Green Portland: A Design & Remodeling Blog

Presented by Green Design & Remodeling to increase knowledge about home design and remodeling

COLOR – where and what? October 1, 2013

Filed under: Color Theory,Home Design,Remodeling,Uncategorized — greendesignllc @ 3:42 pm
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It’s so hard to choose “the right color”, that many default to a version of off-white (including me.)  Then I find a color – but is it right? –  will I like it? – will it provoke the right feeling for the room?

I found a great infographic on one of my favorite websites – – from Design55,  that shows the emotions of color.

It seems to be a wonderful guide to the use and choices of color in the home.  Go to Green Design and Remodeling’s facebook page to see the article:

And remember (even though it requires more work) – the color can be changed.


How Hiring Small Businesses Helps the Economy and the Community February 10, 2009

An Opinion Article by Daniel Milligan

Our government is struggling with the economy. It is trying to get people back to work and start the money flowing. The problem is that government can’t do it alone–the economy needs your help too. Wondering what you can do? Spend money on small businesses.

You hear it all the time on the news: Small business drives our economy. It’s true. We are a nation built on small business. The media says this in one breath, and in the next talks about Corporate America and Wall Street, and then we forget all about small businesses. But try not to forget–they provide more jobs and contribute to the flow of money more than anyone else.

I am going to give you an example from my own small business. I help run a small remodeling company that does design/build in Portland, Oregon. When you hire me, this is what you are doing:

First off, you are putting money in my pocket–thank you. Second, when I start putting a job together I go to other small businesses. So for example, lets say you want to remodel your kitchen. I am going to go out and hire someone to do your demo, frame your walls. install your sheetrock, cabinets, flooring, tile, sink, lights, and than paint your new kitchen. That is nine other small business that you just put to work because you hired me.

This means that those companies can support their employees by paying them with your money. Your money becomes their money and their money is than flowing again and your community’s economy is working.

This is true for other small companies as well. Think about the chain of people you effect when you go into your local coffee shop: the baristas, the building owner, the drivers for their deliveries, and their suppliers. And this is just the upfront business, there is more going on behind the scenes.

Small businesses hire other local small businesses to do business with. In my company, we hire graphic designers, print houses, search engine optimizers and a host of other small companies to help with our marketing, insurance, and accounting. In turn they are hiring local people and talent and again the economy is working.

So next time when you have a choice of going to Lowes, Home Depot, Starbucks, or even the Apple Store, look to see if there is a small business to support instead. Go to your local hardware store, or coffee shop or independent computer store. When you support them, they support others in the community and in turn it will help support you too.


…and now, a little more on color. January 17, 2009

Filed under: Color Theory,Green Remodeling,Healthy home design,Home Design,Remodeling — greendesignllc @ 12:20 am

On a Mazatlan StreetOn a street in Mazatlan

It seems that January is the month to talk about color.  Maybe it’s that we feel the need for brightness and color in the month that can be the darkest and dreariest.  Pittsburgh Paints has come out with their “Hacienda Colors”.  The colors are warm and evoke the sunshine of Mexico.   I managed to miss Portland’s massive snow storm in December —- we left JUST before the BIG storm and were sitting in the sun in Mazatlan and Oaxaca.  I can attest to the warmth of the colors and how inviting they feel.  But, you can bring that warmth to your space by choosing a color palette like the Hacienda colors.  You can also choose your color scheme in no-VOC paints, like Benjamin Moore’s EcoSpec.  Enjoy!

Whimsical animals full of colorWhimsical animals full of color


Up-to-date or Over-the-top January 16, 2009

I was watching Color Splash the other night. The host was taking a lovely pre WWII home and painting the moldings and built-ins lime green. The worst part of this was what I was thinking:  “Wow! That looks really good.” Okay, to my own defence, it was not just the lime green, but the whole color scheme.


Is it okay to do this to these old houses? Or should we really be conservitive like This Old House. I guess my answer is that if you like it, then it can’t be that bad. And if it looks good–then what the hey! Go for it. In this day and age, I think we need more color. So call your color designer and start splashing!


Making a Home to Sell, a Dream to Buyers November 19, 2008

With the current housing market there is an overflow of houses to choose from, so if you are planning to sell your home how can you get an edge up? Do some design work! The first thing a person sees when they pull up to a house is the yard–if it has been sitting on the market a while, why not clean it up. Here is an article talking about what you can do for better curb appeal. Your next best thing is to do some redesign inside. Here is a long list of things you can do to improve your home for resale. You can do any of these things yourself, or you can hire a designer to do it all for you. In the long run, it may keep you from having to drop the price and sell your house faster.

Color Design

Color Design


The Sustainable Tree November 18, 2008

Often when it comes to sustainable design we get all wrapped up in the building and forget about what’s right outside the window. Trees can be a huge way to conserve energy when it comes to home design. A properly located tree can provide shade in the summer and still allow light in in the winter. Here is some information on planting trees and thinking about energy conservation. Portland Spaces wrote a nice article about a local tree farmer who just published a book about planting trees for all seasons.

Maple Tree

Maple Tree


I Want To Remodel My Home, Why Do I Need A Designer? November 3, 2008

So you want to remodel your home, you have a pretty good idea on what you want to do and you are about to go out and find yourself a contractor. This is all well and good, but have you talked to a designer yet? You may ask, “why do I need a designer, I just said I know what I want!” You may think you know what you want—but do you really?
Here is my list of the top ten reasons to hire a designer, from least important to most.

10. A designer makes you look like you are really cool.
Okay, so maybe this is not a great reason, but it does help you. A good designer knows the industry. They can introduce you to contractors, showrooms, and order sample materials for you. This makes you seem really put together when you are talking to your bank, or just your friends.

9. A designer knows color.
Probably the first thing someone thinks of when interior design is mentioned is color. And although I don’t like it one bit when people confuse interior designers with decorators (we are NOT the Sugerbaker’s), this is one area we have in common. Almost all designers, whether they are graphic, industrial, or interior usually have a good education when it comes to color theory.

8. A designer knows more then color.
A professional designer has gone to school. And not just a two week course you see on late night TV. Real, honest to goodness formal, professional schooling. Did you know that in Portland alone there are two Universities teaching Interior Design, as well as, PCC.  So what on Earth does an interior designer learn in all this schooling?—I mean you can’t spend four years studying just color. We learn everything from basic design principles, to building structures, appropriateness of materials, history, art, sustainability and most important: safety. We not only make spaces wonderful to be in, but hopefully also keep Grandma from slipping on the bathroom tile.

7. A designer can draw.
Not only can a good designer quickly sketch out an idea, but most can draft as well. This means they will place together a full set of plans and elevations so you can get permits and the contractor has something to build from. No remodeling project is complete without some form of drawings.

6. A designer understands space.
I am not talking about that place were all the stars live. I mean your kitchen, your living room, your entire house.  We understand how people move through spaces, what they first see when they walk into a new space, and how people use things that are in that space. I bet you have been in kitchen where everything is just not were it should be—well, a designer can help correct that from happening.

5. A designer knows there way around town.
Designers have knowledge and access to all the showrooms in town.  All the tile, carpeting, paint and counters you will ever want to see, as well as all the hardware, plumbing fixtures, and lights that can be working in your house. This is a major benefit; this means you are not limited to what is sold at Home Depot or Lowes.  A designer can open doors to possibilities that you never knew existed. Best of all, we are not always talking more money, often times a designer can find fantastic things for a great price.

4. A designer knows price.
If, like most people, you have to stay within a budget the best way to do so is with a designer. Understanding the difference from a $30,000 kitchen and a $80,000 kitchen is a big deal. A lot of clients I have run across in the past have no idea what something should cost.  A designer—although not the greatest job we have, can bring a project into perspective. Sometimes this means you have to give up that fantastic $8000.00 rare granite counter and look to a granite that is a little more common and overstocked. This doesn’t have to be a huge dream buster, a designer can often find good deals to bring a project back into budget.

3. Water and electricity don’t mix—or do they?
A designer understands how to lay out an electrical plan, usually what the current code requires, and how to make sure that your house stays safe. A designer also understands plumbing—and not just the pretty toilet sitting in the corner. We understand what it takes to move that toilet out of the corner, and how best to plumb a new bathroom addition. When dealing with plumbing and electrical a professional designer knows what needs to be there, were it needs to go, and how to make sure that it is safe and will pass inspection.

2. A designer knows how a house is built.
Believe it or not, architects and contractors are not the only ones that know how a house is put together; a designer knows too, and maybe even better then an architect or contractor. When I am working on placing a job together I think of all the phases it takes to get that kitchen sink up and running. Everything from the demolition (what stays and what goes), to framing, plumbing, electrical, insulation, sheetrock, etc. This helps in what I think might be the most important thing a designer can do for you…
1. A designer knows how to write specifications.
When a contractor goes to start a job he needs two very important documents: the drawings (see above) and specifications. This is a laundry list of everything that is and is not on the plans. It includes everything: what kind of lumber to use, what type of sheetrock, what sink was selected, right down to the color on the walls. Because my firm is design build, my specifications also include everything that is to be demoed, what needs to be saved for reuse, what is being donated and what is to be recycled or trashed. It also includes how all the debris from building the job is to be handled and how the jobsite should be left at the end of each day. In the end the specifications are your contract on what and how the job is suppose to be. They should be as detailed as possible so everyone is on the same page.

So there it is—my top ten reasons for hiring a designer. I would love to hear questions and read comments on your thoughts about designers. I believe there is still a lot of education that the general design community needs to do to let people know what we do. I hope this has helped.
Many thanks,
Daniel Milligan