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Posts tagged ‘client’s eye view’

Client’s Eye View: Finding the Perfect Range for Your Kitchen

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If you love to cook, selecting the perfect oven & stovetop for your kitchen can be the most important decision you make. Recently Arciform client Linda Schmidt’s quest for the perfect range took her all the way to Woodinville, Wa. We interviewed her to get a client’s eye view of her experience.

What are your goals for your new range? How will it be an improvement over your current stove?

Currently we have a glass stove top which was present when we purchased the house.  We hate it.  It’s impossible to keep clean, and, given that it’s electric, I don’t think it cooks that well.  It takes forever to heat up a large pot of water if I am making a big batch of chicken soup.  We have a wall oven which works okay, but I find that I am often in need of two ovens as I bake a lot, particularly around the holidays.  Our new range will replace both the stovetop and wall range, making better use of the limited space in our kitchen.  Although the new range won’t be large (approximately 40” wide), it will come with dual electric ovens (each of which can cook a 26 lb turkey!) and 5 gas burners, one of which is 18,000 BTU – this should allow me to heat up a big pot of soup in a jiffy.  From an aesthetic standpoint, the new range will be far more attractive than what we currently have.

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You went to Seattle to check out a range you were excited about. What was it that drew you to that particular model?

Woodinville, WA to be exact!  I saw this range featured in one of the design/home décor magazines I receive.  I loved the timeless and classic look of it.  It’s not trendy.  The other important draw was that it comes in 24 different colors!  With respect to the particular model that we selected, given that our kitchen space is not large, we were limited to a range less than 44” in width.  What I liked best about this model is that it comes with two equal-sized ovens so the overall look is balanced.  My eye was immediately drawn to it when I saw it.  My husband also liked this model best.

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What did you learn while you were there? How has it impacted your thinking about which range you’ll select?

I learned a lot.  I had already done a fair amount of on-line research about the different ranges out there as well as about LaCanche.  I even found some internet threads where people write about their experience with a LaCanche range.  Going to the showroom allowed me to see, up close, the different models, learn more about their features, the accessories that come with the range, optional accessories such as griddles and grill plates, and other important things about the ordering process, warranty, service and parts.  I also learned that LaCanche ranges are entirely mechanical – no computer chips or anything like that – so if something goes wrong, it is likely because a part has worn out.  Learning about the different oven options led me to select the particular model I did.  Prior to visiting the showroom, I wasn’t sure which model to select because it wasn’t entirely clear to me from reading through their brochure which oven arrangement would best suit our needs.

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 What challenges did you identify with the model you checked out?

Lead and shipping time!  Each range is built to order in France.  Because the demand for this brand has increased significantly over the last year, we were told that there is at least a 10 week lead time after our order is placed.  Add an additional 4 -10 weeks for delivery, depending on whether you select air or sea freight, and you are looking at 5 months before the range arrives if you select with the most cost effective shipping option.

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 What’s your next step? Does the search continue?

My next step is to decide on a color (I’ve narrowed it down to two) and then order.  I’ve done enough research on-line and by visiting other showrooms to know that no other brand appeals to me as much in terms of appearance, functionality, and cost.  This range is surprisingly well-priced.  It’s less expensive than some American brands and is definitely better priced than LaCornue.

What advice do you have for others getting started on the appliance selection process?

Do your research.  I did a lot of research on-line.  From there, I identified several brands which appealed to me aesthetically and came in colors I was considering as I knew that I did not want stainless steel.  It then came down to whether the brand/model offered a double oven.  From there, price and value were the ultimate determining factors.  Definitely visit a showroom of the range(s) you are considering.  We learned a lot from spending just over an hour at the LaCanche showroom.  Visiting the showroom also made me feel much more confident in this purchase.

Exploring a possible kitchen renovation? Join us May 18th, 2015 for an inspirational design workshop. Get the details and RSVP here.

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Client’s Eye View: Donna and Bill’s Compact and Classic Kitchen

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Reversing the damage of a poorly considered ’80s remodel and packing a compact kitchen with storage without making the space feel cluttered were two important goals of this recently completed Arciform kitchen remodel. But don’t take our word for it. We recently interviewed the homeowners to get a “client’s eye view” of their kitchen renovation experience.

What were your goals for this renovation?

We had several goals. All were equally important to us. We badly needed an update of the large appliances. There were electrical needs. We had only 3 outlets and two overhead lights – one over the sink and one in the center of the room. The room looked like Macy’s kitchen department. With no storage for small appliances, the counter space was used for  the toaster, the mixer, and so on. My spices were stored in 3 different places. We needed more counter space. The house was built in 1916, so we wanted the design to reflect the look of the rest of the house.

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Here’s a peek at the kitchen before the remodel.

What were your concerns going into the remodeling process?

We chose Arciform after some thoughtful research.  We hoped Arciform COULD DELIVER. We loved their ideas and their willingness to partner with us to make the kitchen happen. They did deliver.

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 What did you learn during the process?

The design is the key. Arciform worked with us to design every inch of the project. We revisited the design over and over. Arciform made what WE wanted and needed an essential part of the design process. As the design evolved, we learned about materials, costs and even construction.

What are your favorite elements of the completed kitchen and why?

I LOVE how it reflects the period in which the house was built.  This makes it a better house.

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The lighting is great!  I can see when I cook. I have counter lighting as well as 4 ceiling lights.

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Using small appliances isn’t a task anymore.  There are outlets everywhere.

 

My spices are all in one drawer and easy to see.

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Because  I have an appliance barn, the Macy kitchen department look is gone, and I have lots more counter space.

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The large appliances are “state of the art.”  They are more efficient, more quiet, more dependable and really fun to use.

 Tell us about your experience of working with Arciform.

Our working relationship with Arciform was great. From the estimate to the finished job, there were no surprises.  I think their strong suit is communication.  They stayed in touch by text and email, informing us of even small changes in the schedule.  All the personnel are excellent people – smart, thoughtful and skilled.  The workers all cleaned up after themselves.

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It was a pleasure to help Donna & Bill get the kitchen they’ve always wanted. How can we help you meet your goals for your home? Get more details about our process and schedule a design consultation here.

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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Client’s Eye View: Laurelhurst Cottage Remodel

We’re just breaking ground on a renovation of a 1928 Tudor cottage in Laurelhurst and delighted to discover that our clients have decided to start a blog to track their renovation experience from start to finish.

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How fun!

Check out their  first post here.  We’ll follow along from our blog as well. Here’s a few favorite tidbits from her first post:

In late October 2013 we purchased & moved into our home in the historic Laurelhurst neighborhood of Portland, OR.  Within the first week of moving in we met and started our journey with the talented peoples at Arciform to transform the outdated and dysfunctional kitchen and master bathroom into something great!

Day 3:
“Blue skies all around me, nothing but blue skies do i see…”  or it could just be a blue tarp covering the kitchen window.
JACKHAMMERING…
(do I need to say any more about that???)
to lay the foundation for the “nook” addition and the new slope of stairs from the main floor to the basement the existing concrete pad for the mud room was removed.

We can’t wait to see how it all comes together. Will you take the journey with us?

Client’s Eye View: 2 Baths with Room to Breathe

HirschShimizu_1926_Bathrm1_A_1_P_Pro (26)Designed by Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

We recently completed a matching pair of upstairs bathroom renovations for a NW Portland client who needed a little elbow room in a fairly small footprint. Here’s her “client’s eye view” of how it all came out.

1.       What were your goals with this bathroom renovation?

We needed to update both baths. The shower bath especially needed a larger showering area and both baths needed updated electrical and plumbing, not to mention a new look. We also had a large Turkish-style tile arrangement that we wanted to incorporate into a wall of the new shower.

(Here’s a look at the shower before the renovation. With a glass door that swung into the shower alcove you can see it was quite a tight fit!)

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2.       What were some of the challenges the project faced and how did you address them?

The biggest challenge was enlarging the shower area without knocking out all the nearby upstairs walls and re-doing the much of the upstairs. This was achieved by much careful measuring and communicating within the design and project implementation team. In addition to Anne, [Project Manager] Adam made sure the plumber, electrician and inspector made it work. Because of the tight space, lovely and suitable sinks and light fixtures were found. Also new cabinetry was specially designed to work effectively with existing built-ins.

HirschShimizu_1926_Bathrm1_A_1_P_Pro (22)Designed by Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Here’s a look at the fixtures in Bathroom #1.

HirschShimizu_1926_Bathrm2_A_12_P_ProDesigned by Anne De Wolf. Photos by Photo Art Portraits.

And bathroom #2…

3.       What is your favorite part of the completed bathrooms?

It’s a pleasure to get clean again in simple but elegant surroundings. Showering in the open and lighter shower area feels great. The more sublime soaking experience in the tub speaks for itself. Both bathrooms offer privacy and yet feel more spacious than before.

HirschShimizu_1926_Bathrm2_A_1_P_ProDesigned by Anne De Wolf. Photos by Photo Art Portraits.

4.       Tell us about your experience of working with Arciform.

Mostly gush, gush, gush!

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Client’s Eye View: An Elegant, Whimsical Kitchen

parisstan-s-1937-kitchen-ba1-aDesign by Anne De Wolf. Photos by Photo Art Portraits.

For Paris and Stan, their kitchen renovation was all about adding joy and a touch of elegant whimsy to a hard-working space that needed to serve as kitchen, mudroom, pantry, office and family gathering hub.

Here’s where they began:

parisstan-s-1937-kitchen-ba1-bBefore the remodel.

Dated fixtures and finishes and a cramped footprint made this kitchen an unwelcoming and inconvenient space in the heart of their home.

Here’s Paris and Stan’s take on the project goals and challenges and how it all came out:

parisstan-s-1937-kitchen-a-4Design by Anne De Wolf. Photos by Photo Art Portraits.

Arciform: What were your goals with this kitchen remodel?

We wanted something special, not run-of-the-mill, that would reflect our family’s personality. We also wanted each family member to have their own cubby to store their gear and we wanted the space to be a welcoming hangout for the family to share “family time” together.

Arciform designer Anne De Wolf adds, “The project needed to integrate several overlapping uses into one cohesive space. We focused on efficient solutions for integrated storage and elegant but whimsical finishes that would add color and a light and airy feel to the space.”

Pendant lights selected after much searching add a touch of whimsy to the space, while ice stone counters with embedded flecks of glass and mother of pearl create a sense of luxury and surprise. Turquoise diamond-shaped glass tile add color and texture.

parisstan-s-1937-kitchen-a-3 Design by Anne De Wolf. Photos by Photo Art Portraits.

Arciform: What were some of the challenges the project faced and  how did you address them?

The space was small and dark and right in the central pathway of the home.

We chose reflective surfaces like stainless steel and light gloss upper cabinet finishes to capture as much light as possible. Full height cabinets make the most of every available inch of storage. The lower cabinets also have additional built-in storage solutions, including access to the storage space from both sides of the breakfast bar.

parisstan-s-1937-kitchen-a-1Design by Anne De Wolf. Photos by Photo Art Portraits.

Arciform: What’s your favorite part of the completed design?

We love everything. The textures make us happy, from the warm grain of the walnut lower cabinets to the diamond shaped glass tile backsplash and the glass knobs on the cabinet doors.

Family time is important to us, so we love the nook and the large breakfast counter. Our daughter can sit and clean her aquarium while we’re prepping dinner or finishing up work from the office.

parisstan-s-1937-kitchen-a-8Design by Anne De Wolf. Photos by Photo Art Portraits.

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

Anne kept saying it would look great. We were skeptical at first but we love it now. We’re really happy we went this direction.

parisstan-s-1937-kitchen-a-6Design by Anne De Wolf. Photos by Photo Art Portraits.

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Client’s Eye View: Creating a Light and Airy Art Studio

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Recently, we checked in with Judy, a recent Arciform client, to see how she is settling in to the art studio we helped her to create above her garage.

Here’s her take on the project.

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Arciform asks: What were your goals for this project?

I had two primary goals; first, to bring light and air into the attic space (which was dark with no functioning windows) and, second, to enlarge the usable space. By creating a large dormer window, which allowed us to raise the ceiling height for the unusable part of the floor space (and increase its size) we effectively doubled the studio. Not only did we install the dormer, we replaced the two non-functioning windows and added three skylights. The studio feels like a tree house! It is a wonderful contrast to the shaded and quiet feel in the rest of the house.

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Arciform asks: What challenges did the project face?

The biggest challenge was how to raise part of the roof without messing up the lines of the house yet still provide enough interior space for one to walk around upright. It worked out well.

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Arciform asks: What is your favorite part of the completed project?

Actually, I have two “favorites.”

We designed a non-traditional dormer that allows windows to open in the same (rather than alternating) direction. Thus, rather than the windows blocking airflow, one can angle the windows to capture breezes and direct them into to studio. In addition, the windows are conceived as one continuous block of windows–without dividing elements–so that when they are open nothing blocks the air or view.

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We also designed a clever way to add usable vertical surfaces to a studio with virtually no wall space, Between the old and new parts of the studio are a row of wood columns (about 30″ apart) that support the roof. We created a series of removable panels that can be inserted between each pair of supports. One side of each panel is cork, the other is whiteboard.

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

They were great. They quickly understood my intentions and solved the most critical problem, maintaining the roof line. My project manager worked out the details of the panel concept and “made it work.” The dormers are truly beautiful. Building them this way was a first for us all. It took work to get the details right–particularly because I also wanted screens!

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I appreciate Arciform’s creativity and willingness to work with me on whatever hair brained idea I have.

We loved working on this unique project with Judy and we look forward to seeing what intriguing artistic projects she creates in the space!

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Rescuing a 100 Year Old Wisteria

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

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

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

What were your goals for this project?

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

What challenges did the project face?

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

What is your favorite part of the completed project?

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

 Tell us about the experience of working with Arciform:

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

We very much enjoyed working with you too, Janell!

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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: www.replaceinpdx.com/

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