Author Archives: sbaird

Five Facts About Your Home That Affect Your Happiness

5 Little-Known Facts About Your Home that Affect Your Happiness

Erin Vaughan – guest writer on SBaird Design

Our happiness is influenced by all kinds of things. You’re probably already working on your diet and sleep, as well as trying to forge healthy relationships and keeping yourself from getting overworked. But did you know that even your surroundings can shape your emotional health?

Here at Modernize, we’re all about home designs that allow you to live your best, most joyful life. Here are some tips to keep in mind to create a space that brings you beauty and peace.


Your Furniture’s Shape Can Influence Your Emotions

Our minds are hard-wired to avoid sharp angles. A primitive part of our brains called the amygdala, which helps with regulating emotions, is triggered by the geometry of the spaces around us. When that space is too angular, it can cause undue stress.

Soft, gentle spaces, such as this rounded, inviting kitchen table below, help our minds relax into comfort. Of course, things would get pretty bland without a few angles to play off of, so it’s a good idea to have a good balance of both soft and hard lines.


Clutter is Chaos to Your Mind

We tend to collect items that clutter up our homes. That toy from the office gift exchange you didn’t really want, a few free samples, a keychain from a charity function—it all adds up.

Clutter significantly reduces our ease at home because it causes something called decision-fatigue. If you have to look at a hundred items before you find the thing you need, your brain gets tired, and therefore less happy than if you know exactly where to go.

That’s where a new movement, called “domestic purging,” comes in. The idea is to only keep the items in your home that “spark joy,” and throw away everything else. So maybe you can’t throw away everything that doesn’t make you happy, but it’s a good idea to start evaluating the items you bring back into the house and decide whether they’re worth keeping.

If the idea of throwing things away makes your skin crawl, my friend has a great solution: she puts these little trinkets in extra gift bags that she keeps around the house. Then she has a nice little gift to give a friend the next time she sees one.


You Should Separate Where You Work and Where You Sleep

We all know that the boundaries between work and home have gotten a lot blurrier. Some of us work at home full-time and some of us just bring work home. And with our phones putting us on information overload, sometimes even play feels like work!

If you’re not careful, your home can go from being a sanctuary of rest and rejuvenation to another stress-churned work factory in no time, which means less sleep and lower overall quality of life.

And when it comes to sleep, our brains need training to know when it’s time to rest. Keeping work out of the places where you eat and especially, where you sleep, will help signal to your mind that when you lie in your bed, you’re there to get some much needed shut-eye.

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You Should Have a Special, Private Place To Go

We’re a lot happier in our homes when we have a “room of our own”—a peaceful place where we can go for some alone time. One popular idea for this is to build a “shrine,” a little area in the home where you keep photographs and other special items.

But if the spiritual aspect of that isn’t for you, just think of it as a special location where you can go to be alone from time to time. For some people, this may even be as simple as taking special pains with your bathroom’s decor so that it becomes a peaceful retreat.

There’s No One, Perfect Design

One of the exciting (and frustrating) things about our minds is that even the most comforting of places gets boring over time. If you get the urge to shuffle things around, don’t fight it.

Making tweaks to your existing design every so often can really shake off those cobwebs and make sure that your mind is staying active and happy.

Once you start paying attention to how your home makes you feel, you’ll find that you are able to make adjustments that make you feel more comfortable and at peace. Awareness key to a building happy home!

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Press love testimonial from Gallant and Jones website

see it here, read it here

We recommend Gallant and Jones chairs and accessories for many client’s homes and patios. They can be used indoors in the fall and winter months, outside in the summer. Easily transported to the beach and parks for outdoor concerts as well, they serve many purposes and are oh so comfortable to lounge in.

Some of the accessories that we covet are the teak tray to lay across the foot stool for drinks and snacks. We also love their towels!

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Commercial building brought to new life

While we have posted about this project earlier this year, we cannot help but write again about Jason Leonard’s sweet project in NE Portland as it has just received some press on design sponge.

Check it out here

painted exterior

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Palette for home

SBaird just created a palette for a home that needs updating for the real estate market. The client is thinking of selling in the near future, therefore creating a warm and soothing neutral palette was the goal.

social media jpeg

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SBaird design presentation for a new office look

Our clients at Speak Design wanted a new look, a facelift of color, organization and finish treatments for their office space. Located in a beautiful historic building in downtown Hillsboro, the architectural details from the late 1800’s really sold us on an all cream/white interior space. Wall colors to be neutral, window treatments to be shades to block out the UV light that drives anyone crazy when they are on their computers all day, white desks and office accessories and finally a new lobby/entrance look. They loved it and we hope to post final execution photos when it is completed.

Pages from Speak Design

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Information regarding my favorite record store

Posted: 22 Oct 2013 06:00 PM PDT

beacon sound



Portland record store and label Beacon Sound will be releasing a collaborative album by Peter Broderick (Efterklang) and Gabriel Saloman (Yellow Swans) in early 2014. This is the first time these two artists have worked together, despite sharing deep Portland roots as well as labels like Type and Mort Aux Vaches. They’ll be recording at Type Foundry Studio (Decemberists, Grails, Glass Candy) with audio engineer Jason Powers. There is a Kickstarter campaign happening right now to fund the vinyl edition of the album; it’s running for another week and is currently over 60% funded.

Artist Bios:

Peter Broderick is a multi-instrumentalist who grew up in Carlton, Oregon and played with Portland groups such as Horse Feathers and Loch Lomond. In 2007 he was invited to work with Danish group Efterklang (currently signed to 4AD) and moved to Berlin. Over the course of the last six years he has released several acclaimed solo albums on labels such as Type and Erased Tapes, collaborated with the likes of Machinefabriek and Nils Frahm, and traveled the world with Efterklang, who debuted their most recent album Piramida with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the iconic Sydney Opera House in May 2012.

Vancouver-based Gabriel Saloman was one half (with Pete Swanson) of influential noise duo Yellow Swans. Their prolific run of albums, EP’s, collaborations, and world tours culminated with the incredible Going Places on Type Records. He is also an accomplished artist and has been exhibited at the Walker Center, California College Of The Arts, and the Manifesta biennial in Murcia, Spain. His excellent debut solo album ‘Adhere’ (on Berlin label Miasmah) has garnered rave reviews.


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It begins in the Backyard

check out the new adu website for the build of a little home in portland

ADU: A Design Undertaking

We spent all day Monday working outside. Tuesday the professionals arrived and finished. To prepare for the excavation work that will begin on Saturday I have to get all of our belongings clear of the backyard and stored away. We have chickens. I like to garden. This is a task that sounds easier than it is. Take a look. This all has to go:



Luckily, I have the most AMAZING neighbors (you’ll learn more about them in a coming Post). They have graciously agreed to let us use their backyard not only to store our belongings but also to store our Chickens. Wow. Here are a collection of snapshots from Monday. I tried to get before & afters whenever possible.


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Undisturbed Coops with River guarding. An after of fence panel removed with all furniture lined up to move into our neighbors’ backyard.


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Irvington color consult and design – SBaird Design

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Exterior colors of Wolf and Seed Pearl, Pratt and Lambert Paints and interior colors mostly of Seed Pearl. My client has incredible design acumen and did not need much help with furnishings and lighting. It all came together perfectly.

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by | July 2, 2013 · 8:31 am

How to design a House – book review

how to design a house

Initially chosen because I thought that it would be explanatory and literal I found that it was much deeper upon reading. While architecture was covered broadly, there was emotion in the words and descriptions of what home means to the occupants and how their homes interact with the world.

My favorite portion perhaps was the interview with  the architect John Pawson on the building/remodeling of his own home in London.

How about lighting? It’s all concealed is it?

– Yes, it’s nice not to see the fittings. It’s hugely important for atmosphere. There’s lots of lighting in coves so it washes the walls and it’s also concealed above and below the benches. I only put downlights in restricted spaces where they’re framed so they’re not loose on the ceilings like showers. It makes it difficult to light the table if you do that – that’s the problem. We use candles. When you talk about having a vocabulary or certain givens, the walls are white, floors are usually stone or wood or concrete, lighting is concealed, storage is made to disappear. – John Pawson

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And this quote  from the book – “In some cases, house and site are one and the same thing. Site is also context in a broader sense. What’s outside the front door? A road, a lawn, a driveway? Houses are the building blocks of streets, suburbs, towns and cities, woven into countless patterns of habitation.”

Published by Conran in conjunction with Design Museum, the worlds leading museum devoted to contemporary design.

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Manzanita project update March

“So many bees in a nest” is how the general contractor described the sub contractors and progress on the job site this week.

Sheet rock was hung and is being taped now, the copper roof with skylight for the sauna/outdoor shower area was installed, the exterior stairs are being poured along with the landing today. The house is taking shape in a way that denotes completion, one can see it coming to life more substantially now. Note the photo’s where the ipe vertically hung siding is visible. The copper will be shiny like a penny for just a few days before the salt air takes over turning it a darker color quickly.

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