Blog

Fencing – a sense of privacy

Mar 3, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

What is privacy?  With fences, it's never true privacy, but at best, a sense of enclosure and quiet, while still providing light and visual transparency.

I visited the Portland Japanese Garden with my family last weekend and saw this fence, which delicately achieved everything.  The top half is opaque, shielding our view from where we would usually register moving objects and color; the bottom half is translucent, with some interest to keep your eyes in the foreground, while still allowing the feeling of depth to what is beyond.  Critters and leaves can move freely at the bottom, which also keeps your interest close to the ground.  To mask the traffic noise, there was a water feature in front of the fence (called a shishi-odoshi, literally translated as a deer-scarer) creating white noise and more interest. Nice!

Color and texture

Feb 26, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

At Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland

What a difference color makes

Feb 22, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

We are currently observing construction of a second-story addition to a house in Albany, California.

Residence in Albany - BEFORE color change (but AFTER second story addition)

We'll post more photos once the project is complete, but I wanted to share before and after photos of the exterior colors, which I think makes a world of a difference, not only to the feel of the existing facade, but also to the new volume as a whole.

Residence in Albany - AFTER color change

The white trim accentuates the window openings, and the house looks brighter.

Here's another project, this one in Portland, Oregon, where the exterior color also transformed the house:

Residence in Portland - BEFORE

Residence in Portland - AFTER front porch addition and color change

If you'd like to see more before and after photos, feel free to check out our facebook albums here:



North Portland residence breaking ground

Feb 20, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

Corner of existing garage, and form work for new foundation

We have started construction on one of our projects in North Portland: a modern two-bedroom two-bath addition to a traditional home. The form work for the foundations are in, and you can get a sense of how the addition will make a courtyard-like space that is accessible from both bedrooms and the original house. We're excited to see things take shape!

The owners (a fun and active family of three) are living in the home during construction, and the connection between the main house and addition will be made at the very end.  Special thanks to Lorence Brothers Construction for all their hard work so far.

Topics: Projects

Project photos on Facebook

Jan 25, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

We've started posting project albums on Facebook, so that our clients can share their before and after photos with their friends and family. Our clients have been nice enough to share their albums with you, too. Just click on the badge below and you'll be redirected to our Facebook page. While you're there, become a fan to get updates on new albums and projects!

Topics: Projects

30-hour Retreat

Jan 19, 2010 by Lynn Fisher

Last week Lynn and I had our company retreat in Portland, OR, where I live.  As Lynn put it, it was 30 hours of "eat, work, eat, work, eat", which just about sums it up.

We started at 11:30am on a Wednesday, when Lynn arrived at PDX airport.  We had lunch at Olympic Provisions, the new restaurant in the building where our office is located.  Lynn and I are good friends as well as partners in the business, so we got caught up on our lives over lunch.  Everything on the menu is divine, but my current favorite has been to order a small appetizer with a side vegetable dish.  If you ever go there, be sure to stop by our office to say hello and get a free measuring tape.

Then we met with Alyssa Gasca to set our goals for the retreat.  The term 'business consultant' doesn't do justice to her effective coaching style and vibrant personality; in the course of two hours, she helped me and Lynn focus on our personal and professional goals, document our progress, and set deadlines for next steps.  So in my mind she's a miracle worker, a guru that gave us clarity that we couldn't have achieved on our own.

I won't bore you with the details of the rest of our retreat; so far I've only described the first three hours so you know there's 27 more to go.  I'll summarize the schedule I laid out for us:

Ace postcard

afternoon: check into the Ace Hotel (where, incidentally, we stayed in the room that is pictured on their postcard), work in our room with some red wine and Ruffles chips (mmm).  The room was small, but very well-executed, with lots of low-budget items incorporated in an unusual way.  Lynn particularly liked the exiting diagram for the room, which was a building plan on a piece of cloth with red stitching showing the exiting path.

dinner: Clyde Common (located in the Ace Hotel); discuss work over olive oil poached octupus and lamb with butternut squash bread pudding.  The tables were small and we quickly ran out of room for our paperwork, but we kept talking anyway.

evening: get coffee at Stumptown (also located in the Ace Hotel), open bag of Lindt truffles, work in the hotel mezzanine.  The Ace has all these nooks and crannies where you can nestle in a dark corner and have intimate conversations. We talked about financial projections and work load, but I bet everyone else thought we were talking about something much more mysterious.

late evening: sleep (for Lynn, who has a baby as well as a 2 1/2 year old, it was one of the highlights of the retreat; I stayed up too late reading trashy magazines.  So we both got to do what we usually don't have time for.)

breakfast: Kenny and Zuke's (located next to the Ace Hotel); discuss work over pastrami and eggs.  There was soft, winter morning light coming through their big windows.  It was quiet and peaceful.  And I learned that they only do poached eggs on the weekend.

morning: work in our room while watching everyone else walk to work.  It somehow felt luxurious to be observing the city from 20 feet above the sidewalk.

noon: meet with photographer Kristin Beadle to take head shots.  By this point our voices were cracked from all the talking, so it was a nice break to sit silently for a while.

lunch: Bunk Sandwiches; discuss work over pulled pork sandwich.

afternoon: work in the office, drive Lynn to airport.

Lynn and I are a little full after the retreat

We had a great time.  And we made some great progress.  We are both looking forward to the year ahead.

Topics: Food, Office

If the question is “when”…

Nov 17, 2009 by Hiromi Ogawa

working hard

Back in September my family and I were visiting relatives in California.  My sweet mother-in-law has a wonderful selection of magazines in her house, and while my son was doing laps in their yard with a bubble-blowing miniature lawn mower, I sat down and read through an issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

I find that as I get older, things no longer seem coincidental.  I don't know if that's because I know more and things have a better chance of connecting in some way, or if I've acquired a karmic connection with everything in the world.  Both reasons are equally questionable but on that sunny September day in California, I was amazed by how pertinent this issue of Better Homes and Garden was for me.

In particular, I want to share an article about "The Case for Remodeling Now", which takes you through the thought process of doing your house project now rather than later. (Sadly, the article is not available online; if you know anyone who has the September issue, it's definitely worth checking out).  It lists 7 reasons to consider the approach and timing of a remodel:

1.  You can get the job done quickly with a top pro.

2.  Renovation is on sale.

3.  Financing is cheap.

4.  You can save money for years to come with energy updates.

5.  You can be set when the market changes.

6.  Prices may be down - but they won't stay down.

7.  Renovate now - and enjoy it for years to come.

the makings of a master suite

I think this article is interesting because it could be written at any time and it would still be true.  Yes, the recession has put a damper on people's willingness to invest money into home improvements, but most of the 7 reasons above would be true in a better economy.  In the end, remodeling is good at any time if the advantages of having a new and improved environment for you and your family outweigh the temporary disadvantages of financing and construction dust.

Topics: Projects

Remembering Our First Portland Office Art Show

Nov 9, 2009 by Hiromi Ogawa
DSC_6785-1

photo by Kristin Beadle

A big thank you to everyone who attended our first art show – it was a great success.  Our office was filled with good art, good company, and good conversation.

DSC_6810-11

photo by Kristin Beadle

Artists Anderson Bailey and Jessie Bean Goodman choreographed the display, mixing glass pieces with ceramic, and some softer felted pieces in between.  The result was a visual field of colors, textures, and reflections that led the patrons through the space.  At the end of our long space, the lounge area offered a $5 bargain bin, with bowls and ornaments that everyone thought was clearly worth more than the price.  These items disappeared quickly!

DSC_6871-26

Kids' Lounge - photo by Kristin Beadle

There were a fair number of children (including my own rambunctious 2-year old son) in the crowd, and they were all extremely well behaved.  It seems we always underestimate how well our children understand their environment.  This event proved (to me, the most skeptical) that we can have perfectly sensible parties with kids in our midst.  I think we’d like to host more shows in the future – so stay tuned.

DSC_6858-22

Matt Roman - photo by Kristin Beadle

I feel so lucky to have the most fun and flexible office mates in the world – architectural designer Matt Roman and graphic designer Kristin Beadle.  They let me open our doors to the public, and invited their friends to join in the fun.  They are a source of energy and inspiration for me, and the office’s collaborative atmosphere is all thanks to them.

And last but not least: special thanks to Anderson and Jessie, who created a beautiful display and helped organize the event.  Have a wonderful road trip to Tennessee, and best wishes – we will miss you!

Topics: Life, Office

Portland Office Art Show – Friday 10/30/09

Oct 27, 2009 by Hiromi Ogawa

Anderson Bailey / Jessie Bean Goodman

Farewell Art Show and Office Happy Hour

Opening Night:  This Friday 10/30/09 4:30pm - 7:30pm
at hiromi ogawa architects
107 SE Washington Street, Suite 150
Portland, OR 97214

 

Please join us for happy hour as we showcase the work of two very talented artists who are leaving Oregon next month.  We wish them the best as they seek their next adventure in Tennessee.  Don't miss this show, as this will perhaps be the last time in a long time that their work will be available in Portland.
A wide variety of pieces will be on display and for sale during the event.  Cash and personal checks with ID will be accepted.

We look forward to seeing you.

For more information on the artists, visit:

http://www.jessiebeang.com

http://www.theandersonbailey.com

Topics: Inspiration

For reals?

Oct 21, 2009 by Hiromi Ogawa

Bloodybelly comb jelly.  It's the stuff of Martians and outer space, yet it has lived in our waters all along.  I love this stuff.

Check out their website for a beautiful video of the jelly in motion.

photo courtesy of Monterey Bay Aquarium website

photo courtesy of Monterey Bay Aquarium website

Topics: Inspiration

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