Apr 24, 2015

GRAY Gift Guide: Mother’s Day 2015

If you can’t buy your mom the world this year (even though we know she deserves it), our picks for the upcoming holiday are a great alternative, and (bonus!) you can purchase them all right here in the Pacific Northwest. How lucky is she?



Antoinette Perfume from Pirouette

Containing notes of some of your mom’s favorite things, including Earl Grey tea, violet, jasmine, and mimosa (one of ours too!), this fragrance is handmade in Seattle with earth-friendly ingredients by the woman-owned company Pirouette. The scent is described as “soft and feminine, but holds a full bodied attitude with complexity and depth.” Sounds just like Mom to us.
Antoinette Natural Botanical Perfume, $38 at Pirouette, Seattle, pirouetteessentials.com

The Spacetime Necklace from the Frye Art Museum Store
Crafted from marble, brass, ceramic, glass, and wood in Brooklyn, N.Y, it’s not coincidental that this striking piece is sold at a museum. It’s also something that Mom is unlikely to buy herself, and we all know those items make the best gifts of all.
Spacetime Necklace, $180 at the Frye Art Museum Store, fryemuseumstore.goodsie.com



A Ceramic French Press from North of West

A favorite new Portland find, North of West is the love child of the three Portland-based handmade lines,Nell & Mary, Make It Good, and Pigeon Toe Ceramics. The shop is chock-full of great gifts, but we love how this ceramic-and-copper French Press will add a bit of luxury to a tired mother’s morning cup of brew.
Ceramic French Press, $150 at North of West, Portland, shopnorthofwest.com

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook from Seattle’s culinary book shop, Book Larder

With recipes from James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark, and Gillian Flynn, this cookbook is a foolproof gift for the bibliophile mom who also makes her mark in the kitchen. Book Larder also hosts author talks and weekly cooking classes—a great gift for moms who might want to sharpen up their cooking skills.

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook, $24.95 at Book Larder, Seattle, booklarder.com

A Wishbone Jewelry Holder from Rock & Rose

Give Mom a token of good fortune (and a place to store her new Spacetime necklace!) with this polished piece found at Portland’s Rock & Rose.
Lucky Break Collection Wishbone Wall Jewelry Holder, $40 at Rock & Rose, Portland, 
rockandrosepdx.com


A Nightie from The Sleep Shirt

Designed and manufactured in Canada, The Sleep Shirt’s capsule collection takes inspiration from the classic nightshirts of yesteryear. The Blue Oxford Stripe nightie fits most US sizes 4-12, so the awkward size guessing game is eliminated. We also love their Babydoll Nightie, created from 100% linen. Both pieces come with a free eye mask as a Mother’s Day bonus while supplies last.

Blue Oxford Stripe Nightie, $160 and Babydoll Nightie, $215 at The Sleep Shirt, Vancouver, thesleepshirt.com



Large enough for a salad, small enough for a jewelry catch-all, and striking enough to simply serve as an object d’art, Golem Designs handmade porcelain bowls are hand-painted with real gold lustre in Vancouver, B.C. The studio also produces other gift-worthy goods, such as heart shaped mugs and ceramic planters, all sold through their Etsy shop.
Gold Accent Bowl, $77.23 CAN at Golem Designs, Vancouver, etsy.com/shop/GolemDesign

Seattle Modern Home Tour

DATE: Saturday, May 2, 2015
TIME: 11:00am–5:00pm
COST: $30 in advance; $40 day-of. Free for children under 12. Get your tickets here.
TRANSPORTATION: Self-driving, self-paced

Peer into the modern houses that you’ve always wondered about—in a neighborhood near you! On the heels of the Portland Modern Home Tours, held April 25 (tomorrow!), GRAY is sponsoring the Seattle Modern Home Tours on May 2, which feature architecture and interiors by some of our area’s most renowned firms. Here are the highlights:



1. The Aurea Residence is a modern house built in the Magnolia neighborhood. Designed by architect Chris Pardo, the home was constructed to maximize the view of the surrounding area, while also bringing stunning modern style to the neighborhood.



2. Located in Seattle’s Atlantic neighborhood, the Backyard House is a speculative infill development that takes its name from its site—the subdivided backyard of an existing single-family house. Designed by SHED Architecture & Design, the house is situated on the western half of the lot on the edge of a bluff and features lots of natural light, floor-to-ceiling glazing in the dining and living rooms, stunning views, and sustainable materials.



3. The 18th Avenue City Homes Project is located on a narrow, sloping lot within the dense, urban Central District neighborhood of Seattle. Designed by architect/developer team Malboeuf Bowie Architecture, the project embraces the three basic principles of good modern design: abundant natural light and ventilation, small spaces that live large, and indoor/outdoor integration.



4. In Maple Leaf, check out local notable architect James Chiarelli’s own former residence, built between 1948 and 1950. Though renovated by current owners, the updates honor the original design. The house bridges classic Midcentury Modern and contemporary design styles, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (2012) and the Washington Heritage Register (2012), and as a City of Seattle Landmark (2014).




5. In the Washington Park neighborhood, see a comfortably grand and artistic “tree-house” designed by Prentiss Architects, which underwent an extensive remodel in 2007 to reflect the owners’ desire for a livable, contemporary space. The finished result features a number of sustainable choices, including solar-heated water, cabinets crafted of bamboo, Alkemi (a solid surface material composed of recycled aluminum), and a full-height Nana window wall and ridge skylight that floods the main living area with natural light and offers a view of Mt. Rainier from the dining table.




6. A second home near Washington Park showcases a complete renovation and transformation of an old 1920 Dutch Colonial into an incredible modern work of art. The new modern alterations include large windows and a glass roof, which give credence to the home’s new name: “Dutch Light.” Come see this new body inside a classic colonial shell.


For further details and tickets, visit Seattle Modern Home Tours.

5 Questions For: Photographer Tracey Ayton

Name: Tracey Ayton
Title: Photographer
Company: Tracey Ayton Photography

Which of your projects are you most excited about right now?
I am truly excited about building my own house! My husband and I purchased an 11-year-old “spec home” and took it down to the studs. There was really nothing we liked about the existing home except that it is just steps from the beach. We tore out walls, moved the stairs, and added a vaulted roof and windows. We hope to be moved in by June in order to enjoy the beach.  

Tell us three words that embody your design philosophy.
Simplicity, Fresh. Inspiring.

What is your favorite place in the Pacific Northwest?
My favorite place in the Pacific Northwest is anywhere in the San Juan Islands. It is so beautiful around there.  

Who or what are you inspired by right now?
I am so inspired by the beach and always have been—the ever-changing tides and the way the water washes up on the shore to reveal beautiful shells, driftwood, and all the treasures the sea offers. Our home will definitely reflect the muted gray tones of driftwood and rocks, with pops of subtle colors like an old piece of light-blue beach glass.

What do you think of the color gray?
The color gray is beautiful in all shades… especially at the beach.

Apr 20, 2015

Product of the Week: Haejin Lee Ceramics


Haejin Lee is an award-winning ceramic artist who was born in Seoul, South Korea, but now lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. Her new collection is a Pacific Northwest–perfect blend of natural and contemporary looks. We're loving how these would look on the counter of a sleek, modern kitchen. Track down pieces for yourself at KOBO Gallery in Seattle or Sunnyside in Deep Cove, B.C. 



Images courtesy of haejinlee-ceramics.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.


Apr 16, 2015

Portland Modern Home Tour Coming Up April 25!

DATE: Saturday, April 25, 2015
TIME: 11:00am to 5:00pm
COST: $30 in advance; $40 day-of. Free for children under 12.
TRANSPORTATION: Self-driving, self-paced

Tickets: Portland Modern Home Tour

Peer into the modern houses that you’ve always wondered about—in a neighborhood near you! GRAY is sponsoring the Portland Modern Home Tours, which feature architecture and interiors by some of our area’s most renowned firms. 

After a day of house-gawking, GRAY digs deeper with an engaging panel discussion with the architects and designers behind the inspiring residences on the tour. The panel will take place at Burnside 26 and the doors will open at 5pm, and it will begin at 5:30.


Local architecture expert Brian Libby, founder of portlandarchitecture.com, has curated the 2015 Portland tour, selecting and confirming participating architects and dwellings. 

Highlights of the tour include:


1. A house in Northeast Portland, designed by Winn Architecture and built by Homes By Brent Keys, that incorporates elements of modern living within an architectural form that allows infill integration in existing, long-established neighborhoods. The house incorporates large open living areas; an enhanced connection of outdoor living and indoor living through oversized, floor-to-ceiling windows and doors; clean and contemporary finishes and fixtures; and cable railing at stairs and openings.



2. A house in southeast Sunnyside that was built on a green “50/10” platform. A collaboration between Cellar Ridge Construction and M.O.Daby Design, this artfully conceived and constructed home has 50% reduced energy consumption while keeping the additional investment below 10%, compared to a typical code-built home.



3. This house near Forrest Park was originally built in 1960 and recently extensively renovated by the current owners (with help from Innovative Spaces, and Epic Construction and Remodeling). The goal? To return the house to its original 1960s roots and create a warm, modern, livable space for a family. Large windows were added across the front, allowing for panoramic views. The living space in the back of the home is maximized during warmer months with a large deck, stone patio, and flagstone dining area.


4. The ideahousePDX, located just off S.W. Riverside Drive and just a stone’s throw from the Willamette River, is the vision of David Horning (a partner at MOA Architecture) and Holly Freres (owner of JHL Design). Completed in 2014, the home was built with the idea that simple, beautifully designed materials and selective green building practices could create an affordable dwelling.



5. The residences known as Burnside 26, designed by SERAArchitects and built by Capstone Partners, are situated in the middle of Portland’s vibrant eastside Kerns neighborhood, and strive to make modern living easy and comfortable. The building features underground parking, a community keg in the lobby, and a rooftop lounge with stunning eastside and downtown views.



6. This house floats on the Willamette River in the Sellwood area of Portland. It was designed by Integrate Architecture & Planning and was completed just months ago. This two-story modern floating home is designed to capture the stunning views in both directions on the river. It contains several sustainable features, including a geothermal heat pump system for heating and cooling and a 10-KV photovoltaic rooftop system.



7. The LeGendre residence, located in the Southwest Hills and designed by Christopher Gelber, showcases classic styles of modern architecture. It features floor-to-ceiling windows and French doors on the sides and rear of the home that open onto a series of decks and terraces, and a 40-foot-high Italian marble stairwell crowned with a large, glowing pyramidal skylight.



8. A second home on the tour designed by Winn Architecture and built by Homes By Brent Keys is located in Humbolt and takes a fresh, modern approach to maximizing space and efficiency without compromising aesthetic. The home features an open floor plan, two eye-catching gas fireplaces, a covered outdoor living space, vaulted ceilings and large windows, to let in plenty of natural light.

For further details and tickets, visit Portland Modern Home Tours. Use GRAY as the promo code to receive $5 off!

And stay tuned for the Seattle Modern Home Tours, happening in Seattle on May 2. Preview blog post coming next week!

Sorrento Sessions Recap: Pacific Northwest Design Now

Last week GRAY launched its five-part conversation series at Seattle’s historic, newly updated Sorrento Hotel with a panel exploring regional design. The sold-out event, presented in partnership with IDSWest, attracted more than 75 attendees who mingled in the Fireside Lounge, sipped cocktails, and listened as the panelists discussed ways in which our region’s evolving culture, industries, population, and resources have influenced the emergence of unique interiors, architecture, and products. Panelists included George Suyama, architect and cofounder of Suyama Peterson Deguchi; Jennifer Navva Milliken, curator of craft at the Bellevue Arts Museum; Richelle Nolan, managing director at Interior Architects in Portland; and North Vancouver–based furniture designer and artist Brent Comber.

Tickets for the May 5 panel, “Remix Culture, Collaboration, and Cross-Disciplinary Design,” are on sale, along with future panels on topics ranging from fashion to graphic design. Space is limited, so secure your tickets now!




The historic Sorrento Hotel opened its doors in 1909 and has been one of the city’s cultural mainstays ever since. Recently the hotel renovated its lobby-side Fireside Lounge and restaurant, The Dunbar Room.

The evening’s panelists included George Suyama, Jennifer Navva Milliken, Richelle Nolan, and Brent Comber. 


        GRAY account executive Kim Schmidt and GRAY editorial director Jaime Gillin outside the Fireside Room at the Sorrento Hotel; two stylish guests wait for the panel to begin.




Editorial director Jaime Gillin with panelists Suyama, Navva Milliken, and Nolan, GRAY editor Rachel Gallaher, panelist Comber, and GRAY Special Projects Director Stacy Kendall. 

Attendees flip through the latest copy of GRAY while sipping wine and waiting for the panel to start.

Jody Phillips, Senior Event Manager of IDSWest, chats with Jennifer Navva Milliken about regional design. 


Jared Lovejoy from Magnetic ERV talks to an Jared Meisler, the restauranteur behind the Sorrento's new Dunbar Room.

George Suyama with interior designer Christian Grevstad and showroom owner Terris Draheim.

Tamara Codor and Sterling Voss of Codor Design

Kathy Lilleness of Best Plumbing with account executive Kim Schmidt and GRAY publisher and founder Shawn Williams with a design enthusiast. 

Jaime Gillin with Darin Montgomery of Urbancase

Gillin leading the panel discussion in the newly restored and redecorated Fireside Lounge. 

Images Courtesy of Belathée Photography.

Apr 15, 2015

Small Tea Makes a Big Impact

Earlier this year, Portland-based Andee Hess of OsmoseDesign was on the ground at Art Basel Miami, reporting on the fair’s happenings and influences in a blog post for GRAY. More recently, just south of Miami in Coral Gables, Hess debuted Small Tea, a store, café, and retreat where guests can sip and shop for 84 teas from around the world. With a material palette inspired by by items used during the tea production process (abaca cloth used for drying tea, neutral brown and tan tones throughout), Small Tea includes a “scent station” where customers can smell and explore teas and tea blends, and custom lighting with ceramic elements courtesy of Portland’s Pigeon Toe Ceramics. Here in Seattle we’re known for our coffee obsession, but we’d gladly kick the caffeine for a chance to sip some tea in this calming and stylish sanctuary.

The oval “scent station” at Small Tea gives patrons a chance to smell and sample 84 teas from around the world. Shelves in the background display handmade copper tins for tea-tenders to dispense blends. 

In the lounge area above tables, chairs, and stools, ceiling boxes are wrapped in abaca cloth, a material used for drying tea. The patterning reflects the Small Tea logo, and, according to Hess, “creates a rhythmic shadowplay.” The feature was designed by Osmose and assembled and installed by Goldenwood in Miami. “I read a lot about the history of tea and harvesting process,” says Hess. “We explored the patterning that corresponded.” That study led to the uniquely textured ceiling details. 

Three steel rods with custom ceramic teacups by Pigeon Toe Ceramics use LED lighting to bring a soft glow to one corner of the store.


Images Courtesy of Ken Hayden.