Sparkling Sawdust—HiLo Hotel in Portland

InviteBlog post by Deborah Roe

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: Read:Grain

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Design Week Portland 2017 was the week of April 21-29, 2017. On April 28, 2017, Pioneer Millworks had an open house at the SE Portland Studio in Oregon. Following a theme of ‘Read:Grain’, Pioneer Millworks in an effort to support local makers invited 8 makers to design original pieces using our reclaimed wood.

Joel Knudsen of Branches Furniture at the Pioneer Millworks Mill in McMinnville, Oregon picking out wood for his project.

Joel Knudsen of Branches Furniture at the Pioneer Millworks Mill in McMinnville, Oregon picking out wood for his project.

“Wood works as structure, as craft, and as art. Its sustainability is second to none in this trio of strengths,” explains Pioneer Millworks Founder, Jonathan Orpin. “Pioneer Millworks takes it one step further by reclaiming wood, and we’ve done it for 25 years and to 26 million board feet. We’re psyched to support these craftspeople by offering them the wood, the space to share, and a small stipend with which to explore. Yum. Friday afternoon wine and cheese, good company, and reclaimed wood furniture. I’m in!”

From L to R: Josh Felty, Jonathan Taylor, Bryan and Jennifer Danger, Henry Silvestrini, Bill Wessinger, Philip Krain, Jordan Saia, Garret Michael, Jonathan Orpin, Alyse and Joel Knudsen at the open house.

From L to R: Josh Felty, Jonathan Taylor, Bryan and Jennifer Danger, Henry Silvestrini, Bill Wessinger, Philip Krain, Jordan Saia, Garret Michael, Jonathan Orpin, Alyse and Joel Knudsen at the open house.

The Open House had 60+ guests rotating through our design studio touching, feeling and admiring the artisan’s Read:Grain creations:

Branches Furniture – Joel & Alyse Knudsen

This bench was created using our Kentucky Fence Board.

This bench was created using our Oak Black and Tan.

 

Working with Pioneer Millworks to design and build an original piece of furniture for their Design Week open house was such a great opportunity for us to not only work with superior reclaimed material but to broaden our audience. Meeting and talking with all the folks at the open house gave us the chance to introduce our work to new people and to make meaningful connections with other Portland makers.” – Joel

Global Homestead Garage – Philip Krain

Sash Table made from Centennial Mills timbers.

Sash Table made from our Heart Pine.

 

Makers Woodworks – Garrett Michael

Bench made with our Oak Black and Tan

Bench made with our Oak Black and Tan

 

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The DWP open house event hosted by Pioneer Millworks was great. The chance to meet and get a little background on some other local artists we weren’t familiar with was energizing, and the pieces were original and well designed and built. Good food, drinks and networking. The staff gets 5 stars for pulling it together.“

- Garrett

Tiny Shed – Jordan Saia

Gaming table made from our American Prairie Tap House wood.

Gaming table made from our American Prairie Tap House.

 

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Pioneer Millworks allowed me the space and freedom to put my dream table together for Portland Design Week. They had beautiful material to choose from and I enjoyed every minute of the build. It was a very special event for all of us and so nice to see all the incredible work from so many talented makers.” – Jordan

Wessinger Woodworks LLC – Bill Wessinger

Folding Chair and Folding Lamp made from our Tropical Hardwood Trade Winds Bright.

Folding Chair and Folding Lamp made from our Tropical Hardwood Trade Winds Bright.

 

The event was a wonderful opportunity for me to create a new design. At the event I had great conversations both with other makers and with those who appreciate the things we make. It was fantastic to see how many different aesthetic directions people went with the reclaimed materials available.”

- Bill

Work-PDX – Henry Silvestrini

These lamps and card holder were crafted out of Centennial Mills Timbers.

These lamps and card holder were crafted out of Centennial Mills Timbers.

Lamp 01Lamp 02I had a great time at the event, it was awesome to meet so many other talented makers and designers. As a fabricator, I rarely get the chance create something without stipulations or limitations. I really appreciated the opportunity to design a product that wasn’t intended to make money or fit into a specific space. I got to build exactly what I wanted (which doesn’t happen often). It wouldn’t have happened without the Pioneer Millworks team and we all appreciate it!” – Henry

Zenbox Design – Bryan and Jen Danger

Bar Cart made with our Oak American Gothic

Bar Cart made with our Oak American Gothic

 

The DWP event hosted by the team at Pioneer Millworks was a great experience for us on all fronts; from picking out wood from the enormous mill to chatting with other artisans to literally being inspired to create a piece we’ve been sketching for years.  We look forward to integrating their reclaimed materials into upcoming projects!” – Bryan

New Energy Works Timberframers – Jonathan Taylor, Josh Felty, Cameron Delzell

Table made from Oak American Gothic (Elise from Pioneer Millworks)

Table made from Oak American Gothic (Elise from Pioneer Millworks)

 

We loved to see the creative ideas these makers had using our reclaimed wood. Pioneer Millworks will continue to support makers, giving them a platform to celebrate the story of reclaimed wood and their craftsmanship.

Jen Danger, Alyse and Joel Knudsen.

Jen Danger, Alyse and Joel Knudsen. Back right: Bill Wessinger, and Bryan Danger.

Some of these pieces are for sale. Please contact the makers for more information.

 

 

Meet the team featuring: Steve

Notorious for his sense of humor and discerning eye, Steve is great when you need to smile or need detailed expertise on wood finishes. He filled us in during a recent Q and A: forest fires, contracting, bluegrass music, and an unusual fear of antiques…read on for details. steve w laser
What do you like about living and working in Upstate NY?
The weather! No, not really. I dislike the weather here 10 months out of the year. I’m into 70 degrees with sun and we get that for just a few weeks per year…which does make those weeks extra special. Truthfully, the best part about our neck of the woods is that my family lives in the area. After traveling the country looking for a place to call home, my wife and I settled back here, where we grew up.

You’ve been part of our team for four years. What role did you start in and where are you now?
I started stacking boards and bundling at the end of the moulder line. I could read calipers so Dave C taught me how to setup and run the moulder. Some time later there was a need for a finishing crew leader. While I wasn’t a finishing expert, I like to lead and learn, so I spent months researching finishes, reading everything I could get my hands on – including scouring forums of flooring contractors who freely gave their opinions of different finishes.

It seems like just yesterday I ordered samples of several different waterborne polyurethanes and tested them all. I specifically tested for ease of application, scratch resistance, and availability – I obviously had to be able to get the product when needed! I shared with our larger team and we decided on Vermont Natural Coatings because of their commitment to the planet; their finish is really good; and it’s made in the USA. Win Win Win!!  (Specifically, Vermont Natural Coatings PolyWhey Floor Finish was engineered to take advantage of whey protein – a byproduct of the cheese industry. We can almost say that we are using a reclaimed product on a reclaimed product.)Steve promo pic

 monocoat finishing sp oakTJ and team finishingWhat is your team’s role?
I lead the finishing and samples departments  – we produce about 1,300 samples annually, many of them fully customized for individual projects. Last year we pre-finished 30% of all projects – that’s several hundred thousand board feet. We also have a laser etcher which is a fun tool for special customization like adding logos or phrases to various planks.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your background with wood?
I graduated from the University of Vermont where I studied Forestry. I focused on forest ecosystem restoration – I wanted to repair damaged ecosystems, and restore Old-growth northern hardwood forests to the Northeast.

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Slade Hall, University of Vermont. Steve and co-habitants created daily vegan and vegetarian meals and lived a planet conscious lifestyle.

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Normally behind the camera during his Fire Line Sawyer days, Steve found one image of himself geared up in Yosemite.


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After college, I did what every forestry graduate does: I headed west to fight fire. I worked three fire seasons with the National Park Service, primarily working prescribed fires in California, Oregon, Nevada, and in the Everglades. I worked my way up to a Fire Effects Monitor and Fire Line Sawyer before calling it quits. I watched fire burn around the bases of the Sequoias, was dropped off in the Yosemite backcountry via helicopter, and took a boat through the everglades to torch 10,000 acres of sawgrass. Ah, to be that young again!

Immediately prior to Pioneer Millworks, I owned/ran a business installing tile and hardwood floors and doing light construction work. Overall, the workload was very up and down. Timing was right; Pioneer made the choice to leave my business very easy.

What about reclaimed wood appeals to you?
The idea that we reuse/repurpose wood that would have ended up in a landfill is very exciting to me. I am an active advocate for environmental causes and being able to work for a company that purposely limits it’s impact on the planet makes it very easy for me to come to work.

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Which product is your favorite?
My favorite product is Settlers’ Plank Mixed Oak. When sanded just right and oiled, to me it becomes the quintessential reclaimed floor. The richness, the mix of grain, the depth of patina, make it such a timeless floor.

On a side note, I would only use one product to finish this floor: Rubio Monocoat. By utilizing Monocoat you can be assured that you will never have to sand the floor to remove finish (like you would a poly or aluminum oxide) to fix a scratch, etc. Sanding would potentially destroy the original saw marks and coloration that make Settlers’ Plank what it is, so the finish is a key element.

What fun finishing story can you share with us?
Back when we used 2-component polyurethanes we would end up with some waste at the end of a job. Instead of disposing of the finish in liquid form, we would pour it into nitrile glove and let it set up overnight. You see, with a 2-component polyurethane, it has a pot-life of a few hours and then it begins to gel up and it eventually turns to a  firm rubber-like consistency. We would dry out the poly hands, and occasionally ship them in care packages to our salespeople across the nation. We wanted to offer them a helping hand. All in good humor!

IMG_7159What are your hobbies outside of work?
In the rare instance that I have a few minutes to myself, I love to play Clawhammer Banjo. I started out loving bluegrass music until I re-discovered Old-time Appalachian music. Old time music skips the lyric driven tunes of bluegrass and throws out the mandolin and finger picks on the banjo. It’s a simple kind of music with big sound and a driving rhythm that will make you dance all night. My wife and I have vowed to instill a musical sense into our daughter from the day she was born. She attended her first music festival at 10 months old – The Great Blue Heron Festival near Jamestown. As a rule, we’ve determined that any festival that hosts Donna the Buffalo, is likely going to be child-friendly and fun. Otherwise, with a 5-year old in my life, my evenings are spent painting, coloring, and reading. 

Family, a vital part of Steves story.

A family of nature lovers.


Care to share something quirky about yourself?
I have a phobia of antiques – in particular, newspapers, furniture, dinnerware, and especially eating utensils. You won’t find me at an antique store looking for treasures. How do I work with antique wood with this phobia? I don’t know but I do love reclaimed wood even if it is old.

(A few more images from Steve’s fire chasing days are below):

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Raw and Honest: Revitalizing “Old Town” Portland and Shifting Spaces in Seattle

“Old town” Portland is an area with a lot of history, some of it grand, some of it not so savory. We’re excited to see this area on the up and up. One of the most recent tenants? Our friends at Ankrom Moisan Architects (AMA).

ama-new-portland-officeAMA specializes in urban architecture and recently moved their Portland offices to the new 38 Davis Building at the corner of Northwest Davis Street and Northwest Naito Parkway. The firm’s 227 Portland employees now find their work spaces on three floors and 58,000-square feet of the six-story building. The AMA team is aiming for LEED Silver certification at this new location. Within the space is a variety of storied wood bringing different history to the “Old town”.

reclaimed-softwoods-in-ama-office-by-pioneerIn the words of AMA, “Through a deliberate combination of raw, honest, and playful elements, our new workplace will better express our thought processes as we work to continually elevate design.” Exposed beams and columns, heavy steel, contemporary furniture and muted colors are joined by reclaimed hardwoods and softwoods throughout the office. The new spaces use these raw and honest elements to celebrate structure and design.

reclaimed-softwoods-ceiling-ama-portland-by-pioneerThe main conference room immediately piqued our interest with its partially painted table top. (Perhaps our conference table is in need of a new inspired finish…) The AMA conference room incorporates lighter, reflective tones on each surface. American Prairie Painted fit the plan offering brighter surfaces allowing light reflection while highlighting original surfaces acquired from their past life cladding agricultural structures.

Subtle yet powerful punches of color appear throughout AMA in Portland. In meeting areas reminiscent of booth seating Black & Tan 50/50 paneling is accented with opaque orange and blue planks. We’re loving these meeting pods; offering privacy in a more compact footprint is something we could definitely get into for our showroom/office spaces!

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Sourced from fences in the southern states, we partially plane each plank. Because no two planks are alike and each has natural variation in thickness, individual boards have a different level of surfacing, resulting in truly random areas of untouched black paint.

reclaimed-black-and-tan-5050-oak-seating-ama-office-portlandThe lobby area desk is wrapped with Grandma’s Attic Reclaimed Softwoods and has that punch of color with bright yellow wall art.

ama-portland-reclaimed-wood-desk-wrap-from-pioneerThe unrestrained design experience will be shared with co-workers and clients alike in a central meeting room. AMA notes the creative process “takes each participant through an array of knowledge, references, emotions, and memories.” Here they’ve incorporated Black & Tan 50/50 at an angle to create a mosaic of wall paneling which spills from the wall onto the ceiling.

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AMA crafted a vent by carving into Black & Tan planks. (This reminds us a bit of our ‘raked’ reclaimed wood – more on that in another post.)

A bit further up the coast, the AMA office in Seattle, WA grew quickly from a team of 3 to a group of 100 scattered throughout two buildings and multiple floors. In order to support their culture of collaboration and innovation, in early 2016 the teams relocated to Seattle’s downtown core. Preserving the authenticity of their space, structural elements were left raw and exposed. Reclaimed American Gothic Engineered Ash brings warm tones while remaining understated in the Seattle office.

seattle-architect-ag-ash_floorFocused on community, AMA designed the Seattle studio “to be welcoming to clients, visitors, consultants, and the wider design community as well. The core of the suite serves the public, and includes multiple conference rooms, a great room/lounge, materials library, print room, and model shop.”  An open stairway connects the two floors and allows a seamless flow of  Reclaimed Ash between levels.

seattle-architect-ag-ash_stairsReclaimed Ash moves up from the floor to a long meeting table within the Seattle AMA office.Reclaimed Ash moves up from the floor to a long meeting table within the Seattle AMA office.