Paul turns dreams, hopes, wishes, half-glimpsed aspirations into reality. That is his talent and his gift to his clients. It starts with his really listening, not just to the client's words, but what he senses behind the words; and on seeing the final result one realizes that, "yes, that's what I wanted - I didn't know it would look like that, but that's it." It isn't a quick process, but nothing worthwhile ever is. The creation of something one will live in, live with, that will be an important part of one's life necessarily has a complex gestation - a gentle, full coming to fruition. This co-creation (architect and clients) is itself  an art form, and we feel lucky we engaged in it with Paul.

Scott Forbes
(971) 409-5677



I truly have appreciated the way you worked with me and the fact that you’ve been honest, open, and helpful throughout  the process, providing quality work at an affordable price.  Most of all, I have valued the ease of conversation and extent of communication with you.  I have been very favorably impressed by your professionalism and humanity.  Your input and ideas have been extremely important in bringing my project to fruition.  I would highly recommend you to anyone who asks (as a matter of fact, I already have referred you to two acquaintances who are looking for architectural and building assistance).

Chuck Kunert
(503) 470-0908



Working with Paul Ries has been a joy.  He really shows genuine excitement of his own about our project.  It seems that he is as invested in our home remodel as we are.  It’s wonderful to work with someone who has a real passion for his profession and seems to really care about getting you what you want and making it work without breaking the bank.  Not only is he a true professional who knows his craft, but he is so much fun to work with personally.  He has a great sense of humor and that is so important when remodeling your home.  I know we need our sense of humor during this process!  I cannot recommend Paul enough, he’s a true gem.

Alex Robison
Executive Assistant
Power Delivery & Thermal Assets
1125 NW Couch, Suite 700, Portland, OR 97209
Telephone (503) 796-7025, Mobile (971) 219-0508, Fax (503) 796-6906


26 May 2009 

I have worked with Paul Ries for 11 years on projects ranging from residential remodels to loft conversions of old buildings to a garbage transfer station.  Over this period Paul and I have developed a special working relationship and friendship. 

My development style is to do what others cannot while under great pressure and time constraints.  Paul seems to work well in this environment and has always been willing to step up and get the job done under these circumstances. 

Not one of the projects we have done together has been normal.  Every project has had at least one special component such as a land use hearing, variance, change of use, etc.  Because of the working relationships Paul has developed with the City, we have been able to prevail in every situation.  Besides the regulatory issues, every project has involved the need for creativity and adaptability due to my habit of making silk purses out of sow’s ears.  Many times I have discovered a major change I wanted to make mid project.  Because of Paul’s ability to listen and see what others are seeing we have been able to perform the redesign over the phone and Paul has acquired the approvals for the permit changes while I enacted the changes.  Not once has his drawings deviated from what we agreed upon.  While Paul has many great ideas and a knack for design, he respects other’s opinions and dreams and does not force his personal views on a project.  At the same time, it the dream is too wild, he gently places a reality check on the situation. 

I have enjoyed working over the years with Paul and have found him highly adaptable to just about any situation and more than willing to push the envelope in terms of design concept and application without jeopardizing his deep seated morality. 


Terrell Garrett
PO Box 4483
Portland, OR  97208-4483
(503) 793-9238



We worked with Paul Ries last year to raise part of the roof and redesign the second floor of a not very big 1913 house.  This was our first time working with an architect and I'm grateful we found an empathetic and creative yet down-to-earth mind to work with.  There were some specific changes we knew we needed to make, but we didn't have any idea how to make everything else work.  Paul listened to our stream of conscious ramblings and came up with a visually exciting, smart plan (which, due to the economy, we haven't been able to execute yet).  He came up with an engineering idea that should save us money during construction.  He communicated quickly, responded to our questions at length, took our concerns to heart, and was patient with us when we were distracted from the process - it was fascinating to  watch him come up with creative and aesthetically pleasing solutions and we are delighted with how the house will look.

Catherine and Michael Peroni
(503) 807-5644


Most of us who are homeowners do not get the opportunity to work with Architects very often, some of us never do.  Many probably feel that they can have their contractor do the design for them, or that they can do it themselves.  While no two situations are ever the same, hopefully our experiences can help you with your project.

Last fall we decided to embark on a major change.  We downsized from a 3400 square foot three level 9 year old custom home (too much space for the two of us) to a 40 year old 1800 square foot rambler that was just off the 13th green at our Country Club.  Going in to the change we knew that there would be some significant “face lifts” needed.  Most notable was a change to the kitchen and replacement of the original (40 year old) cabinets!  Other future changes will be needed as well, but we’ll focus on the kitchen.

After moving into our new home, we spent a couple months just determining what our priorities were and what potential changes we might want.  We also attended a local home remodeling and home improvement shows.  We discovered that many of the contractors were “design build”.  In other words, if they didn’t design the job, they wouldn’t bid it or do the work.  The design build may work well, however our experience/fear was that this was a recipe for never being able to have truly comparative construction bids.  Furthermore, it is my experience from business that engaging the right professionals can save time and significant amounts of money.

During this time we were referred to Paul Ries by our favorite Starbucks barista (who has a degree in architecture).  We contacted Paul and scheduled an initial interview.  From the very first appointment Paul showed us that he was different from the staid corporate, big firm architects.  His professional resume was great; however it was the time he took to get to know our interests, likes/dislikes and desires that truly made the difference.  Paul took it beyond the structural to determine the elements that would make the difference for us.  Paul presented us with multiple options for design; ranging from minimal structure change, with lower cost, to full demo with corresponding cost increase.

Paul worked through numerous options with us and helped us to arrive at the solution that best met our needs.  Throughout the entire process Paul was readily available and provided thoughtful input.  From a pure architectural standpoint, our plans sailed through County permitting, without issue.  More importantly as construction moved forward and questions arose, Paul was there with advice and the ability to make minor changes for our review prior to our contractor’s execution.

Now that the project is done, we are ecstatic!  From a financial standpoint we view this as money well invested.  From a lifestyle perspective we now have a living (emphasis on livable) space that we will enjoy for years to come.  This was a process that was enhanced by Paul’s thoughtful approach to the lifestyle design of space.

Jon Nicholson
Oregon & SW Washington
tw telecom inc.
520 SW 6th, Suite 400
Portland, OR 97204
Phone:  503-416-1855
Cell:  503-319-4725


The hundred-year-old house that we bought in 2008 was in rough shape. Living space was confined to the main level: early 70's kitchen, leaky bath, grungy bedroom, urine-stained living and dining rooms, and a parlor like a flophouse lobby. In the attic the low ceiling sagged under cracked rafters. Narrow stairs leading to the attic started four feet above the main floor, the gap bridged by a rickety plywood box. There were cracks in all the walls and ceilings, sometimes behind multiple patches of wallpaper. There was asbestos in the bathroom and kitchen. The front porch had carpet and handrails made of salvaged plumbing. Light switches were wired with speaker cable. In the basement was a leaky water heater, an undersized furnace, and a urinal. Our families thought we were nuts for even thinking about buying the place

Enter Paul Ries. He confirmed that the house's bones were good and took note of the woodwork and old glass, which had somehow survived in decent shape. He also saw possibilities in the attic and -- very important! -- reassured us that we could serve as the general contractor on the job, even though we had never done such a thing before. We took the plunge. Before long, Paul had produced two designs on paper, both with an expert eye to the plumbing and other infrastructure that would have to be replaced, and both beautiful. We chose the plan that called for cutting a new staircase into the downstairs hallway and bumping up most of the roof. A year and more later, we're the proud owners of an ample, sunny attic (full bath and three bedrooms), along with an extra bedroom and office space downstairs. Friends who know houses say Paul's attic design is the best they've seen. We're not done with the remodel yet (the exterior needs work), but we couldn't be happier with Paul's re-design, or more grateful to him for all the guidance he has given us, from picking a framer to choosing paint color and other finishes. It's not too much to say that we couldn't have done this, on budget, without Paul. Paul is, in short, a consummate architect, a terrific designer, and an extraordinary counselor.

Ivan Welty
2283 SE 41st
Portland, OR   97214



Paul Ries provided drawings for our third-floor dormer project—we ended up taking the whole roof off and “starting over” with a new roof, etc.  He had been recommended by someone doing a similar project, so we were pleased to have an experienced veteran to tackle the myriad quirks and improbabilities of our 1903 house.  The truth is we couldn’t have hired a better architect for our project.

Paul brought his equipment to our house, and over coffee listened—really listened—to what we wanted to do, how we wanted the space to look and feel.  There were lots of tough decisions:  where do we put the stairs?!  How can we get the windows to maximize view while maintaining privacy? Can we build in bookshelves around the staircase?  In each case, Paul listened to what we wanted, made a number of different solutions, then went over what our options were.  We tweaked things, changed our minds, refined our vision, and pushed hard to keep the dream and still keep the budget.

Also, we did all the general contracting and all the demo, electrical, installed the furnace and gas line, laid fir floors, etc.  Paul provided critical advice to keep the project moving in the right direction. The plans were good.  Our framer could easily follow them and when there were questions, Paul was there to work through complications.

After the project started Paul dropped by quite frequently to check on our progress, each time providing needed advice on the how to direct the drywallers to handle a corner, how to transition from the wood floors to the tile shower, what color scheme would work for the exterior, etc.

In short, Paul was creative, conscientious, and personable.  What most impressed me though is that he listened to how we wanted this project to go and then did his best to plan it out to make it happen.

David Wright and Nathalie Nadeau Wright
4520 NE 14th Place
Portland, OR  97211
Nathalie:  nathaliepdx@gmail.com
David: David.Wright@mhcc.edu



I would like to write to you and tell you how happy my wife and I are with your services. When you begin an undertaking as big as we have with adding a room removing a section of the house and elevating ceilings your very apprehensive as to who you should hire and work with. I can tell you we couldn’t be more pleased with the service that you and your staff have supplied. From the design and offering of suggestions then explaining as to why you are suggesting them to more importantly listening to what we wanted in our layout and design, you have made us feel comfortable and put us at ease. Your design software is awesome!  Your set of plans were perfect for the permitting process and the subs have had no problems interpreting them. I appreciate you stopping by at the job site to check on progress and see the outcome. Paul, we appreciate all your efforts and everything you have done for us. Should you need a reference feel free to pass my contact information. Thanks again for a job well done!


Bill Mann