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Featured Shop: Thomas Houha Designs

Nov 18, 2015

by Thomas Houha

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

My name is Tom, and I’m an architect and a bit of a nerd. My partner, Patty, is an artist and photographer. Together, we design and create unique geometric and architectural model kits and cards; our line is called Thomas Houha Designs. We work from our home studio on six wooded acres near Portland, Oregon.

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My designs evolve from my many interests, including architecture, space travel, geometry, and all things nerdy. As a kid, I spent time with my architect dad building harpsichords, telescopes and stereo systems, so the idea of working with kits has always been second nature to me. I started making model kits myself when I was experimenting with a new laser cutter to make gifts to friends and family. After making my first few sets, we decided to share them with the public. With that, Thomas Houha Designs was born.

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One of our first products was a design of the Portland, Oregon sign – an iconic 1940’s-era billboard in downtown Portland that has become a bit of a logo for the city. I sold some kits of the Portland sign at a Maker Fair at the local science museum, where I was demonstrating how to use the laser cutter and 3-D printer. We opened our Etsy shop a little later, and by then we had added bridges and geometric orbs to our collection.

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When I design a new kit, I start by sketching my ideas out on paper. Next, I design in more detail on the computer, and send them to the laser cutter. All of my prototypes go through several revision cycles; if the product passes this process, we move on to designing the packaging and instruction sheets. The production phase is actually the slowest part of the process, as all the model parts are cut one sheet at a time. Luckily, we have our own laser cutters, and we’ve been able to upgrade as needed.

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Patty and I believe life is about doing what you love – and we love being creative. Etsy has helped us live by that philosophy, and has given us the opportunity to sell our products all over the world. We get so excited when customers send us feedback and photos; we’ve even had a few brides tell us that they used our model bridges as table decor and cake toppers! In the future, our plans are to continue growing our business. We will both be working on Thomas Houha Designs full time by March 2016, giving us more time to develop new products, including life-size model kits. Who knows where this adventure will take us? We are here to enjoy the ride!

Follow Thomas Houha Designs on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr.

All photos by Patty of Thomas Houha Designs.

Shop Thomas Houha Designs

 

Brooklyn Bridge Model Kit, 4' Long, Large Wood Model Kit, New York City, Assembly Required
Brooklyn Bridge Model Kit, 4' Long, Large Wood Model Kit, New York City, Assembly Required
HouhaDesigns
$150.00 USD
Fishing Boat Model Kit, Laser Cut, Includes Boat, Fish and Accessories
Fishing Boat Model Kit, Laser Cut, Includes Boat, Fish and Accessories
HouhaDesigns
$15.00 USD
Sacred Geometry Model Kit, 3 Small Orbs, A unique Gift of Geometric Design, Lasercut Ornaments, Architect's Design
Sacred Geometry Model Kit, 3 Small Orbs, A unique Gift of Geometric Design, Lasercut Ornaments, Architect's Design
HouhaDesigns
$32.00 USD
Earth Star Model Kit made from Recycled Vintage Maps, Geometric Design Stellated Dodecahedron, Educational Gift
Earth Star Model Kit made from Recycled Vintage Maps, Geometric Design Stellated Dodecahedron, Educational Gift
HouhaDesigns
$26.00 USD
Tiki Tree House Model Kit 12" Tall, Laser Cut Parts, A Unique Gift, Architectural Design
Tiki Tree House Model Kit 12" Tall, Laser Cut Parts, A Unique Gift, Architectural Design
HouhaDesigns
$95.00 USD
Model of St Johns Bridge, Portland Oregon, No Assembly Required, Hand Painted Gold and Hand Assembled
Model of St Johns Bridge, Portland Oregon, No Assembly Required, Hand Painted Gold and Hand Assembled
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Model Kit of 3 Dual Tetrahedrons, Sacred Geometry, Star of David,  DIY Gift, Laser Cut, Unique Gift
Model Kit of 3 Dual Tetrahedrons, Sacred Geometry, Star of David, DIY Gift, Laser Cut, Unique Gift
HouhaDesigns
$28.00 USD
3D Laser Cut Card of the Fremont Bridge in Seattle, Washington
3D Laser Cut Card of the Fremont Bridge in Seattle, Washington
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Super Deluxe Tiki Tree House Model Kit 17" Tall, Laser Cut Parts, A Unique Gift, Architectural Design
Super Deluxe Tiki Tree House Model Kit 17" Tall, Laser Cut Parts, A Unique Gift, Architectural Design
HouhaDesigns
$125.00 USD
St Johns Bridge Wood Model Kit, Portland Oregon 26" Long x 7.5" Tall, Large Wood Model Kit, Assembly Required
St Johns Bridge Wood Model Kit, Portland Oregon 26" Long x 7.5" Tall, Large Wood Model Kit, Assembly Required
HouhaDesigns
$52.00 USD
Sacred Geometry Wood Ornament, Metatron's Cube, Unique Gift, Ready to Hang 4" x 4"
Sacred Geometry Wood Ornament, Metatron's Cube, Unique Gift, Ready to Hang 4" x 4"
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Miniature Space Ship Model Kit of the Mars Lander, Laser cut DIY project
Miniature Space Ship Model Kit of the Mars Lander, Laser cut DIY project
HouhaDesigns
$24.00 USD
Architectural Model of the Hawthorne Bridge Portland Oregon, Laser Cut Card, No Assembly Required
Architectural Model of the Hawthorne Bridge Portland Oregon, Laser Cut Card, No Assembly Required
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Sacred Geometry Model Kit, Makes one Star Orb Dodecahedron, Unique Gift, Laser Cut, DIY
Sacred Geometry Model Kit, Makes one Star Orb Dodecahedron, Unique Gift, Laser Cut, DIY
HouhaDesigns
$32.00 USD
Portland Oregon Sign, Wood Ornament,  Unique Gift, Souvenir, Ready to Hang 4" x 4"
Portland Oregon Sign, Wood Ornament, Unique Gift, Souvenir, Ready to Hang 4" x 4"
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Laser Cut Model Kit makes 2 Snowflake Dodecahedron Ornaments, Unique Gifts, DIY
Laser Cut Model Kit makes 2 Snowflake Dodecahedron Ornaments, Unique Gifts, DIY
HouhaDesigns
$24.00 USD
Great Rhombicuboctahedron Model Kit, 3D Laser Cut Sacred Geometry Model, Architectural Design, Gifts
Great Rhombicuboctahedron Model Kit, 3D Laser Cut Sacred Geometry Model, Architectural Design, Gifts
HouhaDesigns
$24.00 USD
Laser Cut Rocket Ship Model Kit for the Manned Mission to Mars, Mother Ship, Unique gift
Laser Cut Rocket Ship Model Kit for the Manned Mission to Mars, Mother Ship, Unique gift
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Architectural Model of St Johns Bridge, Laser Cut Card, No Assembly Required
Architectural Model of St Johns Bridge, Laser Cut Card, No Assembly Required
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Miniature Golden Gate Bridge Model Kit with Laser Cut Parts,  San Francisco California
Miniature Golden Gate Bridge Model Kit with Laser Cut Parts, San Francisco California
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
3D Bridge Cards Select 4 of Portland Oregon Bridges - laser cut models - no assembly required, St Johns, Fremont, Broadway, Steel, more
3D Bridge Cards Select 4 of Portland Oregon Bridges - laser cut models - no assembly required, St Johns, Fremont, Broadway, Steel, more
HouhaDesigns
$75.00 USD
3D Laser Cut Card of the Montlake Bridge in Seattle, Washington
3D Laser Cut Card of the Montlake Bridge in Seattle, Washington
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Laser Cut Model Kit of Tilikum Crossing Bridge in Portland Oregon, Bridge of the People, Architectural Model
Laser Cut Model Kit of Tilikum Crossing Bridge in Portland Oregon, Bridge of the People, Architectural Model
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
James Webb Space Telescope Model Kit, Laser Cut, Illustrated Instructions, Build It
James Webb Space Telescope Model Kit, Laser Cut, Illustrated Instructions, Build It
HouhaDesigns
$24.00 USD
Portland Oregon Sign Model Kit, White Stag Sign, Made in Oregon, Retro Style, Architects Design
Portland Oregon Sign Model Kit, White Stag Sign, Made in Oregon, Retro Style, Architects Design
HouhaDesigns
$24.00 USD
DIY Model Kit Cube Octahedron Dual, Sacred Geometry Laser Cut Gift
DIY Model Kit Cube Octahedron Dual, Sacred Geometry Laser Cut Gift
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Fremont Bridge 3D Model Kit Portland Oregon
Fremont Bridge 3D Model Kit Portland Oregon
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Deluxe Space Adventure Model Kit with Rocket and Lander, DIY
Deluxe Space Adventure Model Kit with Rocket and Lander, DIY
HouhaDesigns
$32.00 USD
Miniature Furniture Model Kit, Includes Row Boat, Fish, Chairs, Crates, Bed, Tiki Totem and Torches, DIY Model Kit, Unique Gift
Miniature Furniture Model Kit, Includes Row Boat, Fish, Chairs, Crates, Bed, Tiki Totem and Torches, DIY Model Kit, Unique Gift
HouhaDesigns
$28.00 USD
3D Model Kit of the Burnside Bridge Portland, Oregon
3D Model Kit of the Burnside Bridge Portland, Oregon
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Architectural Model Kit of the Broadway Bridge Portland Oregon, Miniature Bridge DIY Kit
Architectural Model Kit of the Broadway Bridge Portland Oregon, Miniature Bridge DIY Kit
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Train Paper Model Kit, Shay Steam Locomotive, 12" Long x 5.5" Tall, DIY Assembly Required
Train Paper Model Kit, Shay Steam Locomotive, 12" Long x 5.5" Tall, DIY Assembly Required
HouhaDesigns
$48.00 USD
Portland Oregon's Steel Bridge - 3D Model Kit
Portland Oregon's Steel Bridge - 3D Model Kit
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Miniature Steel Bridge Model, Portland Oregon, Hand Painted and Hand Assembled, Silver
Miniature Steel Bridge Model, Portland Oregon, Hand Painted and Hand Assembled, Silver
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Miniature Broadway Bridge, Portland Oregon, Hand Painted and Hand Assembled, Silver
Miniature Broadway Bridge, Portland Oregon, Hand Painted and Hand Assembled, Silver
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Miniature Bridge Portland Oregon Fremont Bridge, No Assembly Required, Hand Assembled and Painted
Miniature Bridge Portland Oregon Fremont Bridge, No Assembly Required, Hand Assembled and Painted
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Gift Set Portland Oregon Bridge Ornaments, Ready to Hang, Home Decor, No Assembly Required
Gift Set Portland Oregon Bridge Ornaments, Ready to Hang, Home Decor, No Assembly Required
HouhaDesigns
$58.00 USD
3D Bridge Cards Select 1 of Portland Oregon Bridges - laser cut models - no assembly required, St Johns, Fremont, Broadway, Steel, more
3D Bridge Cards Select 1 of Portland Oregon Bridges - laser cut models - no assembly required, St Johns, Fremont, Broadway, Steel, more
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Model Kit of St Johns Bridge in Portland Oregon, Architectural Model, Miniature Bridge
Model Kit of St Johns Bridge in Portland Oregon, Architectural Model, Miniature Bridge
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Your Choice of Four Model Kits of Portland Oregon Bridges, laser cut model kits, DIY
Your Choice of Four Model Kits of Portland Oregon Bridges, laser cut model kits, DIY
HouhaDesigns
$75.00 USD
Miniature Drafting Table Model Kit  with Real Wood Tabletop, Lasercut, Architectural DIY Scale Model
Miniature Drafting Table Model Kit with Real Wood Tabletop, Lasercut, Architectural DIY Scale Model
HouhaDesigns
$24.00 USD
Architectural Model Kit of Seattle Washington Pergola, Laser Cut Model Kit, DIY Product, Pioneer Square Pergola, Unique Gift
Architectural Model Kit of Seattle Washington Pergola, Laser Cut Model Kit, DIY Product, Pioneer Square Pergola, Unique Gift
HouhaDesigns
$125.00 USD
Eiffel Tower Model Kit, Paris France Landmark, Laser Cut, 16" Tall,
Eiffel Tower Model Kit, Paris France Landmark, Laser Cut, 16" Tall,
HouhaDesigns
$38.00 USD
Decoder Wheel Model Kit, Makes 2 Secret Decoders, Laser Cut, Super Spy, Top Secret, Instructions Included
Decoder Wheel Model Kit, Makes 2 Secret Decoders, Laser Cut, Super Spy, Top Secret, Instructions Included
HouhaDesigns
$15.00 USD
DIY Model Kit, Architectural Ornament, Star of David, Sacred Geometry, Laser Cut
DIY Model Kit, Architectural Ornament, Star of David, Sacred Geometry, Laser Cut
HouhaDesigns
$16.00 USD
Portland Oregon's Steel Bridge - 3 D Laser Cut Card - No assembly required
Portland Oregon's Steel Bridge - 3 D Laser Cut Card - No assembly required
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
3D Model Kit of the Hawthorne Bridge Portland Oregon, Laser Cut Model Kit, Architects Design
3D Model Kit of the Hawthorne Bridge Portland Oregon, Laser Cut Model Kit, Architects Design
HouhaDesigns
$20.00 USD
Tiny Bottle of White Glue for Model Building - the perfect glue for making our kits - 1.25 oz bottle
Tiny Bottle of White Glue for Model Building - the perfect glue for making our kits - 1.25 oz bottle
HouhaDesigns
$3.00 USD

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