Pair of remodeled condo bathrooms transforms the nondescript into an expression of owner’s aesthetic

Bathroom remodels in The Gregory are Hammer & Hand’s latest collaboration with interior design firm bright designlab.

We’ve witnessed a burst of condo remodels in Portland’s Pearl District over the past couple of years and see two factors behind the surge.  First (hard as it is to believe!) many of the condo buildings in the Pearl are, like The Gregory, already a decade old.  So some of their initial luster has begun to fade on the one hand, and residents have gained some clarity about the changes they’d like to see in their units on the other.  Second, in today’s climate condo residents seem more likely to stay put and remodel than attempt to sell and buy something new.  There’s renewed interest in reinvesting in one’s home.

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland

As an original owner at The Gregory, client Mary Jane had been planning the transformation of her unit’s two nondescript bathrooms for years, and she came to us with a folder full of ideas for the new spaces.  Alissa and Leela of bright designlab then took these ideas and wove them into a clean yet playful composition of varied texture and pattern.

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland
Before/after comparison

Whenever we work in a condo or loft context we take extra care to respect the building community.  After all, folks are literally living on top of one another in these buildings, so we do everything we can to mitigate the impact of our “remodel intervention.”  In this case we communicated extensively with The Gregory’s architectural liaison to ensure we were aligned with the building’s rules, schedules and expectations.  We also delivered handwritten notes to the building’s residents, explaining the reason for our work, the project calendar, and direct contact info for Hammer & Hand’s Patrick Conrad and Christopher “Coop” Cooper in case anything needed to be addressed or solved during construction.

“We really cultivate a spirit of constant professionalism,” said Patrick.  “You’ve got to respect the people in the building as a whole, the residents, the staff, everyone.  That’s always a good M.O. of course, but especially in the tight quarters of a high rise community.”

Our work in Mary Jane’s condo entailed a full remodel of her master bathroom and an extensive facelift of the second bathroom (aka “Doc’s Bathroom”, because it was designed for her boyfriend, Doc.)

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland
This photo (all “after” photography is by bright designlab) shows the new master bathroom, with zebra wood cabinets by Big Branch Woodworking, black textured tile from Ann Sacks, a custom-engineered lighted mirror, two petrified wood sink basins, and a playful pair of monkeys holding towel rack and TP roll, respectively.

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland
Detail of the petrified wood sink basin.

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland

Before/after comparison.

The master bath’s soaking tub proved to be a logistical adventure.  Getting the heavy piece into the building and unit was the first challenge.  Setting the tub on finished tile was the next.

“To add to the complexity of working in a high rise context, the 540 pound tub had to be airlifted by 4 guys and dropped into the tub deck amidst finished tile,” Coop quipped.

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland
Here’s a detail shot of the finished product.  The soaking tub incorporates both aromatherapy and chromatherapy features.   Notice that no tile has been cut, including along the continuous niche that runs along the back wall.  This solid tile treatment was designed into the project from the framing phase.

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland
One of the interesting challenges of working in high rises is the need to respond to the inherent structural elements that exist as a “given.”  On the back wall above you can see the gray of structural concrete.  Alissa and Leela used the black Ann Sacks tile from the tub and wrapped it along the base of the wall and across the concrete, tying diverse elements together.

“Alissa and Leela did a great job of mixed media that really comes together here,” said Coop.

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland
Here’s a view of the tub from the opposite direction.

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland
And panning back around to the vanity… the cabinet drawers in the unit on the far end are faced in cold-rolled steel.

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland
Detail of Big Branch Woodworking’s excellent work.

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland
Interplay of texture and pattern.

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland
The counter top is Chroma “Coastal Gray.”

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland
Doc’s bathroom retained the existing checkerboard tile floor, but incorporated new vanity, copper vessel sink, mirror, and steam shower equipped with aromatherapy.

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland

This before/after comparison shows how the remodel introduced a welcome dose of character and warmth to the space.

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland
The maple cabinets are by Big Branch Woodworking.  Back splash tile is from Ann Sacks.

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland
More cabinetry detail.

Modern condo bathroom remodel in Portland
The steam shower’s aromatherapy box (which houses the cartridges that infuse the steam with aroma) required a widening of the wall at right.  An operable transom window above allows the venting of steam when necessary.

These two bathrooms represent an impressive transformation, doubly so given the logistical demands of working in a building like The Gregory.  But our carpenters thrive on this kind of thing, and they’ve got the chops to do it with aplomb.

– Zack

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