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Posts tagged ‘Portland design build’

From Pattern to Prep Station: Alternative Surfaces for Kitchen Islands

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I love metal patterns!  These are pieces of metal from which pattern pieces have been cut out – for car parts, for machine parts, you name it.

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Imagine a piece of fabric after you’ve cut out a pattern for a shirt, for example. Now imagine it in metal. There you go – same thing as fabric! While I was working on my deck, my friend Shannon brought me a couple of these patterns for use as whatever. Shannon and his partner, Dennis, are car guys, and picked up the metal for me at the body shop they use. What great friends! Then the Arciform guys, artists that they are, turned the metal pattern pieces into part of my deck railing. They look fantastic.

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One day Anne emailed me and asked how I would describe these pattern cutouts. She had a client who was looking for a cool kitchen island, and Anne had an idea for using the metal pattern pieces. I wrote back describing the pieces as per above, plus I attached some pictures from my deck.

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Anne declined to use the photos, saying, Those photos would just confuse people. Thanks Anne!

But last week I ran across something that might help the situation. While at BBC Steel in Canby, I saw several large pieces of metal patterns. It was a sunny day, and I got some good photos. Perhaps these will help Anne illustrate her idea to clients?

I gotta say, if I were re-doing my kitchen now (I’m not, it’s done), and if I had room for an island (I don’t), I think I would use plywood for my island. I’ve been seeing all kinds of cool pics of plywood, like in this slide show in the NY Times. I would use the plywood for the island, and I would cover it with one of the metal pattern pieces. How insane would that be? I confess, I would probably try to do the same with all my kitchen cabinet doors as well, but Anne might put the brakes on that one. Stick in the mud.

Somebody please use this idea for a kitchen island! I’ll be jealous, but that’s OK.

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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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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And the Winner Is…

We are delighted to announce that the PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN and have selected Goose Hollow Kitchen as the winner of our Portland Monthly Small Kitchen Makeover Contest!

Collectively, you cast over 11,000 votes and 30,000 page views in support of our finalist kitchens. Thank you for your dedicated assistance in helping us make this extremely difficult choice.

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We’re extremely excited to work with this family to illuminate the heart of their home on the outskirts of downtown Portland.

If only we could have offered this prize to every worthy finalist who tugged at our hearts and fired our imaginations throughout this process. We can’t quite do that, but our contestants can each look forward to receiving a thank you gift from Arciform that can help get them started down the path of a rejuvenated kitchen when they are ready.

In the mean time, what’s next for Goose Hollow Kitchen?

We’ll be coordinating with the winner to discuss her design goals and outline the scope of the project. And we’ll invite you all to join us every step of the way, with blog posts and behind the scenes photo galleries as we work with our contest co-sponsors to give them the small kitchen of their dreams!

Thanks to Versatile Wood Products, Standard TV and Appliance, Schoolhouse Electric, CZ Becker, Emerson Hardwoods, Oregon Tile and Marble, Classic Marmo, George Morlan Plumbing and of course Portland Monthly for making this project possible.

Thank YOU for lending your votes to help us choose the winner and thanks to everyone who participated.

We have big ideas for each and every one of your kitchens. We’ll be in touch 😉

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Having a dishwasher!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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6 Great Kitchen Islands

If the kitchen is the heart of your home, a great kitchen island is the heart of your kitchen. Here are 6 very different options that can add both style and flexible functionality to your kitchen design.

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This kitchen’s long narrow profile needed a solution that would double the counter space without making the kitchen feel crowded. Salvaged tree trunks cut into blocks to show off the circular grain create a distinctive counter surface.

Island insight: Sometimes two is better than one. A large island can overwhelm a narrow space. A matching set of narrow profile rolling islands can keep the open flow feeling, while still giving you the option to connect them up for a larger working surface when required.

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Indonesian hardwoods, zinc wrapped counters and tube steel frames create a Bali meets Eastside Industrial vibe in this eclectic kitchen.

Island insight: If the island is on wheels, not only is it more flexible, it avoids the cost of installing electrical outlets to meet code. Locking castors are a great solution for a sturdy cutting surface that also doubles as mobile bar or sideboard when company comes.

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A french bakery inspired this unique island, which mixes the charm of built-in zinc flour bins and the easy practicality of  integrated electrical outlets with traditional turned-leg styling to create a timeless piece that will work hard but blend in seamlessly to this turn-of-the-century home.

Island Insight: the cords for the electric outlets are cleverly hidden in one of this island’s hollow legs, allowing the piece to look like a piece of furniture.

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At the other end of the spectrum, straightforward materials and a smart design can make for a deceptively simple solution that maximizes functionality without sacrificing style.

Island insight: Sometimes all you need is a great piece of marble and a simple steel frame to make an island that’s easy on the eyes and hard to improve upon.

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If your space allows for a more substantial solution, this marble-topped island with integrated breakfast bar creates a social focal point and a seamless relationship between the island and the traditional cabinets of the kitchen.

Island insight: Kitchens serve social functions as well as practical ones. A great island can gather the tribe as well as store your kitchen essentials.

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An island can also be a great place to add a splash of color to your kitchen. The traditional turned-leg styling and substantial profile of this island gets a modern twist with a jolt of warm brick red. Drawers provide sleek storage options while the open hardwood shelf creates space to display your most prized kitchen essentials.

Island insight: Built-in sliding bread boards expand the working surface even further without adding to the footprint of the piece.

A kitchen island can (and should) be as unique as the home and the family that inhabits it. Whether you need a jolt of color, a social focal point, a place to display of your treasured kitchen essentials or flexible counter space that doesn’t block the flow of the kitchen, the perfect island can become the hard-working heart at the heart of your home.

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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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Behind the Scenes at our Mid-Century Marvel Shoot

Getting a home ready to be photographed after the renovation is complete is an art form all its own. We recently had the pleasure of working with stylist Shannon Quimby and photographer Shannon Butler (of Photo Art Portraits), who helped one of our favorite mid-century modern projects put its best foot forward in preparation for the upcoming Tour of Remodeled Homes March 9th and 10th.

Here’s a photo diary of the shoot. You can check out the completed images on Houzz here.

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Shannon Quimby, our stager/sylist, loads in all the little treasures she has found that will add pops of color and vintage flair for today’s shoot. Shannon has been in hot demand to create interior environments at several of Portland’s newest restaurants, including the recent expansion of Lardo in downtown Portland.

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Arciform owner and senior designer Anne De Wolf plays with one of the pieces Shannon sourced. This giant wire poppy sculpture was brought in to accent the WC.

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Tools of the trade come in unusual shapes when you are a photo stylist. In this case, Shannon brought in her toolbag… and a pair of cow skulls she sourced from an Oregon farm. The skulls looked great in the living room… but they were already promised to another client so our clients didn’t get to keep them after the shoot.

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A beautiful reproduction ceramic lamp and a collection of orange and green resin and glass vases and bowls added color to the shoot. Our clients loved what Shannon provided so much that they purchased most of it! It was like a shopping trip where the store comes to you, arranges your home, and all you have to do is write the check. (Shannon says this happens to her all the time.)

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This authentic mid-century clock from one of Shannon’s vintage sources was the big hit of the day.

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Shannon Butler of Photo Art Portraits has worked with us for years. It was fun to watch the two Shannons collaborate!

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Here, the two Shannons are looking for a way to keep the vanity door pinned tightly shut for the bathroom shoot.

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Sometimes a stager’s job includes ducking just out-of-frame to adjust the smallest details of the photo elements between takes…

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Here are some of the results of their excellent work (above and below).
You can check out the full gallery of images on Houzz here.

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Join us for the Tour of Remodeled Homes, March 9th and 10th to check out the views of this beautiful home for yourself. Tickets are available here. We look forward to seeing  you then!

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Add a Little Spring Sparkle to Your Bathroom

Designed by Anne De Wolf

Designed by Anne De Wolf

When you’ve been through 7 solid months of dark and drizzly days, it can be hard to get motivated to get going in the morning.

Today we’ve been inspired by this great post full of art deco era bathrooms in bright pastels from Retro Renovations to consider how the thoughtful application of luminous spring colors can perk up your morning routine and counteract the grey Northwest winters.

These Arciform bathroom renovations are great examples of how fresh colors and gorgeous vintage fixtures can add personality and charm to your powder room.

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Designed by Anne De Wolf

Pale sky colors can bring out the intriguing roof lines of a upstairs bathroom while bead board and a beautiful claw foot tub are a nod to the home’s 19th century history.

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Designed by Anne De Wolf

Sunny yellow keeps things light and bright when complemented with penny round tile and a beautiful diamond clerestory window.

Designed by Anne De Wolf

Paint isn’t the only way to add pop to your bathroom. A border of bright tile adds energy to the bathroom of this Pearl District loft when combined with surprise splashes of tangerine on unusual surfaces (like the cabinet fronts and the edge of the door).

Designed by Anne De Wolf

This Southwest Portland bathroom uses scattered blue and green tile to create an effervescent effect on the walls, giving a small bathroom big personality. The vivid blue sink and a salvage dresser as a wash stand brings the whole fun and eclectic look together.

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How can Arciform help you put a little spring in your step in the mornings? Join us February 18th for a Master Suite Design Workshop to get inspired for your next project. Details and RSVP here.

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5 Tips to Transform Your Master Suite into a Home Retreat

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Designed by Anne De Wolf

A restful, well designed master suite can have a huge impact on the quality of your relationship – creating a private retreat from the world that celebrates who you are together and keeps you focused on the values you both share.

When planning for your dream master suite, these 5 tips from Arciform owner and senior designer Anne De Wolf can help you frame your goals and ensure you end up with a space that is both restful and rejuvenating for the relationship at the heart of your home:

Designed by Kristyn Bester

1. Consider the view: What do you want to fall asleep to at night and wake up to in the morning? Is there a work of art or photograph that brings you happy memories or takes you away to a favorite place? A window view of your favorite backyard tree? Arrange your master suite so that the things that inspire you most are right in your line of sight when you are snuggled in bed.
Feng Shui tip: Arrange your bed so that your feet don’t point towards the door. Send your energy towards a great view (as in the picture above) or an inspiring image, whenever possible.

2. What sound scape will make for a more restful retreat? Consider insulating the walls of your master suite to block out household and neighborhood noises. Then add artfully placed speakers and a discreet music system to help set the mood for relaxation or play. But leave the other electronic devices out of your room – TVs, computers, or phones can divert your attention back to the cares of the world. Your bed should be a place of rest or play… not work.

3. Consider romance: Do soft and silky textures make you feel frisky? Do you prefer lighting that creates shadowy drama or playful colors? A favorite robe laid across the bed or a thick and luxurious rug can create an invitation to adventure. And think about mirrors: A surprise peek at an artfully placed reflection can keep the home fires… aflame.

Design by Anne De Wolf

Designed by Anne De Wolf

4. What do you wear that you’d love to display? A picture frame can be used to show off favorite jewelry, while a dress form can brighten a corner with a dress you love. Conversely, what do you wear that you’d prefer to keep tucked out of sight? Have a space for undressing that has built in, convenient solutions for gathering laundry and keeping your room clutter-free.

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Designed by Anne De Wolf

5. What colors will lull you to sleep (or kick-start your day?) A simple tone on tone palette of greys and blues or warm earth tones can soothe the eye and keep the worries of the day from intruding on your private retreat at night. If you find you have trouble sleeping, a restful palette might be for you. By contrast, if you have trouble pulling yourself out of bed in the morning, a palette of light and airy colors might help you get in gear for the day.

Designed by Anne De Wolf

A master suite should be as personal and unique as the couple who calls it home. How can Arciform help you transform your bedroom into an at home retreat?

Photos in this post by Photo Art Portraits of Arciform Clients in SW Portland, Forest Park and Mt Tabor.

HDW_logo_11_2014Ready to turn your master suite into a home retreat? Join us February 18th for a Master Suite Design Workshop to get inspired for your next project. Details and RSVP here.

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