Seattle, Part Two

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October 28, 2010

Earlier this week, I headed to Seattle to report a story for an upcoming issue and to run around town to find the best food, furnishings, and other local favorites. Part one of my trip was bookended with croissants and Korean tacos and filled with glimpses of the Olympic Sculpture Park, city bike racks, freeway underpasses, and more. Here we pick up halfway through day two of my three-day trip. 

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  My first stop after lunch was the Seattle Public Library's Central Library, designed by OMA with local design firm LMN Architects.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    My first stop after lunch was the Seattle Public Library's Central Library, designed by OMA with local design firm LMN Architects.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  The absolutely stunning building was completed in 2004 and still draws design enthusiasts (who can partake in free public tours of the building) on a daily basis. The new library is 75-percent larger than the previous structure and features an innovative spiral design for housing its collection.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    The absolutely stunning building was completed in 2004 and still draws design enthusiasts (who can partake in free public tours of the building) on a daily basis. The new library is 75-percent larger than the previous structure and features an innovative spiral design for housing its collection.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  My favorite part of the library is easy to miss. Located on the fourth floor, the meeting room level is quite literally the heart of the building. Not only is it centrally located but it is painted wall-to-wall, top-to-bottom in a deep red shade and is shaped in a way that is reminiscent of the chambers of the heart. Shown here is a view from the fourth floor overlooking the reading areas below.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    My favorite part of the library is easy to miss. Located on the fourth floor, the meeting room level is quite literally the heart of the building. Not only is it centrally located but it is painted wall-to-wall, top-to-bottom in a deep red shade and is shaped in a way that is reminiscent of the chambers of the heart. Shown here is a view from the fourth floor overlooking the reading areas below.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  After my trip to the library, I drove to the International District and old Japantown to visit Kobo at Higo, a ceramics, homewares, and objects shop and gallery featuring work by Japanese and Japanese-inspired artists.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    After my trip to the library, I drove to the International District and old Japantown to visit Kobo at Higo, a ceramics, homewares, and objects shop and gallery featuring work by Japanese and Japanese-inspired artists.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Though the season's last strawberries have come and gone, that didn't stop me from longing for the ceramic bowls the looked like the plastic green containers the red fruit often comes in (shown here tucked in back).  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Though the season's last strawberries have come and gone, that didn't stop me from longing for the ceramic bowls the looked like the plastic green containers the red fruit often comes in (shown here tucked in back).

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  These blanched pine cones caught my eye and reminded me of the Arik Levy installment of assistant editor Jordan Kushins's My Favorite Thing column. Levy's treasure: dried pomegranates.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    These blanched pine cones caught my eye and reminded me of the Arik Levy installment of assistant editor Jordan Kushins's My Favorite Thing column. Levy's treasure: dried pomegranates.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Next, at editor Jaime Gross's suggestion, I headed north to Ballard and to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, more often referred to as simply the Ballard Locks. Connected to the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Gardens, the area offers quite a lot to take in. I was fortunate enough to catch two fishing boats pass through the locks—which mitigate the 20-22 foot difference between Lake Washington and Lake Union and prevent the mix of Puget Sound's saltwater with the lakes' freshwater. The most popular attraction here, however, is the fish ladder, which allows salmon to make their migratory runs and features five viewing windows, where I spotted a couple handfuls of nearly four-foot-long fish.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Next, at editor Jaime Gross's suggestion, I headed north to Ballard and to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, more often referred to as simply the Ballard Locks. Connected to the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Gardens, the area offers quite a lot to take in. I was fortunate enough to catch two fishing boats pass through the locks—which mitigate the 20-22 foot difference between Lake Washington and Lake Union and prevent the mix of Puget Sound's saltwater with the lakes' freshwater. The most popular attraction here, however, is the fish ladder, which allows salmon to make their migratory runs and features five viewing windows, where I spotted a couple handfuls of nearly four-foot-long fish.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  After the locks, I took a walk down Ballard Avenue, the main drag of the one of the city's hippest neighborhoods these days. One shop I stopped at was Camelion Design, which I had read about on Design*Sponge's Seattle guide.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    After the locks, I took a walk down Ballard Avenue, the main drag of the one of the city's hippest neighborhoods these days. One shop I stopped at was Camelion Design, which I had read about on Design*Sponge's Seattle guide.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Though the shop is definitely not a modern design store, it's a cozy place and I spotted some great finds, like this five-vase bud vase by 18 Karat.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Though the shop is definitely not a modern design store, it's a cozy place and I spotted some great finds, like this five-vase bud vase by 18 Karat.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  I was hoping to pop into Space Oddity, a vintage furniture shop, but unfortunately the store is closed on Mondays.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    I was hoping to pop into Space Oddity, a vintage furniture shop, but unfortunately the store is closed on Mondays.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  I did, however, peek inside through the windows and spotted this Eames molded plastic side chair—as well as a pile of manikin parts (not pictured).  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    I did, however, peek inside through the windows and spotted this Eames molded plastic side chair—as well as a pile of manikin parts (not pictured).

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

  • 
  Before I met a friend for dinner at the French restaurant Bastille, I headed down to the edge of Salmon Bay to check in on the tiny 800-square-foot home atop a huge warehouse that I wrote about earlier this year for our Small Spaces issue. The vines along the warehouse wall's were much fuller than when we photographed the residence but besides that, everything looked quite the same—and quite lovely. (Click here to read the Sky Small story.)  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Before I met a friend for dinner at the French restaurant Bastille, I headed down to the edge of Salmon Bay to check in on the tiny 800-square-foot home atop a huge warehouse that I wrote about earlier this year for our Small Spaces issue. The vines along the warehouse wall's were much fuller than when we photographed the residence but besides that, everything looked quite the same—and quite lovely. (Click here to read the Sky Small story.)

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

  • 
  The next morning, I started my day at the Henrybuilt and Viola Park showroom downtown. Though two separate companies, they are run by the same people and their products are both manufactured in the same factory in SoDo, a Seattle neighborhood whose nickname is short for "south of downtown." Whereas Henrybuilt is completely customizable and starts with extensive design work between the client and the company, Viola Park is a less expensive, modular kitchen and living solution.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    The next morning, I started my day at the Henrybuilt and Viola Park showroom downtown. Though two separate companies, they are run by the same people and their products are both manufactured in the same factory in SoDo, a Seattle neighborhood whose nickname is short for "south of downtown." Whereas Henrybuilt is completely customizable and starts with extensive design work between the client and the company, Viola Park is a less expensive, modular kitchen and living solution.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  In SoDo, Henrybuilt's headquarters backs onto its 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Once designs are complete, the wood is hand-selected so grains will match across the pieces and the patterns will flow from panel to panel. Here, wood is cut on the CNC machine.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    In SoDo, Henrybuilt's headquarters backs onto its 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Once designs are complete, the wood is hand-selected so grains will match across the pieces and the patterns will flow from panel to panel. Here, wood is cut on the CNC machine.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  After three more steps, the cabinets end up in their final "cell," where they are assembled and packaged for shipping and installation.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    After three more steps, the cabinets end up in their final "cell," where they are assembled and packaged for shipping and installation.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  The factory is also home to the company's testing area. Shown here are prototypes for and the final designs of Henrybuilt's new stools.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    The factory is also home to the company's testing area. Shown here are prototypes for and the final designs of Henrybuilt's new stools.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

  • 
  After the tour, I stopped by the Seattle Art Museum for its new Picasso exhibit, on view through January 17, 2011. The show displays works from the artist's personal collection, usually housed at the Musée National Picasso in Paris, and includes iconic masterpieces like La Celestina from his Blue Period, the Man with a Guitar from his early Cubist work, and The Matador, among others. Having worked up an appetite, I strolled down to Salumi, a cured meat shop owned by Armandino Batali, Mario Batali's father.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    After the tour, I stopped by the Seattle Art Museum for its new Picasso exhibit, on view through January 17, 2011. The show displays works from the artist's personal collection, usually housed at the Musée National Picasso in Paris, and includes iconic masterpieces like La Celestina from his Blue Period, the Man with a Guitar from his early Cubist work, and The Matador, among others. Having worked up an appetite, I strolled down to Salumi, a cured meat shop owned by Armandino Batali, Mario Batali's father.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  For lunch, I enjoyed a cold muffo sandwich and a chat about kite-boarding in Lake Washington with my neighbor at the communal table.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    For lunch, I enjoyed a cold muffo sandwich and a chat about kite-boarding in Lake Washington with my neighbor at the communal table.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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  Before I packed up to head home, I visited local architects Prentis Hale and Thomas Schaer of Shed Built, whose kitchen renovation and bedroom addition we previously featured on dwell.com. Hard at work here is Schaer in the firm's office.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Before I packed up to head home, I visited local architects Prentis Hale and Thomas Schaer of Shed Built, whose kitchen renovation and bedroom addition we previously featured on dwell.com. Hard at work here is Schaer in the firm's office.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

  • 
  Hale and Schaer built most of the office's structures themselves, including the back loft working area and its steps, covered in artificial turf. Though Shed Built was founded as a design-build office, when its four principals became just two, Hale and Schaer decided that the only way in which they would become better at designing would be to do more design, so they dropped the build half of their business.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    Hale and Schaer built most of the office's structures themselves, including the back loft working area and its steps, covered in artificial turf. Though Shed Built was founded as a design-build office, when its four principals became just two, Hale and Schaer decided that the only way in which they would become better at designing would be to do more design, so they dropped the build half of their business.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

  • 
  After a quick chat in the office, Hale, Schaer, and I drove to a nearby project where the resident has been remodeling bit by bit as funds have become available. The first floor of the home was originally four, small rooms. Now, there is a plywood box in the middle (housing the bathroom and mechanical room) and an open room on each side. Shown here is the media space. The curtain on the right can slide on its rollers to completely enclose the couch and projection screen if the resident so desire.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    After a quick chat in the office, Hale, Schaer, and I drove to a nearby project where the resident has been remodeling bit by bit as funds have become available. The first floor of the home was originally four, small rooms. Now, there is a plywood box in the middle (housing the bathroom and mechanical room) and an open room on each side. Shown here is the media space. The curtain on the right can slide on its rollers to completely enclose the couch and projection screen if the resident so desire.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

  • 
  On the other side of the first floor is the living and dining room. What speaks most for the design is that its current layout feels as though it's always been so. The idea of any alteration would risk of destroying such an organic, natural flow and pacing.That's all from Seattle for now. Check back soon for a slideshow featuring the Olympic Sculpture Park.  Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake
    On the other side of the first floor is the living and dining room. What speaks most for the design is that its current layout feels as though it's always been so. The idea of any alteration would risk of destroying such an organic, natural flow and pacing.

    That's all from Seattle for now. Check back soon for a slideshow featuring the Olympic Sculpture Park.

    Photo by: Miyoko Ohtake

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