Thoughts on Design | Work in Progress


One of the great but often unmentioned causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment: the kinds of walls, chairs, buildings and streets that surround us.
The aesthetics of our environment – architecture, furniture and landscape design, city planning – and the direct relationship to our quality of life has everything to do with how we feel about our lives and how we live them.

-The Happiness of Architecture


An orange kitchen for a mid century modern home…

When gray formica counters, ikea cabinets, oak floors and the natural 2×4 fir wood of the ceiling were the foundation of the palette, I knew that this kitchen should be orange. It created the warmth and envelopment for this family of 5 and has become one of the favorite rooms of the home. While veering towards a traditional color for the time period in which the home was built, it also carries a slightly modern feel.


Cutting in the color


Preparing for the cabinet installation







 Shannon was an amazing resource and support
during our kitchen remodel.  Our beautiful solid wood
bar, laminate countertops, period light fixture and
persimmon colored walls all came through her creative
vision.  Shannon’s input on details such as the
dimensions of our new window or the style of the trim
also helped make our kitchen all that we’d hoped for:
open, light, modern, and a natural extension of the
original design of our 1950’s home.


Greg, Nora, Francie, Jack, Stanley Mylet




I just received the loveliest gift from one of my clients; a beautiful set of hand made iron egg cups from my favorite design store in Portland, Canoe. Fortunately, the chickens are still laying eggs, and breakfast was delicious this morning.

I have shopped at Canoe since they opened in 2005, for books, gifts for friends, and cannot recommend them enough. They have the largest selection of Heath dinnerware locally and beautiful Sugahara glassware amongst other items that would love to find their way to your home.











Thinking about orange, and the effect that it has. Creating conversation and cheerful memories of summer, it also brings to mind glowing embers and fire. An excellent choice for the living room, and kitchen because of it’s playful and lively activity inducing quality  – use with grays, to calm it down, or purple and blue to provide contrast. At sunset, the light in orange accented rooms becomes nurturing and golden.










An unexpected photo essay that came naturally, possibly the best kind. As Thanksgiving approaches there are many items to pull together, as we are all trying to spend moments with family, and work at the same time. At least my life seems to call me to work, especially when I least expect it to.

Lisa, my dear friend, was the recipient of photos all day long, taken with my phone, with no thought to   composition or lighting. She sees things acutely, small things, notices every detail.

Her response was this story of my day and how she saw the small pieces. It is interesting that a project/thoughts/ideas can come naturally out of a conversation of images between friends in design.
























I cannot seem to stop thinking about this sofa, as soon as I saw it in an advertisement from hive, a furniture store in Portland, Oregon. The colors range from what is shown below to cream and red. The low profile, and whimsy of the buttons seem really sweet to me.

“With the quiet irony typical for her work, Hella Jongerius named her new sofa for Vitra, Polder. In Holland, Polder refers to the artificial land reclaimed from the sea by means of dykes and drainage canals. The body of the Polder sofa is just as low-lying, just as flat, and has just as much emphasis on the horizontal as does the Dutch landscape. For it, Hella Jongerius chose five carefully selected combinations of colors and fabric qualities, accentuating them with high-tech threads and large buttons.”


The Chef Studio

While one may not see a direct link between cooking and design, I must say that they are inseparable. Whether it is the blue enamel stove in the kitchen studio or the care that is shown the food so elegantly placed on the plate before you, a meal at Robert’s studio or even better the opportunity to take one of his classes should not be missed.

Look for the new Paley’s Place Cookbook coming soon.



1720 Willamette Falls Dr

West Linn, OR 97068
(503) 657-4175

My latest favorite nursery….Last Sunday after a day of the requisite household chores, we realized that the raccoons had eaten the filter to the pond that runs the waterfall, not quite believing it though as we could not figure out why, we went to the local nursery in the historic area of Willamette, located in West Linn, Oregon. They told us that it is a common problem because the filters smell and taste good to them. After finding the replacement filter, we were invariably and rightly so, very distracted by the plants that they had to offer, everything from tropical specimens to the average, sweet woodruff was what I was after, and I bought a flat for the garden.

I cannot recommend them enough, even for a field trip, it will not disappoint.

Photos by Mark Toal – /


The bed as inspiration.

I always look at these beds ( see below) from national high end retailers, and think that it would be much nicer, and greener to source the material and fabrication locally. After much discussion with The Joinery in Portland, Oregon and realizing that there was this amazing walnut source literally right in town, it all came together. Approximately 9 weeks from now, the bed that has been designed will be complete and hopefully delivered to the client’s home.

The best part was going to Goby Walnut and finding out that they are the supplier to most of the stores around the nation that sell furniture and beds made out of walnut.

The accomplishment of supporting our local businesses and cutting out the waste of transport, whenever possible, is very satisfying.

Goby Walnut

My new favorite place to go.

The headboard material that my client and I chose, is actually at the top of this stack, waiting to be picked up by The Joinery.

Tall boards that I looked at the other day for a bookcase for another job site.

I could spend all day in here……..

This is a test shot of the loft that is nearly complete. There are still some additional lighting that needs to be sorted out and a final documentary of it will be posted soon.

Cory Burnett

As many of you know, I love photography, I mean – seriously, truly, I am passionate about the art form that it is. If you have seen my collection, you will note the varied artists, Chris Ho, Steve Bloch, Marne Lucas, Charles Gullung and Jock Sturges. It is not often that I am moved by something but here it is Cory Burnett’s work capturing the Oregon Coast really stopped me, and made me quiet for a moment. We all need that in our lives….
















Ingo Maurer

Lighting by Ingo Mauer is playful, thought provoking, and always functional. The nearest place to see them in person is Inform Interiors in Seattle.


Restaurant order slip holder

Cool idea to display rotating favorite photos, or recipes. Stainless steel with interior metal ball bearings that grasp paper and hold it. Easy to locate at your local restaurant supply stores. We found ours at Roses in Portland.


Loft Renovation

New window shades were just installed, effective for reducing uv rays, and increasing privacy, the color was chosen to compliment the concrete walls. Vitsoe was also just installed. The cabinet system is floating on a concrete wall and becomes a focal point at one end of the loft. Images of the Constructavision closet and room dividing system will be up shortly.

Coming home – the loft in progress, floors are complete, as is the wall paint, color: Seed Pearl by Pratt and Lambert paints.



Renovated condo in London – Vitsoe shelving in office – perfect yellow, black, white, mushroom palette in living room.


Studio VCCB – Do It

Contemplating lighting in a bedroom…thinking of back lighting a bed and nightstands.

Always looking for bar stools that appear stable and fight tradition. These support the lower back with the gentle curve of the seat.

studio VVCB – Do It

Patricia Urquilola


What a lovely comment and post to a blog to wake up to on a cool, gray Portland morning.

Yes, we will have lunch….


Loft Renovation

Portland, Oregon

This project has begun, wall to wall carpet has been torn out, and the installation of bamboo flooring is almost complete. Walls to be painted soon with sliding doors and wardrobe by Constructavision and shelving system by Vitsoe. More photos posted soon.




Noguchi lamp with sugahara glass vase and Tablo Tray and Stand all found at Canoe


Zara Home

Crushing my heart by not being available in the United States yet…They have their clothing stores here in the major cities and not their home stores. Not available online either. We will have to settle for looking at web images for the time being. For European style with an Eastern Indian flair for colors, discover Zara Home for stylish patterns and gorgeous layers of textures.


Why I love carports…

Because they allow light and air to pass through and take away the hulk of a garage that is sometimes placed in front of a house.

Because they are so sexy compared to a closed space – they float.

Because you have to keep them neat and tidy to get away with having one, if not, they just look like any other garage that is packed with things that no one really needs to keep.

Because if storage or security is a concern, you can add a bank of cabinets with locks and store your mower in there.

Because they are so complimentary to the mid century homes that they are most often associated with.






Japanese Akebono Flowering Cherry


I have always been so excited every spring to see this tree open in the front yard, it almost makes me want to use pink in my interior color consults this time of year.


Business cards



My favorite new business cards, which can be customized – although this color palette was available as a stock item and it suited part of my work, as a color consultant.


Pantone Fall Color Reports



As fashion influences interior design, look to the fall color palette created by Pantone and the use of it by fashion designers.

Pantone interior paint collection is stunning, and a wonderful way to bring their colors to your walls.





Architonic is the independent source for product, materials and concepts in architecture and design.


1956 House Restoration


For more photos of this Mid Century home go to the Interior Design section.


1950’s Modern Home


Interior of a mid century architecturally significant home. New wall and ceiling color was applied in every room, along with can lighting as seen above.

For more photos of this 1950’s home go to the Interior Design section


Attic Bedroom


For more photos of this attic to master suite conversion go to the Interior Design section


Terry Moholt

“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most.” – Ruskin



Sold at Saturday Market in Portland, Oregon for 34 years, water color greeting cards by Terry Moholt. I have always loved his generous use of color, and the abundance of quotes available. The market opens for the new season March 1.


Antiques & Oddities



When I am trying to locate just the right accent for a home, I will often go to Antiques and Oddities in Portland. Whether I need the perfect small table, Buddha statue, or gift for a friend, I know that the selection will never disappoint. The two shop keepers, Michele and Sarah are endlessly helpful.




I met the owner of Velouria yesterday and cannot wait to get to Seattle to see her shop in person. Everything on her website looks inspiring and beautiful!


Life and Limb





Interior photos of life and limb. One of the coolest new shops in Portland. Check it out!

Portland’s newest store to find the items we crave – Johnathan Adler home accessories and the littlest pots that hold one thing – hang 20 from your ceiling with your favorite items tucked inside or leave them empty for that minimalist look.




Leclaireur – One of the most beautiful design, fashion, interior and art websites I have ever seen.


Design Resolutions 2008

1. To constantly seek out environmentally sound solutions in remodeling and design first, to be educating myself and my clients at every opportunity.

2. To weed out possessions in my own home, and help my clients do the same, if desired.

3. To embrace color fully. Rather than using the familiarity of gray, white, black and brown, find ways to inject a little bit of color whenever possible.

These thoughts, led to a natural curiosity of what others might be thinking about design or where they are finding inspiration in their lives creatively. Below are the answers to the question I posed – “what is inspiring about design right now”?

That people are becoming more interested in the green movement in fashion. Prairie Underground is one example. Based in Seattle, all products manufactured in the U.S., using organic cottons and dyes impresses me. Also, recycled materials used in new ways, there is a jewelry line that I carry and they use vinyl records to make bracelets. – Sally Schwartz/ Pin Me Apparel

As far as design goes, I’m pretty inspired by all of the great new materials being used in architecture and environmental design. Specifically those materials derived from recycled sources. The only downside is it seems that many of those new materials are really expensive…as “going green” tends to be. – Sorenne Gottlieb/ Art Director

“Community”. I am about to begin sharing my wood working space with two others in the New Year. One, a wooden boat builder, and the other who picks up old furniture thereby recycling it, and redesigns it for current use. I am looking forward to the inspiration and what will occur naturally from a shared workspace. How will it effect my own design and building this year? Allen Hunter/design+builder, musician

“Materials”. New invention of old design, for instance art deco reinvented to a new current use. The twist of fantasy that I saw in Paris during the holidays. Execution and craftsmanship. – Hugh d’Autremont / design+builder

The mistakes that I see designers making. Lydia Yost/ student, painter

“Technology”. It is continuing to have such an effect on contemporary
design. It not only enables designers to work on projects around the
world from anywhere in the world, but it also allows us to design in a
way that has little environmental impact on the world.Ingo Maurer, a lighting designer from Germany, explores the technology of LEDs. With these lights he is able to create objects that serve a
purpose, reduce energy usage, and spark thought and humor all at once.
… and Maurer is just one of many architects, designers, and
innovators who are pushing the limits of technology. – Lisa Kuhnhausen/ recent graduate of the interior architecture program University of Oregon.


Umbrella Lights at entrance Milan Design Week 2007 by Ingo Maurer

“Appreciation”. For the integration of old recycled materials, and being thoughtful about the use of those materials. Using them out of context, for instance installing a floor lamp on the ceiling, or using floor coverings as wall treatments. – Mike Jones/ CEO of CD Forge

Using my camera to explore the world – it causes me to see and look at things with more attention. The way that I see color in new ways with photography in my environment and on my assignments. – Mark Toal/Photographer

The fact that Apple is so frequently used as an example of how well-designed products can become such a fundamental part of popular culture. That is, or should be, genuinely inspirational to every company that designs anything. – Tim Delaney/ Chairman Leagas Delaney Group

Happy New Year 2008!


Bee Vase


I woke this morning, on New Years Day, to the thought that it would be important to impart to others interested in design, to always consider ‘green’ options when making decisions of how to implement changes in one’s surroundings. Whether choosing to remodel a kitchen, or create new office space, how do we best reduce, reuse and recycle our materials, and how do we honor everything that is around us? Bees have been hit in the last few years with colony collapse disorder and I often wonder what impact this will have on the food that we have so readily accessible to us now. Nearly every choice that we make effects the world around us. Seeing this picture, and reading about the method used by the artist to create this vase seemed the best way to blog on the first day of the year.

Bees are so industrious when they are at the job. Tomas Gabzdil Libertiny introduces With a Little Help of the Bees in Milan. It is a vase built by bees. we quote Dezeen:”Libertiny made a vase-shaped hive that the bees then colonised, building a hexagon comb around it. The wax sheets used to make the hive were embossed with a honeycomb pattern to help the bees on their way. Libertiny calls the process “slow prototyping” – it took 40,000 bees a week to make the vase. Since the bees get aggressive when they are interrupted, Libertiny had to guess when it was time to remove the vase.”

The artist told Dezeen: “To give a form to this natural product it has occurred more than logical to choose a form of a vase as a cultural artifact. Beeswax comes from flowers and in the form of a vase ends up serving flowers on their last journey.” More from Milan 2007 from ::Dezeen




Flowers bloom year-round at Uhuru. Measuring 48 inches on each side and 13 inches high, the wood Sakura coffee table sprouts zinc botanicals on its top and leg surfaces. While custom colors and stains are available, standard finishes include dark or natural walnut, reconstituted Macassar ebony, and white or gray ash. 160 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231; 718-855-6519;




Celebrating forms found in nature, Diptych tables, from the company’s aptly named Roots collection, are inspired by old-growth tree roots that founder and creative director Alon Langotsky saw in Bali and Indonesia. These teak roots resting on stainless-steel bases form a complementary pair; together, they measure 62 inches long by 30 inches deep by 15 inches high. Chista 537 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-924-0394


Cumberland Furniture


Conferencing furniture was never as eye-catching as the Fortis line of meeting room case goods and accessories. Featuring clean lines, the collection includes tables, freestanding and wall-mounted credenzas, and even lecterns. Finishes range from marble, granite, and limestone to ash, mahogany, and walnut; faux leather and graphic panels are also available for some surfaces. Cumberland Furniture 321 Terminal Street Southwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49548; 800-401-7877


Kush Carpets


Mums in Silk: From the pages of In Style Home to our gallery window this all-silk rug has made a splash! Vibrant color and bold design make for a guaranteed conversation starter. One has to really touch an all-silk rug to appreciate the luxurious handle. Nepal, Tibetan collection Size 6×9. Custom options available from Kush Carpets.


Jill Allen


Vitralooper 5″ x 4″ x 9″ clay, wire, glaze, slip

Jill Allen Work shown at Oregon College of Arts and Crafts. Support local artists!


Pistils Nursery


Pistils Nursery – One of the best plant shops in Portland to purchase terrariums, air plants, outdoor landscaping and seasonal baby chicks.
Highly recommended.



Those days, days, days ride like horse over the hills…acrylic and ink on wood, resin. 9“x23.5“x1,“ 2007


Swallow on Branch. acrylic and ink on wood, resin, grass. 24“x24“x1,“ 2005

Fernworks – Art created in resin, naturally illuminated – bring nature inside.




Mixed elements, with organic cotton napkins. No hesitation to mix glass, serving plate and silver patterns for a sophisticated table. All from Kaight.


Beat Lights

Designed By Tom Dixon



When looking for an accent of black in a room, try it with lighting. Interior of hand hammered brass and the perfect shade of matte black on the exterior. Beat Lights by Tom Dixon





Filed under color, design, Home Page, Paint, Remodeling

15 responses to “Thoughts on Design | Work in Progress

  1. Great looking site. I love the tables and bee made lamps.


  2. Shane

    Nice site. A lot of new stuff! Cool statues.

  3. nice site a lot of nice things here

  4. judiknight

    I love color and think that being a color consultant would be a great gig. I love your blog. I started reading Portland blogs since I am coming to the city to visit my college aged son who is staying out there this summer with his friends. Should be interesting. I will check out the Life and Limb store for sure.

  5. judiknight

    By the way are those business cards a stock item or were they custom? I don’t think you mentioned where they came from.

  6. Very great site to have……The site is amazing! with colorful tables and furniture.

  7. The collection of pictures of almost everything that goes in a house and it’s surroundings is exceptional.
    The designs of some of the articles in those pictures are pretty unique and stylish too.
    Great work.

  8. looks awesome, he bar stools look cool also. I found this site that have cool stools

  9. Excellent designs..the textiles by Zara Home look stunning. Great restoration on the 1956 home.

  10. josph smith

    Thank you for bringing it all together. It is all good, Leclaireur, Design Resolutions 2008 and the choice of Seed Pearl a Pratt & Lambert color and the list goes on.

  11. josph smith

    Very nice, enjoyed it all, especially Leclaireur, Design Resoutions 2008 and the choice of seed pearl by Pratt and Lambert paints. Thanks

  12. Just love the look of that walnut headboard! I like the way the added a corbusier lounge chair n the middle of the living room and the noguchi coffee table in the corner as an endtable-different and very cool.

    J from

  13. Very rich information. I appreciate.

  14. Very cool. I like your design.

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