A backyard retreat in less than 800 sq ft

 

A client with grown children requested a small dwelling that could double as a work space. Serving as their main residence, this accessory dwelling unit (or ADU) sits behind a 1920s bungalow where their child and grandchild live. This build creates a unique family compound; one focusing on proximity and separation. A tranquility resonates in this backyard home, making one forget that they are in the middle of the city.

 

 
To contrast the dark exterior, the interiors are painted white. Cedar siding painted in Jet Black by Benjamin Moore contrasts the natural wood fencing. 

To contrast the dark exterior, the interiors are painted white. Cedar siding painted in Jet Black by Benjamin Moore contrasts the natural wood fencing. 

In the dining area, a garage door opens up to the adjacent courtyard, thereby doubling the size of the space. The garage door simply lifts out of the way and does not need the same amount of space as french doors or even accordion walls. 

In the dining area, a garage door opens up to the adjacent courtyard, thereby doubling the size of the space. The garage door simply lifts out of the way and does not need the same amount of space as french doors or even accordion walls. 

Baltic birch plywood cabinets are paired with wood countertops. The combination speed oven/microwave/convection oven is from Miele.

Baltic birch plywood cabinets are paired with wood countertops. The combination speed oven/microwave/convection oven is from Miele.

The butcher block countertops pair well with the fir wood trim, baltic birch cabinets, and mid-century mahogany glass display cabinet repurposed as a tea case.

The butcher block countertops pair well with the fir wood trim, baltic birch cabinets, and mid-century mahogany glass display cabinet repurposed as a tea case.

Taking inspiration from Japanese design patterns, there is a focus of bringing the outdoors inside, in addition to changes in volume reflected in various ceiling heights.

Taking inspiration from Japanese design patterns, there is a focus of bringing the outdoors inside, in addition to changes in volume reflected in various ceiling heights.

A collector of Japanese Tansus, the client asked that the space be designed for their specific pieces of furniture.

A collector of Japanese Tansus, the client asked that the space be designed for their specific pieces of furniture.

Calacatta Italian marble, a heated floor, a deep soaking tub, and a wall-mounted toilet lend an overall feeling of sophistication to this petite master bath. A skylight over the tub in the vaulted ceiling floods the space with natural light, and antique Japanese window coverings give a organic contrasting texture with the metal finishes. 

Calacatta Italian marble, a heated floor, a deep soaking tub, and a wall-mounted toilet lend an overall feeling of sophistication to this petite master bath. A skylight over the tub in the vaulted ceiling floods the space with natural light, and antique Japanese window coverings give a organic contrasting texture with the metal finishes. 

To anchor the bedroom wall, a trio of windows create an altar-like effect with views of the outdoors. A Japanese indigo noren visually opens the space in the doorway, while still accompanied by a pocket door. A grouping of three is visually repeated through the spherical roundness of the paper Noguchi lamp, the mid-century milk glass light and the moon pattern on the noren. 

To anchor the bedroom wall, a trio of windows create an altar-like effect with views of the outdoors. A Japanese indigo noren visually opens the space in the doorway, while still accompanied by a pocket door. A grouping of three is visually repeated through the spherical roundness of the paper Noguchi lamp, the mid-century milk glass light and the moon pattern on the noren. 

Urban modern living in a renovated warehouse

 

Located in Portland's Pearl District, this building was originally a warehouse in the 1920s, and was converted to lofts in the 1980s. Understanding the client's vision for a minimal, raw space, our designers took on the mission of transforming the outdated loft into a modern, industrial retreat. The client is a computer programmer and is visually intrigued by the way things work. All of these small details come together, creating a welcoming and contemporary home . 

 

 
A grouping of iconic pieces—the Saarinen table, the Nelson bubble lamp, and mid-century chairs (newly recovered with locally sourced black leather seating)—anchor the dining area and create a natural resting spot between the living and bedroom areas. This visual breaking up of the space keeps the loft from feeling overly long and disconnected.

A grouping of iconic pieces—the Saarinen table, the Nelson bubble lamp, and mid-century chairs (newly recovered with locally sourced black leather seating)—anchor the dining area and create a natural resting spot between the living and bedroom areas. This visual breaking up of the space keeps the loft from feeling overly long and disconnected.

A pipe that drains rainwater from the roof of the building was left exposed in the corner, offering great sound effects on a rainy spring day.

A pipe that drains rainwater from the roof of the building was left exposed in the corner, offering great sound effects on a rainy spring day.

New lighting was added and the wiring left intentionally exposed. The lines created by showing off the building's systems creates visual interest.

New lighting was added and the wiring left intentionally exposed. The lines created by showing off the building's systems creates visual interest.

The long, open space of the loft is divided by the custom pocket wall that can hide the bedroom when guests are over. The closets in the bedroom were designed to mimic the Vitsoe shelves in the living room.

The long, open space of the loft is divided by the custom pocket wall that can hide the bedroom when guests are over. The closets in the bedroom were designed to mimic the Vitsoe shelves in the living room.

The rug in the bedroom area emulates the shadows that the trees outside of the windows create on the floor. The window treatments were chosen in a dark shade of grey to match the concrete walls and disappear visually whether up or down. 

The rug in the bedroom area emulates the shadows that the trees outside of the windows create on the floor. The window treatments were chosen in a dark shade of grey to match the concrete walls and disappear visually whether up or down. 

Each panel of the sliding wall is painted a slightly different tone of white to add interest.

Each panel of the sliding wall is painted a slightly different tone of white to add interest.

A period-appropriate remodel, with room to make music

 

Birkemeier homes are unique to the Pacific Northwest, and highly coveted by mid-century enthusiasts. Designed and built by Kenneth Birkemeier throughout the 1950s, the houses are innovative and extremely well crafted. When our client approached us for design services, they wanted to honor the purism of the original mid-century home while renovating areas in the basement into a music recording studio, restoring the bathrooms, choosing exterior colors, and adding a general design touch into each room of the home. We worked with the client to ensure that all of the details reflected the craftsmanship that is characteristic of Birkemeier homes.

 
This custom wall unit was designed with mid-century influence. Its wall-to-wall placement in the home office offers a handsome arrangement of storage.

This custom wall unit was designed with mid-century influence. Its wall-to-wall placement in the home office offers a handsome arrangement of storage.

A new music recording studio was added to the lower level. The study of acoustical engineering was used in a recording studio for good sound mitigation. This was carried throughout the rest of the home: older windows were replaced with new triple-paned and louder functioning mechanicals, such as the furnace, were moved to the garage.

A new music recording studio was added to the lower level. The study of acoustical engineering was used in a recording studio for good sound mitigation. This was carried throughout the rest of the home: older windows were replaced with new triple-paned and louder functioning mechanicals, such as the furnace, were moved to the garage.

The kitchen was restored to its 1954 glamour with the original birch plywood cabinets, vintage hardware, and ceramic tile countertops. Modern upgrades were worked into the design with subtlety—the new built-in Leibherr counter depth refrigerator (left) was faced with the same plywood as the rest of the cabinetry.

The kitchen was restored to its 1954 glamour with the original birch plywood cabinets, vintage hardware, and ceramic tile countertops. Modern upgrades were worked into the design with subtlety—the new built-in Leibherr counter depth refrigerator (left) was faced with the same plywood as the rest of the cabinetry.

Transforming the modern bungalow

 

What began as a complete basement remodel eventually turned into a wonderful working relationship with clients to update this entire home. A to-the-studs remodel and reworking of the basement transformed a dark and rarely used portion of the home into a bright and welcoming modern extension of the upstairs. Pairing the bungalow cabinetry style and materials with more modern furnishings, art, and textiles creates a lively and vibrant home for this family.

 

 
By removing a false wall that oddly separated the space and blocked light, a custom wall-to-wall built-in was incorporated along the rear length of the basement. The integrated kitchenette was important for easy access to kids' snacks and clean-up after craft projects. A lowered desk space is utilized for study, gift-wrapping, and card-making. Reclaimed fir plank on the walls and lights from Schoolhouse Electric tie into the same finishes found in the upper level of the home.

By removing a false wall that oddly separated the space and blocked light, a custom wall-to-wall built-in was incorporated along the rear length of the basement. The integrated kitchenette was important for easy access to kids' snacks and clean-up after craft projects. A lowered desk space is utilized for study, gift-wrapping, and card-making. Reclaimed fir plank on the walls and lights from Schoolhouse Electric tie into the same finishes found in the upper level of the home.

Ample shelves offer plenty of space for these avid book collectors to organize using the dewey decimal system, while leaving space to showcase collected objects and art. An extra-wide hallway keeps the basement spacious and open, with expansive walls to display a growing art collection.

Ample shelves offer plenty of space for these avid book collectors to organize using the dewey decimal system, while leaving space to showcase collected objects and art. An extra-wide hallway keeps the basement spacious and open, with expansive walls to display a growing art collection.

A need for both guest room and office resulted in another fun custom built-in: a Murphy Bed. When entering the office in the basement, a paneled wall with closets on both sides anchors the space across from the desk. The paneled wall folds down to reveal a queen-size bed with wall niches and outlets for bedside lighting.

A need for both guest room and office resulted in another fun custom built-in: a Murphy Bed. When entering the office in the basement, a paneled wall with closets on both sides anchors the space across from the desk. The paneled wall folds down to reveal a queen-size bed with wall niches and outlets for bedside lighting.

Two boys sharing one bedroom can often feel cluttered. By lofting one of the boys' beds and adding a desk area underneath, separate, privatized zones are created through defined volumes of space.

Two boys sharing one bedroom can often feel cluttered. By lofting one of the boys' beds and adding a desk area underneath, separate, privatized zones are created through defined volumes of space.

Updated furnishings, a new George Nelson light fixture, and new window treatments throughout the home created an updated pallette through all levels.

Updated furnishings, a new George Nelson light fixture, and new window treatments throughout the home created an updated pallette through all levels.

New construction for work and play

 

When our clients decided to move to Portland, they needed a home that would offer them the space for their growing family, as well space to work from home in a separate music studio. Upon finding a home in the beginning stages of construction that boasted an ADU, S. Baird Design was hired to re-work the plans, select all finishes, specify fixtures, and oversee the build. The clients needed a well designed "blank canvas" to move into. The project was driven by the client's simple, refined, and multiculturally influenced aesthetic along with the understanding that sustainable and quality materials are essential to a healthy home.

 

 
With a robust color consultation practice, we worked with both client and developer to select an exterior color palette that would accentuate the varying planes of the home while remaining subtle and refined. The addition of wood on the steps, doors, and wrapped entry adds interest and warmth.

With a robust color consultation practice, we worked with both client and developer to select an exterior color palette that would accentuate the varying planes of the home while remaining subtle and refined. The addition of wood on the steps, doors, and wrapped entry adds interest and warmth.

A neutral yet warm backdrop was requested by the clients for the finishes. A wide collection of curated items and art through years of travel needed to be easily integrated into the home. The contrast of multiple woods—white oak floors and cabinetry, birch doors, fir-capped handrails—lend a sense of interest and tonal warmth. Room layouts were modified from the builder's plans to create an open connection between the kitchen and living rooms.

A neutral yet warm backdrop was requested by the clients for the finishes. A wide collection of curated items and art through years of travel needed to be easily integrated into the home. The contrast of multiple woods—white oak floors and cabinetry, birch doors, fir-capped handrails—lend a sense of interest and tonal warmth. Room layouts were modified from the builder's plans to create an open connection between the kitchen and living rooms.

Honoring the craftsmanship and style of the original owner

 

As a recipient of awards for historic preservation, our firm understands the importance of honoring a home's history and character. When presented with the opportunity to remodel this mid-century gem hidden in the forest of the Pacific Northwest, our designers knew that restoration was the correct approach. Consulting the original owner and builder, S. Baird Design gained firsthand insight into the construction techniques of the era and collected unique stories about the home, rich in history. A successful restoration and design was the result, seamlessly blending the craftsmanship and character of the past with the modern amenities and lifestyle of the present. 

 

 
The original oak flooring had never been exposed—it was discovered underneath wall-to-wall white carpeting. The designers had it refinished. As the living room was quite large, multiple seating areas were created with a curated mixture of the furnishings belonging to the former owner, mid-century pieces picked up over time, and newer Crate and Barrel upholstered pieces. 

The original oak flooring had never been exposed—it was discovered underneath wall-to-wall white carpeting. The designers had it refinished. As the living room was quite large, multiple seating areas were created with a curated mixture of the furnishings belonging to the former owner, mid-century pieces picked up over time, and newer Crate and Barrel upholstered pieces. 

Keeping the original tiny kitchen footprint, the designers chose to update all finishes with minimal reconfiguration. A walnut bar was installed in place of the original formica, and the cooktop was moved from the kitchen and installed into the bar top, creating more counter prep space. White Carrara marble counters were installed in the kitchen, complementing the white overhead cabinets.

Keeping the original tiny kitchen footprint, the designers chose to update all finishes with minimal reconfiguration. A walnut bar was installed in place of the original formica, and the cooktop was moved from the kitchen and installed into the bar top, creating more counter prep space. White Carrara marble counters were installed in the kitchen, complementing the white overhead cabinets.

The original sliding partitions separating the kitchen from the dining room, made from burlap encased in amber-hued plastic, were restored.

The original sliding partitions separating the kitchen from the dining room, made from burlap encased in amber-hued plastic, were restored.

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All interior walls are restored mahogany. The ceiling is composed of rough hewn cedar 2x4's with a metal i-beam down the center to carry load and eliminate the need for interior partitioning walls.

All interior walls are restored mahogany. The ceiling is composed of rough hewn cedar 2x4's with a metal i-beam down the center to carry load and eliminate the need for interior partitioning walls.

An oceanfront home for an international traveler

 

Approached by a client from overseas, S. Baird Design was presented with the opportunity to remodel a mid-century oceanfront home on the Pacific Coast. After visiting the job site in person, our principal knew that the project laid before them was a perfect one—due to a lifelong love affair with the sweet coastal town of Manzanita, Oregon. Originally expecting the project to be minimal on many fronts, it morphed and grew as the designers and owner kept presenting one idea after another to each other. "How about a sauna with a copper roof and outdoor shower?" "YES!" The list goes on from there...2 and 1/2 years later—after much blood, sweat and laughter—this beautiful mid-century remodel was presented to the owner with a lovely party held in their honor. Now part of Coast Cabins rental group and a part-time vacation retreat for the homeowner, the results are nothing less than spectacular. 

 

 
The siding on the home is vertical installed ipe, as well as the decking on three sides. All new windows and doors, along with a new roof, completed the exterior envelope. 

The siding on the home is vertical installed ipe, as well as the decking on three sides. All new windows and doors, along with a new roof, completed the exterior envelope. 

At the front entrance, a long vista extends toward the ocean. Note the details of the ipe handrail to match.

At the front entrance, a long vista extends toward the ocean. Note the details of the ipe handrail to match.

The front-facing portion of Windward boasts a car port, perfect for hanging laundry to dry or storing wood for the fireplace. Native landscaping completes this beachfront home. 

The front-facing portion of Windward boasts a car port, perfect for hanging laundry to dry or storing wood for the fireplace. Native landscaping completes this beachfront home. 

The interior is trimmed with fir, and matching valances create the perfect niche into which mechanized shades to disappear. The rais fireplace was chosen for the heat output as well as for its built-in minimalistic look. Floors are Italian tile with radiant heat. 

The interior is trimmed with fir, and matching valances create the perfect niche into which mechanized shades to disappear. The rais fireplace was chosen for the heat output as well as for its built-in minimalistic look. Floors are Italian tile with radiant heat. 

The beautiful custom-made, rift-sawn white oak cabinetry is complemented with a matching solid white oak island, with built-in cooktop and range. This hallway view provides access to the three bedrooms and baths, in addition to the stairs down to a lower entrance, garage, and laundry area. 

The beautiful custom-made, rift-sawn white oak cabinetry is complemented with a matching solid white oak island, with built-in cooktop and range. This hallway view provides access to the three bedrooms and baths, in addition to the stairs down to a lower entrance, garage, and laundry area. 

The dining room table was chosen from Design Within Reach for the ability to take it outside to the deck for dining—occasionally outdoor furnishings transfer well to the interior of a home.

The dining room table was chosen from Design Within Reach for the ability to take it outside to the deck for dining—occasionally outdoor furnishings transfer well to the interior of a home.

Both bathrooms feature marble countertops, heated towel warmers, and the master bath boasts a steam shower. 

Both bathrooms feature marble countertops, heated towel warmers, and the master bath boasts a steam shower. 

Fir tongue-and-groove wood was applied to all three of the bedrooms on one wall for warmth and depth. This photo of the master bedroom illustrates the beam running through the home, and the detail of the wood valance for the window shades. 

Fir tongue-and-groove wood was applied to all three of the bedrooms on one wall for warmth and depth. This photo of the master bedroom illustrates the beam running through the home, and the detail of the wood valance for the window shades. 

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A Forest Park hideaway

 

A married couple of a writer/musician and an illustrator, our clients contacted us with the idea of incorporating an addition into their new home. Having moved from a bustling area of Portland to a very secluded location abutting Forest Park, they needed a studio space for drawing and writing because they were about to embark on the process of writing a children's book set in the woods around their new home. We helped them purchase the home, then set about creating the spaces that they needed by adding a second story to the detached garage. Views to the forest and an abundance of natural light through vaulted ceilings and skylights make this artists studio a sweet hideaway in the woods.

 
Reclaimed flooring sourced from a building nearby added warmth to the addition of a 2nd-floor open room on top of the garage. 

Reclaimed flooring sourced from a building nearby added warmth to the addition of a 2nd-floor open room on top of the garage. 

Abundant light was required for this illustration studio. By vaulting the ceilings and adding an abundance of windows, we were able to meet the needs of the artist.  

Abundant light was required for this illustration studio. By vaulting the ceilings and adding an abundance of windows, we were able to meet the needs of the artist.  

We added storage in the eaves for files and access to art. A free-standing pellet stove adds ambience and heat as needed.

We added storage in the eaves for files and access to art. A free-standing pellet stove adds ambience and heat as needed.

The back patio affords a view of new garage studio space.

The back patio affords a view of new garage studio space.

The lower half of the garage was devoted to a writing and music studio. 

The lower half of the garage was devoted to a writing and music studio. 

Fir wood and flooring was sourced from a warehouse that was being torn down, and a bench for toy storage and impromptu reading created a landing at the top of the stairs-turned-library. 

Fir wood and flooring was sourced from a warehouse that was being torn down, and a bench for toy storage and impromptu reading created a landing at the top of the stairs-turned-library. 

Maximizing space in a minimal footprint

 

When our client decided that roommate living was a thing best left in the past, they chose to create an apartment in their home that they could rent out to a tenant. The client knew that tapping into the unfinished space in the basement was a smart option. They approached us with a challenge: create a separate living quarters for a tenant while retaining a shared laundry facility, private self-storage area, and utility room for their use. Loving the challenge and excited by precise space-planning, S. Baird Design set out to create a unique and tailored 1-bedroom apartment in less than 500 sq ft.

 

 
Custom recessed cubbies for storage are made of reclaimed fir wood salvaged from the drawer boxes of an old church kitchen. The wooden cabinet base of the bar is a repurposed piece of mid-century furniture. By removing the back of the piece, there are open shelves accessible from the kitchen side, while the sliding doors on the living room side conceal easy access to board games.

Custom recessed cubbies for storage are made of reclaimed fir wood salvaged from the drawer boxes of an old church kitchen. The wooden cabinet base of the bar is a repurposed piece of mid-century furniture. By removing the back of the piece, there are open shelves accessible from the kitchen side, while the sliding doors on the living room side conceal easy access to board games.

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Space for the refrigerator was limited within the compact kitchen, which is open to the rest of the living area. By wrapping the refrigerator with a lovely plywood and selecting specialty appliance hardware, it becomes visually soothing and not an eyesore.

Space for the refrigerator was limited within the compact kitchen, which is open to the rest of the living area. By wrapping the refrigerator with a lovely plywood and selecting specialty appliance hardware, it becomes visually soothing and not an eyesore.

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Creating room for a growing family in a 1925 bungalow

 

When our clients originally purchased their home, they were a couple of two. As they added two beautiful daughters over the next few years, they quickly outgrew the space that they had envisioned would initially work for them. With a master on the upper floor and two other bedrooms on the lowest level of the home, being separated from their children at night did not offer peace of mind. S. Baird Design, in a close working relationship with the clients, concluded that adding on to the lowest level of the home was the correct solution. Challenged by a steeply sloped lot, the limitations of the footprint for the addition were unique. Adding a new staircase and pushing the home east by roughly 8 feet (the maximum to mirror the existing upper floor footprint), they were able to reconfigure the lower level space to include 3 bedrooms, an entry into a mudroom, a full bathroom, and a laundry room. At the end of a successful project, our clients could finally sleep in peace and comfort. 

 

 
Reconfiguration of the home included a new staircase off of the kitchen that descends to the lower-level addition.

Reconfiguration of the home included a new staircase off of the kitchen that descends to the lower-level addition.

The rear view of the home shows the proportionate addition that maximized the home's footprint, while remaining visually unobtrusive. 

The rear view of the home shows the proportionate addition that maximized the home's footprint, while remaining visually unobtrusive. 

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Radiant-heat herringbone Ann Sacks tile in the bathroom, Rohl fixtures, and a deep soaking tub create a destination and spa-like environment in the new bathroom.

Radiant-heat herringbone Ann Sacks tile in the bathroom, Rohl fixtures, and a deep soaking tub create a destination and spa-like environment in the new bathroom.

Panoramic views called for large north- and east-facing picture windows in the master bedroom. Softness and luxury is found underfoot with 100% natural New Zealand wool carpeting in the bedrooms. 

Panoramic views called for large north- and east-facing picture windows in the master bedroom. Softness and luxury is found underfoot with 100% natural New Zealand wool carpeting in the bedrooms.