Sep 1, 2014

Product of the Week: limited-edition watercolors from 18 Karat

These stunning, limited-edition watercolors by Vancouver's 18 Karat are layers of stain blended together that result in compositions that are never the same. Abstract color is one of the best ways to add a fresh look to any room, and these dreamy pieces seem like the perfect way to start. Each one is special order, so contact 18 Karat for details.







Images courtesy of 18 Karat.

Aug 29, 2014

5 Questions For: Tess K. MacDonald, July Floral Design

Name: Tess K. MacDonald        
Title: Owner and designer

Which of your designs or projects are you most excited about right now and why?
I will be providing fresh floral for a local marketplace opening up in a few months. It will be a new way for me to gather flowers for people.

Tell us three words that embody your design philosophy.
 Beauty. Movement. Celebration.

What's your favorite place in the Pacific Northwest and why?
 The islands—whether it’s the cozy winter sweater season, or the wide-open waters of summer. Both my parents and my husband’s parents call the San Juan and Gulf Islands home.

Who or what are you inspired by right now?
 My Mum. She’s a workaholic, but so in love with her landscape. She has over 5,000 plants she takes care of.

What do you think of the color gray?
I love it. It’s an integral part of my branding. It’s soothing, clean, and complements the mood of any floral. I especially love foliage that comes in gray.

Image courtesy of Tess K. MacDonald

Aug 27, 2014

Room of the Week: Andrew van Leeuwen, Build LLC


Category: Office/Outdoor
Architect: Andrew van Leeuwen, Build LLC
Location:  Seattle, WA


Goal: The recently retired clients purchased a rundown mid-century modern house in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood to renovate as their final home. Their active lifestyles included a love of entertaining, and they wanted more interactive outdoor spaces.

Inspiration: “The design process focused on creating a piece of timeless architecture that fit in with the scale of the neighborhood,” says architect Andrew van Leeuwen. “The result is intended to be handsome, practical, and modern. At the same time, we wanted to achieve an ageless aesthetic that seems like it’s always been there.”

Breakdown: Wanting to make as few structural changes as possible (according to van Leeuwen, the property is in an area highly scrutinized by the building department), they retained the entire existing foundation and some of the framing. “We enjoy the constraints of a project and find that, when interpreted thoughtfully, limitations actually produce the most enjoyable aspects of a design,” he says.

For this project, the constraints included not only the existing foundation, but the house’s adjacency to park property and its relationship to a mature landscape. “A deliberate sequence of spaces leading up to the front door introduces screen walls, trellises, and private outdoor rooms,” van Leeuwen says of the house. “Once inside, intentional views are framed and the ceiling is vaulted to capture more natural light. Thin roof eaves and attenuated steel sunscreens refine the elevations.”

The office and TV lounge room opens up to a large outdoor courtyard with a La Cantina accordion door that leads to a patio made of poured-in-place concrete with a fine aggregate. The rock-filled grid is a sophisticated touch. Inside, the flooring is solid T&G oak with a light gray stain by Olde English Hardwoods, the desk is a custom-made walnut veneer desk by Special Projects Division, and the chair is Jacobsen Series 7. The covered trellis outside the courtyard is tempered matte glass on cedar slats.


Tips to Get the Look: “Keep the material palette simple with subdued grays and sophisticated browns so that the people, activities, and furnishings become the celebration of the space,” van Leeuwen advises. “Allow the necessary structure of the home to play a role in the finished aesthetic and make design decisions in favor of natural light, open spaces, and indoor-outdoor relationships.”

Image courtesy of Build LLC. 

Aug 25, 2014

Product of the Week: Such Sweet Tierney Bags

We're loving these prints by Seattle-based designers Such Sweet Tierney, and black and white just feels right for the end of summer. Each item is handmade and hand-printed, and there are plenty of styles and colors to choose from. But for us, it's simply black and white: these bags are boss.


Black Tribal Crossbody

Black Triangle Tote

Dotted Clutch

Images courtesy of Such Sweet Tierney.

Aug 22, 2014

Get This: Office Supplies

Just because we aren't in school anymore, doesn't mean we can't still shop for school supplies. Or set up writing stations in our houses to keep up the lost art of handwritten correspondence.

Bicycle Paper Clips, $3.99, Container Store, Seattle 

Kaweco Sport Mechanical Pencil, $24, Peter Miller Books, Seattle

 Hello Notecards, $10.95 for 16, Ecru, Portland


Shelby Writing Desk, $948, Mitchell Gold Bob Williams, Portland and select stores in British Columbia

Chrysanthemum Bookend Set, $38, by These Creatures, Red Sail, Portland
Retro Specs Pencil Pouch Set, $28, by Kate Spade, Nordstrom, various locations



Architectural Borders Ink Pen, $20, Jonathan Adler, Portland


2d:3d In-Out Box, $69, by Blu Dot, Hive Modern, Portland

12x23.5 MagGlass Dry Erase Monthly and Memo, $46, Click! Design That Fits, Seattle


Float Magazine Rack, $80, by J-Me, Design Within Reach, Seattle and Portland


Aug 20, 2014

Room of the Week: Tereza Bajan, Bajan Design Group


Category: Storage: Closet
Designer: Tereza Bajan, Bajan Design Group
Location: West Vancouver, B.C.


Goal: While interior designer Tereza Bajan was renovating a 20-year-old house in West Vancouver, the client asked that her daughter’s former bedroom be turned into a spacious walk-in closet.

Inspiration: “I wanted the client to have a feminine room that she could call her own,” says Bajan. “Putting the Hunter Douglas Silhouettes onto the south side window allowed her to have beautiful light filter through while giving her privacy. The fabrics in the valance and upholstered seat added some softness while the crystal Schonbeck chandelier brought a hint of opulence. The gray and white tones were continuous with the rest of the house, which has gray wood floors and lots of Calcutta and Carrara marbles.”

Breakdown: At the time of renovation, the client’s daughters were no longer living in her house, so she opted to turn one of their bedrooms into a walk-in closet. The existing bedroom had an adjoining bathroom with an entrance to the hallway. “It made sense to close off the entrance to the bath from the hallway and open it up from the adjoining wall in the bathroom,” Bajan says. “The only thing I would have liked to add was a champagne/wine bar, for those times you are getting ready for a night on the town.”

According to Bajan, the most important part of the project was creating a space to hold the client’s clothing, shoes, accessories, and bags—a task that required specific measurements for the custom casework by Van Arbour Design. The center island has a Pental top in Pearl White Polished quartz, and the walls are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Pavilion Gray (but taken down two shades for a softer look).


Tips to Get the Look: Not everyone has the option for such a large closet, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make your space luxurious. “Mix some different elements within the room if the space allows it,” Bajan suggests. “Add fabrics, eye-catching lighting, and mirrors for reflection. Keep it light in color, and go up the walls as much as possible for storage to get more space out of your room.” As for maximizing your closet layout, “a freestanding linear dresser can be placed against a closet wall with a short hanging rod placed above it. Then hang two short hanging rods stacked on top of each other on one side of the dresser, with a rod placed a little higher on the other side to accommodate long pieces. A couple open shelves above this can host baskets and your other particulars.”

Image courtesy of Tereza Bajan.

Aug 18, 2014

Product of the Week: Trusco Toolboxes

Blue isn't just for boys, and neither are tools. Good design doesn't have to be about the biggest pieces of furniture in your living room—it's the workhorses that you really want to work. The Trusco family of toolboxes, available at Portland's Hand Eye Supply, offer sturdy construction married to sleek design. These boxes will make carrying out even the dullest of home repairs a pleasure.

$20—$120 at Hand Eye Supply.







Images courtesy of Hand Eye Supply.