Douglas Fir… aka Pseudotsuga menziesii

Our little Victorian was built in 1895 by (we think) a sawyer for one of the Canneries down on the Columbia River. He was a builder and a craftsman and knew his way around lumber.


Back then, as it is today, Douglas Fir was the building material of choice. When our home was built, it’s a good chance that they used old-growth stands of the tree.

The tree is large, straight and strong and was designated Oregon’s State tree back in 1836.

Our home in Astoria, Oregon is made entirely from this tree… beams, sheathing, siding, floors, stairs etc. are all Douglas fir.

Large Douglas Fir beams in the Basement!

Before and after sanding. Douglas fir flooring.

Stair treads and railings… all Douglas Fir.


Sheathing of all the walls – interior and exterior!

Our sturdy and secure little house – all thanks to the mighty Douglas Fir.



Back to our little blue Victorian…

We are finally back to working on our little Astorian Victorian.

You may remember from previous posts that we had our home painted! The old gray and white paint was peeling badly so it desperately needed a new coat of paint. We agonized over colors for many months but finally settled on blue, off-white and brown.  (Benjamin Moore selection).

We continue to get compliments and praise for our color choice! Our neighbors, dog walkers, people driving by etc. etc. randomly stop by and tell us they absolutely love it.

And yes… that is the “Goonie House” on the hill in the background.


Touring Oregon!!

We and our designer/craftsman have been traveling everywhere!! Our latest and greatest trip was to Enterprise, Oregon and the Wallowa mountain range. Amazing place. Beautiful scenery and fantastic hiking.

Could Enterprise, Oregon be a new place for a home? Vacation house? Maybe more renovations and reconstruction are in our future. Who knows?


Eagle Cap!! Hiked up the Lostine River Trail to the base of this amazing mountain. Fresh snow made it even more dramatic.


Lostine River trail. Mountain meadows.

Back to work in the next post (finally).

Stay tuned.

Transoms, transoms and more transoms

We have six interior and two exterior transoms. All of them have been boarded-up or painted over. We are re-building all of them and tracking down interesting windows to insert into the spaces.



We are trying to decide what type to install on the six interior transoms. Plain glass? Stained glass?

We took a trip to the Vintage Hardware Store in Astoria (great place btw) ( There we found a set of cabinet doors with leaded glass that we thought would work for our transoms. Unfortunately, they were too large.



We may have to go with some custom made stained/leaded glass inserts. Fortunately, there are a few stained glass places in Astoria!

As far as outside doors go… I found some photos online of beautiful Victorian style doors with transoms. Would these work? Build these ourselves? Stay tuned.


How to create a Victorian bathroom in a house that never had one…

Our designer decided to go with the classic, small black and white floor tile and white “subway” tile walls. Bathroom design and fixtures are comfortably modern.


Remember our upstairs floor plan? One old bedroom was turned into a LARGE bathroom by a previous owner. The new design is for two smaller (although good size) bathrooms including a master bath with a large shower…

Tiling in process! Looking good.

a few things missing…like a front door

We bought our little Victorian because it had a number of original features… however, some things were missing and need to be replaced. The existing front door is a classic 1970’s modern Luan plywood door. Functional –  but ugly (no other way to put it).

Our craftsman/carpenter/designer is always on the lookout for architectural wonders…

He found us  a new door!

It’s a beauty – found at a street sale in Portland. Needs some work, but it’s exactly what we need. Yay!! Big plans to do something interesting with the glass part. Stay tuned.