Lifestyles of the West Coast of U.S.A., Part I

The ColorVoyant Watch

Welcome to The ColorVoyant® Watch!

The ColorVoyant Watch travels to the U.S.A. West Coast, home to new attitudes and lifestyles that have a ripple effect across the rest of America. The lifestyles of two disparaging cities: Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles, California, are tied together with common interests: mobility, preservation of the environment and colorful architecture. We will begin with Portland…

Ripple effects from Portland, Oregon

Downtown Portland preserves its heritage through architecture and signage. The balance to new thinking and preserving the past and the environment make it a progressive place to live. The city motto, “Keep it Weird”, certainly asks its residents to be open to somewhat radical ideas come to town.

The Columbia Gorge is the home of a beautifully glacier-formed landscape. With wind energy rising, windmills dot the interior of Oregon, capturing new eco solutions as one of the leaders for the environmental movement in the West, serving as a benchmark for the U.S.A.



Water is also an environmental statement for interior cities, such as Portland. This park houses a sculptural look at a drop of water and its ripple effect on the environment. By artist Don Merkt, 1997: Water, Please.

Colors from the Tikkurila Symphony collection

Image Map

Solar Sculptures from local artists line the downtown city streets, bracing for alternative energy sourcing. City government endorses local art and sculpture, a different kind of “energy” keeping true to the city’s motto “Keep it Weird”.

A return to the past and communal life, General Store architecture is preserved with renewed entrepreneurial influence.

Amy Bright is one of the brightest design influences in Portland…She knows almost EVERYONE in the design community and believes that the connection is just two degrees away in the design community. It takes just one, Amy, to make that connection.

Six years ago, Amy created BUILD, a weekend retreat conference for the Oregon building industry. The purpose was to create a connection with each other “face-to-face” (a novel idea in our day and age) rather than through social media, so that networking would generate sustaining business through the tough economic crisis that hit Portland in 2008.

I’ve had the pleasure of presenting three of my trend forecasts to several retreats, involving 150 professionals/conference! Amy and her design colleagues have now built the conference momentum to point of passing the baton to those who share the same passion with her.



S’Tile, a Cronin Company Tile business, is a Portland-based design showroom that showcases the latest design in tile, wood, ceramic, and other hard surfacing. The design effort is led by Amy Bright. These looks are a few of the hottest textures and patterns in Portland. Herringbone floor layouts in porcelain wood looks…really popular across the U.S. Pattern-on-pattern trending in subtle texture shifts of monotone color for floors.


Colorhouse is a paint brand in the Pacific-Northwest messaging the West Coast eco message. Organic- based color that’s rich and indigenous to the Pacific Northwest. Note the eco messaging and the organic color spectrum marketed here.

Street Architecture



The entire West Coast is home to the Bungalow style of housing since the early 20th century, especially the Pacific Northwest. East Coast people moved west, building the cheapest, most functional housing of its day, lasting from the 1900s to the 1940s. Today, the preservation movement restores Bungalow/Craftsman style of architecture and is hugely popular because of its intrinsic character. The old style meets the future along Portland’s hottest streets.

Colors from the Tikkurila Symphony collection

Image Map


Architecturally, color dots the grey skies with vibrant exterior chroma, updating a vintage look.

Colors from the Tikkurila Symphony collection

Image Map

Culinary Capital


The West Coast exchanges culinary hubs from LA to San Francisco and now to Portland. Portland has come into its own with a vibrancy that is unmatched in culinary arts. Fusion of cultural flavors collide in services that connect to the residents. Mobile culinary units now serve International cuisine from depot to home and…on the street. Vegetarian palettes are plentiful, creating custom culinary palettes are everywhere…

The newest of warehousing restaurants just opened last summer…Bollywood. Both fare and atmosphere is casually Portland, coupled with local brew and IPA (Indian Pale Ale) beer.


Micro breweries are signature to the West and West Coast. Portland is a major contributor to the Denver, Seattle list of beer hubs within the U.S. Trending graphics can be found on bottle labels, telling a local story of the vibe and tenor of Portland and of the Pacific Northwest.


Coffee houses that speak the Northwest communal lifestyle and are the benchmark for all coffee houses worldwide.

Final Words

West Coast vibes are young, hip, and expressive. City mottos are ingrained in the lifestyles as cities express their identities…from “Keep it Weird” to “Eureka” (I found it). In my next review I will explore the lifestyles of Los Angeles.


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