March 11th, 2015

No Need to Shy From Gray Paint

Categories: Arbor Community News, Arbor Homes News | Tags: , ,

3 images of gray being utilized in interior design

With the right shade, gray will become your new favorite classic color

by Sandy Van Dorn, Arbor Interior Designer

With bright spring greens and pastels bursting outside, I am once again reminded of the revolving color palette we have in our maritime Pacific Northwest. And one of my very favorite natural colors is gray.

I love river gray, rock gray, cloud gray, fog gray.

But let’s face it, while gray is indeed experiencing a major moment (I find it both classic and modern!) many homeowners still shy from using the color in our cloudy Oregon climate.

Here are a few tips for making the most of
today’s gray:

  1. Use the Right Gray: Look for warm taupish grays. This warmer gray really keeps your home serene and comfortable. A warm gray is more harmonious with indoor lighting than a cool gray.
  2. Complement Gray with Color Accents: If you choose gray for your walls but still crave bright or cool colors, incorporate those sharp colors in throw pillows, art, flowers and lamps. Accents can bring in heaps of color and play off of your gray walls. Some of my favorite complementary colors to gray are spring green and turquoise blue.
  3. Start Small: Try an accent wall in gray. Or just painting the inside back wall of a bookshelf gray. You’ll be surprised how much your house warms up and your accessories pop.
  4. Incorporate Living Plants with Gray: Vegetation adds color, freshness and life. But, if keeping a plant alive seems difficult, look for air plants, succulents and hearty varieties such as sansevieria. Plants come in both modern and traditional shapes, so take a look around for varieties and pots that match your style.
  5. Window Coverings & Gray: Gray walls can feel too dark if there’s not enough natural light into your home. Don’t fully cover your windows. I prefer panels (simple/modern patterns). Affordable blinds are also nice, or you can use frosted glass or add film to glass in bathrooms to keep natural light in with privacy.

So go ahead and go for the gray!

November 10th, 2014

Show Your Fall Colors

Categories: Arbor Homes News | Tags: , ,

Cropped image of a colorful fall oil painting

Image cropped from “On the Saco” by Albert Bierstadt. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Four Harvest-Inspired
Ideas for Decorating Your Porch & Yard

by Sandy Van Dorn, Arbor Interior Designer

The skies may be grey, but the trees are bursting with life. Brilliant reds, oranges, yellows and even the many beautiful shades of brown make this a favorite time of year for me. I find great inspiration in this time of seasonal transition and the harvest’s abundance.

Earlier this year I wrote about converting outdoor space into “living rooms.” I like to decorate these spaces, along with the yard and porch all the way until we get our first freeze (which sounds like it won’t be until late December according to the Farmer’s Almanac).

Here are four ideas for tasteful, natural ways to beautify your porch and yard that don’t require plastic spiders, fake cobwebs or a big budget.

  1. Make your porch inviting with simple, seasonal highlights. Swap out your Welcome mat. You can find mats online for as little as $10-20. Find one with leaves or shades of orange, green and brown, so you can leave it out until Thanksgiving.
  2. Find long-lasting decorations inspired by nature. Using fruits of the harvest, such as gourds, pumpkins and dried corn on the cob, is a fun way to add color to your porch or as a centerpiece on an outdoor table. These are easy to find in the produce section or at a farm, such as Plumper Pumpkin Patch & Tree Farm on NW Old Cornelius Pass Rd. Your arrangement will last for 3-5 weeks and the best part is – it can stay outside in any weather!
  3. Create beautiful and portable potted arrangements. You can go to any nursery or the garden center at Fred Meyer’s and they will help you create a custom potted arrangement for $25-100, depending on the size of the pot and use of bushes or plants. Expert gardeners, like the ones in this video from Cornell Farms, will help you pick out the right mix for your needs. It’s helpful to bring photos of your home and garden to reference colors and the direction of sunlight.
  4. Illuminate your home and yard, especially as the nights last longer. Adding a little light can have a dramatic effect now that Daylight Savings Time has ended. A good DYI project for fall would be to use simple Malibu type outdoor LED spotlights for your landscaping. They come in various sizes and can dramatically improve your outdoor space. Your evening landscape becomes a beautiful, shadow-filled painting!

No matter what you celebrate this fall, guests will love coming over to your colorful home this season.

March 4th, 2014

Plan Your Oregon Outdoor Living Room

Categories: Arbor Community News, Arbor Homes News | Tags: , , ,

Arbor Custom Homes outdoor decor

Free square-footage is
just a step outside your back door

by Sandy Van Dorn, Arbor Interior Designer

I have noticed a real trend in Oregonians requesting help in creating very livable outdoor space and finding value in patio, deck, porch or lawn as untapped square footage. Whether you have a small apartment patio, condominium courtyard or a full-size deck, you can use it in all sorts of ways.

Here are my tips and trends for 2014:
  • Rug Up: Outdoor rugs have come a long way in recent years; in price and durability. They define and refine the outdoor space you’re creating. carries an affordable, revolving stock with low shipping.
  • Don’t Be Matchy-Matchy: Clients often think they need to purchase a new, perfectly matched 5-piece patio set. Think outside big-box retailers. Mix old pieces with new pieces and don’t undervalue Craigslist for adding an interesting table or one-of-a-kind outdoor rug.
  • Don’t Limit Yourself to Dining: If you don’t want to do a traditional outdoor dining room patio set; make your outdoor space more of a living room. Include a large, low cocktail table surrounded by comfortable chairs for visiting guests. You can use it for visiting, eating or sipping coffee with the Sunday paper.
  • Light up the Night: Lighting is key to enticing you and your family outdoors after hours. One of my favorite tricks is “up-lighting” on shrubbery and trees. Very dramatic and very affordable. Plus, the new LEDs work like a charm. It’s like free artwork you never knew existed in your nighttime yard. Here’s a quick how-to video
  • Consider Taking Cover: In order to get the most time out of your outdoor space; find an affordable way to cover the patio or deck. A four-post pergola with hidden corrugated, clear plastic can offer a light-filled oasis year-round.
  • Include Indoor/Outdoor Art: Don’t be afraid to decorate the outdoor space with waterproof art. Or perhaps include a modern wall display of easy-to-grow succulents like this one featured in Sunset Magazine
  • Surf the Web: With the right Internet search terms, sites such as Apartment Therapy and Pinterest can unearth thousands of real-life examples and ideas perfectly suited to your space and climate.

Cheers to your new outdoor living room!

December 19th, 2013

Arbor’s State of the Industry: A time of gratitude

Categories: Arbor Community News, Arbor Homes News, Homebuyers | Tags: , ,

This week we held our 16th Annual Forecast gathering with our vendor partners, a tradition that we look forward to every year. Our Vice President, Wally Remmers excitedly announced that Arbor Custom Homes remains Portland’s premier home builder because of the partnership we have with such quality people and organizations.

Our resiliency has been tested over the past few years, but we are grateful for our great partnerships and encouraged with what we see ahead in 2014.

We are seeing signs of improvement in every aspect of the housing market. Interest rates are still at historical lows and the local employment base is growing rapidly. Intel’s Fab Plant expansions in Hillsboro, Nike’s campus expansion in Beaverton, Sales Force moving into Washington County and the opening of the new Kaiser Hospital are tremendous economic drivers for our local economy that are increasing the need for housing throughout Washington County. All of these factors have prompted us to expedite our development of more projects in northern Washington County in the coming months and years.

A couple of years ago we implemented a strategic move into the rental market to supplement our for-sale home building business. This year we completed construction on 193 apartment units, started constructing 203 more in Hillsboro and estimate closing on 120 for-sale single family homes as well.

Our vision for 2014

We will continue to balance our product offerings in the areas of for-sale and for-rent projects. We have plans to start construction on both multifamily and single family units all in Northern Washington County! We are in the planning stages for many of the additional lots we have in our land inventory preparing for development and construction in the coming years.

The continued support of Arbor Custom Homes by all of our partner vendors will prove to be the difference in establishing more opportunity for all of us in 2014. We thank all of our vendors for sustaining their partnership with Arbor and we appreciate what they do every day to help us build the best homes in the marketplace!

December 11th, 2013

Buying Local This Christmas: Easy as Oregon Berry Pie

Categories: Arbor Community News | Tags: , ,

image of the entrance to the Bike Gallery

As a local business ourself, we think other local businesses are pretty swell. And since local, independent retailers come in all-sizes; from Powell’s to Beaverton Bakery, it’s easier than you think to find something for everyone.

We love the idea of sticking to a local shopping theme for those hard-to-gift people this year (teachers, mother-in-law).

Here’s a round-up of a few local retailers and restaurants to get you started — from Beaverton to Progress Ridge and all points in between. And, don’t forget, a gift certificate for dinner is always a favorite gift!

Gifts and Services:
Great Local Gift Guides:
October 25th, 2013

A Builders Ball? But, of course!

Categories: Arbor Homes News | Tags: ,

Photo of Brad Hosmar, Chief Operations Officer for Arbor Custom Homes

Arbor & Home Builders Association of Metro Portland

Next month Arbor Custom Homes is proud to further our support of the Home Builders Association of Metro Portland (HBA) with our very own Brad Hosmar, Chief Operations Officer, being installed to a 3-year “Builders Directors” seat alongside other leaders in the metro building industry.

The HBA works to maximize housing choices for all who reside in the greater Portland area and supports building industry professionals to efficiently meet the diversified needs of our communities.

The November 22 Builders Ball will provide the HBA with the opportunity to formally install the new Board of Directors and celebrate members and industry awards.

Brad recently finished a two year stint on the HBA Street of Dreams committee as Vice-Chair, and then Chair. Arbor is also actively involved in the Production Builder Group at the HBA. Brad will represent Arbor, and the entire local building industry, to support positive housing outcomes for our local community.

Established in 1936, the HBA is a trade association representing housing and the residential construction industry. The organization consists of over 1,000 members representing all facets of the industry. The range of housing provided by our members includes everything from low-income to luxury, from suburban communities to infill development and from single-family to condos and apartments.

October 14th, 2013

Arbor Gets Very Social + Our Local Autumn Recipe Showdown

Categories: Arbor Community News, Arbor Homes News | Tags: , , , ,

Oregon fall image of yellow leaved trees reflecting on a river. Photo courtesy of Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives.

Photo courtesy of Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives.

It’s Fall in the Pacific NW and after a fairly warm summer, we’re pretty sure you’re cozying up in your homespace.

While you’re spending more time inside than outside, follow Arbor on Pinterest and “Like” us on Facebook. We’re extending our Pacific Northwest Arbor Lifestyle to you through these two formats and we’ll be posting truly relevant NW lifestyle, weather and home tips and bits regularly — seriously — no silly stuff.

Local Fall Recipe Challenge

This month, we’d like to continue our Arbor contest streak with a call out for your favorite fall recipe featuring seasonal and local ingredients.

Send us your best seasonal recipe featuring any local ingredient (maybe it’s Sauvie Island Pumpkin Pie, Hood River Pear Salad, Dundee Hazelnut Bars or Willamette Valley Ravioli!). The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to locally-owned Kitchen Kaboodle and have their recipe featured in our blog and on our Facebook page.

Send your submissions to: by October 27.
Winner will be announced on October 28th.

September 9th, 2013

Arbor Summer Photo Contest Results

Categories: Arbor Community News, Arbor Homes News | Tags: , ,


Our winner of the NW Summer on My Arbor Deck, Porch or PatioKati Schumacher at Arbor Pointe Bull Mountain. This shot just screamed relaxing in my Arbor home to us! Kati wrote, “Relaxing in my Arbor Home backyard – my cocktail is on it’s way.” And in full disclosure — we were a little jealous and wanted to hang out in her yard too.

There were other really great entries that we want to share via Facebook this week, so check back each day to see if your photo was one of them! For the month of September, Kati’s shot will enjoy our cover page on Facebook.

Stay tuned for more fun contests as fall approaches. And enjoy your deck, porch or patio this week as the sun continues to shine on us!

August 22nd, 2013

Arbor Photo Contest: “NW Summer on My Arbor Deck, Porch or Patio”

Categories: Arbor Community News, Arbor Homes News | Tags: , ,

Enter to Win!
Arbor Homeowners –
Give Us Your Best Shot

At Arbor, we know just how much NW summers mean to all Oregonians. Send us a photograph of “NW Summer on My Arbor Deck, Porch or Patio.” The winning photographer will enjoy a congrats on our blog page, the cover shot of our Facebook page and of course, bragging rights!

Send your entries to by September 6. Winner will be announced September 10.

Now go have fun in your backyard!

May 2nd, 2013

Breaking Ground!

Categories: Arbor Community News, Arbor Homes News, Homebuyers | Tags: , , , , , ,

image of Arbor Home doorway up close

Arbor Custom Homes is once again breaking new ground with a diversity of housing opportunities in Washington County
  • In April we are beginning vertical construction of luxury, urban styled apartment units in Hillsboro.
  • In May we will start construction on Luxury Condominium homes in the Arbor Oaks neighborhood.
  • This summer and fall we will begin development of additional apartment units in Hillsboro and Washington County in an effort to provide much desired, new, for lease housing opportunities in the area.
  • We are aggressively engaged in planning efforts on single family and condominium home sites that may still break ground this year.

To accomplish this task list above we have made the difficult decision to sell lots we have in our current inventory to D.R. Horton. This sale of less than 10% of our long term lot inventory will allow us to focus our resources on this narrow window of opportunity in the multi-family market and expedite development of some other very desirable single family home neighborhoods.

Arbor remains committed to the development of a wide variety of housing types that capture every stage of life for those who choose to live in the Portland Metro area. We are very optimistic about the improving health in the local housing market and see a lot of value for our homeowners, renters, subcontractors and suppliers as we continue to actively pursue a wide range of housing types in the coming years.

We understand that you may have questions about this change so please contact our corporate office at 503-641-7342 or email Brad Hosmar at

Thank you… Arbor Custom Homes

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