John Nordquist, BuilderEducation: Formal: Bachelor's degree in English Literature, University of Oregon, 1981. Informal: the trenches.
Journey: Rewarding, successful years as an outdoor leader, high school English teacher, and journalist followed by a leap of faith into designing and building in 1993.
Edge: Still swings a hammer.
Influences: The Not-So-Big concepts and books of Sara Susanka. His grandfather, a Swedish carpenter, and his father, a teacher, who taught that work done well is its own reward.
Philosophy: The spirit of a house starts with the spirit in which it is built.
On Building: The goal is to achieve a final simplicity that belies the complexity of the process.
On Design: 1) The land comes first: design with a sense of place. 2) Use restraint and seek the cleanest line.
Best Jobsite Dogs: Kuma, the white bear, Hurt project, 2007. Buster and Neko, Cross Project, 2013.
Lucky Break: 1996. Keith and Barbara Jensen trust him to build their home, though Keith is Norwegian and John a Swede.
Other Passions: Rivers and mountains.