Grand Designs

A stylish revamp at the Henry

About his first year in Portland, Scott Showalter, the new president and CEO of the Oregon Symphony, says, “It’s been terrific—a really heartening start to my tenure. Everybody in the arts community has been a great partner.”

Easing his transition last July from LA—where he served as VP of the Los Angeles Philharmonic— to Portland has been the interior design expertise of Chris Soderberg, who remodeled Showalter’s two-bedroom home inside the handsome, 15-story Henry condominium tower in the Pearl District’s Brewery Blocks.

“I came here because of the excellence of the orchestra,” says Showalter. “My mission is to bring more support for and awareness to the artistic and community programs we do throughout the year, all around the state.”

We walked through together and were both speaking the same contemporary language.”
—Chris Soderberg

To this end, he thought carefully about both aesthetics and location in deciding where to live. “My home represents not just me but also the symphony—I often use this space to entertain. “I knew that I wanted to live in the Pearl,” Showalter continues, “both because of its energy and the proximity to my offices and the concert hall. I just fell in love with this unit at the Henry.”

Realtor Sasha Welford of Debbie Thomas Real Estate (402 NW 13th Ave, 503-226-2141), who sold Showalter his 11th-floor condominium, then referred him to Chris Soderberg Design (1110 NW Marshall St, 503-206-4096). Debbie Thomas and Soderberg have collaborated many times over the years. Both were part of developer John Carroll’s team during the Pearl’s first building wave, nearly 20 years ago. And recently, Soderberg remodeled Thomas’s Pearl District real estate offices, as well as the lobby of one of Carroll’s first buildings, the McKenzie Lofts.


“We’re seeing a whole second generation of Pearl buyers,” she says, “many of whom are making Portland their second home. They’re tearing things up—getting rid of granite and adding quartz—and they want to customize their spaces.”

Soderberg and Showalter hit it off immediately. “We walked through together and were both speaking the same contemporary language,” she says. “I felt strongly right away that we needed to go in a gray direction. His art has a lot of color.”

“Chris really brought my style to life—it looks completely different from when I moved in,” says Showalter.


First, Soderberg removed a kitchen wall, greatly expanding the already ample views. She then installed a custom Brazilian macaubas quartzite kitchen island with waterfall.

Next they updated the lighting, bringing in a bit of a retro ambience. Walls were painted white, and her team completely redid the gas fireplace, adding custompainted built-in bookshelves, American Glass Company sconces, and high-gloss Ann Sacks Sepulveda porcelain tiles in gray.

The result is clean, focused, and timeless.

“The fireplace surround and built-ins, which were entirely her vision, are striking,” he says. “We also installed remote blinds throughout the living space, which dramatically improved the look.”


A new mirror from Art Home Company near the dining room table and a pendant ceiling light by Estilutz, with ribbons of chrome, hovers above. Completing the scene, Soderberg’s team added a gray, wool Angela Adams carpet from Design Within Reach and a teardrop-shaped glass coffee table to anchor the classically simple gray sectional.

Showalter’s work with Oregon’s largest music organization has kept him incredibly busy—so much so that he rarely has time to play his gorgeous Yamaha grand piano, which makes the perfect centerpiece to his stunning new home. When he does find time to play, expect to hear some Brahms, and maybe a little Chopin. “I’m a big fan of the romantic period,” he says. —Michaela Bancud photos by Amy Ouellette