The Kolstrand Building

The kolstrand building is one of the jewels of the ballard neighbourhood of seattle. Originally built in 1910 it has been refurbished and renovated into one of the areas most attractive buildings.   Its original purpose as a marine supply store has been transformed into a imaginative and unique retail space. It currently is home to a mixture of cafes and restaurants with space for a retail unit. There are also rooms that have been built for use as commercial office space. The units are in very high demand in this prestigious building, especially after its stunning renovation. This amazing building was redesigned by graham baba architects and has won much critical acclaim. Infact has been shortlisted for awards such as the AIA Design award, and quite rightly so!  

The buildings interior still retains a huge amount of the original 1910 design features. The stone brick walls are left in place and have been expertly cleaned to create a rustic yet classy finish to the decor. On many walls you will occasionally find original paintings and sign age – a homage to the original usage of the building. The flooring has also been tastefully refurnished in this same style – instead of opting for something like granite which could really change the look of the room. The architects have mainly opted to keep the as much of the original flooring materials as possible. Where this has not been possible they have chosen rustic and antiquated materials to keep the feel of the building consistent.   There are many wooden floors in the building which make up many of the outside areas, but also a few inside areas too. They are often reclaimed materials, or if not actually reclaimed they have been selected to look like they have been there for years – they really fit in perfectly. The main type of flooring inside the building is concrete. Almost always polished. This really combines the industrial and urban feel of the building into the room without being too invasive – instead of opting for something a little more flashy such as granite.  

This is a design choice that has been applauded by many – but invoked criticism from some. A granite floor could really have taken the decor in a totally different direction. Its amazing colors could certainly have been utilized in an effective manner. Something like the cold hard stone giallo ornamental granite or river white granite would have been a great option. the white stone would have created a great contrast with the old reclaimed materials used (Like these awesome reclaimed wood desks!).   Ultimately it has been shown that not using granite and opting for the polished concrete was the correct choice, as professionals and visitors to the building have all commented on he urban beauty of its interior design. The granite would have possibly created a feeling to the rooms of the building that was a little bit too polished and modern.   The ultimate goal of re purposing and redesign the building has certainly be achieved. These period buildings are becoming a rarer and rarer thing with every passing day. Let’s hope it is around for years to come!