I’ve always loved small spaces and the simple life. Before I moved to Portland in 2002, I lived in Tokyo for many years, where I lived ‘small’ and was surrounded by wonderful Japanese design.
That experience deeply influenced my sense of design and craftsmanship, which led me back to school at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. I earned a degree in fine art and started the Nowhere art collective. My work has been featured in Portland galleries, and I’ve created large sculptures for outdoor spaces throughout the Northwest.
During this time, I built backyard art studios for friends and fellow artists, and that business eventually became Micro-Structures.
My small company relies on Portland lumberyards and local suppliers for our construction materials. My subcontractors come from small local businesses, who take pride in their craftsmanship and attention to detail. And when I need a box of nails, I go to my neighborhood hardware store.
I support local businesses because I want the Portland economy to stay healthy and get stronger. The relationships that I’ve developed over the years have helped my business, helped my clients and helped me as well.
Every client is special. Every site is different, and every micro-structure is unique.
I design and build structures for the specific needs of my clients and the specific features of each site. When I visit a client’s property, we talk about their ideas, and I look for the best location for the building. I think about how the backyard is used, foot traffic thru the yard, a good orientation for maximum sunlight, possible exposure during rainstorms and the proximity to the main house.
Sometimes we discover that the best place for a micro-structure is not the most obvious place.
My clients often ask me to combine many functions, or different uses, into one small structure. I use a lifetime of skills and experience to help my clients find elegant solutions to these challenges. The final design is sometimes unusual, sometimes surprising, but always unique and one-of-a-kind.
These micro-structures are special spaces, away from the main house, where my clients can concentrate on their work or have a place to play.
From the very beginning, Micro-Structures has been a green company. In 2014 I took this commitment a step further with the decision that all projects would use sustainable lumber, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
The simple act of building small is a low-impact alternative to costly additions. A smart design makes efficient use of a small space, so the construction of a micro-structure requires less material, less energy and produces less waste.
Here are some of my specific green practices:
High-quality craftsmanship means that our structures are durable and long-lasting. These are not junky ‘throw-away’ sheds that will end up in a landfill.
Fully insulated walls, ceilings and floors ensure that the interior stays at a comfortable temperature throughout the year, while using a minimum of energy.
Double-pane windows and doors are energy efficient and help to keep the interior at a stable temperature, reducing energy use.
Thoughtful placement of windows and doors brings in the sun during the winter and keeps the interior shaded in the summer.
Flooring, shelves, and siding are always made from durable and long-lasting materials. I often use recycled materials for these design elements.
Careful and efficient use of materials. I keep the construction waste to a minimum. I do not need to park a dumpster outside my client’s house.
My worksites are very clean and litter-free. All extra materials are recycled, re-used or re-purposed.
Any remaining scrap wood is used to heat my own home on those rainy Oregon nights!
LOCAL + UNIQUE + GREEN
Micro-Structures will gladly provide references from previous clients, and we’re a top-rated company on Angie’s List.