Construction begins on Middlefield Road Residence

Mar 3, 2015 by Hiromi Ogawa

Demolition and framing has begun on the Middlefield Road Residence.  This beautiful one-story home will get a new second level under a canopy of old growth coast live oak trees. 

To the right of the columns will be a new light and airy stair, made of metal mesh and little else, that wraps around the existing wall and ties the two levels together.  We are so exicted to see this project take shape!

38th Avenue Residence Completion

Feb 20, 2015 by Christina Kwiecienski

Our work at the NE 38th Avenue Residence has come to a close, and we couldn't be more excited for our clients to enjoy life in their new space. A proper farewell is complete with this cell phone selfie of the project team : from the bottom up we have contractor Brooks with Roseland Construction LLC, loan officer Russ, clients Andrew and Peg, and architects me and Hiromi. A big thanks to everyone for making this such a fun project to be a part of. We hope our clients will enjoy their home for many years to come!

38th Avenue Residence project team Brooks, Russ, Andrew, Peg, me, Hiromi


38th Avenue Residence Before and After

Feb 17, 2015 by Hiromi Ogawa

As we wrap up construction at the 38th Avenue Residence, I was reminded of a photo we took shortly after demolition.  Here is a fun before/after comparison of the space.



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!

Finishing Touches | Door Knob Edition

Jan 20, 2015 by Christina Kwiecienski

The finishing touches are happening at NE 38th Avenue Residence. With this traditional home, our clients wanted to maintain as many of the original details as possible. To achieve the subtle weathered look of this originally unlaquered brass hardware, our client hand-dipped every piece in an antiquing solution. The finished products are absolutely gorgeous. Now that's dedication. 

antiqued bronze door knobs antiqued brass door knobstraditional glass door knob glass door knob with antiqued brass plate

Finally! Photos of Lynn's House

Dec 18, 2014 by Hiromi Ogawa

We worked with Cesar Rubio, who did a marvelous job capturing the layers and textures of Lynn's house and her family's lifestyle.  We will post all of the images on our website soon, but in the mean time, here is a sneak peek.

Front Entry

Living Room


Courtyard and Carport

Drawing to Reality at NE 38th Avenue Residence

Dec 9, 2014 by Christina Kwiecienski

wainscot elevations interior elevations with proposed wainscot and attic access

 hide attic access hatches with wainscot view down the hall of the wainscot- showing the attic access opening towards the back


I love how the conversion of this attic benefits from the charm of sloped ceilings. However, with sloped ceilings attic space is never far away. Our clients wanted a way to make the necessity of attic access openings more discreet in the commonly used spaces. With this traditional home, we utilized wainscoting as a way to achieve their desires. 

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. 

Insulation In-formation at NE 38th Avenue Residence

Nov 7, 2014 by Christina Kwiecienski

under construction with framing and insulation  Looking into the hallway and closets from one of the bedrooms under construction with framing and insulation View out the bedroom windows

Construction is in full swing and moving quickly here in Portland! I spy three different types of insulation: batt insulation in the walls and dormer roof, rigid insulation between existing roof joists, and acoustical insulation between interior spaces. With all that insulation in place, it's incredible how much quieter and warmer the space is. 

The Evolution of a Stair

Oct 27, 2014 by Christina Kwiecienski

stair details

It’s amazing what creative solutions can emerge when collaboration is at play. The evolution of this stair in particular is a result of an exquisite collaborative effort between architecture and engineering. We worked directly with our structural engineer, Bill Harrison, to find a solution that embodies our client’s vision for this project. As the design progressed (from left to right on the image above), we wanted to enhance one of the most innovative features of this stair - the perforated metal mesh. The mesh seems to defy the laws of gravity as it floats upward, bending continuously to act as both stair riser and tread. The owners were also very helpful in communicating their preferences as we shared each option. The design would not have evolved in the same way without the necessary and valuable structural input from an engineer that understands the essence of the design. What a beautiful partnership!