Divine Den Design with Jessica Helgerson

Interior designer Jessica Helgerson shares her formula for good design: Start with classic, durable fundamentals, then add fresh, modern touches.

| January/February 2012

Portland, Oregon-based interior designer Jessica Helgerson designs uncluttered, beautiful interiors for her residential and commercial clients, guided by pragmatism (how should the space be laid out to flow and function well?) and creativity (what idea or feeling will focus the design?). Early in her career, Helgerson expressed her long-standing interest in green building and sustainability as an activist, sitting on boards devoted to environmental preservation and serving as president of the Sustainability Project, an initiative to inspire change in the built environment.

Today, she lives sustainably day-to-day with her husband and two children in a 540-square-foot cottage she remodeled with almost entirely reclaimed materials, complete with a planted roof and a big front porch. She and her family raise chickens, turkeys and bees, grow almost all of their own food, and throw big dinner parties on their five acres of farmland. Jessica Helgerson designed this den—featuring a locally handmade sofa, reclaimed wood tables, a vintage animal-skin rug and low-VOC paint—in a southern Washington home.

How do you use texture in design?  

I like contrasts. I think the cozy, silky velvet of the sofa is beautiful against the rougher reclaimed wood.

What do the two reclaimed wood tables lend to the den design?  

They are tactile and visually interesting. I prefer wood tables to any other material (glass or metal, for example) because of how grounding wood is and how nice it feels.

6/2/2014 12:33:18 AM

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