Architecture // Renovation


Decorating your Seattle home with Pantone’s ‘Color of the Year’ for 2018

Each year, design pros eagerly await the Color of the Year announcement from the experts at Pantone®. No matter what the hue, it’s always sure to make a splash—and home goods are no exception. From appliances and décor to tile and paint, manufacturers will start rolling out options to match (and complement) the Pantone Color of the Year.

Pantone® Ultra Violet is the pick for 2018. This is no shrinking violet: It’s a deep blue-purple that isn’t for the shy. No wonder that the Pantone announcement referenced icons known for showmanship like David Bowie, Prince and Jimi Hendrix.

Embracing a color this bold into your home might seem like a giant leap, but it could make a big mood difference in your home during the long, grey days of Seattle winters. We have assembled a few ways to incorporate Ultra Violet into your home – some large and some small.


Painting your front door adds instant curb appeal. Red’s a classic hue and teal is an up-and-comer, but this entry’s regal purple is a real knockout.
Set the Scene

Funny thing about purple: Though we tend to think of it as a scene-stealer, cooler shades in the blue-gray range can work almost like neutrals. Here, purple walls marry an eclectic mix of midcentury-inspired décor.


You’ve seen the accent wall. How about the accent ceiling? A rich grape hue adds an unexpected twist to this bedroom’s gray walls and white trim. It gets extra punch from the peek of red seen through the doorway.


One secret to pulling off a jewel tone like these royal purple walls: Choose a matte finish. Shine plus color can be hard to pull off, but a flatter finish is, well, flattering.


If you’re planning on using Ultra Violet in a bedroom or living area, consider incorporating it in a piece of statement furniture. In this case, the pieces will act as the focal point of the room, since it will undoubtedly capture plenty of attention. With that in mind, bed frames, ottomans and reading chairs are excellent options to fill this role.


For those who are a bit nervous about jumping into a design full of intense shades, keep in mind that you can always incorporate Ultra Violet into your accessories. These are a great starting point because they generally include lower-cost items that can easily be replaced when your tastes change or if you decide you’re not a big fan of the look.

February 10th, 2018


Architecture // Renovation


A 2013 design by Seattle’s Evoke

As sophisticated as homes are today, experts predict they’ll be far more so in the not-too-distant future— especially when it comes to their use of technology. Included are seven evolutionary trends that many expect to define the home of the future.


Today, it takes somewhere between 18 months and two years to design and build your custom dream home. In the foreseeable future, experts predict that timeline will be slashed to six to nine months.

Architects will use immersion technology to not only develop plans faster, but also enable you to “walk” through a three-dimensional representation of the house and experience what it will be like to live there. Changes to the layout could be incorporated with a few clicks of the keyboard and mouse.

And, instead of delivering raw materials to the construction site and having workers cut and assemble them to match the plans, about 70 percent of the cutting and assembling work will take place in a precision-controlled factory environment. Once the foundation is ready, the pre-constructed walls, floors and roof will be delivered in “folded” sections, complete with windows, doors, fixtures, and even appliances, already installed.


One of the big breakthroughs in home construction coming in the near future will be the use of steel framing in place of lumber.

Steel is not only stronger (able to withstand a 100-pound snow load, 110 mile per hour winds and significant earthquakes), it’s also far more eco-friendly than most people think (manufactured from up to 77 percent recycled materials) and much less wasteful (typical lumber framing generates 20 percent waste, while steel framing generates just two percent).

Other innovative home-building materials moving towards the mainstream include:

• Wall insulation made of mushroom roots (it grows inside the air cavity, forming an air-tight seal).
• Panels made of hemp and lime.
• Windows made from recycled wood fiber and glass.
• Recycled-glass floor and counter tiles.
• Reclaimed wood (beams and flooring re-milled and repurposed).


The optimum home size for many Americans has been shrinking, and experts predict it will shrink more in the future. But it will feel bigger than it is because the layout will be so practical.

The driving forces behind the small-house movement (millennials purchasing their first home and baby boomers looking to downsize) aren’t interested in formal dining rooms, home offices, guest quarters and other spaces that have only one use and are only occasionally occupied. And they certainly aren’t interested in formal entries, high ceilings and three-car garages. They want an informal house layout, with flexible, adaptable spaces that can be used every day in one way or another.

Many of these homes will also feature a second master bedroom, so parents, children and grandparents can all comfortably live under one roof.


Even today, homebuyers are willing to give up some of their wants for a new house in order to get a location that’s within walking distance to stores, restaurants and other amenities. In the future, that trend is expected to only grow stronger.


For some time now, homeowners and homebuilders have both been striving to make the structures where we live more energy-efficient (green housing projects accounted for 20% of all newly built homes in 2012). But in the future, the new goal with be a net-zero home: A home that uses between 60 to 70 percent less energy than a conventional home, with the balance of its energy needs supplied by renewable technologies (solar, wind, etc.).

Essentially, these are homes that sustain themselves. While they do consume energy produced by the local utility, they also produce energy of their own, which can be sold back to the utility through a “net metering” program, offsetting the energy purchased.


The technology revolution that’s transformed our phones, computers and TVs is going to push further into our homes in the not-too-distant future.

Examples include:

• Compact robots (similar to the Roomba vacuum) that will clean windows and more.
• Video feeds inside the oven that will allow you to use your phone to check on what’s cooking.
• Faucet sensors that detect bacteria in food.
• Blinds that will automatically open and close depending on the time of day, your habits and the amount of sun streaming through the windows.
• Refrigerators that will monitor quantities, track expiration dates, provide recipes, display family photos, access the Web, play music, and more.
• Washers and dryers that can be operated remotely.
• Appliances that will recognize your spoken commands.
• Heating and cooling systems that automatically adapt to your movements and can predict your wants.


In the future, home will continue to be a place where we want to feel safe and secure. To accomplish that, you can expect:

• Sensors that can alert you to water and gas leaks.
• Facial recognition technology that can automatically determine whether someone on your property is a friend or foe.
• A smart recognition system that will open the garage door, turn off the security system, unlock the doors and turn on the interior lights when it senses your car approaching.
• The capability to create the illusion that you’re home and moving about the property when you’re actually someplace else.


Many of these products, processes and strategies are already in use. Some are still being tested. And others are only in the incubator stage. But in the not-too-distant future, experts believe they’ll all be available to homeowners across the country.

January 20th, 2018


Architecture // Home Buying // Renovation


A before-and-after gallery shows an amazing renewal

Real estate agents care about the people they represent. But we also care about the homes we sell. In March 2015, Marilyn Smith Real Estate listed and sold a 1928 single family home in North Beach’s Ballard area. The buyer was Michael Pearce.

Michael is president of RE-VOLVE, an investment company that also designs and develops properties. He has an extensive background in architecture and believes strongly that good design can contribute to a better end product and better overall returns.

BEFORE-8517_28_NW_1“This was a challenge,” he said, “because we wanted to keep the charm of an old house while tearing into and rebuilding just about every part of it. We also hoped to achieve a modern aesthetic and openness – especially in kitchen and bathroom – without disturbing the old world charm.

“We had three crews reframe the house to a state that we were satisfied with and knew would pass inspections. We had to level the interior floors, which were as much as eight inches out of level, while not disturbing the existing brick facade, yet re-support the entire structure. We also opened up the exterior to a new deck and rebuilt a good portion of the back wall with matching brick. Many existing rich wood features needed to be reconstructed and refinished multiple times until they were to our liking.”

The following series of before and after photos show what can be done with these old charmers that are ready to be re-energized for the 21st Century

The living room above, before, and after, below.

BEFORE-8517_28_NW_6Dining room and kitchen above, before, and after, below.

A bedroom above, before, and after, below.

BEFORE-8517_28_NW_9The basement above was transformed into several beautiful rooms, after (next three photos)

The backyard above, before, and after, below.

April 21st, 2016

Craig Norberg of Norberry Tile


Profiles // Renovation // Seattle Arts

  • The new storefront for Norberry Tile and Plumbing Studio
  • Craig Norberry and his car
  • Silver tile used for Salty's kitchen
    Silver tile used for Salty's kitchen
  • A Norberry Tile counter backsplash.
    A beautiful counter backsplash.
  • Original metal backsplash of ribboned silver
  • Tile flooring
  • A traditional kitchen backsplash with a landscape.
  • A showroom's floor of tile.
  • Chatham 1 bath shown in Nero Marquina and Thassos.
  • The kitchen of a Mediterranean home
    The kitchen of a Mediterranean home
  • Bathrooms of a Mediterranean home and at the Seattle Art Museum
    Bathrooms of a Mediterranean home and at the Seattle Art Museum



I’ve known Craig Norberg for many years. His Norberry Tile has been producing high-end, custom-designed tiling for houses since 1997.

NORBERRY.PortraitOn May 21, Craig will again have a retail outlet. It’s been a few years since the closing of his location in the Seattle Design Center. Prior to that he had been on 2nd Avenue S. in Pioneer Square.

But anyone who knows Craig’s creativity and attention to detail and service will be heartened to hear he’ll soon be opening a full retail operation at 1400 31st Ave S. in Leschi, where he’s maintained a small office since leaving the Design Center. I’m very familiar with this spot because it’s near my house, on a super sweet street with two restaurants, two coffee shops, two gyms and now his store.

On my neighborhood walks, I’ve been able to check his progress through the front window and recently decided it would be fun to contact him for a Seattle Arts & Architecture profile and get the full story on how he got to this point and what lies ahead.

Ambivalent about architecture

“I felt destined for architecture,” said the 48-year-old Norberg, “and planned to major in it at college until Bill Pederson, of Kohn Pederson Fox, detected some ambivalence and asked if my heart was really in it.”

That reality check was pivotal as Craig instead pursued a general liberal arts degree and upon graduation decided to follow his real passion: hands-on work designing tile for the design-build market.

“What I wanted to do was bring back the kind of beautiful materials that had all but disappeared,” he told me. “I felt this would be doing something positive for the industry. I thought it might be short term and then I’d get on with architecture, but for me, the tile industry became like Hotel California, ‘You can check in but you can’t check out.'”

At 27 he became the youngest tile salesperson at a newly opened Waterworks in Manhattan, the company’s first showroom outside of Connecticut.

“Working at Waterworks gave me a real understanding of the importance of quality design as well as how to brand a business.”

It was then that Craig headed back to Seattle where his father, Doug Norberg, was a commercial developer with Wright Runstad and Co. He began providing sustainable materials to Wright Runstad’s LEED-driven projects, and soon Norberry Tile was born.

Historic settings

“The concept was to bring craft and design back to construction with a sophisticated pallet of hard surfaces for architects and designers,” he said.
“We became the go-to hard surface provider for King County’s publicly funded commercial buildings. You can still see the experimental, sustainable surfaces we installed on on elevator lobbies in the King Street Station at 2nd and Jackson.”

NORBERRY.inset.floralOther public installations where Norberry Tile’s work can be seen are The Raw Bar at Salty’s, Seattle Art Museum and the original Restaurant Zoe.

Craig, who has lectured at Historic Seattle events, continues to represent tile and period hard surfaces for Historic Seattle fundraisers and Seattle’s Preservation Guild among others. He is co-chair of the Mount Baker neighborhood’s Home Tour, which has been held every other year since the 1970s to raise funds for the oldest sustaining clubhouse in Seattle.

Brand new branding

Now Norberry Tile is back with a retail location that will also serve as a teaching studio for design. But there’s a twist. The new location on 31st Ave. S is called Norberry Tile and Plumbing Studio.

“Elijah Farrell has been brought on as the plumbing guru,” Craig explained. “His extensive experience selling for Keller Supply, along with his reputation for customer service, has made him a favorite salesperson among many vendors. He’s going to help solidify Norberry’s position in both the tile and plumbing industries.

“Together, we will make Norberry a vehicle to create exceptional environments with beautiful custom tile walls, floors and counters,” he continued. “And we’ll accent that with top-of-the-line faucets, curbless showers and steam room solutions. I’m stoked that we have acquired three top U.S. tile lines: Blue Slide Art Tile out of Pt. Reyes, California; Antiquities in Maine; and L’Esperance in New York state.”

To learn more about Norberry Tile and Plumbing Studio, visit their website. And to keep up with Craig’s latest news, subscribe to his blog.

May 8th, 2015