medium projects

Even when things are not yet done…The Silver Lining

During remodels it is often that surprises lead to head aches, added costs and changes that sometimes alter the course of a project. There is a case where a surprise is a good thing. Cameron and Jen are phasing construction of the remodel of their 1940s home and have a happy surprise at the end of their first phase of work.

The first phase included a lot of work on plumbing and electrical upgrades but they also got a first look at the transformation of their kitchen. By removing a rarely used fireplace and adjacent wall their kitchen now opens up to the living room. By doing this both rooms get full advantage of sunlight from windows in both rooms. The removal of this wall  also makes two rooms feel larger because of their visual connection to each other making them “feel” as though they are one. With new cabinets and appliances coming soon Cameron and Jen now have a good sense of what excitement is to come.

Stay tuned for more on the changes. In the meantime here’s a preview!












When Sweden is Really Sweatin’ in the CC

Brian and Kristen were in plans of remaking the entire area outside their house when Spark got the call from this energetic couple. They said, we are buying a pre-fab kit sauna from Cedarbrook Sauna and would deck area that was both part of the sauna but also integrated with a new patio and landscaping, by Robinson Landscape Design.

Spark worked with them in both capacities of designer and builder. Kristen and Brian are that couple that compliments each other in all ways. Brian is Lieutenant and confidant to Kristen’s General and eye for detail. They both couldn’t have seemed more different on the surface [Brian – I like modern, the more modern the better!; Kristen – The deck area should match our craftsman house] but both, having that warm spot for each other that is usually only seen in couples married for 50 years or more they knew which ever “look” resulted both would be happy to have a new place to share with each other and their friends.

Designing was very easy to start. Kristen and Brian did their homework full of words (clear wood, bright, connective, colorful), imagery (oh all the books marks they had – both of what they like and didn’t like!) and clear directions (headlights must be blocked, the deck should be open to the patio, maintenance must be minimal). Our discussions were deep and the decisions were mind-fully made.

The final design resulted in an angular deck (built around a new tree & iconic stone while opening to the patio) and benches made of ipe for durability. The deck height was set seat height for additional places to sit for get-togethers and parties. Since the West and Nouth sides needed screening from headlights coming from the alley the roof we added pin stripped screening and niches for candles, towels and artifacts retrieved from globe-trotting or found camping in the PNW.

The roof was literally a breaking point. Because all the best natural light sources (south and west) were blocked by a large hill-side to the west and the new sauna to the south a clerestory was created by breaking the roof in two to bring ambient light deeper back to the deck and benches.

The whole project was tied back to the original craftsman style house by color and material. Brian and Kristen hired a painter a few summers back to strip a majority of the house’s siding to uncover the beauty of their home’s original cedar siding. We thus chose stained cedar to build the majority of the deck elements and used the house trim colors (green, white, purple and brown) to add color for vibrancy. While the final structure does not appear craftsman in style it is these splashes of color and use of materials that connect it back to the character of their house.

And happily ever after Brian and Kristen (and friends!) are sweating it up in the sauna.

P.S. Having used this sauna several times now I have to say that everyone should have one! My sleep after a sauna is uninterrupted bliss. I could do a lot more projects like this.


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