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Home Professionals Directory

It's time for a different kind of house. A house that is more than square footage: a house that is Not So Big, where each room is used every day. The Not So Big House isn't just a small house. Rather, it's a smaller house, filled with special details and designed to accommodate the lifestyles of its occupants. The Home Professionals Directory is comprised of those who embrace the Not So Big philosophy.

DOUGLAS CLARKPhone: 6506671000
818 SW 3rd Ave #221-14495
EMail: dclark@dcarchfirm.com
portland, Oregon 97204

Services and Specialties:
Licensed Architect & GC; Certified Passive Home Consultant, Fortified Home Professional/ evaluator.

Service Areas:
USA (California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming)

About Our Company:
Secure Life Homes

Your home should be a pleasant place to live and enjoy life like Huckleberry Finn’s raft on smooth ride down the ole’ Mississippi; when all is going well.

But home is much more than that.

Your Home is also a literal life raft to protect all you cherish and hold dear, through the storms of life.

If your home cannot protect you from even known, predictable disasters, what good is it anyway?

What if you could have a home specifically designed for your own unique lifestyle,

  • using the latest advancements in quality of life technology,

  • over 90% more energy efficient than your current home,

  • highly resistant to the worst events mother nature could send your way?

This is not only possible, but proven to be readily achievable and affordable.

Please come inside to learn more.

Secure Life Homes

In the early 1990s, we were among the first architects to coin the phrase “McMansions.” This term came from a close group of architects, aghast at the 1990’s trends in home development. The architectural community watched as thousands of new supersized, but nearly identical, builder developed, suburban homes, were constructed on lots around the Chicago suburbs. Emerging from that era, many astute home designers like Sarah Suzanka with her “Not So Big House” books, and countless others, began promoting the design of “Homes for How We Really Live”.

These architects and designers helped pave a counter movement towards more thoughtful, useful space planning and design concepts.

Since 2001 our architectural practice has successfully designed, and built ourselves, or seen other contractors build, over 250 projects using these sound space planning ideas, centered on learning from our clients how people really live in their homes.

Additionally, building science has advanced greatly in the last two decades. Newer systems for building to a specific performance metric, above the base building code have emerged.

These newer building systems include:

  • Certified Passive House

  • Fortified Gold Level homes.

  • proven advancements in wildfire resistive construction of homes such as San Diego County’s excellent wildfire resistive construction detailing

  • and proven methods for flood protection of homes.

  • Code enhancements for seismic design in the last decade.

Taken together, when applicable to a specific site or region, these new advancements in the science of home construction, make it possible, more than ever before, for families to have a home that can survive most all known and predictable natural hazard events including:

  • hurricanes,

  • tornadoes,

  • hail storms,

  • floods,

  • Wildfires,

  • interior structure fires

  • and even earthquakes.

For Example:

Back in the early 2000’s when Passive House was new to America, it was considered an expensive upgrade to standard home. However, as more projects were completed, both new products have entered the market place and new building techniques have been invented to allow Passive House to become very affordable even to not for profit and low income home builders like Habitat for Humanity. Homes Built to Passive House Certification level are now featured every year in major publications like Fine Homebuilding. Some architects even cite there are homeowners using Passive house to move past “Net Zero” and by adding solar PV end up with the cost of Passive House offset by utility companies paying them for energy they send the grid every month. Habitat for Humanity see the value in building to this standard. Essentially, less than 15% project cost increase results in 90% reduction in energy bills. Allowing low income family to truly be able to afford their new home.

The Fortified Home Program focuses on extreme storm protection of homes. Specifically, they research how to make homes survive hurricanes, tornados, hail storms and extreme rain storms. They also do work in the area of fire protection. The program is sponsored by home insurance industry and is highly pragmatic; using currently available materials for testing and research. So Fortified has always been a very value conscious approach to improving homes. In many cases it uses already proven techniques, which are already in some building codes. Load path framing is from seismic states, but just not yet universal across America. Some major insurance companies now require Fortified construction standards for any insurance claim rebuilding effort following storm disasters.

The cost to benefit ratio for Fortified is so high that we feel Fortified Gold is “the least you should do” when building any new home anywhere in America.

The home building industry has also learned much from actual experience, whenever there is a wildfire or flood we see what has worked and what has failed to protect homes and lives, and we can apply these lessons to how we plan each home, specific to the natural hazards considered likely in the region. One example is the 2003 Cedar Fire in San Diego County. This fire resulting in most buildings lost in California history. This experience and its aftermath allowed researchers to create much better detailing for how to protect homes.

Very few architects and builders have sought out to become certified in either Passive House or Fortified Homes design. However, the ones who have report high levels of client satisfaction with their new homes building to either standard. And Passive homes are proving to have resale vales at least 7% greater than a similar home built to local code standards.

We have achieved both, the Certified Passive House Consultant and Builder credentials along with the Fortified Home Professional and evaluator credential.

We are real world home designers, with children and families of our own and our clients span the middle 90% of home buyer’s income and demographics across the nation, so our projects have to be designed to fit real lifestyles on real budgets.

Grid Down Homes

Why Grid Down homes?

“Because History has been very unkind to refugees.”-Douglas Clark, Architect.

Our Homes serve many roles. They are our place to raise a growing family, to enjoy life and friends, holidays, recreation, learning, love and happiness.

But most of all are homes serve us to keep and protect what we cherish most of all in life.

But life is not all smooth sailing, tragedies comes to families everyday in many forms, from natural disaster to man made threat events.

If you are looking for a home that can resist the worst the world has to throw at keep on supporting your family’s lives please come inside.

Grid Down Homes

Thanks to research and advancement in building science, today we can design and build homes that are not only proven to resist Natural hazards, but that can also resist human actions and events including unwarranted forced entry, ballistics, blast events, intentional fires, even Chemical Biological and Nuclear threat events. We have proven technology which has been made affordable by our teams own innovation and new products we have successfully used. We can do the same for your home.

Often however, Natural Disasters and man made events coincide with a power outage of unpredictable duration. Some people also believe a time is coming where these events will be more frequent and longer lasting. Such as the rolling brownouts in California, power outages long term after Cat 5 Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, or the loss of power and infrastructure in failed nations such a Venezuela due to government and social issues.

But to sustain life for any extended period the secure home must provide continuous clean air, clean water, provide for removal of human waste, provide us with an acceptable temperature range for living, and protect our families and our critical provisions such a medications and foods.

Nearly all of these critical functions can continue to function in a grid down environment without an off grid or grid down plan for power continuance.

There are many forms of off grid power, Solar PV, Wind, Micro Hydro, generators, Wood Gasification, etc. there is no one size fits all. However not all off grid power sources make for good grid down power source. For example: Solar PV and Wind both have fragility that make then unsuitable to be reliable in extreme weather or man made vents. Often the research into a grid down power supply comes back to looking at fossil fuel generators. Gas, Propane, Diesel.

However, a finite fuel supply means a finite amount of time to operate grid down. Sometimes this is fine. A typical home size propane tank and generator can supply a homes power for a day or two. But which if the grid down even lasts a week, as was no uncommon at our home in remote rural Oregon for downed power lines for winter ice storms.

Roads too icy for propane resupply or demand by others has depleted the local supply what do we do then.

We part of the solution we have developed includes reducing the power demand load by over 90% compared to typical homes. This allows a home to have a smaller generator that uses less fuel and the same finite fuel supply can last 4x or 5x longer than your next door neighbor’s standard home.

But we also look at what technologies apply best to each local client site for further energy load demand reductions, and we look at redundant or alternative sources of on site power generation. Especially continuous or renewable energy sources.

With the right combination of technologies, it is possible to have a home that can function comfortable off grid for an extended period, or even indefinitely.

Other topics we help clients with in the grid down home category is high security home planning, security consulting, and long term low maintenance food production, micro farming.

Security Consulting.

We recognize competence and expertise in total home security planning should never be performed as a sole professional actively and prefer to bringing highly qualified and experienced security professionals, many of whom hold even higher level of professional security certification, and/or were former seasoned elite special operations war fighter such as Navy SEALS, Army Rangers and Special Forces or Marine Force Recon types of individuals. Our architect’s military background allows our lead architect to communicate and coordinate with these types of professionals in a mutually understandable terminology to successfully help our clients even when their security needs are very acute.

Often the overall solution to security planning requires owners are training in how to respond to a human threat event. This takes discernment training and conditioned reactions and even some equipment training. We have professionals who can assist our clients with these core skills. Even for clients with zero desire to take action against another person, we can help them understand how to prepare for a suitable passive defense.

Electronic Security.

We are aware on the fast pace of continual advancement on security technology and recognize that every year our electronic security consultants bring to our client newer and more advanced technology to help client, we were an early adopter of FLIR Thermal optics and Thermal Fence technology as well as an early adopter for the use of drones to provide our clients with far superior situational awareness of human movements of concern on and adjacent to their own properties. We also experimented with many of the new consumer driven product in this market segment such as Ring.com and blink.com and saw the limitation and failures of these systems first hand. As new tech continues to be brought to market will will continue to push for the best, most secure and robust electronic security solutions for our clients.

Grid Down Food Supply

While clean air and clean water rank higher in urgency and importance for the protection of lives in grid down homes, we must also consider on site food production processing, storage and preparation.

We have researched and are continually experimenting and refining “Micro Farming” and “Urban Gardening” principals for over 7 years at properties we lived in and owned. We did not come into this topics as experts but just as adults who grew up in active gardening families. Standing on the shoulders of experts such as Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal’s excellent book “The Essential Urban Farmer”, Paul Gautschi “Back to Eden” mulch gardening system) and books on permaculture and Brett Markham’s “Mini Farming - Self Sufficiency on ¼ Acre.

Over these years and ongoing, we proved to ourselves we could grow more food than we would possibly process and store on just ½ an acre. Literally enough food produced to feed a family of four years round, after just 4 years to get perennials established in climate zone 7B.

The lessons were invaluable and we are glad to share them with our clients who seek to live a fruitful life in a grid down environment.

This sort of Grid Down lifestyle goes by many names and philosophies, Preppers, preparedness, Survivalist, Off Grid living, Natural living, WROL, WTHSHTF, TEOTWAWKI. All of which share some key attributes or allowing the home to continue to function long term, even when the normal infrastructure is not longer operating.

We have served many clients in these types of project goals as the architects and engineers for hardened structures for over 8 years.

Bunkers, Safe Rooms and Shelters.

We have 7 years’ experience working on many types of bunker/Shelter/safe room type projects under Hardened Structures – Hardened Shelters. we recommend you see their website to gain an understanding of this scope of services we also provide.


Who We Are:

Our lead architect successfully completed training by the National Council or Architectural Boards (NCARB) for a seven tier security planning training and certification program.

He is a Certified Passive House Consultant and Certified Passive House builder as well as a Fortified Home Professional and Fortified Home Evaluator.

He is also a former US Army Airborne Infantry soldier, and commissioned officer. He served for a number of years a church security team leader requiring hundreds of hours of training, and is Red Cross First Aid Certified as well and “Stop the Bleed” certified and is active in shooting sports such as 3-gun and action pistol. He holds both a Bachelors and an executive Master Degree in Architecture and has been in the architectural profession since 1989. He is presently licensed in several states, and achieved his first two architectural licenses in Wisconsin and Illinois in 2000 while building his first new home in Lake County Illinois.

He is the son and grandson of carpenters and general contractors as well as a 3rd generation US Army Service member. He started his own architectural practice in 2001 in Chicago, and expanded this to San Diego in 2003 and eventually San Francisco and Oregon in 2013.

In 2013 He became an affiliate architect for Oregon with www.HardenedStructres.com and presently is their lead architect for hardened homes type projects. In 2016 he represented Hardened Structures to speak at the Texas State Senate at their Securing the Grid summit regarding EMP threats facing America. He presently lives with his wife and two young children. Together the family has remodeled three homes. Two side by side in rural Oregon and one in rural Japan.

Statement of Licensure:

Active licesnes in 

California, Texas, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, North Carolina, Michigan, Colorado

Inactive licenses  in:

illinois, Wisconsin, Maryland, Washington DC, New York

NCARB Certification: Architect is NCARB certified.
* The NCARB certification often expedites reciprocity - the process through which one can offer his or her professional services in different jurisdictions after earning an initial license. This means that if an NCARB certified architect is not licensed in your state, the process for getting him/her licensed there in order to work on your project will be fairly quick.


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