E Pine’s Portofino condo building is the kind of place on Capitol Hill that you might walk by every day but never get to look inside. So, when CHS got an invitation from the building residents to attend their celebration of the overhaul of the building’s lobby and common areas, we figured we might as well stop by.
The five-story 1917 brick building is home to 33 units and three businesses you just might have been inside — Zero Zero Hair, Gamma Ray Games and the Cakespy Shop. The building itself used to be a car dealership, but in 1990, it was converted into living spaces with the top floor added.
Inside the lobby, CHS found a small group holding a party with board association president Faith Sheridan. Sheridan tells CHS it has been 22 years since the space had an overhaul and sent along some “before” images to prove it. The pink tile was replaced with sleek, grey slabs and the walls with archways were smoothed over. The vintage photos in the lobby are of popular Capitol Hill street corners. They were purchased from the UW library, printed on canvas, and colorwashed. In addition to the lobby, the hallways were renovated, with the carpet replaced, walls repainted, and even the brass hallway mirrors painted over. The designer behind the update is Karla Tewes, whose interior design business Tewes Design is run from Seattle and New York. Construction was done by Clair Ervin.
All in all, it looked like a… condo lobby — but a very nice, new lobby in an old building on E Pine that you might walk by sometime and know a little bit more about what’s it inside.