About

Who I am,

Mark Downing

My abiding interest is designing and creating beautiful things.

I have built all my life but came to think of it as the basis for a career in my mid twenties when I worked with a friend in Annapolis, Maryland, restoring a 200 year old home.

I was in love. Initially I was swept off my feet by the grace of early American architecture and furniture. From the proportion of that architecture and the importance of detail to the polished sophisticated high style of the Queen Anne period in furniture, I was swooning.

After moving to Portland I became a journeyman cabinetmaker with the Charles Grant Company. I worked with ten other cabinetmakers who apprenticed in Europe at age twelve in the medieval craft guild tradition. They were my teachers.

From that time till now I have been self employed except for a few years with Green Gables Construction. As their project manager I oversaw work on some of the finest homes in the Portland area.

I enjoy design. Working with clients to envision timeless, beautiful homes and furniture is very satisfying.

I enjoy general contracting. Working with a wide variety of materials and people to create large complex structures that are the beautiful product of the synergy of many skilled trades is compelling.

I enjoy woodworking. Wood inspires me. I am nourished, and get deep satisfaction from creating beauty in wood.

I am a lifelong learner having taught myself most of this craft. I also enjoy learning about and working in a variety of cultural design vernaculars.

Over the years my design interests have broadened to delight in the Arts and Crafts bungalows, architecture, and furniture of Greene and Greene, Charles R Mackintosh, Bernard Maybeck and CFA Vosey. I return to the Prairie architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and then veer off into the breathtaking design of Art Nouveau. I am especially inspired by Victor Horta and Alphonse Muchsa. I enjoy contemporary design and find it challenging.

I have done substantial work for the Japanese Garden and enjoy seeing and creating the sublime beauty of their Japanese joinery.

I have always done all my own architectural drawing. Over the years I have transitioned to AutoCad and Google Sketchup.

I have had a few adventures in this craft. I worked with Ecotrust on some joint projects with Indian Nations in the northern British Columbian wilderness. This taught me the design and construction skills of this culture.

I would be honored to work with you to envision and create your dream project.

Mark Downing