Back in the spring of 2021 my husband, Jared, and I made a long-awaited move from Portland to Hood River, a small town about an hour from the city nestled at the base of Mt. Hood in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The Wolf Ceramics studio was still based in Portland, but I'd found a studio space to lease in Hood River. Jared and I were ready to move and start getting the new space equipped. After years of making offers on fixer-upper homes in the area (and getting repeatedly outbid), we finally found our spot!
The house was built in 1952 and had been basically empty for almost 20 years when we bought it. Not a speck of sheetrock in it. All cedar. The kitchen was like a dark cave, hidden behind a utility closet and a giant chimney. We definitely got in over our heads and did more work on it than we originally planned, but we don’t regret it! We are eternally grateful to the many friends and family who helped us make this place a home!
For 6 months we lived in a little room attached to the carport and had an outdoor kitchen. Then we moved our Coleman stove into the mudroom when it started to get too cold and rainy. Here's our outdoor kitchen in the summer of 2021:
Removing the massive chimney and kitchen tile floor. (We filled our dumpster with 10.5 tons of tile and brick, which is way more than we were supposed to put in there 😂).
I got to learn a little about plumbing (thank you, Jared) when we moved our water heater down into the crawl space. It's dirty and spidery down there, but it was a nice and cool place to be working during the summer heat wave of 2021.
Taking the kitchen down to bare bones, only to discover none of the exterior walls had insulation.
And, here's us replacing carpet and tile with maple flooring in the whole house.
By Thanksgiving 2021 we were fully living in the house, still plucking away on renovations. Work parties with family and friends helped us to replace windows and replace the old chimney with a skylight.
When we opened up the ceiling for the skylight, we found that the roof was only about 3" thick! 2x6 cedar planks, an inch of fiberglass insulation, and a later of tar roofing. We waited until a year later to add a metal roof and another 8" of insulation.
We added plumbing to the old garage (which had previously been enclosed converted to a storage room) and turned it into a mudroom with laundry, a sink, and overflow pantry/gear storage. We reclaimed an old slab of maple countertop from my parents house in Portland for the sink and counter.
Jared welded and built beautiful open shelving for our ceramics and reclaimed cedar from the walls we removed to build our kitchen cabinets.
And now… it’s basically done! Well maybe it will never be done, but it’s feeling good in here. I've been grateful to have many helping hands during this process and a partner with an abundance of useful building skills.
Since January 2022 the Wolf Studio has been fully operating in Hood River. Our studio manager, Joey Rose, moved out here with us and we couldn't have done any of this without her. As our Portland studio team gradually moved on to the next phases of their ceramic careers, we grew our team her in Hood River and we're happy to be settled here.
Here are a few pics from a backyard dinner at our place with the studio team and friends this summer. Thanks to our friend Yakira for making a beautiful meal!