Patrick Ginn, owner and founder of Ginn Realty Group and Development of Vancouver, Washington, is no stranger to developing properties. But in 2015, when it came to purchasing his own 11th floor condo in a 2007 multi-family building in downtown Vancouver, he brought on Gabriel Headrick of Steelhead Architecture with whom he’d worked on several previous projects to turn the still empty shell into a sleek place to call home.

“I wanted to be in downtown Vancouver with a waterfront view,”  says Ginn. The two bedrooms, home office and secure parking also fitted the bill.

“Having worked with Patrick numerous times in the past on both residential and commercial projects, communication was very easy,” says Headrick. “The space was completely raw, but had nice light and was very open. We initially looked at keeping it a little more rough by keeping more of the concrete exposed.  Over the course of the project, it became a little more polished, but there are still a few of the round concrete columns exposed.”

When working with new clients,  Headrick will meet with them to discuss the big picture goals (design, building performance, program, etc.). “Imagery is often shared back and forth through various online platforms or simply by sitting in our office and looking through books together,” says Headrick.  In this instance, a previous penthouse by Steelhead in the Pearl District was a reference point for the project..

“Once design starts,” continues Headrick, “we push the 3D ideas and options forward at the same time as the plan option work. We have a very collaborative approach and the best projects result in both beautiful designs, as well as lasting friendships, as with Patrick.”

“I wanted it to look clean and modern,” says Patrick, “but not so much as to make it unlivable.”

To that end, Steelhead Architecture came up with a series of creative ideas, including adapting the original floor plan to create a larger, L-shaped kitchen with island and folding frame, lighting layout, casework design,  the office barn door, and recessed television with panels.

“In many of our projects,” says Headrick, “we use the ceiling heights to define spaces within open volumes.  In this project, that strategy worked really well - by compressing more at the hallway sides and then opening up to the views.”

James and Kricken Yaker of Vanillawood were brought on to finalize finishes, select furniture, and some light fixtures.  They continued the masculine feel and clean lines, but took care to keep it warm. “Anytime you are doing a project that’s really contemporary you run the risk of going too cold,” Kricken says. “Layering and texture is one way of to soften and add visual interest.”

A combination of textures: a custom-made shag rug, contemporary chairs made in Portland (sourced through Vanillawood) and one-of-a-kind tables from Bali that were charred and rubbed down with oil “for hours” create a welcoming feel. “The smell is so yummy,” says Kricken. “The aroma of beech is awesome, if you can bring it into your house.”

In the master bedroom, masculine elements mix with soft leather and a Surya cowhide rug, which Kricken describes as naturally stain resistant with tactile texture.  A black and white James Dean photo contrasts with textured wallpaper from Pierre Frey.

Steelhead’s office barn door works on a track system provided by Krownlab of Portland. The solid door was clad with reclaimed shoji wood, providing a rustic ingredient to the rest of the modish styling.

Steelhead’s open-plan kitchen plays a large part in the look of the apartment. Pental Quartz countertops from Wall to Wall Stone Corp. of Seattle is a very forgiving surface that resists stains.

Rather than run the quartz up the back wall, Vanillawood used gypsum panels supplied by Modular Arts of Seattle to provide a continuous 3-D texture. “It’s really cool,” says Kricken, “and something unexpected that can be painted any color.”

Low maintenance veneer-clad cabinets from NW Caseworks of Portland add texture. “I don’t do much cooking,” admits Ginn, “but I make a mean espresso.” Nevertheless, he enjoys the functionality of the kitchen, especially for entertaining. “I love how everything flows,” he says.

Kricken enjoyed the whole experience. “The project was successful because of the working relationship between us and the client,” she says. “I love my job when I get to work on projects like that, when the clients puts trust in us. That’s when the creativity flows.”

Headrick feels the same. “The project was quick and came out very close to our initial renderings.  Patrick is very appreciative of what we do, and after having designed other projects where he acted more as the developer, it was gratifying to design a space that he could relax in and enjoy.”



Architect: Steelhead Architecture

Interior Design: Vanillawood

Appliances: Sub-Zero, Wolf; Plumbing Fixtures: Delta, Brizo