This year’s urban Northwest Natural Street of Dreams in Portland has many unique challenges not seen in past years shows because of the location and nature of the featured homes.
What door was it? The project requires meeting many vendors at the penthouse to see the space, take measurements, make plans and install their goods. As silly as it sounds I have taken it for granted in a typical show house that vendors can simply meet me at the house. I don’t have to mention the main door and I certainly don’t have to go down 16 floors to let them into the building. Oh, okay. They can call me and I can buzz them in, but I haven’t bothered to remember to use the intercom system even once yet. Don’t ask.
What is that room for anyway? Like most desirable urban environments, square footage in the Pearl district is at a premium. Past years have featured larger than life homes with many rooms with unique purposes including wine cellars, media rooms, indoor swimming pools, and work out facilities. The 1606 penthouse I am designing in the Encore is a little shy of 2500 square feet. With less than a third of the square footage of past homes featured, we find ourselves being creative about multi-purposing rooms and selecting furniture with flexibility in living. You will love our Zen like room, part yoga studio, part home office.
What is behind that wall anyway? Unlike past years, the penthouses were also pre-built with the architectural firms and developers, so wiring, electrical, surfaces and cabinetry selections were already determined and installed. Changes don’t come easy with lighting and wiring when a wall is solid concrete construction. We have found ourselves being creative with surround sound and placement of chandeliers in our unit. There is only a few inches access above the unit’s ceiling, so even dropping a cable can become an impossible ordeal in some areas of the penthouse.
That is simple, right? I have dreamed up a few design ideas that have proved to be very challenging. My favorite was working with a Culver Glass to install mirrors on a focal wall. The estimator looked at me and scratched his head. Then said, “What floor are we on Angela?” I said, “The 16th, why do you ask?” He said he would need a crane to bring the full size 4’x12′ panels up to the unit. We later settled for bringing the panels up on top of the elevator. I still don’t understand how that worked, but it did.
Views, views and more views. Our penthouse has an astounding view of the West Hills, Freemont Bridge, Mount Hood and the Willamette River. Everywhere you look there are windows. That is a good thing indeed. The windows are sleek and metal. That is a good thing too, but some of the window treatment ideas we dreamed up weren’t practical. Mounting hardware on metal windows will void the warranty of the windows. We went to plan B instead. (Don’t worry you will love it.)
You can’t put that there! Our penthouse features an outdoor covered lanai that transitions into two long, slender patios aligning the unit. (Imagine the letter “T” upside down) We imagined comfortable yet contemporary patio furnishings alongside foliage and dreamed up a fountain and a fireplace. Well, the fire marshall didn’t agree with my design plan underneath a covered area, and the fountain didn’t meet drainage requirements. Still, the patio layout will still blow your socks off.
Speaking of socks, this year all visitors will be given a bag to carry their shoes into the unit. By the way, the Encore building is LEED certified silver, so in addition to having a smaller footprint in this years Street of Dreams, you can do you part by reusing your bag for shopping around town after the show.
It’s is almost here and the first of its kind in the Nation. Come see the first urban Street of Dreams this August in the Portland Pearl District. We can’t wait to introduce you to outstanding interior design ideas, cascading views, innovative technology, and all that urban living in the Pearl has to offer.