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.

Aug 15, 2014

5 Questions For: Gavin Younie, Outdoor Scenery Design


Name: Gavin Younie
Title: Founder

Which of your designs or projects are you most excited about right now and why?
I’m working on an outdoor furniture line and collaborating with other design professionals. We want to create a line that is affordable and practical for the NW environment.

Tell us three words that embody your design philosophy.
Clean, fun, surprise.

What's your favorite place in the Pacific Northwest and why?
Central Oregon—it’s an outdoor playground.

Who or what are you inspired by right now?
Outdoor furnishings. There are now many options for outdoor lighting, furniture, textiles that I have been incorporating into my designs.

What do you think of the color gray?

I love Farrow & Ball's Mole's Breath. It is a warm gray for Pacific Northwest homes that doesn't have that icy feel.

Aug 14, 2014

Behind the Design: Lynne Parker

Portland-based interior designer Lynne Parker, of Lynne Parker Designs takes us behind the scenes of her latest project: transforming a simple midcentury ranch house into a colorful, eclectic space with lots of personality. Below, Parker shares her tips for getting the right look in your own home. Click here to see images of the finished project in the 2014 August/September issue of GRAY.

By Lynne Parker

There is something innately invigorating about the idea of starting over. In college, I learned about the concept of tabula rasa, the blank slate, and have loved the idea of starting fresh ever since. This concept is one I often apply to my design projects. I walk into a space and visualize it completely transformed. The clean-slate beginning is often the birthplace of amazing ideas.

Renovating or designing a space is a mix of hard work and fun, but for me there is a method to the madness and I generally follow five guiding principles when approaching a project.



1. Start with wishful thinking. Ask yourself, “Could I make this place uniquely amazing?”

My latest project, featured in the August/September issue of GRAY magazine, sits on a hill overlooking Portland. When I first looked at it, the house was an average 1950s ranch (minus the covetable cool midcentury vibe) in need of some reno-TLC. I immediately saw the potential for modern updates, while keeping in mind the preservation of its amazing panoramic west-facing views.

Downstairs, Parker transformed a dull room that led to the laundry into a bedroom for one of her 20-year-old twin daughters, each of whom have a space downstairs.

The "in-process" shot of the image to the left shows the replacement of the lighting panels and faux wood siding with smooth white wallsone of which will be covered in wallpaper from Flat Vernacular. 

Good design begins with solid decision making. There are an infinite amount of choices someone can make when designing, but only a limited few that will bring out the best in a space. In order to achieve this, I find that having the ability to be agile during the decision-making process makes a project run much more smoothly.

Before the remodel, the galley kitchen in interior designer Lynne Parker's mid-century Portland ranch was cramped and dark, peppered with dated appliances and not conducive to entertaining. 

2. Always honor a structure’s heritage and architectural integrity.

The hilltop house had a good layout on the bottom level but needed some structural adjustments on the top (main) level. The first decision on the main level was to remove a small wall in the outdated kitchenette to create a larger, more open kitchen area.  Raising the ceilings created additional volume and removing a doorway to the garage created an L–shaped opportunity for kitchen essentials—the fridge, ovens, sinks, a microwave, and the stovetop.


The ceilings in the living room (as well as the rest of the upstairs) were vaulted to bring in more light and give the space a more expansive feeling.

The kitchen is important to me. I have twin daughters and lots of their friends, my friends, and our family are always here. I am southern, so the beginning of any great night is food, drinks, and people you love. We crammed 12 people around the table for the first Christmas in the house … just five days after moving in. A great kitchen and big, open table are always a part of my life and a recommendation for my clients. It shouldn't be something you are afraid to spill on, drink on, or lean on, and this table is exactly that—it is four-inch-thick reclaimed lumber that I chose from the salvage yard with Jason Gillihan from Black Rabbit. It doubles as dining table and kitchen-island.

Together, Gillihan and I also designed a bar cart that doubles as additional seating at the big table. Simply take off wheels and the bottom shelf and it nestles up to the table for two extra place settings.  The cart’s full-time job is as a beautiful walnut gathering place for cocktail essentials.

Located on a hill in Portland's Council Crest Park neighborhood, the home offered great existing views, especially from the living room.

I also added double French doors onto deck to capitalize on the fabulous view—the main level sits two stories up and it is in the trees. Beyond the large Oregon pines I see the western rolling hills.


3. Invest resources where it matters.

Think about investing in structural changes, mechanical upgrades, high-quality fixtures, and hard surfaces—wherever you can afford it.

Working with architect Kevin Fischer of Portland's Alice Design and contractor Hammer &Hand, Parker took out the walls of two small bedroom and two small bathrooms, combining them to create a spacious master suite.

The master suite one step closer to furniture. 

I invested in the modern master suite. I took two tiny existing bedrooms and two small baths and demolished the walls to create a wonderful oasis. The bathroom is at the back of the house, so I added double French doors to once again take advantage of the view, providing the ability to soak in the tub while watching the sunset. I love the placement of a tub in the middle of a big bathroom because it just insists that you relax every night. When I first saw the space, I knew I wanted to raise the roof to give the suite a grander feel. The rooms were not that big to begin with and the small 50s windows gave it a boxy, cramped feeling. The vaulted ceilings really opened up the space and the added double French doors give a great perch-view in the trees.  Between the bathroom and bedroom I added two separate closets with custom closet shelving, which is an essential luxury in every great master suite.

Another priority of mine was to use Arabescato Carrara marble throughout the entire house. In some places, such as the kitchen countertops and bathrooms vanities, it is honed, and in others, it is polished (kitchen backsplash, master bath floor, and shower). I laid it in a herringbone pattern on the heated master bath floor and powder room to add to the interest. (The herringbone pattern especially looks great in homes more than 50 years old.) The rest of the floors in the house have wide 7-inch white-oak plank floors for a clean modern feel.


4. Acknowledge trends without being trendy.

Wallpapers are a great solution to providing that pop of personality and trend without going overboard. Gorgeous grasscloth, hand-printed graphics, and whimsical prints from all over the world can be integrated into any design, and I often use them like art.

For the master suite of this house, I chose a graphic gold-on-white print by the amazing ladies at Hygge & West. I am a big fan of their work and use it often in my clients’ homes. It takes a village, a very talented village to make an amazing space.


5. Let your space tell your story.

We all have special things we have collected from travels, our past, our relationships, and our families. Everyone’s home should reflect who they are, and collected items help tell that story. In this house, I used vintage light fixtures in some of the rooms, for that personal, collected feel. And on floating shelves in the kitchen, I display other treasures and functional pieces. (It also keeps us from collecting too much stuff we don't need. My floating shelves force me to keep tidy and clean; definitely a bonus.)

People’s things help guide me as I work on their homes—every client has a different style, and starting with the things they already own provides a good foundation for the design of a space.

When a project wraps up, the last drape is hung, and contractors have vacated the site, you can sit back and enjoy your new space. As much as I gush about special fabrics and amazing wallpapers, the most important consideration is creating a space that my family—or my clients’ family—is able to call home.


Click here to see images of the finished project in the 2014 August/September issue of GRAY.


Images courtesy of Lynne Parker and Zillow

Aug 13, 2014

Room of the Week: Martina Clymer, Design Stage


Category: Living Room
Designer: Martina Clymer, Design Stage
Location: Seattle

Goal: To decorate a modern prefab across from Seattle’s Judkins Park with contemporary furniture and a bold color palette to reflect the style of the architecture.

Inspiration: “The park right outside the window is full of millions of lush greens, so we played off that as inspiration,” says interior designer Martina Cylmer. “Green and orange are such hip and modern colors that it just made sense to throw that against the crisp white walls for some serious punch. Also, when autumn hit, it was clear that some of the greens in the trees would turn varying shades of yellow and orange, so we wanted to bring those colors in. The house isn't very large, so it was important to play the fool-the-eye trick, extending the interior through to the exterior by extension of color scheme.” 

Breakdown: Playing off the colors found in the park across the street, Clymer used lime green and bright orange against a neutral palette of bamboo floors and white walls. A brown-and-white rug from CB2 adds subtle texture, while a small round coffee table from West Elm provides a place to set books and coffee cups that doesn’t take up the entire room. The iconic Eames lounger from Area 51 adds sleek sophistication, and throw pillows from CB2 and West Elm match the colors found in the painting above the couch—acrylic on Masonite with a hand-fabricated steel frame with exposed screws. It was painted and fabricated by Clymer’s partner Steve to create a cohesive look in the room.

Tips to Get the Look: “The scale and color of working within a small space are most important,” Clymer says. “Often, in smaller rooms we use punchy colors to create impact so that the furnishings become more of a visual than noticing that the room is tiny. Picking smaller-scaled furniture allows for the room to feel more open but complete in scheme.”


Photo Credit: Steve Clymer, Design Stage

Aug 11, 2014

Product of the Week: Caravan Pacific Modern Metal Hair Ties

This week we're feeling fashion-y, and lo and behold: these incredible brass and copper hair ties designed by Caravan Pacific and manufactured by Studio ERG are doing it for us. Brass and copper are having a moment right now, and the Modern Metal Hair Ties totally stand out from the crowd. Having just debuted at Betsy & Iya in Portland, they are now available for purchase at the well-loved jewelry spot on NW Thurman St. $28-$32.









Images courtesy of Caravan Pacific 

Aug 8, 2014

Get This: Sunnies

We're walking on sunshine these days ... and it just feels bright. Protect your peepers from squinting and your skin from wrinkles with sunglasses made right here in the Pacific Northwest—because, yes, we do get sunshine here. There is one cliche, though, that holds true with these sunglasses: If they're made in the nature-filled west, they've got to be inspired by nature, and indeed, the frames are made of wood. Grab a pair and make hay while the sun shines.


For the baseball lover: Schwood for Louisville Slugger, $250, by Schwood, Portland.

For the surfer dude: Ontario Skate in Aqua, made of Canadian Maple skateboards, $110, by Proof, Boise, Idaho

For the Gatsby fan: Florence Select, $295, by Schwood


For the neon addict: Chinook Eco, $130, by Proof