Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Super Star Vendor: Russ Ragsdale

The last question we asked our experts in our new years design poll was, “What design elements do you still freak for?” Many of the answers had timelessness attached to them: natural materials, form, scale, and artistry. That sparked the question, why are certain things timeless? 

The answer lies in the value of storytelling. Our favorite things hold memories and meaning, which gives them value. In an age where everything is fast, there has suddenly been a revival of of craftsmanship. Why? Because it is personal. Someone created something with his or her hands. While today’s tools are sophisticated, there is still no replacement for a skilled human. We have the pleasure of working with many craftsmen, but this week we would like to highlight one of our faves. 

Russ Ragsdale is a carpenter and the owner of Eden Homes and Design. We have worked with him for years because he has an incredible eye for detail and mad skills when it comes to wood. From custom cube tables to kitchen cabinets and built-ins, he has told our design story through a variety of beautifully crafted pieces. We are always impressed with his work, and we know that no matter what trend comes next, we’ll still be calling on him for years to come. Here are some of our favorite pieces he’s done, I am sure you’ll recognize some since they are peppered through many of our past articles and portfolio.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The 411 from 221: A peek into the future...

We’re not sure how, but February is already in full swing, which means spring is right around the corner. We’ve been hibernating for the last couple of months, but it’s time to start shaking off the cold and dark and make moves towards cleaning up and stepping out. With our newfound attitude, we are on the lookout for fresh trends and advancements in technology and innovation. These elements of surprise make our job exciting, as every project is a little different. We asked our design staff which trends they are ready to leave behind, what they hope to see spread, and what will never go out of style. From pillow pets to cactus terrariums, we got quite an array of feedback from our experts. Only time will tell if both the sun and these trends will make a stand.

MICHAEL: Principal, Architect

Q: Design trend you expect/like to see take off, especially after we send this out? 
High-contrast rugs with natural wood pieces and bright, colorful art

Q: Design elements you still freak for regardless of the year?
The big picture will never go out of style. Design is more than picking out cool pieces and putting them in a room. It’s about the integration of all the elements to create a space that is dynamic but balanced. In other words, the whole is worth much more  than the sum of its parts.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Solution of the Week: Grey, the Chameleon of Color

This may come as a surprise to you, but we believe that not every project requires a remodel (gasp!). In fact many spaces are perfectly functional, they just need a little extra support. Color, particularly on the walls is a great way to get new life into an old room. Here’s the problem: our tastes change, and every season there’s a new color that takes the spotlight. Obviously there’s no way you’ll be painting three to four times a year. Paint is considered a cheap, easy fix, but its still requires some real time and effort. If you enjoy the change of the seasons as much as we do, how about pick a paint color that can adapt. Neutrals often get a bad rap for being boring, but we aren’t suggesting cookie cutter beige or an uninspired taupe. Instead we love colors that with the proper lighting and furnishings make a dramatic statement. And our favorite is the chameleon himself, Grey. 

Greys are incredibly versatile. They can be cool or warm and have a huge array of undertones that really set off a room’s furniture, fabrics, and art. They make things pop. Don’t believe me? Look outside…all that lush foliage outside is actually more vibrant because of the subdued grey surrounding it. Now to be clear, there are tones of greys that are dreary, but gray is rarely only grey. It can be more brown, blue, or even pink depending on the mix, and therefore each one has a different personality. They are also very light sensitive. They transform throughout the day depending on the sun, and this is particularly noticeable as the seasons change.  Cooler winter light can make them feel rich and warm, while the brightness of summer makes them feel fresh and clean. In a city where grey is almost always in the forecast, this may seem like the opposite of good advice, but we’ve dug through our archives and these examples should help you embrace the grey.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Solution of the Week: Ipe Wood Deck

As we dive into the rainy season, here’s a small project that should brighten you up and remind you of the not yet forgotten splendors of summer. This home is a retreat, nestled in the heart of forest park and surrounded by lush foliage on all sides.

On our first visit, we realized that in addition to a problem of clunky detailing, the front of the house is the only spot that receives direct sun. Our clients wanted to alter their existing entry porch to better take advantage of that.

The first step was to trade the heavy wood trim for a lighter, more neutral palette that better complimented the house. We also got rid of the porch columns in favor of angled supports that opened up the space and allowed a much better view of the site. 

Another goal was to create an inviting entrance patio that features the gardens, and introduces rich, modern detail into the look of the house. We enlarged the porch’s footprint to include a direct connection with the street as well. The bridge enables the landscape to look and feel more intentional, and truly allowed its beauty to shine against the neutral backdrop of the house itself.

Finally, a contemporary look was accomplished through the use of rich colored Ipe wood on the deck and the horizontal wood detailing in contrast to exposed concrete landscape planters. The horizontality of the built improvements are in contrast with wildness of the plant life, but the warmth of the wood harmonizes the two elements, making them seem like the perfect pair.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

SRM Featured on
One of our favorite residences, Fazan, is currently a featured project on Houzz. Check it out! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Designer Word of the Day
Deliverable: Despite how awesome it sounds, it's definitely not a word. Since Merriam Webster has yet to add it, here’s our definition:

(n).  something either tangible or intangible intended for another party, usually a client or a contractor. Ex. “Hey Laura, we need to meet to discuss the deliverables for the Johnson’s bedroom remodel, there are a lot of orders that need to go out by end of day today. “

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Glamorous Life... of a Designer

Mix together 11 parts beautifully designed homes, one part hand-crafted hors d’oeuvres and sprinkle with a good cause, and you have a recipe for a great time in South Salem. The SRM interiors crew headed down to Salem to help with the Chef’s Tour, an annual benefit for the Assistance League of Salem
One of our residential projects, Creekside Residence, was featured on the tour. People poured to see behind the doors of eleven distinct homes and nibble on a variety of appetizers from nearby restaurants. We weathered the dreary day by keeping our feet moving and showing visitors around the house, which we designed from the ground up. We spent the day answering questions and occasionally refueling in the kitchen, where Crooked Street Bistro kept us warm and well-fed with their delicious treats. All in all, not a bad way to start the week!
For a detailed rundown on the day, check out this article from Salem's Statesman Journal. Click here for more photos of the gorgeous South Salem house. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Designer Word of the Day 
Luminaire: The French word for light fixture. It sounds more graceful, more beautiful, more expensive…don’t be fooled, you have them in your house too.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Glamorous Life... of a Designer 

Who doesn’t love birthdays? We certainly do, especially when we’re invited to the party. Designtex celebrated its big 5-0 a few weeks ago and it was a hoot! They set up huge tapestries at The Cleaners, an event space next to the Ace Hotel in downtown Portland. showcasing their fabrics and innovations throughout the years. They also had a wonderful spread of food and drinks and an A-List of local designers. The cherry on top was the guest appearance of one of the fabulous designers at Designtex, Kimberly Frost. She flew in from New York to talk about her New Mexican-inspired collection. We loved it, but not as much as we loved her!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Designer Word of the Day
CFA: Sounds like a top secret organization, doesn’t it? Actually, a Cutting For Approval is a little term we like to throw around when we are ordering fabric.
Here’s the rundown: we find a sample (aka memo) of a fabric we like. If the client likes it, we ask the fabric company for a “cfa” which is a piece of the fabric from the actual roll they will cut the order form. Since not all rolls are exactly the same color, we want to make sure the client is getting what they asked for. If we “approve” the cutting, they go ahead with the order. If not, they will send us cuttings from as many rolls are available in the hopes of a good match. Not so top secret after all!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Visit SRM's Residential Projects on Houzz
We have some of our newest residential projects featured on Check it out!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Solution of the Week: Teak Grill
For a spa in one of our newly constructed homes, we installed a 3-foot deep Japanese-style soaking tub that extends below the concrete slab. Because the tub is clad in marble, it’s impossible to have easy access to the motor for the tub’s jets. So, we developed a creative feature to access it; this teak grill is sleek-looking, great for a drip-dry, and is easy to pull up.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Neocan't: See and Be Seen
We had the privilege of attending the 3rd annual Neocan’t this past August. Neocan’t is an opportunity for local vendors, designers and architects to come together. At the event we were able to see our favorite vendors and view their newest products and designs. We are already looking forward to next year!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Meet Our Interiors Intern: Blaise Adkison
Blaise has been with us since September and has been a great addition to our interiors department. When she isn’t assisting Laura with projects, she is studying interior design at the Art Institute of Portland. Blaise has been interested in architecture and design ever since she was little. She says that her grandfather, who was an architect, was a big influence in pursing her career in interior design. After Blaise gradates in March she plans to land a job and continue following her passion in sustainable design practices.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cool Local Find: Core-Ten Fire Place Wall
This fireplace was made out of Core-Ten that was cut and sourced from the Portland based, Versa-Tech and then installed by local contractor, Bob Nicholas. SRM introduced the rustic metal fireplace wall to play against the clean lines and modern furniture around this Hood River vacation home we recently designed.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Solution of the Week: Painted Case Goods to Make Your Art Pop
We showcased this colorful artwork by hanging it in the middle of the library’s bookcase. To further highlight the artwork we installed lighting in the shelves, then to make the lighting more dramatic, we painted the shelves bright white, except for the back which we painted black. The contrast really makes the artwork standout.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Super Star Vendor: Melinda Royce
Melinda is our Masland Carpet rep, and she brings energy and positivity to every project. She’s helped us with both residential and commercial interior design projects. Most recently, Melinda assisted SRM in choosing a carpet and rug for a coffee shop client. We wanted something that would add to our light, bright space, and Melinda found the perfect match.

Check out Masland Carpets at

Monday, November 1, 2010

Solution of the Week: Vase into Lamp
We transformed this old pot into a living room lamp for one of our clients. Naomi’s Lampshades & Lamps helped us find a lampshade that complemented the style of the pot and didn’t overpower its stout frame. With over 60 years of experience creating lamp solutions, Naomi’s knows their stuff. We love how it turned out!

Visit our vendor: Naomi's Lampshades and Lamps

Friday, October 29, 2010

Stupid Paint Color Name of the Week
Cool Local Find: Namuh Design

We met Eric, Joe and Scott, designers at Namuh, at the recent Serving Up Style event and it turns out they are our neighbors!

Namuh is a lighting company with a distinct product line of chandeliers, pendants, portable luminaries and other alternative lighting. They also specialize in custom light fixtures and light branding. We stopped in to see some of their creative work; two of our favorites are “The Medusa Chandelier"and "The Classy Chandelier."

Along with producing quality and original work, Namuh strives to stay sustainably minded and support local. They design products that have minimal impact on the planet, and leave a long impression. We think Namuh is a great new company and look forward to working with them on future projects.

To learn more about Namuh, visit:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Solution of the Week: Library Makeover
To create a more pleasant space for our clients to study and read, we changed the light fixtures and added layers of lighting. The new lighting is soft, but powerful enough to illuminate the whole library. Brighter accent fixtures light the bookshelves.

The walnut cabinetry was custom built for this library. It creates more places to shelve books while lending to greater organization, which makes the library feel larger and less cluttered.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Superstar Vendor: Rainbow Lampshades
The owners of Rainbow Lampshades, Louise Myers and JoEllen Lyster, are seriously creative people with seriously expansive knowledge about lampshades. Rainbow specializes in custom lampshades and has helped SRM create beautiful shades for many of our clients’ lamps. Since they make lampshades in their shop, shades can be designed specifically for your project. Here, SRM and Rainbow are creating custom lampshade possibilities for our client’s lamps.

Visit our vendor:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cool Local Find: Kurt Van Vlack
Kurt Van Vlack is a local Portland artist who makes these incredible Raku pots that we just have to share with you. Raku is a Japanese technique that differs from traditional Western pottery in a few ways. Western pottery remains in the kiln during the warm up and cool down process, which can take up to 24 hours. Raku pottery is put in a kiln that is already heated and is taken out before it cools. The pottery is immediately put in a container with combustible material, like sawdust or leaves, and left to smoke. The smoke creates a metallic and cracked glaze, which gives Raku pottery its distinctive look.

Like what you see? Visit for more of Kurt's work.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Solution of the Week: Woven Drapes
Woven window coverings are a great middle ground between the harsh, bright light of bare windows and the darkness of thick blinds or curtains. Woven drapes give you privacy-- you can see out, but neighbors can’t see in-- while still letting in soft light.

Our client’s breakfast nook is situated in the corner of the condominium and receives bright sunlight through the three surrounding windows. SRM added these gorgeous woven drapes so that our clients wouldn’t have to start their day squinting over their cereal.

Visit our vendor: Hunter Douglas

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Super Star Vendor: Jill Hodge
SRM has worked with Jill Hodge of Custom Frame Design on many residential projects. Her frame consultation firm offers private appointments and service to ensure that our clients get the right frame for their artwork. Here’s an example of her framing work for a painting belonging to one of our clients.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Solution of the Week: Drum Stand
SRM found this drum pot at Room & Board and thought it was perfect for our client’s living room. But the drum felt a little too simple, and needed some alterations to jazz it up.

To add character, we had our favorite metal worker, Gregory Miller, make a metal stand to lift the drum off the floor. This made it feel lighter, while also adding some complexity to the piece.

Visit our vendor: Room & Board

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Butterfly Project

We showed you the butterflies in progress, and here they are as completed pieces! We were so happy to sponsor Serving Up Style at the Home and Garden Show. The event was a benefit for Molly's Fund Fighting Lupus, an organization very close to our hearts. In the hands of local artists, the butterflies were turned into incredible works of art, and helped to make the event a smashing success.
For more about the artists involved in The Butterfly Project, please visit Caplan Art Designs.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Superstar Vendor: Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson is our freelance art installer. His superpowers include hanging expensive artwork without breaking a sweat. Here, Mark is installing a Kush tapestry for one of our residential clients. Bravo, Mark!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two-Week Beach House: Just Add Water

One Monday morning, we received an interior design project with what has to be the quickest turnaround in SRM history. The client needed to fully furnish a four-story beach house—and he needed it complete in just  two weeks. We had to rely on our strong relationships with vendors to meet this tight deadline. We took furniture right off the showroom floor, asked workrooms to prioritize our projects, and even went down one weekend to personally set up the entire house. But we met the timeline, and couldn’t have been happier with the results.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cool Local Find: Soliloquy Textiles
Soliloquy Textiles is a local residential fabric manufacturer, and we love their unique and beautiful fabrics. The patterns are inspired by the natural world, and Soliloquy is committed to using environmentally-friendly business practices. Along with their regular collection, Soliloquy also creates custom fabrics for their clients. They can modify current patterns, turn prints into woven fabric, bring back archived designs, or even create a fabric design from scratch.

We use Soliloquy frequently on residential projects. Here, we upholstered two living room chairs in this earth-inspired brown.

Visit our vendor:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Solution of the Week: 1950s Chairs

There’s nothing better than a set of classic vintage chairs—that is, unless they are stained and covered in dated fabric, which was the case for these pieces. We refurbished and reupholstered the chairs to revitalize their look and launch them into the twenty-first century.
The chairs were first acquired almost sixty years ago by the mother of one of our clients. While the fabric was trendy back then, it definitely felt to us that the time was right for an update. We had the wood stained to bring out the natural walnut color and highlight the “good bones” of the chairs. The chairs were then framed with black wool and re-covered with this mod Maharam fabric. These changes refreshed the chairs while still staying true to the original style.

Visit our Vendor: Maharam

Monday, August 30, 2010

Company Picnic
Summer has finally arrived, and that can only mean one thing: It’s time for a company picnic. So we packed up our Frisbees and lawn chairs and headed up to Laurelhurst Park for some fun in the sun. Here, SRM’s employees and friends are enjoying the bounty of food and Michael holds our most junior partner, baby August. So cute!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Solution of the Week: Kid-Proof Pillows
Let’s face it: kids are messy. And they tend to get their mess all over the house--especially on our most delicate, stainable, and expensive possessions.

Many parents sacrifice having a stylish home while their children are young. But one of our clients refused to wait until her children outgrew their grubby-hands phase to design the living room of her dreams. She needed a room with a double life: in the daytime, a play area for her kids, and in the evening, a space for entertaining guests. So SRM came up with a solution.

We designed unique pillows for the living room couch, a place where both children and guests spend the majority of their time. One side of each pillow is fabric, and the reverse side is leather. When children are playing in the living room, the leather side faces out. Spills and dirt are easily wiped away, so she doesn’t have to worry. When guests arrive, she flips the pillows over to reveal the chic fabric pattern.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Helena's Going Away Party
All good things must come to an end, and last week, we had to say goodbye to our interior design intern, Helena. She’s been with us since January, but is now heading back to school in Kansas. She was an incredibly valuable member of the team and we miss her already! Best of luck Helena!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Solution of the Week: Highboy
This piece sits in the entry of the French Tudor house of one of our clients. While much of the home’s interior design is of a traditional French style, some of the rooms are more contemporary. As the centerpiece of the entryway, this highboy needed to fit with both design styles.
The space is small, which presented a bit of a puzzle for us. How could we design a tall cabinet that wouldn’t make the room feel crowded? One part of the solution is its metal legs, which make the highboy look like it’s almost floating, and creates more space in the small room.
Super Star Vendor: Amy Caplan
Amy Caplan is the owner of Caplan Art Designs, and she represents local Portland artists. We love working with Amy because not only does she have exceptional taste in art, but she always goes the extra mile for our clients. She regularly brings art to our clients’ homes so they can get a feel for how the pieces will look before they decide to purchase.

Amy recently opened a gorgeous new showroom in the Pearl. Check it out at 1035 NW Lovejoy.

Visit Caplan Art Designs at:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Molly’s Fund Butterfly Takes Flight
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… a plastic butterfly?

These large butterflies are for Serving Up Style, a benefit for Molly’s Fund Fighting Lupus, one of our favorite charities. These butterflies will serve as canvases for 10 of Portland’s most talented artists, who will transform the butterflies into unique works of art. The finished butterflies will be auctioned off at Serving Up Style, with proceeds going towards lupus research.

Our fabulous intern Helena designed these 3-dimensional plastic butterflies. She worked closely with Fullbore Innovations, Inc. to turn the concept into reality. Creating these butterflies was no easy task. This type of plastic usually does not lend easily to dimensionality, so they had to come up with a creative solution to achieve the bubbled look. Fullbore used a two piece injection mold, which created the dome of the butterfly wings and brought Helena’s design to life.

Stay tuned for more information, videos, and pictures of the Molly’s Fund butterflies.

For more information about Serving Up Style please visit:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Solution of the Week: Suzani Throw
Suzani is an embroidered tribal textile, native to Uzbekistan and other central Asian countries. Traditionally, brides in the region make Suzanis as part of their dowry, as a gift for grooms on their wedding day. The intricacy and beauty of Suzanis have universal appeal, and now Suzanis are being made sans wedding.

Here, SRM converted an authentic Suzani from Indigo Traders into a bed throw. We backed the textile with a reinforcing fabric to protect the integrity of the piece.

Visit our vendor: Indigo Traders

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Culture Club: Portland's Iron Chef
Portland’s Iron Chef event was a huge success this year, drawing 480 supporters to the Hilton Ballroom, including half of our staff. The event raised over $290,000 for the Children’s Relief Nursery, an organization that works to prevent child abuse and neglect in Portland.

SRM is proud to call the Children’s Relief Nursery a client, and we take every opportunity we can to support their cause. Our graphics department designed the print materials for the event, and it was great to see their work in action!

Learn more about the Children's Relief Nursery and Portland's Iron Chef at

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Behind the Scenes: Pratt & Larson Tour
Recently, our neighbors Pratt & Larson, one of the country’s leading tile manufacturers, hosted a walk-through their studio. On the tour, we got to see how they make their beautiful, handcrafted tile, which we have ordered for many of our clients over the years.

Pratt & Larsen opened in 1980. It now distributes its tile all over the U.S. and Canada and has over 100 employees.

Check Out Pratt & Larson's beautiful tiles at