Mar 26, 2015

Room of the Week: SHED Architecture & Design

Category: Loft
Location: Seattle

Goal: A young professional couple working in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood were looking for a home near their offices that would allow for a walkable lifestyle. They were drawn to this 1,702-square-foot in the 1310 East Union Building designed by the Miller Hull Partnership for Seattle-based developers Dunn + Hobbes but wanted to customize it with a cohesive and rich material palette and new kitchen. The couple approached SHED Architecture & Design looking to replace the original "starter" kitchen (small sink, appliances, and very limited work area) that lacked enclosed storage, as well as add additional storage throughout the space.

“The main challenge was to add functional elements to the space that blended with the building’s original palette of concrete floors, zinc-plated pan-decking ceiling, and blackened steel beams and railings,” says SHED principal Thomas Schaer. “The goal was to weave new elements into the cool industrial shell to improve how the space functions and add warmth and richness to the material palette.”

Inspiration: “From the outset we knew the elements needed to be bold to truly integrate with the industrial interior,” Schaer explains. “We wanted the elements to be as robust as the shell building but with a finer grain that is more human scaled. The concrete brick is a good example of this. Made of the same material as the floor it’s at once heavy, grounded, industrial and clearly built by hand.”

Breakdown: The SHED team decided to start out by extending the kitchen into a space that was formerly an entry door in order to provide more storage and workspace. This allowed them to create a more private entryway that didn’t step directly into the kitchen. Working around the existing range and hood (which would have been difficult and expensive to move) Schaer used concrete brick (masonry by Mutual Materials) as the main material in the kitchen to anchor the space, and added linear grain teak comprised of varying tones that bring natural warmth to the hard industrial shell. The blackened steel staircase and railings were part of the original build. The zebrawood cabinets were fabricated by Dolan Built, and the wallpaper is custom by local designer Brian Paquette—a custom wheat paste pattern inspired by a traditional Japanese pattern book. The hefty island replaced a small industrial worktable, and provides plenty of space for meal prep, dining, and more storage on the opposite side.

Get the Look: Schaer offers four design pointers for a remodel:
  • Be bold.
  • Use elemental materials simply.
  • Work with the space, not against. it. For example, look for ways to compliment what's already there.
  • Weave materials throughout a space for integrity and continuity.

Image Courtesy of Mark Woods.

Mar 25, 2015

GRAY Conversations: The Sorrento Sessions

In Partnership with Interior Design Show West

Don’t miss this five-part conversation series at Seattle’s historic, newly updated Sorrento Hotel. In the revamped lobby Fireside Room and the penthouse-level Top of the Town, GRAY editors will moderate dynamic panel discussions with creative thinkers from all corners of the Pacific Northwest on subjects ranging from the Northwest’s rising fashion profile to “remix culture” and cross-disciplinary collaboration. Come for the conversation and stay for the cocktails! Space is limited; RSVP is required.


The Sorrento Sessions
in partnership with IDSwest
April 9 | Pacific Northwest Design Now
May 5 | Remix Culture & Cross-Disciplinary Design
June 11 | Northwest Fashion on the Rise
July 9 | Art, Landscape, & the Public Realm
August 20 | Next-Wave Graphic Design & Branding


TOPIC: Pacific Northwest Design Now

Over the past decade, the Pacific Northwest has experienced a major design boom. We’ll explore the ways in which our region’s evolving culture, industries, population, and resources have influenced the emergence of unique interiors, architecture, and products. What does Pacific Northwest design look like right now, and where is it going? And given today’s hyper-connected, globalized world, does "regional design" even exist anymore? Our panelists weigh in.

Cost is $10. Tickets available HERE


·      George Suyama, architect and cofounder, Suyama Peterson Deguchi (Seattle)

·      Jennifer Navva Milliken, curator, Bellevue Arts Museum (Bellevue, WA)

·      Richelle Nolan, managing director, Interior Architects (Portland)

·      Brent Comber, furniture designer and artist, Brent Comber (North Vancouver, B.C.)

May 5

TOPIC: Remix Culture, Collaboration, and Cross-Disciplinary Design

Cost is $10. Tickets available HERE

Whether it’s industrial designers shaping interiors or architects branching into product design, the Northwest has become known for its creative collaborations and cross-disciplinary projects. For this panel, we’ll talk to some of the region’s brightest design stars about their experiences crossing into new or unexpected design territories, and why this is becoming a new standard.

This evening will also feature a tour of the new Sorrento suites and a short talk with the designers responsible for their new look. Designers include Brian Paquette, April Pride, and Codor Design.

June 11

TOPIC: Northwest Fashion on the Rise

We all know the stereotype: Birkenstocks and flannel shirts. Ripped jeans and fleece jackets. The Northwest gets props for a lot of things, but fashion has never been one of them. Until now. Thanks to a cadre of creative designers, the runways are looking to our region for style trends. From clothing and jewelry to handbags and shoes, this panel of sartorial all-stars will talk about how we went from sportswear to street chic.

Image Courtesy of Tina Kulic

Behind the Design: Windfall Lumber

By John Briggs

Ponder the lowly pallet.  Assembled of pine, it admirably performs its role supporting the shipping of other goods, but after a few trips across the country, it’s often burned or discarded in a landfill. The ingenious people at Windfall Lumber in Tumwater, Washington, have discovered a better end for old pallets, making the most of this banal wood by turning it into panels, and then installing them as interior siding in lobbies, offices, and coffee shops. This pallet project is just one of the most recent American-based efforts to redeem what some would see as "trash" into useful products for the building industry.

Founded in 1997 to salvage timber downed in an epic December 1996 ice storm, Windfall Lumber has since expanded its "raw materials" to include not only pallets, but also power poles, salvaged wood from deconstructed buildings, and old gym floors. Most of the materials are sourced from the Puget Sound region and milled, dried, and finished at Windfall's Tumwater manufacturing facility. 

South Sound Bank, Engineered Panel in white.
For the first ten years of business, Windfall sold most of its reclaimed products for use in homes around the region. When the housing crash hit in 2008, Windfall Lumber's president, Scott Royer, and his team recognized the need to expand into commercial and institutional projects. Over the past four years, Windfall has expanded its production to supply colleges, apartment houses, and businesses, bringing to new life to old trees, and making it easy for new projects to embrace sustainable design.  

At Clover Park Technical College the library stairs are made from beams reclaimed from the previously deconstructed campus building.
Resurfaced Textile Mill flooring as cladding in Olympia Coffee, Wildwood Center.
John Briggs is an author and blogger who spotlights American firms employing American workers, and urges, championing the idea of buying American-made goods in order to help create more jobs in the United States. Visit his blog here

Mar 23, 2015

Party Pages: Wear Wednesdays at W Seattle

Last week some of Seattle's most fashionable gathered at W Seattle for their Wear Wednesdays spring fashion trend event. Editors from GRAY, Seattle Met, and Seattle Refined displayed their favorite trends, and what's inspiring them fashion-wise for the upcoming (hopefully warmer!) months. Drawing from local designers and boutiques, each editor had her own unique take on Spring 2015, but floral prints, the 1970s bohemian looks, and pastel accessories popped up on more than one person's radar. 

W Seattle's award-winning lounge, designed by Portland's Skylab Architecture

Wear Wednesdays are held in W Seattle's chic lounge. 

Amanda Zurita, Seattle Met's Style Editor and Seattle Met Bride & Groom Editor-In-Chief sneaks in some social media before the event kicks off. 

Bold patterns, pastel accessories, and a pair of amazing leather sandals were just a few of the items on display.

GRAY editor Rachel Gallaher had picks from local designers Rachel Ravitch and Ampersand As Apostrophe, as well as shoes from Totokaelo.

Some classic stripes and a little bit of leopard guarantee a stylish spring.
Rachel Gallaher with her spring picks including items from local companies Silvae, Glasswing, and Zebraclub
Attendees browsed clothing, sipped on happy hour cocktails, and discussed fashion. 
Bloggers Aika Yokoyama (Akia's Love Closet) and Breanne Rice (Breanne's Holistic Health) cozy up for a fashionable snapshot.

GRAY editor with Sasha Muir of Bevee Bags. 
Alyson Andrews from Seattle Refined, Rachel Gallaher of GRAY, and Amanda Zurita from Seattle Met celebrating spring fashion at Wear Wednesdays.

Images Courtesy of Melanie Biehle

Product of the Week: Such Sweet Tierney Arches Pillow Cover

Sit back, relax! The Arches pillow cover from Seattle's Such Sweet Tierney is a landscape-inspired design that can add a little oomph to your sofa or bed this spring. The solvent-free and water-based ink is screen printed onto organic cotton. Time to wake up a tired space with this on-trend pattern from a source you can feel good about!

Photo credits: Emily Ryder

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.

Mar 20, 2015

5 Questions For: Jacob Simons, NBBJ

Name:  Jacob Simons                 
Title:  Experience Design Director
Company:  NBBJ

Which of your designs or projects are you most excited about right now?
Which single project? I can’t do it. The diversity of our work is what excites me most. From tech clients changing the world as we know it; to the Ladybug House, which will meet our country’s desperate need for palliative care for children and their families; to a power utility company’s substation that will connect the community with their natural resources and environment, NBBJ’s work is massively diverse. Without such broad challenge, I would feel my impact and value was being restricted.

Tell us three words that embody your design philosophy.
People. Purpose. Delight.

What's your favorite place in the Pacific Northwest?
The many profoundly beautiful forests that spread across our land. I grew up exploring “the woods” just off my family’s property on Reeds Lake in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and it has always held a special place in my heart. The forest is alive and filled with curiosities; I would spend entire days exploring and building. To this day, it makes me tear up to think of how great those days were, and I seek the forest often for inspiration and reflection.

Who or what are you inspired by right now?
Art. The creative confidence and freedom exhibited by an artist is unparalleled. As a designer, many of my works are founded in highly rational principles like increasing productivity for a workforce, enhancing business returns for investors, reducing errors for clinicians… all highly valuable pursuits. However, a passionate and committed pursuit of more humanistic and primal values, such as meaning and delight, has captivated my attention. More difficult to quantify, of course, but they are likely the experiences that make life worth living.

What do you think of the color gray?
Love it. Some of the most beautiful things in the world don’t demand attention.

Image by: 

Mar 16, 2015

Product of the Week: Esque Studio Waterdrop Pendant Light

Let there be light! Brand new for spring from Portland's Esque Studio, the Waterdrop Pendant Light is a joy to behold. Imagine the warm glow it would cast upon your table if one or more were hung in your dining room. And consider the artful sophistication of the smoke color. We think these lights are instant classics!

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.