychological connection between home and self that accounts for the intense feelings many homeowners experience.

A home, he says, is often a reflection, or an extension, of who the homeowners perceive themselves to be. A place of self-expression, contains our most cherished memories, it’s a safe place where we can feel nurtured and let down our guard. So it’s understandable why a remodeling project feels disruptive to clients. When clients have to move out of a kitchen, or shroud half their house in plastic, it feels like an invasion of their most personal space, Lupberger says.

How did you survive, and thrive during your remodel? Share your tips and advice in the comments.

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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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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

Join Arciform in Giving Back this Season

Decorating the city

Client Services Manager Jeremy Gould invites you to join him in giving back to the community. As a volunteer firefighter he contributes 50 hours a month to keeping families safer. He asked to share a few words with the Arciform community about contributing your time and resources to your community.

Greetings all,

I just wanted to say a little something here as we approach the holiday season. I encourage everybody to find something in your communities where you can donate some of your time for a good cause. It can be anything at all. I think that if all of us humans thought this way and did these things for our communities even just one day a year, the world would be such a better place. For example, my daughter and I choose the Toy and Joy program in Newberg to donate our time to.

Kayla delivering gifts in the chiefs rig

Every year in May we hold a huge pancake feed fundraiser at the fire station and everybody works it for free. All of the money goes to purchasing toys for kids whose families may not be able to afford them. Then, when it gets closer to Christmas, we will go down to the station and wrap the toys to get them ready to deliver. Finally, on the morning of December 24th my daughter and I will commandeer the Chief’s rig, load up the toys, and go hand deliver them to the kids at their homes. We get lots of hugs from moms and grandmas, and lots of smiles from all the kids. Last year Makayla and I delivered about 500 presents. Along the way, we will also secretly be looking to see if they have a Christmas tree or any decorations, and if they don’t we will make arrangements to have them delivered. We’ve even brought groceries to a few families that obviously didn’t have much.

Every year my daughter tells me she definitely wants to do it again next year. It is really quite rewarding to know that you’re bringing so much happiness to these families. My point here is that giving even a little bit of time can have a huge impact on peoples’ lives, and the volunteers gain so much joy and build a sense of community.

We’re so grateful to have the opportunity to give back each year and we would love to hear about the ways you choose to support your community. Share your favorite organizations to support in the comments below to spread the good word about the important work being done on behalf of those in need.

Happy Holidays!