Oct 24, 2014

5 Questions For: Benjamin Klebba, Phloem Studio

Name:        Benjamin Klebba        
Title:          Owner/designer/woodworker
Company:   Phloem Studio

Which of your designs or projects are you most excited about right now and why?

The Regina Lounge, cuz the weather here is getting mighty overcast and it’s the perfect time to wrap yourself in a blanket, tuck that foot under your thigh, curl up with a glass of wine, put some jazz on the stereo and read your favorite book in your coziest chair.

Tell us three words that embody your design philosophy.

Simple. Modern. Home.

What's your favorite place in the Pacific Northwest and why?

The Columbia River Gorge—you get the trees, epic cliffs, the water and mountains, and it leads to so many other places.

Who or what are you inspired by right now?

Mostly my people. My people rock so hard. My family, my friends, my girl. All these people are more inspiring than anything on the internet could ever hope to be.

What do you think of the color gray?

It reminds me of winter and rain and home.

Image Courtesy of Benjamin Klebba

Oct 20, 2014

Product of the Week: Nell & Mary Oyster Tea Towels

As the leaves change from green to red (and yellow, and orange, and brown) we find ourselves gathered around the dining room table and around the kitchen island with friends and family. It's a cozy time. For these occasions we're loving Nell & Mary's Oyster-Patterned Tea Towels in luscious apricot and mint, "inspired by the bounty of the Pacific Northwest's sea." Crafted from organic cotton and hand-printed by the textile design duo in Portland, they make an ideal hostess gift.

Editorial note: Items featured in GRAY’s Product of the Week posts are solely the choice of our editors and are not paid for in any way by anyone associated with the product.

Oct 14, 2014

Studio Tour: Fresh Tangerine

Here at GRAY we’re lucky enough to see design as it’s happening—from products to architectural projects, we often get a first look at what the designers of our region are working on. We also often get a look at their studio spaces, many of which are way too cool to stay hidden.

We’ve decided to throw back the curtain on many of these creative havens and start the newest column on the GRAY blog, devoted to displaying where designers get their inspiration, spend their time, and create the products we all love so much. Our first Studio Tour is with Kim Kogane, founder and designer of Fresh Tangerine, a handmade jewelry company based in a spacious Pioneer Square loft in Seattle.

There’s no question that Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood is in the process of transitioning from an area of rundown, empty buildings to an up-and-coming district full of hip restaurants, trendy shops, and various design firms.

When jewelry designer Kim Kogane moved from Portland to Seattle in January, she found a 1,200-square-foot loft just west of 1st and Yesler, right in the heart of Seattle’s oldest neighborhood. Although she didn’t know much about the area, she fell in love with the expansive hardwood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows in the studio.

Kogane’s company Fresh Tangerine is just four years old, but she’s been dabbling in jewelry design for more than 15 years.

“I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and there’s not much to do there,” she says with a smile. “When I was 15 I got my first job working in a bead store, just for the store credit. I have no formal jewelry training. I’m completely self taught, and started out with beads and wire.”

Two years later Kogane took a metal-smithing class, and after some bouncing around (college in Oregon, some time back in Alaska, a year of teaching in France) she decided to move to Portland, where she got a standard desk job that paid the bills, but left her feeling unfulfilled.

“I was reevaluating my life at the time,” she says. “I had always been making jewelry, but on the side, never as a professional pursuit.”

Channeling her creative energy, Kogane started making jewelry at night, and eventually entered her work in local craft fairs where it was incredibly popular and soon developed a following that keeps growing each month.

“I love that I get to wake up in the morning and be excited to go to work,” Kogane says. “I get to come to a place where I feel super inspired, work with great people, and create beautiful things.”

The Fresh Tangerine line—which includes delicate chain bracelets and necklaces, 14K gold fill geometric rings, and a new feather charm necklace available mid-month—is available in retailers around the globe. Recently Kogane started opening her studio to the public for the neighborhood’s First Thursday art walk, so if the following images inspire you too, check out the Fresh Tangerine website for details about their next open house.

A selection of Fresh Tangerine jewelry displayed in simple glass cases show off designer Kim Kogane’s delicate metalwork.

A jewelry case planted with succulents brings a northwest vibe to Kogane’s self-described “vintage glam” style.

A vintage couch from Portland makes for a cozy seating area, with rugs from Moorea Seal and Urban Outfitters adding layers of color. 

Above the couch is a curated gallery wall: the large watercolor is by artist Michelle Armas, out of Decatur, Georgia, the “Je ne sais quoi” print is Sycamore Street Press, the cheeky “Hustle,” “Hello,” “Bonjour,” and “Paris” prints are an Etsy find. The large pink heart by Banquet. Kogane made the dream catchers herself.

A utilitarian shelving unit from Ikea divides the studio and holds special finds from Kogane’s travels. “The objects are all pieces I found while vintage shopping or traveling,” she says. “I would buy things and just store them with the hope that one day I would be able to display them in my dream studio.” The sheepskin pouf is from West Elm, and Kogane made the floral pillow on top.

The conference table is three Ikea tables pushed together. The mason jar flower vases were dipped in glitter for a glam touch. Says Kogane, “and I have an obsession with anything gold and glittery.”

More gathered knick knacks add personality to the space.

On the entrance wall the designer chose yellow heart decals and measured them out herself to create a wallpaper effect. Treats are laid out for her first open studio.  

This Ikea shelving unit divides the studio space into “work” and “play” areas, but the open shelving leaves a sense of unity throughout the loft.

Oct 13, 2014

Product of the Week: Pental Granite and Marble Manhattan Collection

We are still very much in kitchen and bath mode over here, and this week we would like to sing the praises of Pental Granite and Marble, a great local resource for all kinds of tile and stone. Seriously, SO many. One thing we will never tire of is the classic subway tile shape, and Pental's Manhattan collection adds a little something extra to the iconic look. 

We also wrote about one of their newest and most innovative stones in the October issue. See it here!

Editorial note: Items featured in GRAY’s Product of the Week posts are solely the choice of our editors and are not paid for in any way by anyone associated with the product.

Oct 10, 2014

5 Questions For: Landon Dix


Name: Landon Dix
Title: Designer and Maker
Company: Landon Dix Design + Craft

Which of your designs or projects are you most excited about right now and why?

Slowly but surely, I am developing a line of larger furniture pieces. The series is called Sugi, based on the Japanese technique Shou Sugi Ban. All the pieces feature burnt wood with a smooth finish. The series currently features a bowl, bench, and side table, but it will grow to include a coffee table, sideboard, and possibly a dining table.

Tell us three words that embody your design philosophy.

Local, Responsible, Natural.

What's your favorite place in the Pacific Northwest and why?

The Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. I grew up spending almost every day of the summer here for my entire life, and now my parents call it home. There is so much freedom and solitude; to be able to get away from the public and just think on your own is an incredible thing. Trips in the boat to small islands and coves, hikes through forests that have barely seen people–it’s indescribable.

Who or what are you inspired by right now?

I’m inspired by a lot of things, but recently seeing the Vancouver design community grow at a quick rate inspires me to create products that truly reflect my experience growing up here.

What do you think of the color gray?

Gray is amazing. Black and white is a color scheme I most use in projects, but it can often be too much of a contrast. Gray is a nice way to make a beautiful project not so stark.

Oct 8, 2014

Room of the Week: Ian Butcher, Best Practice Architecture

Category: Dining Room
Architect: Ian Butcher, Best Practice Architecture
Location: Seattle

Goal: The Capitol Hill couple that owns this house loved its open concept floor plan, but they wanted to create a more intimate dining experience within the lofty kitchen/living/dining area.

Inspiration: A white oak paneling system visually separates the three public areas, while allowing them to stay connected.

Breakdown: Architect Ian Butcher used the paneling system to create a distinctly defined dining area, while keeping the open flow between the kitchen and living room. “My idea was to treat the design as an intervention within the space to improve areas and hide irregularities with a system that could be expanded upon if my clients wanted,” he says. “The paneling replaces a weird railing, establishes a system for attaching modest steel shelves, and allows for a cost-effective way to hide some of the less appealing parts of the house, such as the can lights, existing fireplace surround, and TV wires.

The paneling envelops the dining area, bringing warmth and texture to the space. A round dining table from Restoration Hardware is surrounded by mismatched antique store chairs custom-painted in a bright blue that unifies the different styles. A Rich Brilliant Willing light fixture hangs over the table, and clear-coated mild steel floating shelves display pictures and other collected items.

Tips to Get the Look: “Think about how materials or textures can fold and bend around surfaces or walls to define space,” Butcher says. “And don’t be afraid to paint old pieces of furniture.” 

Image courtesy of Mark Woods.

Oct 6, 2014

Product of the Week: Professional TurboChef 30" Double Oven by Viking

By now you have our newest issue in your hands and you're eagerly poring over every page of kitchen and bath goodness, right?! To celebrate the new issue, our product of the week is a crazy-futuristic oven from Viking.

Later this fall, Viking will introduce the fastest residential oven in the world. It prepares food up to 15 times faster than conventional ovens by blowing in air at up to 60 miles per hour. There are more than 400 pre-programed settings that help determine the best cook times and temperatures; you can preset recipes and save favorites; and the oven lets you know just before it’s done so you can check your dinner’s progress.

Professional TurboChef 30" Double Oven by Viking, price upon request at Standard TV & Appliance, Portland, standardtvandappliance.com.

Editorial note: Items featured in GRAY’s Product of the Week posts are solely the choice of our editors and are not paid for in any way by anyone associated with the product.