Monday, August 22, 2011

Custom Media Solution

My morning began with coordinating the installation of a storage piece Fig Studio designed for our West Haven clients.  Not only is the piece itself beautiful, but it really does wonders for the room it inhabits.  Their dark media wall instantly became lighter, sleeker, and a more sophisticated space for all of those necessary but unsightly media components.  The client's previous storage solution is an absolutely beautiful example of mid-century furniture, but it did not fit the look and feel of the new room Fig is busy creating for their family or the client's desire to move away from mid-century influence.

The new cabinet, constructed of solid Fir and Fir veneer, better suites the interior Fig's creating for this young family

 It was my first experience working with Kai Fuhrmann of Master Furniture Makers in Portland.  He'd previously built a few pieces for my client's dining space and the finished products really did speak for themselves--  fine craftsmanship, absolute stability, and precise connection. 

Kai installs his handiwork  |  Details designed by Fig and executed by Master Furniture Makers

 Fig collaborates with a number of craftspeople in the Portland area-  from custom upholstery design, casework, name it.  When we design a piece, we take our drawings to the best person for the job and finely tune each detail until it's time to build.  We often find that a custom solution is the most detailed, affordable, and time conscious solution for our projects.  Check out some of our previous custom work here.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Exploring Portland's Bitar Mansion

If the iconic peacock entry motif doesn't impress you, I don't know what will.  I recently had the pleasure of touring the 12,000 sq. ft. Bitar Mansion with Giulietti/Schouten Architects on sunny afternoon in SE Portland.  The mansion is up for sale and is in desperate need of some care.  This place rivals (if not surpasses) the Pittock Mansion in the West Hills and really deserves to be purchased by someone who can appreciate the architecture and original details of this historical register-worthy gem. 

The listing agent, Tommy Jedrzejczyk,  gave us an incredibly detailed tour of each beautiful room.  Thoughtful details such as hidden operable window screens, secret storage nooks, and custom plasterwork are found throughout the home.  Beautifully patterned floors are solid and in nearly perfect condition-- I don't think I heard a squeak from a single board. 

My favorite room in the home had to be the solarium with center-situated fountain.  I could imagine sipping the day away in a luxurious chaise lounge and tending to my plants in style.  

Though the custom bathroom tile isn't necessarily my taste, I can't deny it's impressive color.  Check out that pink (original) throne and custom-glazed men's shaving sink.

This home definitely had it's moment in the sun, and now it's time for someone to breath new life into the property.  The sad reality is that there is no longer a functional kitchen, the landscaping is all but destroyed, the basement-level ballroom and speakeasy bar needs total restoration, and the exterior needs some extra TLC.  However, listed at $1.6 it's a steal for anyone who appreciates this level of historical detail.  Elenore Roosevelt, concert pianist Van Cliburn, and a laundry list of Portland celebrities have all been guests on the property--- who will you invite for tea?

Dave Giulietti and his team have some excellent ideas for restoring the property to it's proper splendor.  With a little heart, this property could once again be the jewel of Laurelhurst.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Out and About: Rolling Huts

Continuing our tradition of surprise travel, Jeff and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary a few weekends back in the beautiful Methow (met-how) Valley, Washington.  After running myself ragged trying to work full-time, move from our condo to a little cottage in Portland's Sabin neighborhood, and take on a few DIY projects, I managed to catch a nasty bug right before we left town.  If you remember last years epic anniversary trip to a rural fire lookout, you might recall that I was struck with food poisoning just before departure.  Here's to a healthy July 2012.

 Jeff and I made a pact to alternate planning a surprise celebratory trip each July.  Last year's fire lookout + Crater Lake Lodge combo was tough to beat, but I think I managed to pull off a grand surprise.  We're both architecture geeks (and Jeff is just one test away from being awarded official Architect status!) so I decided to make our trip both design and adventure friendly.  Sunset Magazine had an integral hand in my scheme, enticing me with their December 2010 feature on peaceful winter getaways.  I knew the Rolling Huts would make for the perfect surprise trip, even during the summer months. 

A night in the Rolling Huts is like upscale camping, complete with a Danish-designed woodburning fireplace and an epic view, both night and day.  I don't think I've seen so many stars in my life.  We lucked out with incredible weather, friendly hut neighbors, and many wildlife sightings.  We spent a lot of time wandering,  hanging at Twisp's natural market, eating Cinnamon Twips, and even managed an 18 mile (what seemed ALL uphill) mountain bike ride.

We really couldn't have asked for a better weekend (with the exception of the super cough I developed) and would recommend the trip to anyone interested in getting away for a few days.  If you go, be sure to grab a meal at the Wesola Polana Diner adjacent to the huts.  Their tapas can't be beat.  It's true, we had tapas while camping and didn't feel the least bit guilty.