Jan 29, 2015

Room of the Week: Colleen Knowles, Colleen Knowles Interior Design


Category: Bedroom
Designer: Colleen Knowles, Colleen Knowles Interior Design
Location: Mercer Island, WA

Goal: A Mercer Island couple was looking to update their master bedroom “with a polished, contemporary aesthetic and a dash of midcentury modern,” notes interior designer Colleen Knowles.

Inspiration: The owners wanted the master to reflect their sophisticated personal tastes, and mesh better with the simple but elegant style of the rest of the home.

Breakdown: “It was hard for the owner to pinpoint what did not feel right about the room but I immediately realized that the scale and proportion was off,” Knowles says. “Deep-toned Kneedler Fauchère grasscloth was installed on the headboard wall to give the room more ‘architecture’ and create a comfortable place for the bed to sit. The ceiling was rather tall for the size of the room, so to provide a focal point and fill the volume of the room I selected a modern chandelier [the Tod chandelier, available through CKID] to hang above the bed.”

Custom linens from CKID rest on a custom mohair-upholstered bed. The ikat-inspired duvet cover brings a large dose of pattern to the room, but the soft green color keeps it from overwhelming the rest of the décor. “The pink wool pillow is my favorite ‘pop’ as it is a calming color and ties in with the spring-blooming rhododendrons outside the French doors, which are so much a part of the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest,” Knowles says. Bebop, the owners’ dog, who loves to be photographed, sits in front of the French doors.

Tips to Get the Look: When it comes to designing any space, Knowles reminds us to go back to the basics: proportion, scale, balance, and focal point. Here, she breaks it down using this project as an example:

“The proportion of the height of the room needed to be brought into alignment with width of the room. The scale of the furniture needed to be in keeping with the height of the walls. The balance of the matching bedside tables and lamps is beautiful. The light fixture gives a strong focal point, both day and night. When working with a more neutral palette, you can add interest to a space using texture, variation in shade, and a variety of materials. Without strong color, those elements come to the forefront.”


Image courtesy of Michael Jensen Photography.

Jan 26, 2015

Product of the Week: Blackbird Incense Pyres

We hope not to incense you with what we're about to say, but we're into incense again. If you lived through the '60s and '70s and managed to finally get the scent of patchouli out of your poncho, you may have a strong aversion to its potent perfume.

However, Seattle's Blackbird has managed to bring incense back into our homes and make it chic. Their Incense Pyres ($28) come in sophisticated scents that are groovy in a good way. The package contains 20 pyres that scent a room for several hours, creating a moody, mystical atmosphere. Combinations like leather and cognac, and moss, geranium, and mint are exciting departures from the usual candle-like scents. So, put on some Stevie Nicks and get in touch with your far-out side.


























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.

Jan 24, 2015

Get This: A Fringe Trend

Is it boho? Hippie? Western-inspired? Who cares why fringe is in, fringe is fun! It's just one more way to add that hand-crafted touch to your person or your home. Look for fringe on clothing, accessories, jewelry, prints (that channel the idea of fringe), and home goods. Here are just a few to get you started:

Sunny Gold by Tiffany Eley of Daly Bird, $49, Seattle, Show Pony

Nate Berkus Woven Fringe Pillow, $24.99, multiple locations, Target

Hand-Blown Glass Plant-Hanging Terrarium, $38, Eugene, Oregon Bluejays and Bumblebees on Etsy.com (Put a fringey air plant inside!)

Karolina Kroon wallpaper, $263, Vancouver,  Örling & Wu Home


Layered macrame wall hanging, $120, Seattle, FaireunNoeud on Etsy.com

Eloise Grape Throw, $210, Vancouver,  Örling & Wu Home 

Spencer Staley Droop Sculptural Hanging Lamp, $3,500.00, Portland, The Good Mod (see it in the magazine)

Downtown Clutch, small, $350, Vancouver, Mary Rich


Cover Fringe Pillow Cover, $39-$44, Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver, West Elm


Jan 22, 2015

Room of the Week: Leela Brightenburg and Alissa Pulcrano, bright designlab


Category: Studio
Designers: Leela Brightenburg and Alissa Pulcrano, bright designlab  
Location: Portland

Goal: Betsy and Will, the husband-and-wife team behind Betsy & Iya, Portland’s popular jewelry line and boutique, were looking to expand their existing workspace. Their studio is located in the Northwest neighborhood in a historic building that used to be a theater, and then a photography studio for many years. The couple requested a new workshop, conference room, and office space, as well as an ADA restroom and kitchenette.

Inspiration: “First and foremost, function was crucial for their workspaces,” Brightenburg and Pulcrano note. “Our inspiration came from the amazing work that they do—the brass pieces you see on the wall are cutout negative spaces from the jewelry that Betsy designs. She created a canvas using spray paint, with the cutouts as stencils to create abstract art in the space.”

Breakdown: Working within historic building codes, the team preserved a vintage plaster wall, uncovered boarded up windows, and revealed some of the original brick. The juxtaposition of modern pattern, pops of color, and reclaimed metal and wood accents creates a creative and sophisticated vibe. A West Elm rug warms up the concrete floors, while a midcentury-inspired chair from onefortythree and poufs from CB2 make a seating area cozy. The custom-designed table (from a friend of Betsy and Will) serves as a conference space, while the set of yellow CB2 stools tucked beneath are a cheerful antidote to the PNW gray winters. When summer rolls around, the garage door can roll up to let in the sun.

Tips to Get the Look:

- Pull from your personal inspirations
- Reiterate pattern in different materials
- Use a mix of natural materials and color
- Play to the architecture



Image courtesy of bright designlab.

Jan 19, 2015

Product of the Week: Gather Stool from Barter Design

The Victorians made furniture and objects for every single situation. No doubling up, there. Just think of their table setting—a bouillabaisse spoon? An asparagus fork? Luckily we live much more casually now, and that idea is especially important in the Northwest. We love things that are versatile—like the Gather stool from Barter Design in Vancouver, B.C. Simple and beautiful, it can be a table or a stool; displayed in a group or alone. Whatever it's used as, it will also always be art.




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.

Images Courtesy of Gaile Guevara Photography.

Jan 16, 2015

5 Questions For: Jen Ament


Name: Jen Ament 
Title: Artist

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

I am in the middle of working on a show at the beginning of February, and a show that will open end of May. They both involve the celestial landscape, the places we have come from, and quite possibly where we are going. I am completely aware of my own mortality from a insane accident I had this year and have become obsessed with the rituals and ceremonies we have created as a society, therefore the title of my new shows are "Rituals" and "Future Rituals."  


Tell us three words that embody your design philosophy.
 Useful. Honest. Beautifully made.

What's your favorite place in the Pacific Northwest and why?
The Cape Flattery Trail [on the northern tip of the Washington coat] is magical. More on a rainy day than sunny.

Who or what are you inspired by right now?
  • Streams of light and fog or mist, playing off each other.
  • People who authentically have no desire to be famous. I think too many people wrongly believe this is the road to happiness, and oh how wrong they are.
  • Indoor/outdoor spaces, I wish Seattle had more of them.
  • Older Japanese men's wardrobes.

What do you think of the color gray?

It is a constant in my life. It soothes me, and reminds me of home.

Image Courtesy of Jen Ament.

Jan 14, 2015

Room of the Week: Faith Sheridan, Faith Sheridan Interior Design



Category: Kitchen
Designers: Faith Sheridan, Faith Sheridan Interior Design
Location: Mercer Island, W.A.

Goal: Homeowners Jan and Richard are passionate about food and travel, and love recreating cuisine from their various trips. When the couple became empty nesters, a kitchen remodel became a priority. According to Seattle interior designer Faith Sheridan, her clients wanted to maintain the existing footprint of the kitchen, create a flow for cooking, and take advantage of the picturesque Lake Washington views.

Inspiration: During her first visit with Jan, Sheridan noticed a ship’s keel in a corner in the adjacent den. Jan’s father had made it while he was a student at MIT. “My imagination kicked in and at that exact moment I envisioned the space plan for the entire room,” she says. Using the keel as a jumping off point for the palette and materials, Sheridan set out to create a kitchen that was both functional and meaningful to her clients.

“On a sailboat the keel is the foundation and strength of the structure and it keeps the boat right side up,” she explains of the piece that ended up a feature of the island. “It seemed fitting to me to create an illusion that their keel supports the island end and to make it a focal point. The graceful curves contrast with all the rectangles in the rest of the home and the patina of the wood is warm and rich.”

Breakdown: After consulting with Prestige Residential Construction, the contractor on the project, to make sure the Wolf gas cooktop could be moved, Sheridan got to work. She removed a wall and designed a deep island with streamlined granite countertops that provided plenty of workspace for two. Collette Collins Design fabricated the cabinets using anigre on the upper cabinets and book-matched rosewood on the lower cabinets. There is also a hidden pantry and plentiful hidden storage so all of essentials are in reach, not in sight. The mix of wood creates a warm, contemporary space with an air of sophistication. “With a nod to outside inside, I designed a custom tile  mural from Susanne Kibak and Ann Sacks. Also in their home were custom furniture pieces from local craftsmen. I saw their appreciation of this art form and then designed custom kitchen and den cabinets. Jan and Richard view the kitchen as the ‘jewel’ in their home.”

Tips to Get the Look: “We’re our home and our home is us—it’s the basic element of who we are,” Sheridan says. “My advice to anyone trying to get the look of a designer home is to sit down and really think hard and discover what ‘home’ means to you. Once that’s understood, you can go out and design a home that gives you exactly that, and beautifully.”

Images Courtesy of Andrew Benton.