Sparkling Sawdust—HiLo Hotel in Portland

InviteBlog post by Deborah Roe

Last Thursday night (7/13) was the opening for HiLo in downtown Portland, Oregon. A few of us from Pioneer Millworks attended the event where we ate, were painted gold, and silently discoed the night away. The 120-room boutique style hotel resides in the Oregon Pioneer Building (a National Register of Historic Places). We have a few ties—turns out back in 2008-10 our own Elise Payne worked in the building.

Drinks

The party started as soon as we walked in the door. There were specialty drinks and intricate food of various varieties scattered throughout the hotel.

Piano PlayerThe lobby designed by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, speaks to the Oregon mood—greens and greys with contemporary and natural finishes throughout.  HiLo created an “Exchange Box” where guests could donate to Piano Push Play and pick a bag with prizes worth $20 – $500. The organization rescues pianos and puts them on the street for everyone to enjoy. There was a line-up of skilled piano players tickling the keys in the lobby throughout the event.

Exhange Box

After the lobby, the tour prompted us to visit the sixth floor—where we were excited to see one many installs of our American Gothic Mixed Oak.

Room

The wood was finished with a custom stain and a Vermont natural coating water based poly, giving it a rich dark look and feel. One guest we spoke too said, “the rooms feel so high end and the wood creates a feeling of warmth.”

LogoThat was nice to hear, and the wood was great to see in its final form. We especially loved finding our logo, which is etched onto a piece of wood in every room.

Opera SingerOkay…back to the party. In the suite, HiLo featured an opera singer in the bathroom to show off the acoustics. We were floored with the surprise and performance. (As you can see even Jonathan couldn’t help but take a video.)

Elevator Area

After experiencing the rooms (with locally based Maak Lab‘s special plant-based fragrance of Port Orford cedar being pumped through the vents) we got on the elevator and went to the lower-level to experience more of the opener.

Face Painting

Make-up and hair artists were on location to put gold accents on guests. Once we received our sparkle it was off to the silent disco.

Selfie

After a bit of boogieing, we headed up to the main level for a nosh. It was there we had a moment to speak with the General Manager, Eric Paul, who shared that our reclaimed wood has become a conversation piece that everyone loves. We couldn’t have been more flattered and proud to be part of such a great project with great people. Our thanks for the invite, HiLo team—cheers.

Design Week Portland Artist Feature: Zenbox Design

Karma, Jen and Bryan Danger

Karma, Jen and Bryan Danger

Bryan Danger started Zenbox Design after a May 2014 article in the New York Times featuring he and his partner Jen’s Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) garnered a lot of attention. Bryan has a master of Architecture from UofO but moved into Graphic Design and somehow found himself working in a high-tech corporate office for 14 years. After a year driving through Mexico and Central America in their 67 VW Bus, Bryan and Jen moved back to Portland to start on their new path. The problem? They had renters in their home. Solution? They had a 480-square foot garage that wasn’t being used. They designed and built out the garage into a cozy living space. Word got out quickly and readers and neighbors alike were demanding Bryan design their ADU and custom furniture. Hesitant at first, the couple wanted to keep their new found “nomadic balance”. Though they had been working with neighbors for free for some time, zenbox design was officially born and takes on a few clients every year for custom homes and furniture. The rest of the time the couple rents their garage on

The problem? They had renters in their home. Solution? They had a 480-square foot garage that wasn’t being used. They designed and built out the garage into a cozy living space. Word got out quickly and folks started requesting Bryan design their ADU and custom furniture. Hesitant at first, the couple wanted to keep their new found “nomadic balance”. Though they had been working with neighbors for free for some time, Zenbox Design was officially born and takes on a few clients every year for custom homes and furniture. The rest of the time the couple rents their garage on Airbnb and travels with their dog, Karma, around the continent in their custom sprintervan (another Zenbox project).

1. How would you refer to yourself? Woodworker? Artisan? Craftsman?
Designer/Creative. Our designs range from custom furniture and installations to small custom homes.

2. How did you get started?
Ive always designed/built as much of my own furniture/environment as I could. In 2013, my wife and I had downsized and purged all our belongings to take a 2 year road trip. Upon returning we hated the idea of simply buying all our furniture rather than each piece being intentional, and started designing/building them instead.

The garage transformed into an ADU.

The garage transformed into an ADU, courtesy of zenboxdesign.com

3. Why wood?
Our designs tend to use a combination of wood and steel, but we feel wood is critical because of the softness and warmth it brings to a space. All the better if that wood is also reclaimed and has a story/history to tell.

4. What was the first thing you made from wood?
As best I can recall, a 3’ tall model of the Trojan Horse, when I was 6th grade. As Zenbox design, I think our first piece was a steel and reclaimed wood barstool that we still use (and offer to clients) today.

Barstool

Bar stool

5. What does being creative meant to you?
It’s simply how my brain works—I have to be designing or creating something to feel active or alive. It’s not a switch I can turn off and I naturally find my brain creatively redesigning every space I walk into and everything I touch.

6. Do you have any rituals?
None.

7. What is your favorite piece?
Our tiny home has a bar/island that takes up no space on a day to day basis but can roll out to seat 6–8 when we entertain. It’s a 6’ long slab of reclaimed fir we took out of the house in the remodel and it seems to be the perfect combination of creative reuse because the material is serving in its second life and the piece itself serves multiple roles (and is also the centerpiece of our home).

6' slab of reclaimed fir, courtesy of zenboxdesign.com

6′ slab of reclaimed fir, courtesy of zenboxdesign.com

8. Who inspires you?
Anyone who is thinking and living outside the box, breaking norms and following their dreams!

9. What do you hope to communicate through your work?
Clean lines. Elegant simplicity. Functional beauty.

10. If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?
We seem to be constantly reinventing ourselves, so “this” is different every day.  Luckily we seem to keep finding clients that push our creativity and expertise, so the evolution of Zenbox Design is created by the projects and clients we choose to partner with. If we one day run out of both client and personal projects, I guess I would likely become a tattoo artist, or scuba diving instructor, or both.

11. The ultimate piece you want to create?
I feel like each new client presents this opportunity.  The goal is always to design that person or families’ perfect custom home. To craft both the environment and pieces within it in a creative and functional way so that their living space literally transforms their lifestyle.

12. What’s your favorite thing about PDX?
The people. The creatives. The dreamers.  We travel much of the year and have yet to find anyplace with the intense diversity, creativity, and “weirdness” that is Portland. It’s almost impossible to not be charged or pushed creatively here. We live our lives outside the box and Portland seems to the only place where that is not only accepted but fully understood and supported/celebrated!

13. Favorite song?
Anything with a fiddle.

14. Favorite bridge?
Steel.

15. Favorite neighborhood
Division/Hawthorne.

16. What’s your favorite tool?
The planer. The process of getting just beneath the surface of reclaimed wood to find out what beauty lies beneath, it never gets old.

zen barcart for Design Week Portland

zen bar carts for Design Week Portland

Bryan and Jen Danger from Zenbox Design at read:grain, works with reclaimed wood on Friday, April 28th from 4-7pm during Design Week Portland. For more information, go here.

Design Week Portland Artist Feature: Global Homestead Garage

Philip Krain from Global Homestead Garage, art by Jennifer Korsen

Philip Krain from Global Homestead Garage, art by Jennifer Korsen

Philip Krain is an entrepreneur, consultant, and founder of Global Homestead Garage whose mission is to provide community members a platform to grow big ideas using shared resources. A series of fortunate events lead to his dream of running an incubator space for makers in Portland; in 2016 he received an email in his junk folder that advertised a business for sale. That business was Shop People, which is the original community makers space. It hosts around 30 artisans in the heart of the eastside industrial district. There is event space, artist studios, a lounge; shared equipment is provided for jewelers, metal workers, and wood workers—all now part of Global Homestead Garage thanks to that email.

1. How would you refer to yourself? Woodworker? Artisan? Craftsman?
My primary role within the Global Homestead Garage is to create a platform for artisans and small businesses to grow big ideas using shared resources. When given the opportunity, I enjoy designing and creating with natural and upcycled materials.

2. How did you get started?
My previous career as a renewable energy developer allowed me to work with architects on active and passive solar design. My recent hands-on work has focused on landscape design and implementation as well as home remodeling. As a result of these projects, I took an industrial design class, which solidified my passion for problem-solving design.

3. Why wood?
I love working with wood, as it is a natural, beautiful, and soothing material. Although it’s a renewable resource, we need to honor its scarcity, reclaim its integrity, and enhance its value in our life.

4. What was the first thing you made from wood?
I remember making an ash baseball bat in seventh-grade shop class. It wasn’t the best piece of wood and it broke shortly after I began to use it. As an adult, I turned a stick shift knob for my Jeep from a chunk of maple burl.

5. What does being creative mean to you?
To me, being creative means finding realistic solutions using limited resources (tangible or intangible) and unlimited options.

6. Do you have any rituals?
No, but I should make time for some…

7. What is your favorite piece?
I love our front yard. It’s an all-encompassing portfolio of permaculture, craftsman, and playful design.

Phillip's front yard project.

Phillip’s front yard project.

 

8. Who inspires you?
Children inspire me because no one should bare the burden of fixing other people’s mess. We need to work to clean our mess so that the children of children can enjoy their lives.

9. What do you hope to communicate through your work?
There is inherent value in many items that have been deemed worthless and may be headed for the landfill.

10. If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?
Great question. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

11. The ultimate piece you want to create?
Global Homestead Garage is my ultimate project.

Lobby at Global Homestead Garage

Lobby at Global Homestead Garage

12. What’s your favorite thing about PDX?
It used to be the smell of beer riding my bike down West Burnside at 2 am. Today, it’s the positive energy of all the people. My neighbors continue to rally as leaders within our community for a life designed with sustainable intention.

13. Favorite song?
Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue – “So What”.

14. Favorite bridge?
The Sellwood Bridge.

15. Favorite neighborhood?
Sellwood.

16. What’s your favorite tool?
My laptop.

Doug fir used for Philip's table for Design Week Portland

Doug fir used for Philip’s table for Design Week Portland

Philip Krain from Global Homestead Garage at read:grain, works with reclaimed wood on Friday, April 28th from 4-7pm during Design Week Portland. For more information, go here.

Design Week Portland Artist Feature: Work PDX

Henry Silvestrini and Billy

Henry Silvestrini and Billy

Henry Silvestrini has been working at ADX since 2013. His mother was an art teacher and so Henry has been immersed in a creative world from a young age. After studying neuroscience in college he realized that this was not the career path he wanted and refocused on the studio art classes he had started to take at ADX in his free time.

Henry joined ADX’s shop steward program making tables, cabinets, and furniture. Now, in addition to leading the fabrication department, he has begun his own woodworking business, Work PDX. Henry’s project for our Design Week Portland Open House makes use of timbers reclaimed from Centennial Mills.

1. How would you refer to yourself? Woodworker? Artisan? Craftsman?
Fabricator/Designer.

2. How did you get started?
I started building things in college (4 years of studio art/sculpture).

3. Why wood?
Every piece is different and the tools you need to work it are accessible to someone just starting out.

Timber from Centennial Mills

Timber from Centennial Mills

4. What was the first thing you made from wood?
A toy sword as a kid.

5. What does being creative meant to you?
I’m not sure. I guess just having the desire to come up with new ideas or solutions.

6. Do you have any rituals?
None other than my morning coffee.

7. What is your favorite piece?
Michael Heizer’s, “City”. There are not many people who successfully build objects that stand against the scale of nature. He gets close.

My favorite pieces that I’ve made are cast aluminum coyote skulls. Melting and pouring metal by hand is exciting.

Cast aluminum coyote skulls

Cast aluminum coyote skulls


8. Who inspires you?
My biggest influence was my sculpture teacher from college Mike Rathbun. The man could build anything from wood and he did. He also emphasized consideration before building.

9. What do you hope to communicate through your work?
Nothing. I’m happy if people look at it and think, “that’s cool.” I’m interested in ideas of permanence and weight; I like to build big heavy things that will last.

10. If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?
Working on my house. I bought a teardown and I made the mistake of fixing it up one room at a time.

11. Ultimate piece you want to create
A fire lookout tower out in the middle of nowhere. I love having a view, and living 50’ the air sounds perfect.

12. What’s your favorite thing about PDX?
The people and the food.

13. Favorite song?
Mean, by Taylor Swift. Classic.

14. Favorite bridge?
Steel Bridge.

15. Favorite neighborhood?
South East.

16. What’s your favorite tool?
A table saw

One of the timbers used to make the lamps for Design Week Portland.

One of the timbers used to make the lamps for Design Week Portland.

Henry Silvestrini from Work PDX at read:grain, works with reclaimed wood on Friday, April 28th from 4-7pm during Design Week Portland. For more information, go here.