Choosing wood is like choosing an outfit.

May 26, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

a fine example of like-materials coming together and living in harmony... I hope you'd agree.

Just like in fashion, colors, textures, and proportions should be considered, especially when combining like-colors and like-materials.  We want to avoid the "tried but failed" look, like wearing denim on denim.

In this Portland bedroom addition (still under construction), we carefully chose a hemlock ceiling, douglas fir window, and cork floor in finishes that work well together.

The crowning touch is the custom-blended white paint color the owners chose.  Very nice.

The room is warm yet neutral, ready to serve as a backdrop for their life ahead.

And so it begins....

May 20, 2010 by Lynn Fisher

The start of construction is always exhilarating for us -- it's thrilling to see a project which we know so well through drawings start to become a real, built object.  For our clients, however, I think it's both exhilarating AND terrifying.  It's thrilling to finally begin construction, but once demo starts, someone with whom they have a new relationship (the contractor) has just torn off the back of their home.  There's no going back.

This project in Berkeley broke ground last week.  In the fall, they should be hosting Thanksgiving in their newly expanded home, with a new first floor rear addition containing a kitchen, eating area, and family room, and a new second story master suite.

Topics: Projects

Seasonal Sweet Spot

May 19, 2010 by Lynn Fisher

If there’s one thing that Hiromi and I both like other than architecture, it’s food.  Since her recent Food Matters post, food has come up particularly often in our conversations.  (For the record, I wish that I could partake in their pizza-making, kiln-cooking parties!) So what are we eating?  In my house, there are a handful of meals in my family’s weeknight cooking repertoire that hit the sweet spot for all of us.  They’re quick to prep and cook, feature seasonal ingredients, are honestly enjoyed by both grown-ups and kids, and are (sort of) healthy.  This pasta recipe from the Chronicle definitely feels like it was custom-made for us. **

(I am not a food photographer!)

I clipped it from the paper a few years ago, and it easily made its way into our springtime rotation.  This year, by the end of February we found ourselves actively waiting for our CSA box to have the right combination of ingredients so that we could start eating it again.  Really, with asparagus, sugar snap peas, sautéed onions, lemons, fresh ricotta, toasted nuts, and brown butter, what’s not to like?

**Note:  if you try this, it’s definitely worth seeking out good, fresh ricotta. Calabro is the best that we’ve found.  Also, we’ve never actually made it with hazelnuts; we just use whatever nuts (usually walnuts) we have on hand.

Topics: Food

When two countertops meet…

May 18, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

...they gently embrace each other.

A kitchen remodel in Portland, currently in progress.  Caesarstone quartz "Pebble" in honed finish, over a custom beech butcher block eating counter.  The eating counter will float across a floor-to-ceiling window with folding glass panels.

Go Kitchen Go!

May 4, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

Our lovely clients, Andrew and Peg, recently entered the Rejuvenation "Make your Home Your Own" Contest with photos of the kitchen we designed for them. Check them out!

If you like what you see, vote for their project and help them win the People's Choice award!

Topics: Projects

Food Matters

Apr 26, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

I don't mean to, but lately everything I read or see seems to be about food.  Nothing wrong with that, I've been obsessed with food and always have an appetite no matter what time of day. And lately my all-consuming hobby of cooking and eating and everything food-related has taken on a tangential interest in how we grow, process, and package our food.  I vaguely recall this interest gaining traction when, four years ago, Lynn and I were pregnant at the same time.  We would talk about toxins passed on to our babies, and later we had long discussions about BPA in plastic baby bottles (among other things).

These days I've been reading  Food Matters by  Mark Bittman.  I put it on my Amazon wish list after trying repeatedly to check it out of the library, only to return it two weeks later with hardly any progress.  I can only find time to read before bed, and beside my bed I always have more books than I can possibly read in a year.  As with food, my eyes are bigger than my "stomach" (time, or time management skills).  My sister finally bought if for me last Christmas.

This book has kept me up too late some nights, both from reading and thinking.  I wouldn't do it justice to summarize it here; if you are interested in learning about where your food comes from, and what you can do to change how food is made, what effects it has on your body and your surroundings, I would encourage you to read it.  It follows a long chain of eye-opening documentaries and books that I've encountered,  the list of which includes Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, the movies Supersize Me and Food Inc.

Some friends and we made pizzas in David's kiln last weekend and it was enjoyable on so many levels: preparing the dough a day in advance, washing and prepping, carmelizing the onions, cooking down the tomato sauce, combining ingredients that others have brought, throwing the pizza into the kiln, watching it come out with blackened edges and melted cheese, cutting, serving, eating, talking, drinking...  And part of the joy was in trusting the authenticity and purity of each ingredient and each process as the pizza went from pieces to pie.  It was satisfying on many levels.

Topics: Food, Life

Almost complete – Remodel and Addition in Albany, California

Apr 19, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

The custom casework under the stair articulates the stepping profile.  It also creates an artful display on an otherwise unusable wall.

Casework by City Cabinetmakers, construction by Tom Dannenberg Company.

The windows between the upper and lower cabinets illuminate the Kitchen; the Hakatai red tile backsplash compliments the red cords of the Caravaggio pendant by Cecilie Manz.

We'll post more photos after the project is complete and we have Joe Fletcher, our lovely photographer, do his magic.

April 2010 First Friday art show – photos and thank you

Apr 8, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

Thanks to everyone who came to the show last Friday.  The show is on display through April, so call or email us to make an appointment if you are interested.  We hope to see you at the next show in June!

the artists

all photos by Kristin Beadle

Topics: Life, Office

The definition of design

Mar 28, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

Lynn and I recently met and refined our company mission statement to read:

We work with you to create a home that is the perfect fit for you.

This means that we prioritize our clients' values and the collaborative spirit over some kind of personal design agenda.

I realized the other day that we all do this in different ways. For my son Nico's birthday, this meant making a robot cake with instant cake mix and all the colorful candies from the store. I could have made a healthier, more tasteful cake but really, who is this cake really for? My three year old whose current love is sweets and robots.

Because his happiness is our happiness. I love that giving is a form of pure joy.

Topics: Food, Inspiration, Life

Portland First Friday: featuring Jennifer Gauer, Anna Mara, and Meghan Radick

Mar 26, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa


Jennifer Gauer & Meghan Radick - ceramics

Anna Mara - floral designs

Friday April 2nd, 2010   5:00pm - 7:00pm
at hiromi ogawa architects
107 SE Washington Street, Suite 150
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 477-7075
(please use Washington St entrance; we are located on the NW corner of the first floor)

Please join us for happy hour as we showcase the work of three very talented artists who are working together for the first time to make a truly unique installation.  Anna Mara will design floral pieces that compliment ceramic vessels made jointly by Jennifer Gauer and Meghan Radick.  Fresh and seaonal flowers are perfectly paired with vases and bowls, which are decorated with delicate patterns using cake decorating techniques.  These collaborative pieces are for sale and ready to take home for you to enjoy in your own home or office.

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:
Anna Mara Flowers

The show will continue through the month of April, and can be seen by appointment.  The pottery pieces will continue to be on display, but the fresh flowers will most likely only be on display for the first week, as they are perishable.

Topics: Life, Office