I attended a Northwest Society of Interior Designer’s (NWSID) meeting on Thursday evening. It is always a treat connecting with other interior designers and vendors in Portland who support the design community.
We had a progressive evening in SE Portland, moving to five sites from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. I use the word progressive because it reminded me of a progressive dinner. At that end of the evening it was impossible to decide which stop was my favorite place. Each brought its own unique flavor to the Portland interior design community.
We started at Quadrant Systems located at 437 SW MLK. Curt Nelson, their Sales and Marketing Manager, told us that the building, built in the 1950s, used to be a Goodrich Tire storefront. By the time Quadrant Systems purchased the building four years ago it was a disaster. With the help of a lot of elbow grease and a grant from the Portland Development Commission (PDC), Quadrant completed an amazing remodel of the storefront. All of the work at Quadrant was done without the help of a single contractor – the owner and staff stained concrete floors, distressed steel panels, left exposed cinder blocks and support columns, and crafted built-in cabinetry and molding. The old Goodrich Tire garage doors were salvaged, and now the repetitive square glass windowpanes feel both retro and modern. It is outstanding how well the Art Deco character of the space lends itself to a company with home theatre, media, lighting and technology focus. The 27,000 square foot space is part Art Deco, part Industrial chic, part high definition technology.
Quadrant is a one-stop technology provider for Home Theater, Security, Lighting, and Communications. They are able to integrate the entire home with push-of-a-button technology. The showroom includes vanishing LCD panels (into tabletops and under artwork), automated solar shades for lighting control, and a sleek home theatre room where only the finest components were installed. I have toured many of their competitors showrooms in Portland, and I loved Quadrant’s approach. They decided to only show a small portion of their options. The eye isn’t overloaded or confused. I left understanding they could tackle any large or small technology project in the state of Oregon. I ordered a steaming pumpkin spice cappuccino, courtesy of Quadrant Systems, for brisk walk to the next stop.
We meandered down a few blocks to S’Tile (pronounced “style’) at 345 SE Yamhill. Neutral colored tiles in porcelain, natural stone and glass were like eye candy to the designers that entered S’Tile the showroom. I personally have a glass tile fetish, so I was in pure bliss walking the showroom with a glass of champagne and a fresh Caesar salad. If I had a strawberry with a drizzle of chocolate afterwards I would have stayed there for the entire evening. (They probably would have called security eventually, huh?)
We walked to California Closets under a light rain shower and a dark night sky. The warm lighting and clean lined showroom at California Closets was like a beacon calling us to their showroom. My clients have used California Closets for their homes, but these showroom displays still impressed me. For outstanding, aesthetically pleasing storage ideas for your home office, closet, pantry, utility room and garage, visit the showroom at 1225 SE Grand in Portland.
Our next stop was just next door. Surface isn’t just another flooring and surface showroom, they pride themselves with their unique mix of products, great customer service, and green and sustainable focus. They work with both the trade and retail clientele directly with a “help as little or as much as you like” philosophy. They feature Leed certified wood floors, cork flooring, marmoleum, and unique tiles. Incidentally, I coveted the rolling display carts in the showroom. It is worth a stop at 1235 SE Grand Avenue, Portland.
Miller Paint’s Devine paint line is so well marketed in Portland, Oregon that I find some of my clients ask for it by name. Gretchen Schauffler is the artist of the Devine Color palette. She greeted many of us and answered questions about the new colors and green developments in her line. I enjoyed watching the catering staff make Irish whiskey coffees in wine glasses layering two teaspoons of sugar, whiskey, coffee and a skim layer of cream for the finish. The drink was tempting, but I had to drive home that evening, so instead I grabbed a gourmet chocolate for the road. It was a dark chocolate Haystack with a hint of strawberry.
My evening with the Northwest Society of Interior Designers on Thursday night was nothing short of blissful. So much design cuisine in Portland, so little time.
Photos were provided courtesy of Quadrant Systems, California Closets and S’Tile.