Window sketches

Jan 26, 2015 by Hiromi Ogawa

We're about to begin construction on a second-story addition in Palo Alto.  It feels great to get to this point, when the contractor has been selected and we have a permit in hand.  It signals the beginning of having our ideas come to life, but it's also a celebration of what we've accomplished to date: design charrettes, planning review, finish selections, details, construction documents, permit procurement... and those are just the major milestones.

Along the way we generate a ton of drawings.  Some are precise, drawn in CAD and printed on large sheets; others are quick (and for me, pretty chicken-scratchy) to focus on a small aspect. 

I like to think about the project as a whole, solidify the design concept, then work myself down gradually to the smaller details and make sure that the concept is infused throughout.  Windows are pretty early in that spectrum, since they are a direct response to the owner's needs, the room layout, sun orientation, views, and glazing sizes.  Windows also have many components, and they all need to be considered as part of the architectural language as a whole.  And there are multiple possible solutions.  Thus, the stream-of-consciousness chicken-scratching.  I thoroughly enjoy this process and do it as often as I can (although you are probably wondering why my sketching abilities don't seem to improve over time).

Eventually, many are ruled out and I'm left with a handful that I know I'd be happy with.  Then we generate the exterior elevations so that the owners can ultimately decide what resonates the most for them.  And onward to the next detail.  Onward!

Color and Perception

Dec 9, 2014 by Christina Kwiecienski

bedroom paint colors Our clients selected some great colors for their daughter's new bedroom. 

NE 38th Avenue Residence is basking in the light of fresh paint. While admiring the colors, Hiromi and I experienced a vivid James Turrell moment. Is the ceiling grey, white, or perhaps purple? The expansive North facing windows in this room are demonstrating the ethereal quality of natural light even on a grey winter day in Portland. Depending on the time of day, year and weather, the quality of light will change our perception of color. 

New Home Love

Jun 27, 2014 by Christina Kwiecienski

reading corner

I recently moved into a new house, and I just want to share some of the things that have been inspiring me. The first thing that caught my attention with this house is all of the amazing natural light. It's incredible how much natural light can invigorate a space. Not only do we have amazing windows, but many of them are placed at corners, which really emphasize the connection I feel with whatever is going on outside. This little reading corner has become my favorite place in the house. I just love sitting and enjoying the sun, a good book, and the beautiful roses right outside the window. 

summertime dinner

I've also been making more of an effort to eat better. Eat good, feel good - right? Well it sure helps when you love the place you're cooking and eating in. This dinner is comprised of arugula, couscous, sautéed veggies, prosciutto, apricots, goat cheese, and sunflower seeds. For dessert, my roommate showed me how easy it is to make a fruit crumble with fresh raspberries from our garden. Just sprinkle with a mixture of flower, sugar, butter, and oats. Deliciousssss. 

Topics: Food, Inspiration, Life

Functional Furniture

Jun 12, 2014 by Christina Kwiecienski

bench plantera bench that pairs as a planter - outside AIA Portland

I really like this idea of having a functional object, such as a bench, that can have multiple uses. Something that celebrates the relationship between the built and natural environment. Plus, I can always use a little more greenery in my life.