Crane Building Penthouse in an historic warehouse

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Crane Building Penthouse has been designed by Giulietti Schouten Architects, located within the urban core of Portland, Oregon, nestled atop the historic 1909 Crane Building, an old brick plumbing warehouse. This seventh floor 2,500 square foot penthouse has established views of the city, bridges and west hills but its historic status restricted any changes to the exterior or window and door locations. Further limitations included maintaining all existing plumbing locations and staying within the existing ceiling framing.

With their three kids leaving for college, this husband and wife wanted to shed their life of their large suburban house and start anew in the heart of the active Pearl District. Even though their current house was close to their high-pressure work in the High-Tech field they desired to distance themselves and create a sort of “urban refuge above the city”, a personal retreat where they both could entertain and work on occasion as well as provide a home for their grown-up children.

Key Plan Concepts:

Reclaimed Australian Chestnut flooring was chosen for its warmth, while Dark Sapele at the built-ins, entry and sliding gallery door provides a sharp contrast to the white stone counters. The clients requested the mudroom/pantry to be hidden yet accessible to reduce clutter and noise within the open living areas.

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The design needed to create a functional open living/dining/kitchen and media area for both entertaining and working. The dining and kitchen area especially needed to be expandable for family gatherings and contracting for daily use. Recessed automated roller-shades screen the afternoon west light, and help maintain clean lines.

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The various vaulted ceilings were retained to maximize daylight and wrapped in clear cedar to give warmth and further define the many unusual ceiling angles. A custom welded steel fireplace with an oil-rubbed finish was designed to be the visual anchor of the living room. The intent was to contrast it with the concrete walls while connecting it to the notion of exposed steel in the original building.

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A custom sliding sapele screen at the entry provides immediate privacy for the bedrooms when entertaining yet also invites guests to “discover” the gallery on the other side where the original steel and concrete structure were left exposed.

Photos: David Papazian

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