Dec 29, 2014

Product of the Week: Sticks & Stones Crushed Abalone Bolo

The times, they are a-changin', and would you believe that it might be time for the bolo tie to be back? Don't get incredulous yet—you have to see what Portland company Sticks & Stones can do. Using recycled and precious found materials to create jewelry and accessories of unusual beauty, Sticks & Stones has cultivated a style that is uniquely Northwest. The Crushed Abalone Bolo is on our radar today for its sheer moxie. The abalone shell is like natural glitter, and their design makes the bolo look fresh and interesting. Wear it to a New Year's party as your first act of style in 2015. $275 at Sticks & Stones.

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.

Dec 22, 2014

Product of the Week: Gifts from the Frye Art Museum Store

Ok, we're cheating again this week and bringing you more than one product of the week! But Christmas is this week, and you may actually need multiple recommendations (don't feel bad, we can be last-minute, too!). We think shopping is extra great when it goes to promote a good cause. Today, that cause is the visual arts. Don't forget about your local art museum's store—it can be a fabulous resource for interesting and unusual gifts, one-of-a-kind works of art, and fun art-themed toys for kids.

Here are our picks from one of the coolest museum shops around, the Frye Art Museum Store. It features many local designers and each thing is like its own little treasure. And while you're there, don't miss the critically acclaimed #SocialMedium exhibition, on now through January 4.

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.

Dec 19, 2014

5 Questions For: Stephanie Dyer, Stephanie Dyer Interior + Product Design

Name: Stephanie Dyer
Title: Principal / Sole Proprietor

Which of your designs or projects are you most excited about right now and why?
She Bop’s second location on SE Division just opened. They have exceptional clients and always enjoy the holistic exercise of incorporating brand identity into a design concept.

A New Construction Residence in Lehi, Utah. This dual-suite residence will house three generations under one roof and incorporate Aging in Place concepts. It’s a modern, spacious floor plan with custom elements that showcase the family’s personality.

Tell us three words that embody your design philosophy.
Timelessness. Context. Environment.

What's your favorite place in the Pacific Northwest and why?
Too many to choose from… today I’ll say Sauvie Island, Oregon. I always feel at home when I visit, and fortunate to live so near such a unique ecosystem. My favorite part of Portland these days is the length of N. Willamette Boulevard.

Who or what are you inspired by right now?
Landscape (both natural and refined) and the tension that exists between its innate pursuit to thrive and our constructed environments. I am always drawn to examples of nature reclaiming its territory, such as vines consuming an abandoned building.

I am also interested in the connection between time (history) and place (travel), as it pertains to design. I envision double-ended arrows extending along different planes, and the point at which they inevitably intersect.

What do you think of the color gray?
Clean. Grounding. Metallic. Deep. Subdued. Calming.

Image Courtesy of Stephanie Dyer.

Dec 18, 2014

Room of the Week: Creative Shift Studio

Category: Office
Designers: Julie Miller, Creative Shift Studio
Location: Vancouver

Goal: Before it was an office, this building in Vancouver’s Chinatown neighborhood was a parking garage. Julie Miller of Creative Shift Studio sought to create an open, bright space for an expanding collaborative company that highlighted the showstopping views of downtown and still exuded the comfort and ease of hanging out in someone’s living room.

Inspiration: “Large, open gallery spaces inspired us to achieve a bare but not unfinished aesthetic,” Miller says. “The color palette of soft beach grays was inspired by driftwood and the West Coast seascape. The clients wanted their office to feel like home.”

Breakdown: This project was all about collaboration. In addition to Miller, Gaile Guevara of Gaile Guevara Design helped with the design, and Vanessa Leung of Designüüd Studio worked on the lighting and Miguel Brovhn of Studio Brovhn was responsible for the furnishings. The Pin Tables in the reception area and the organizers and accessories on the boardroom table are his work. Even with a minimal budget, the group was able to create a sleek, modern space with concrete floors and a subtle color palette.

“Our approach to modern design in this project was to create a pared-back and minimal space that focused on the unobstructed view of the city,” Miller notes. “To achieve a stripped-down but finished interior, we used hard surface materials in the majority of the office, and balanced small textural accents in the wood reception desk and soft furnishings. Letting the cityscape take over the office was key, and this was accomplished by creating uniformity with the finishes and color.”
In the conference area, the table and black chairs were the clients’ own, but the table was stripped and refinished for a fresh look. Above is the StudioDUNN Sorenthia Light in brushed brass with a custom canopy. A Creative Matters rug from Salari brings warmth to the polished concrete floor. The reception desk was a collaboration with CaisleyDevelopments, which fabricated many of the custom furnishings throughout the space. 
Tips to Get the Look: “Selecting two colors in a monochromatic color scheme and using them throughout the space creates a sense of openness and a clean look,” Miller says. “Accent colors are used sparingly so their impact in a neutral space is greater. In small spaces without a lot of ceiling height, use the same color on both the walls and ceiling to avoid breaking up the surfaces."

Images Courtesy of

Dec 16, 2014

Goodge Place: Bringing Europe to Vancouver’s West Side

Written by: Nessa Pullman

It’s hard for us to keep the secret, but we’ve found a way to get a little taste of Europe without ever having to step foot on a plane. Named after a quaint street in London, Goodge Place, south Granville’s newest boutique and coffee bar, sources many of its products from England’s capitol. This one-stop shop stocks products with extraordinary craftsmanship and design, offering home décor and accessories from some of Europe’s most renowned designers, including Jake Phipps and House of Hackney.

When Goodge Place co-founder Emily McLean moved to London for work, she fell in love with the high-quality craftsmanship happening in the European design industry. After living there for a decade, she decided to bring back that one-of-a-kind design and masterful technique to Vancouver—a place she has always called home.

With the help of her mother Patricia McLean, she opened Goodge Place in November. The shop is stocked with a wide assortment of goods, from books and wall décor to handbags and sunglasses. There’s also a design lab where local interior designers can hold meetings, as well as an exclusive custom tile gallery from the legendary World Mosaic. “We believe that beautiful space lends to happier people, so hopefully our products can help achieve this,” Emily says.

Coffee and home décor? Now that’s our kind of pairing. Locally roasted Milano coffee is available to enjoy in the shop, or to go. An added bonus is the freshly baked brownies, truffles, and meringues.
Goodge Place also offers ready-made seasonal bouquets.
For those interior designers who work at home, fear not—you’ll never again have to rush around cleaning the house before clients come over. Goodge Place offers a beautifully decorated design lab for rent—the perfect meeting place to discuss projects.
Henry, is that you? Guaranteed you won’t find this anywhere else in Vancouver!
We were blown away by these luxurious custom European tiles, and you will be too. Watch out though, these beautiful designs may inspire you to start your renovation a little earlier than planned.
You know that friend who seems to already have everything? You’ll find something fresh for them at Goodge Place, with their unique, European-inspired selection of home décor. Everyone will be asking where you got that gift, but we won’t blame you if you want to keep it our little secret.

Images courtesy of Goodge Place.

Dec 15, 2014

Product of the Week: MakrBox Gift Boxes

Today's Product of the Week post has a bonus feature: Multiples! Seattle-based MakrBox is the Pacific Northwest's own subscription box featuring cool products from local designers and craftspeople in a variety of genres. During the holidays this year, they're featuring exclusive one-time gift boxes for every type of person on your list. The Foodie/KitchenHomePacific NW For Him, and Stocking Stuffer for Him/Her boxes, come in regular and deluxe versions, and if you order before December 17, it will arrive before the 25th! Why get one thing, when you can get a whole box? From $36-$230 at MakrBox.

Foodie/Kitchen (Deluxe)
Home (Starter Kit)
Stocking Stuffers for Her
Pacific NW for Him (Deluxe)

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.

Dec 12, 2014

Get This: Pantone's Marsala

Have you steered away from all the brights so popular in recent years? The lime, the citron, the neon? If earth tones have always been your thing, you're probably over the moon about Pantone's Color of the Year for 2015, marsala.

Our own Leatrice Eiseman, who lives and works on Bainbridge Island, Washington, and is the executive director for the Pantone Institute, calls the red-brown color "subtly seductive," "nurturing," "fulfilling," "hearty," and "stylish." If you agree, we found some marsala-colored items for both you and your home.

Heath Coupe Dinner Plate in redwood, $34, Portland, Canoe

Steven Alan Solid Wool Shag Rug, $169-$999, Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver, B.C., West Elm

Standard Buffalo Parcel in oxblood, $799, Seattle, Ampersand as Apostrophe

Lowe Red Leather Side Chair, $199, multiple locations, Crate and Barrel

"Ruby,", price upon request, Seattle, Juan Alonso

Keepsake Star Crossed Playsuit, $130, Seattle, Pipe + Row

Crystals in violet, $78-$285, Portland, Vitreluxe

Claudette, $14, Seattle, Julep

Crossroads Knit Pillow, $159, Portland, Pendleton Woolen Mills

Black and Decker Mill and Brew Coffee Maker, $80.38,

Andover Cabinet in weathered red, $799, multiple locations, Pottery Barn

Zigzag Throw, $169, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., BoConcept

Dec 11, 2014

Editor's Afield: Design Week Mexico

GRAY will never pass up the opportunity for a phenomenal adventure—especially a design-related one—so when we were invited to attend Design Week Mexico this past October, our editor, Rachel Gallaher, enthusiastically volunteered. Over the course of three days, Gallaher plunged into Mexico City’s design scene. Here, she reports on her discoveries.

After a few adventurous mishaps at two airports (my Spanish is rudimentary, mostly confined to ordering food or saying hello), I arrived at my Mexico City hotel at 2 am and promptly fell asleep. The next morning I walked over to the window, opened the shades and was taken aback by the view of the city, which spread out as far as I could see: a mix of architecture, avenues, and people. It took my breath away.

Design Week Mexico is a fairly young organization, established in 2009. But even at five years old, they’re bringing in the heavy hitters and programming dozens of events and exhibitions. Each year, DWM partners with a different country and brings in an all-star panel of speakers from that country. Two days of the festival are devoted to lectures and roundtables featuring these speakers. This year, the country was England, and speakers included Tom Dixon; Keith Priest of Fletcher Priest Architects; Sir John Sorrell, founder of London Design Festival; Michael George Hemus, co-founder of Plumen; textile designer Nigel Atkinson, and many more.

I happened to be in the same hotel as the British panel of speakers, and was lucky enough to spend three days bouncing around Mexico City with them. Between the galleries, shops, lectures, museums, and various events, it was a packed trip that opened my eyes to Mexico’s rich culture and modern design aesthetic. We discussed architecture while sipping espresso at the impeccably stocked Blend, explored the maze-like home of architect Luis Barragán, stood silently in front of the many iconic dresses on display at the Frida Kahlo house, and took tequila shots at a rowdy 11pm dinner.

One highlight was the Design House. A group of 20 renowned Mexican designers and architects were selected to transform different areas of a house into displays of contemporary style. Visit GRAY's site for a slideshow showcasing the work of this year’s participants.

Like all things design-related, this recap would be nothing without pictures, and there are a lot. I’ve chosen some photographic highlights from the trip that not only show the beauty of Mexico City, but the importance of importance of Design Week Mexico on not only a local, but a global scale. And me? I’m already dreaming about my next trip back.

An installation in the spacious open-air courtyard of the Kurimanzutto Art Gallery, located in the Federal District. “Escape Circuit” by Slovakian artist Román Ondak is a display of colorful birdcages left to flake and rust in the elements.

A peek at the building next door through the open courtyard of Kurimanzutto Art Gallery; a stairway lined with hanging vines leads from the courtyard to an interior space.

Editor Rachel Gallaher at an open-air café across from the Kurimanzutto Art Gallery.

Emilio Cabrero, Director General of Design Week Mexico and co-founder of the Blend Mexico, with Tom Dixon inside an interactive sculpture at LABOR Gallery. The sculpture was part of the “Join the Dots” exhibition featuring Ernesto Mallard and Pedro Reyes.

Close-up shot of the iconic Barragán staircase from the library to the music room.

Another shot of the staircase; religious iconography can be seen throughout Barragán’s house. 

Detail of another courtyard at the Barragán house.

A breathtaking table set for lunch Archivo Art Gallery with British Ambassador Duncan Taylor, Sir John Sorrell and key Mexican design advocates.

Taking in the gardens at Archivo Art Gallery with Oona Bannon & Russell Pinch of Pinch Design 

Mexican artist and designer Pedro Friedeberg designed an installation for the windows of Blend Mexico.


Some of our hosts took us to a traditional cantina, so when in Mexico...

The most exciting car in town. All I could do was stand and stare as they tried to parallel park. 

British industrial designer Matthew Hilton, Russell Pinch, Michael George Hemus, me, Oona Bannon, Andrea Cesarman (architect and co-founder of DWM) and her husband at the Design House opening night party. Image courtesy of Oona Bannon.

We visited artist Frida Kahlo's house, where they had an exhibit displaying a selection of the traditionally inspired dresses that made her a twentieth-century style icon. 

ALL IMAGES BELOW: Design Content, a street exhibit of emerging Mexican designers and professionals displayed in large shipping containers on two streets between Parque Polanco. Last three images courtesy of Design Week Mexico.