The New [Normal] House

COVID-19 has changed our lives.  Just as we must adapt to this new normal so should the way we live.  Our homes should accommodate the ability for us to transition to a cleaner environment at the door, prepare us as we head back out, and allow us to work remotely.

But how do we do this?  Think about what your entry serves–it is the place for coats, shoes, bags and keys.   But now we need a spot for things to quarantine (Amazon boxes and the like), dirty masks to go, clean masks at the ready, gloves, and the general ability to buffer our home from the outside world. 

Le Corbusier was famous for putting a sink in the entry at the Villa Savoye.  The home was designed for a doctor who was concerned with cleanliness and keeping his family safe.  Now I’m not saying you need a sink by your front door but I think we do need to shift how we think about the entry and consider ways to make this vestibule space work better for us—a sink is a reminder we might all need.  Programmatically many have or already want to add a powder room at the entry space which does the job.  If you enter from the garage you can take this one step further—you could have a powder and laundry room near this entry.

Other qualities in our homes keep us healthy—natural light, fresh air, ease of keeping things tidy.  As we spend more time home and our home becomes our school and office spaces it is important we make it as healthy as we can.  Many mid-century homes had home offices near the entry or even with their own entry door.  Your home office or studio doesn’t need to be a big space but rather an efficient space with the basics for working.  It should be a comfortable, inspiring and have the ability to be closed off from the rest of the house if possible.  Being able to leave your work is mentally healthier long term—and it is important to design this threshold to tell your brain when it is time to do so (or not!).  And thinking about creative ways to help kids have a workspace that helps them disconnect are worth considering as well.

We will continue to discuss these ideas in the weeks and months to come so stay tuned on our social media accounts for ideas moving forward. 

2019 Portland Modern Home Tour a Success

On Saturday, June 1st from 11-5pm our project was one of eight homes featured in the modern home tour hosted by the Modern Architecture + Design Society.  Thank you to the approximately 450 people who walked through our project.  Adrienne Goodwin, the owner of CONSTRUCT DESIGN, as well as Whit Thies and Matt Thomas, owners of Modern Organic Construction, were on site all day to discuss the project and  answer questions. 

The Nickles Residence was a modestly sized home was a design challenge that lended itself nicely to a 620 s.f. addition. By reconfiguring the traditional small rooms of the
existing 1007 s.f. Victorian home, we greatly improved the public space
and flow while adding a private master suite. Opening up the back center
of the house provides views that capitalize on the relationship to the

The new addition (phase 1) is a simply detailed modern
cedar box that provides a counterpoint to the more ornate Victorian
home. The new addition creates a “public” spine down the center of the
house, which suits the owners modern lifestyle. The addition utilizes a
troweled concrete slab-on-grade with in-floor radiant heating as both
finish floor, heat source, and foundation for maximum efficiency.
Special features include an exterior covered porch, wood fireplace, and a
wall of glass in the living room. Phase 2 completed
the vision of the home with a full remodel of the kitchen, guest bedroom
and main bathroom.  We were able to complete the new living area with a
floor to ceiling bookcase.

You can see images from this project on our website.

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