Jordan graduated from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn with a degree in fine art with a special affinity for woodworking and welding. He spent some time in Atlanta, creating works out of reclaimed plywood and then bounced back to a NY community of craftsman, further honing his woodworking skills. In 2013 he made the move to Portland, discovering his Tiny Shed workspace at Green Anchors right next to Cathedral Park in North Portland. There, with his workmate Dane of Two Ravens Forge, they practice their crafts to the sounds of the Misfits.
1. How would you refer to yourself? Woodworker? Artisan? Craftsman? Woodworker, sculptor
2. How did you get started? Building reclaimed structures with my step-dad
3. Why wood? It smells good and I love trees
4. What was the first thing you made from wood? Tiny planter seed box that worked like a jack-in-the-box
5. What does being creative meant to you? Happiness and freedom
6. Do you have any rituals? Firing up the wood stove, coffee
7. What is your favorite piece? Strange burled drops I keep on my desk
It’s Sunday. My thighs and calves are hurting today. Seriously sore. As a general condition, the muscles I typically exercise are two fingers on each hand for keyboarding, my butt, for sitting too much, and the little one between my ears. Yesterday I joined a dozen co-workers and family (yes, my 15 year old was there running a nailer) to install a floor we donated to the Two Blocks North project. This is definitely not work I do each day, in spite of owning a flooring company. The ups and downs, the kneeling, the bending over. I’m not in great shape, clearly.
Two Blocks North an ad hoc project put together by a few folks to help out a guy who was hit by a car while riding his bike to work. The driver was an 84 year old man who ran a light. He stayed to help at the scene.
The rider is a father and husband, and outdoorsy and well-liked in all the ways Portlanders are. He’s now confined to a wheel chair. The two story four square in North Portland couldn’t work for them anymore. The website tells it better, but the short of it is they were able to buy a one story nearby, and needed to upgrade and make it accessible.
Corey Omey, a friend of his and a principle at EMA Architecture & Urban Planning rallied people and the makeover got going fast. Corey called me about needing some beams. Sure, and how’s the flooring there? Well, the living room and hall are Pergo (retch) but there’s no money in the budget to replace. Okay, we can come up with something, and I might know some folks who would install it.
So sure enough, we found a batch of 500 square feet of our Tradewinds, and barely a word was needed for co-workers to jump in to help. In fact, ever try to install a floor with almost too many people? There was a fair share of jumping over each other, team choreography, and tangled hoses. But one seriously focused install happened nonetheless, from 8 in the morning to about 4:30, with barely a stop for donuts brought by sweet Ashley. At about 3 I started to get dizzy and realized I was way too dry in the throat. We all were. Kate looks up and says, “Hey I’m from California and I always have water in my trunk.” I don’t really know what she meant, but it was delicious water, and now I’m going to carry water too.
Tradewinds seemed like the perfect floor. We make it from crating and shipping material that comes into U.S. ports, inbound from China, typically. It’s a totally haphazard mix of Indonesian woods. I see meranti, teak, and a bunch that I’ll never know. It’s really not one of our best sellers, I think because its lively mottling and mixing is a powerful look. I love it, though, and Jennifer, our GM, even put it throughout her own home. It would be a good choice here due to its toughness and its visual interest, perhaps.
Near the end of the day the new owners happened by. We were experiencing a rare rain-less day, so they had come over to check out progress, and continue to get a feel for their new home, and yard. I was describing the source of the wood to Hanne and Brian, and I mentioned its not for everyone, I suppose feeling a bit self conscious. “But it is for us,” said Hanne.
Yup, my legs are sore. Magnificently, screamingly, wonderfully sore.
When Greg & Dee approached us about their family’s timber frame retreat home we knew it was going to be fun. They had great plans and land with amazing views – but more, their goal was to create a home as environmentally friendly as possible. Eliminating VOCs and incorporating reclaimed and organic materials (plus a solar array) were “must have” elements. We recently had a chance to chat with Greg about life on the mountain:
Expansive views of Catamount and Butternut Mountains enjoyed from the home.
“Well firstly, we loved the rich color and character we saw in the reclaimed timbers in the showroom,” explains Greg. “Now that they’re part of our home, we are so pleased that we went this direction.”
Greg has a special affinity for a particular Douglas fir post near the kitchen. It isn’t uncommon to see him hugging the post on his way into the common areas. “Every time I come into the house after I haven’t been there for a while, there is a post that I wrap myself around and give a giant hug too. I’ve been known to give it a little smooch as well. I really do love this house.” We can relate. In fact, hugging, handling, smelling, and staring dreamily at wood is typical day-to-day around our mill and office.
Our teams do love reclaimed wood!
“We wanted to use as much reclaimed wood as possible because it’s environmentally friendly and a healthier option for our family, but also just as important, we love the sustainability aspects of re-purposed wood,” Greg continued.
We learned that it would be common for Greg & Dee to have large gatherings and lots of cooks in the kitchen. Foot traffic would be heavy, but they live in a relaxed atmosphere, so shoes would be off. This type of living would be a good fit for Walnut as it is a softer hardwood. The rich coffee, purple, caramel, and tan toned wood flows throughout the main level of the home. “The Reclaimed Walnut floors are one of the best decisions that we made. We used a no VOC finish so they do require more care, but they are so beautiful that it’s totally worth it.” To balance out the darker floors, the custom NEWwoodworks cabinetry stays light.
Reclaimed Walnut flooring meets American Prairie Taphouse siding and is joined by Reclaimed Maple/Beech furniture (crafted by NEWwoodworks).
The interior trim is Douglas fir which joins with American Prairie Taphouse reclaimed softwoods on the bedroom, entry, and stair walls. “We were initially concerned that with having too much wood, that decorative wood paneling on the interior walls could be overkill. Turns out the team at Pioneer Millworks suggested just the right amount and it ended up being the perfect complement to the interior of our home.”
The custom stairs and railing were crafted by NEWwoodworks.
The stairs lead from the main level to a rec room, kid’s bedrooms, and an exercise room via Douglas fir and Walnut raisers and treads with a cable railing system.
The lower level rec room includes an entertainment center crafted with Reclaimed Settlers’ Plank Hardwoods and topped with Reclaimed American Gothic hardwoods (crafted by NEWwoodworks).
The lower level features Reclaimed Teak, an incredibly durable species with rich, warm tones. “Choosing the reclaimed teak was an excellent decision for downstairs. We love the look and really appreciate how well it has stood up to heavy traffic from the kids, friends, and our gym.”
“The rec room’s ‘as-found’ industrial salvaged timbers add a lot of fun and character to the space. Using them throughout the house would not meet our aesthetic desires, but in this room the timbers along with the reclaimed barn-wood on the ceiling definitely add to our house.”
When approaching the home it appears to have grown out of the land, to be part of the surrounding forest thanks in part to the exterior siding’s hard-earned natural tones. “Our favorite Pioneer Millworks element is the cladding on the exterior of the house. Perhaps more than any other feature, this multi-color, multi-textured wood sets the tone for the uniqueness of our home.”
Homeowners Greg & Dee.
“One of our favorite things to do is wake up in the morning on a cold winter day and lean back and our chairs in front of the picture window and drink in the view with a nice warm blanket and a hot cup of coffee. If a mountain was able to give birth to a house, this would be the house.”
Thanks Greg, Dee, and family for letting us be part of your dream home!
***** New Energy Works Timberframers (our sister company) designed Greg and Dee’s retreat home creating a layout with ample party space with unobstructed southern views of the Catamount and Butternut Mountains. They included screened and covered porches which blur the line between interior and exterior spaces. Their team enclosed the home with the high efficiency Matrix Wall System and SIP roof panels. This same group was also responsible for installing the American Prairie Reclaimed Siding. We work elbow to elbow with New Energy Works and are always thankful for how smoothly our combined projects go. Plus, they’re as wood obsessed as we are!
(If you’re interested in the whole story, Timber Home Living Magazine has followed this project from design to completion.)
Pam’s patio was suffering from a lack of use, and she realized that was probably due to a lack of personality. The custom concrete work wasn’t doing quite enough to draw the family outside.
The concrete block wall didn’t do enough to complement the beautiful custom textured concrete patio.
Previously clad in plain plywood, the storage area under the deck now features custom made doors on specialty hardware.
Looking for something more exiting that typical siding, Pam wanted something to really ‘pop’ and liven up the space and she knew that reclaimed Barn Siding would do just that. Opting for the Mixed Brown-Grey product that includes the full range of weathered colors, she also varied the layout, mixing vertical and horizontal and even building a custom pair of barn style doors with a modern vibe.
The end result (paired with a splash of color on the glass doors) is a lively, live-able patio, that the whole family loves!
The completed patio is a dramatic change- the siding and fun punch of color on the doors make a huge difference. Now the space is modern and inviting.