Monthly Archives: April 2014

Think Small


Per this article and Michael Anderson of Bike Portland, tiny homes (or ADUs, accessory dwelling units) now make up about three percent of new dwellings in the city of Portland. That’s one in ten homes! These tiny and sometimes portable homes are 800 square feet or less, slightly bigger than most one-bedroom apartments. Most of these small homes are newly constructed on empty plots of land, including this 740 square foot beauty by Portland couple Lily Copenagle and Jamie Kennel.

According to the NY times article about the house, The Copenagle-Kennel home was completed in 2012 and cost about $135,000 to build, including materials and labor. Not a lot for your dream home!

Whether you want to build your own tiny home or want to remodel a current small space to better suit your living needs, here are some ideas to get your started:



Lofts are a great way to utilize vertical space. Rather than building additions to your home for extra sleeping space, build up!


Creative Space

The image to the left is of a one-room London apartment  which, with some creative thinking, feels like three. The kitchen fits a sink, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, oven, and induction range behind a fold out door which, when closed, transforms the kitchen into the living room. Fold-out or rolling doors and clever storage space can make a single space suit your varied needs.

3 Tips for Going Green

Given our  finite environmental and financial resources, going green is an incredibly important lifestyle choice. Green living can mean the clothes that you buy, the food that you eat and, of course, the house you live in. With the right remodeler (us!), you can transform the oldest house into a fiscally responsible, environmentally-conscious home. Here are our 3 tips for going green:


Eco-Friendly Flooring

  • Cork. We know, it seems like an odd choice but cork flooring is great material for eco-friendly floors! Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree. These cork trees are the ideal renewable source: the trees are not cut down to harvest the bark and the bark re-grows every three years.  Cork has a anti-microbial properties that reduce allergens in the home, is fire retardant, and acts as a natural insect repellent too. 
  • Bamboo. Bamboo is actually a grass that shares similar characteristics as hardwood.  It is sturdy, easy to maintain and easy to install.  Bamboo grows quickly, re-sprouting in 3-5 years. It is a beautiful, sustainable alternative to the long-growth cycle of trees.
  • Concrete. Concrete is a non-traditional but unusually beautiful option. Pet-owners are particularly fond of it, as it is durable and easy to clean. If it is polished and tinted to the homeowners taste and style there is no need for traditional flooring to be put over it.  What’s more, concrete never needs to be replaced!

Other ec0-friendly options include wool carpet, P.E.T berber carpet, rubber, leather, and reclaimed hardwood.


Solar Panels

The average consumer uses electricity when engaging in daily activities such as heating water, turning on lights and cooking. A local utility company burns fossil fuel to generate electricity, which it then directs to the consumer’s home. Fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, are nonrenewable natural resources and once exhausted, cannot be replaced.

Solar power, however, is a renewable resource. According to “The Boston Globe,” the sun produces enough energy every second to meet all of civilization’s energy needs for 500,000 years. The “Globe” reports that by switching to solar power, consumers can help conserve Earth’s remaining natural resources.


45d6533b1557588e6a8a69893576b18aInsulating our homes is an incredibly important part of home construction, and it plays a key role in energy costs. Heat naturally flows from a warm space to a cool space and our comfort suffers in the process! In the winter, warm air from the inside will move to the outside and make us cold. In the summer, hot air moves from the outside to the inside and makes it uncomfortably warm. Insulation is often made from fiberglass, a material harmful to our environment. Eco-conscious homeowners are now transitioning to more environmentally friendly materials, some of which don’t require major deconstruction.

Some eco-friendly materials you can use for insulation:

  • Wool

    Soy-based spray foam

Aging In Place

With over 70 million baby boomers entering their golden years, it’s time to reassess conventional home layouts.  Rather than move to assisted living communities, many boomers are opting to age in place, transforming their long-time homes to suit their changing needs. With a little inspiration and some clever remodeling, you can stay where you love without sacrificing style or safety. Here are some changes you can make:



    • Grab bars and rails. Many manufacturers are producing beautiful, sturdy grab bars and rails. Install one in your shower and next to your toilet for extra help.
    • Threshold-free showers. Low-threshold shower floors mean easy entry, a gentle slope and a wide area for more comfortable, confident movement. Add anti-slip tile for extra safety.
    • Lower toilets and sinks. Toilets can be installed at any height to accommodate seated or standing position. Shorter toilets reduce strain on the body, and make sitting down and standing up easier for people of all ages.



  •  Lower counter tops and customize cabinets. Pull-out cabinetry, slide-out shelves, and other organizational solutions help bring items closer to the homeowner and remove frustrating digging. Smooth cabinet tops make for easier cleaning and bright cabinet lighting makes it easy to see at night. Some homeowners are opting to remove cabinets altogether.
  • Consider space. This is a good rule for all areas of the home, particularly if you need to consider wheelchair space. Remove obstacles, such as kitchen islands and create threshold-free entries between the kitchen and the rest of the house. Add non-slip flooring for a safer area.
  • The right appliances. Once you’ve remodeled your kitchen, be sure to equip it with safe, reliable appliances. Single lever faucets, gas ranges with automatic shutoff, and working smoke detectors are a great place to start.

A Testimonial


William’s NE home.

Client William Woods very graciously agreed to talk with us about his home repair and why he chose Portland Remodel to tackle the job. Thanks William!
Tell us about your home.

Our house is in NE Portland and is 110 years old.  We have lived here 14 years.

Why did you hire Portland Remodel over other remodeling services?

I needed some cosmetic structural repair done before I could paint the house. I have worked with Steve from Portland Remodel in the past. Steve is the only contractor I talked to that I trusted.  He obviously knows what he is doing.

What are you happiest about with Portland Remodel’s services? What do you love most about your new space?

Portland Remodel is a great resource.  They will return your call and they are very familiar with the Portland area permitting process.  They kept me informed on their progress and did a good clean up job. Steve has a broad background in constructions and has the resources to get a project done from beginning to end.

Do you want to repair or remodel your home? Contact us for a free consultation!