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Reveal: 'Mountain Man' Office

We have a special reveal today of one of our commercial clients! North Ridge, a financial wealth advisement firm, contacted us to help them out with their new office suite. They had an incredible brand book to show us (so helpful!) and their company's mission was so clearly represented in their logo, brand colors and marketing materials: adventurous, steadfast, supportive, local to the Pacific Northwest and timeless. They wanted their physical offices to communicate these traits as well.

Both partners at the firm are fun-loving outdoorsmen. One is even an amateur wildlife photographer with BEARS being one of his favorite subjects to photograph. (As someone with a life-long fear of bears, this was not only fascinating but hard to listen to without looking totally horrified!) He even had a bear skull that he wanted to display somewhere in his office. His amazing photography plus a cool collection of vintage mountaineering equipment would all be included as decor for their office space.

Knowing that we wanted a palette that spoke to the Oregon landscape, we combined the PNW reclaimed wood (Reclaimed wood *is* the PNW. We can't escape it.) with other 'steadfast' and strong materials: concrete, leather and metal. In addition to all the above, North Ridge had a beautiful, vibrant blue as their primary brand color. It had the effect of a perfect cloudless day when paired with the other materials.

Material image sources 1, 2, 3, 4

Princeton Julian Street Library by Joel Sanders was a huge inspiration with its saturated workspaces.

Like all spaces, this one had its challenges too. The reception was tiny and had a large window looking straight into the conference room. Neither space had direct access to exterior light but fortunately large floor to ceiling windows let in light from the adjacent offices. The individual offices themselves connected to a long hallway, one end of which would be a kitchenette and the other a spot for supply storage.

We decided that both the reception and the conference room had two wonderful walls for a big design move. They would need to complement since both would be visible from one another. In addition, both spaces would need to communicate branding: we wanted clients of North Ridge to walk through the main entry and immediately know exactly who they were working with. Knowing North Ridge loved the warmth and natural feel of wood, we decided the conference room, the more prominent room of the two, would have a reclaimed wood wall. The question became how do we infuse their logo with this installation?

Fieldwork Design + Architecture's gorgeous wall of salvaged maple gym flooring = obvious inspiration!

Amber Interiors's wall of reclaimed wood with signage is beautiful way to layer branding.

Initially we wanted two different species of wood for this wall: one would be darker and serve as the 'backdrop,' running from the floor to the ceiling. Then the logo, in a lighter wood species, would be inset. Perhaps the logo could even be laid in a different direction than the backdrop wood: ie, the logo could run vertically or diagonally while the backdrop would run horizontally. But the main effect would the lighter logo popping out from a darker wood wall.

Superfab came to our rescue and fabricated our wall of reclaimed wood sourced from Viridian Woods. The design was modified slightly that instead of a new species inserted for the logo, we would just route out the logo from the darker wood. The routing would reveal the light untreated wood beneath and have the same effect without the complications of insetting. Win-win-win.

Initially we suggested replacing the carpet to match their brilliant blue but ultimately we kept the existing carpet and went with blue leather arm chairs instead; the blue leather would better contrast against the wood. A concrete coffee table, plants and art added the finishing touches.

For the reception, we utilized one of their gorgeous photos of a mountain peak and created a custom vinyl wall mural. If you live in Portland and are looking to create something similar, SpeedPro Imaging is the company for you. They not only printed the graphic for us but installed it. We were concerned about the texture of the vinyl and it not looking (or feeling) too plastic-y but it turned out wonderfully.

To mimic the reclaimed wood of the conference room, we designed a custom reception desk that Kris from Kirkman Original built for us. His attention to detail and craftsmanship is absolutely apparent and the desk connects the two spaces perfectly. The blue would come into play as reception chairs with side tables of wood. Custom metal signage with a slight stand-off from the wall would also go in the reception.

Initial palette board with furnishing ideas for reception

We convinced North Ridge to take a bold approach to their individual offices and paint one wall blue. (It tested our 'selling' skills but we did convince them in the end!) The blue chairs from reception would also make an appearance in their offices as guest chairs. This way they could move chairs around the entire suite as needed and everything would still be cohesive.

Initially the partners wanted to use a stationary desk and have an adjustable tabletop stand that could allow them to work standing or sitting. Due to the space they take up on a desk's surface, we strongly recommend that clients invest in a desk with adjustable legs instead. We decided on L-shaped desks with one side that is fully adjustable while the return would be stationary. This way clients would have an appropriately comfortable table height always in front of them. Any additional office storage would be white and neutral to fade away and not detract from the blue and wood.

Ready to see how it all turned out?

Love the conference room wall! We're so happy with the finished results! Chairs and concrete stone coffee table from West Elm.

Peak-a-boo view into the reception. Prayer flags and vintage skies make us want to climb Everest. Well...almost!

Mountain wall with custom sign by ShieldCo.

View through reception to hallway. Love the tiny kayak and vintage snowshoes!

Bright blue wall in individual offices with custom wood topped adjustable desks.

Bear skull! Oh my goodness, the size of those teeth!

Blue guest chairs from Allmodern.

White, neutral kitchenette custom made for their suite. Can you spot the bear head statue? And yes, those are vintage crampons for ice climbing hanging in the hallway!

Custom storage for office supplies.

Thanks so much, North Ridge! We loved working with you and we love your space! See the project on our website here. All photos of the North Ridge offices by Aren Stavi.

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