DRW ARCHITECTURE BLOG

Grant Park Residence Complete

Half a year has flown by since we started designing the Grant Park Residence's kitchen remodel.  It's finally been completed with just a couple of finishing touches left.

For the center of the kitchen, the clients' opted for a table in the center of their kitchen to act as both an island for counter top utility and informal seating for everyday meals.  The kitchen sink, a deep drop in cast iron piece, is framed by the tall custom cabinetry for plenty of storage.  The clients have a beautiful garden in their back yard that they enjoy so we installed tall windows behind the range and put them into a deep 30" counter. There is also a small prep sink nearby to fill pots and wash items.  

The end of the sink wall houses the refrigerator and pantry space. The pantry cabinet also houses the microwave and contains (2) deep pull out drawers below and (1) short pull out drawer above for visibility and ease of access. More tall storage cabinets sit above the pantry and refrigerator. 

A desk nook was built with adjustable shelving to frame the window. The desktop is crafted from reclaimed wood from the house. The original old wood was too good to pass up. 

Goose Hollow Heights Complete!

We completed our work at the Goose Hollow Heights a couple months ago. The project included an interior remodel to create a kitchen and breakfast nook more in keeping with the style of the house, as well as the addition of a new mudroom.  Major bearing walls were removed and replaced with new beams, in order to open up the interior layout. New windows were added in the kitchen to replace an unsympathetic window and door system added during a previous remodel. The cabinets were custom built for the project by our frequent collaborator Crownwood Construction.

Nettle Creek Residence

Work recently came to a close at the Nettle Creek Residence.  The owners were looking for a kitchen upgrade. The space was originally split in half with hanging upper cabinets creating a cramped U-shaped kitchen and small dining area. The heaviness of the space was amplified by the use of dark stained wood. 

The goal was to open up the space and bring in more of the nice southern light.  We removed the hanging cabinets and the soffits, widened the windows to open up the views, and installed new french doors to the deck.   New appliances and finishes rounded out the kitchen remodel.

 The final touches will include a dining table set at the end of the island and new hanging pendant lights over the island.

 

Goose Hollow Heights Framing

Our Goose Hollow Heights project is progressing rapidly.

The house was originally built in 1914, and has been remodeled a number of times. These remodels included an addition to the house for the kitchen, which was built in 1989. Unfortunately, the cumulative effect of the various remodels was a ground floor layout which made poor use of the available space, and devoted a lot of area to circulation. The major part of our work is to open up this layout and create a more efficient kitchen with a new breakfast area. We are also adding a new covered entryway and mudroom at the southwest corner of the house.

Since our last update, the covered entry and mudroom addition has taken shape:

At the interior we had to deal with removing the original bearing walls. 12" deep glulam beams are now carrying the loads from the floor and walls above:

Corbett-Terwilliger Progress

The Corbett-Terwilliger Residence is nearing completion, and was looking beautiful on a sunny day back in October. One of our carpenters, Lindsay, was busy installing cedar shingles at the front porch, which is one of the last areas of exterior work.

The biggest change since our last update earlier this year is to the interiors, where we have concentrated our work on finish carpentry. The windows and doors throughout the house are cased with fir trim, and the stair hall has custom fir wainscoting.

The kitchen cabinets, built by our frequent collaborators Skyline Fine Cabinets, have all been installed.

Goose Hollow Heights Project Underway

Construction has recently begun on this 1914 Portland home with breathtaking views in the hills above Goose Hollow. 

The majority of the work will involve adding a mudroom entry to the south side, as well as a full kitchen remodel. This involves a tear down of the interior, as well as some light excavation on the exterior. 

Working on a home that is 100 years old can present challenges, especially when you start opening up walls and seeing all the work that has been done in the past. Fortunately, our crew and dedicated team of subcontractors has years of experience dealing with architecturally significant homes such as this one, and construction is steadily progressing. Stay tuned for updates as we follow the progress in the coming months. 

Alphabet Condo, update

Work is drawing to a close at the Alphabet Condo, which we posted about early last month. Since then, tile and countertops have been installed, which complement the existing architecture of the space very nicely.

CHECKING IN ON THE CORBETT-TERWILLIGER HOUSE

The Corbett-Terwilliger house is coming along nicely. The exterior siding is completed and the crew has moved onto the interior trim. Cabinets are scheduled to be finished any day and the kitchen should be up and running soon. 

 John basking the pacific northwest sun

John basking the pacific northwest sun

Corbett-Terwilliger Latest

It's a while since we last checked in on the progress at the Corbett-Terwilliger house. Since then, the majority of the exterior work has been completed, including new custom windows built by the homeowner.

The interiors are coming along nicely, and we hope to have a photo update shortly. 

Westover Cabinet Delivery

After a couple months of demolition, framing, electrical and plumbing changes to substantially increase the size of the kitchen at the Westover House, today marked the day we were ready to receive the new kitchen cabinets. They were delivered to us by our friends in Eugene, Skyline Fine Cabinets, who have also built the cabinetry for a number of jobs, including the Fairmount Blvd House and the SW Vista House.

Before & After at the Skyline Residence

We're coming to the end of our work at the Skyline Residence, and it's incredible to look back and see the changes that have taken place since we began the process

Living Room

The living room was previously dominated by a stone-clad fireplace, which was high on the priority list of things the owners wanted to change. The first step was to strip the fireplace back to its concrete block structure.  Drawing on ideas we first explored at the Cable Hill House, we then built a sheet steel fire surround and hearth extension around it, with a walnut entertainment center above it.  This contains the audio/visual control boxes, and a sliding panel allows the tv to be hidden when not in use.  By removing the dropped ceiling, we were able to gain another 15" of ceiling height.  The carpet was replaced by new hickory floors, which run throughout the first floor of the house.

Kitchen

The kitchen remains in the same location in the house, but with a much more efficient layout and contemporary style.  The cabinets were custom made by Crownwood Construction, with exposed birch plywood frames and walnut panels. The island and main kitchen counter have a carrara marble countertop, which is nicely complemented by matte-white subway tiles at the backsplash.

Bar

We added a new bar where a redundant second fire place previously existed.  The bar employs the same language of walnut and plywood cabinets, with some tougher materials for durability. The countertops are a grey quartz from Cosmos, and the backsplashes and bar-front are made of the same sheet steel we used at the fireplace in the living room.  We made a break from the hickory floors used throughout the rest of the first floor, and changed to tile, to make an appropriate transition to the pool immediately outside.

Hall & stair

The hall was previously an unpleasant space, which felt dark and narrow.  Without changing the width of the hall, we able to create a much more inviting atmosphere. New openings along the wall dividing the hall from the public rooms increased the amount of natural lighting getting into the hall, which is supplemented by new can lighting. In the stair, we expanded on the approach we first employed at the Walsh residence by building a fir screen to filter the light coming into the space.  We demolished the partial height wall which was acting as a guardrail, and replaced it with a steel stair rail, which creates a stronger visual relationship between the two levels.  The previously utilitarian stairwell is now one of our favorite moments in the house.

Bathrooms

To avoid making major changes to plumbing and electrical system, we kept the existing layouts of the guest bathroom bathrooms, while making major changes to the finishes.  We continued the use of the walnut and plywood cabinets, but drew a visual distinction from the kitchen and bar areas by having the vanities float 12" off the floor, with tile running underneath them all the way to the wall.

Bedrooms

The layout of the bedrooms on the second floor generally worked well, so we only made minor alterations, primarily to create more closet space for the master suite. We installed new fir trim around the windows and ceiling beams, smoothed out and painted the walls, and installed new carpet throughout the second floor.

Skyline Residence Progress

The Skyline Residence is a project that we're really excited about, and it has been great to see it really come together in the last month. Since our last update, the cabinets and countertops have been installed, which has made a huge difference to the feel of the spaces.

Throughout the house, we have used a consistent language of walnut faced cabinets, with exposed birch plywood frames.  We enjoy the way this celebrates the construction of the cabinets, and provides a nice tonal contrast between the two species of wood.  By varying the countertop material, we have been able to give a degree of visual differentiation to different rooms: the kitchen uses Carrara marble; the bar and pantry a dark grey quartz; and the bathrooms use a white quartz.

 

Playing tetris with cabinets

Work is progressing well on our latest remodel, a new kitchen / pantry / mudroom / office near Council Crest.  For the last few months we have been busy demolishing walls and framing new ones; moving mechanical ducts and equipment; installing new plumbing and electrical; hanging sheetrock; and laying new floors.  It is an intense process, but always hugely rewarding to see a design leap off of the page and into reality.  While we were doing this work in Portland, the cabinet makers in Eugene were busy building the cabinets, which arrived on site this morning.

Everything we do is totally custom, and designed specifically for the clients we are working with. Early on in the design phase, we will concentrate on general issues, such as overall layout and locations for major appliances.  Once this is settled, we begin to get into more detail, and often work out what each and every drawer is going to be used for, and how large it needs to be as a consequence. While we are doing this, we are always thinking about how these cabinets will physically be built and transported to site. A good rule of thumb is that nothing should be longer than 8'-0", which is a standard dimension for a sheet of plywood. In at least one direction, the cabinets should be smaller than 30", so that they can fit through a standard width doorway.

Many banks of cabinets are larger than this though.  At the Fairmount Boulevard house, the kitchen island, for example, will be 18' long and 4' wide.  We therefore work out ways to break this down into smaller components, in a way that will look deliberate in its finished configuration. This is how the cabinets arrive on site, as seen in the photos above, before they are installed. As we have mentioned before, assembling these all on site is a bit like a game 'Tetris', and there's often little room to maneuver around the cabinets.  There is a lot of work involved in the install, particularly when everything is designed for tolerances to an 1/8".  The effort required, however, is worth it.

Skyline Residence Wood Floors

Since the last update on our progress at the Skyline Residence, we have finished the sheetrock work, and are now busy installing the hardwood floors throughout the main level of the house. The homeowners chose a rustic hickory, with a naturally large degree of variation in its color and tone.

Humphrey Residence Guest Suite

We're delighted to have recently completed a small remodel of a guest suite in a house located on Portland's SW Humphrey Boulevard.  Designed in 1932 by architect Roscoe Hemenway, the house is one of Portland's classic residences.  The guest suite is on the second floor, at the end of what was originally as a service wing, with its own entrance from an exterior staircase.  Prior to our work, the space had been used as a live-at-home care suite and had quite an institutional feel to it.  Our clients approached us with the task of turning it into a guest suite, while retaining what we could of the existing building fabric. We began by dividing the existing "L" shaped space into two rooms, separated by a pair of glass pocket doors.  The larger of the two rooms will be kept as a bedroom, while the smaller becomes a more intimate sitting room with a new wood burning stove and a dutch door onto the exterior stair.  We removed the carpet in both spaces and refinished the existing fir floor that lay underneath.  We placed a new pocket door between the bathroom and sitting room, which required building out a new wall adjacent to the existing wall to avoid disturbing the plumbing stacks.  In the bathroom we added a new sink, toilet, bathtub and shower head, while keeping the existing tile in place.

We would like to thank our clients for giving us the opportunity to work on such a beautiful house, and hope that our work make it even more liveable as a home.

 

Walsh Residence

Staircase at the Walsh Residence.

Looking back at 2012

2012 has flown by for all of us at DRW.  We've been working on a number of interesting projects, brought to us by new and repeat clients alike.  Thinking back on the year, a lot has happened.

We wish everybody a very happy New Year, and look forward to 2013.