Loft Entry Hall Story

What do you do with an entry hall that is 9 feet wide and over 30 feet long and has a 12 foot high by 20 foot long, exposed concrete structural wall that is a cold steel grey?

First priority is BIG ART. I’ll get to that in a minute.

The second priority was to soften the cold concrete but not get rid of it. The client liked the edgy industrial feeling of this penthouse loft. But he also wanted it warm and inviting. To solve the concrete issue, I had my faux finisher put a translucent wash of raw umber over the concrete and it immediately gave it a warm grey tone that was much more inviting. The existing floors were 2” wide maple strips which  were very yellow and the client hated them. We replaced them with 6” wide plans of rift cut white oak with a warm brown stain. The loft is so large, that even with 5 large custom rugs, there were still many  areas of bare floors. These beautiful floors stand up to the texture of the raw concrete and create a much more inviting feel to this large space with 12 foot ceilings.


Back to the BIG ART. I had just recently seen a show at Froelick gallery in Portland of the works of Seattle artist Michael Schulteis. I immediately thought of his work for this large concrete wall. His work is filled with wonderful, rich color and when you look closely at the work, there are tiny writings, marks and mathematical equations. His show had several works with were 6 feet high by 8 feet long. The client was already familiar with his work and when he saw these large scale works he was excited about the possibility of them working in his entry. We brought 5 of the paintings from the gallery and tried them in the entry and we ended up selecting the two that you see in this photograph.


This large concrete wall really needed two strong works to bring warmth and interest to the entry. They actually draw you in and down the hallway. This loft is very open, so that you see these two paintings from various points and from different directions throughout the space.

This client already had a large collection of art from his previous residence and I helped him place all of his existing art. These two paintings by Michael Schulteis were very different from the rest of his collection, but they play off his other works and completely enliven the space without overwhelming it.

Yian Q