Category Archives: On Design

Nifty kitchen solution – 2, complete with a “retiree incubator”

I was recently in Sweden with my mother, working on a new kitchen for her. She spends half her time in the US, and half in Sweden. A few years ago, tired of planning their summers around the content of their … Continue reading

Posted in Cool building materials, On Design, Scandinavia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

When white isn’t really white

I got a call from one of my subs… “It looks green”, he said, with not a small measure of panic in his voice. Calls like that are always unnerving, but over the years, I have learned to trust my … Continue reading

Posted in Color, On Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The irk of Opportunity Wasted

Okay, so I’m going to try real hard not to be mean, but seeing backward-ass decisions realized just really rub me the wrong way. Seeing squandered opportunity and fizzled potential is just so depressing… This past fall, I noticed a … Continue reading

Posted in On Building, On Design | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

A stroll through the Lan Su Garden

The Lan Su Garden is a true gem in our city. It is a garden the size of a city block, which was built as a collaboration between Portland and its sister city Suzhou in the Jiangsu province in China. … Continue reading

Posted in Cool plants, Gardening and Landscaping, Local interest, On Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

From field to finishes – agricultural waste transformed!

In a world of dwindling resources, shrinking forests and threatened ecological habitats, it is more important than ever to embrace sustainable, environmentally sound alternatives, and find ways to reduce waste. In my quest to become a full-fledged locavore, and make … Continue reading

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Subtle, simple and sensual – material expressions in the Japanese Garden

One of the top destinations in our fair city – in my book, at least – is the Japanese Garden. It never disappoints. Every time I go, I see new things, depending on light, weather, seasons – what have you. … Continue reading

Posted in Cool building materials, Gardening and Landscaping, Local interest, On Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Nifty bathroom solution – 1

I recently had the great joy and opportunity to help a wonderful couple renovate one of their bathrooms. Their new house was from 1898, and last time anyone had done anything to the bathroom was in the 80’s – at … Continue reading

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Nifty Kitchen Solution – 1

Sometimes you walk into a prospective project, and within seconds, you see the solution – just like that! In this particular little house, it was the kitchen that was of most concern. Built in the 1940’s, the L-shaped kitchen was … Continue reading

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Active Minds Build Passive Houses!

While still living in Sweden, I heard about these incredibly energy efficient “Passive Houses”. On average, their annual energy consumption is about 90% LESS than a normal, drafty, comparatively poorly built abode. This is, of course, a staggering slap in … Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Green Living, On Building, On Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Living Building Challenge is kicking my butt!!!

Imagine that you are cooking dinner, but you are restricted to only using ingredients sourced from within a geographical radius of 500 kilometers. That’s a tad over 310 US miles. This would mean that if you use salt, you would … Continue reading

Posted in Creative pursuits, Environment, Green Living, Health and Safety, On Building, On Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments