Jun 12, 2015

5 Questions For: Jessica Helgerson, Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Name: Jessica Helgerson
Title: Founder, interior designer
Location: Portland

Which of your designs or projects are you most excited about right now?
We have a lot of exciting work happening right now. We’re working on a hotel just around the corner from our office, as well as a gorgeous limestone (like a brownstone but fancier) in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, a pizza place in San Francisco, a thorough renovation of a beautiful and historic Tudor house in Portland, and a beach house in the Hamptons. I love variety in our work, both in terms of geography and typology, so I’m happiest when we have diversity in the office, which we have in spades right now.  

I’m also very excited about two projects we have in the works:
We are creating a gallery in the front of our new office, called Front of House, which will be a space for one artist at a time to create site-specific installations. I’ve been inspired for many years by Suyama Space in Seattle and am excited to create something similar in Portland.  

We’re also putting together a proposal for a book that will be an in-depth look at JHID’s work process and our collaborations with artists and artisans.

Tell us three words that embody your design philosophy.
Thoughtful. Playful. Beautiful.

What's your favorite place in the Pacific Northwest? Why?
Wild Goose Farm on Sauvie Island! My husband and I fell in love with Sauvie Island just months after moving to Portland. The small scale of the agriculture there reminded me of the countryside in France where I spent all of my childhood summers. We started looking for a place to buy nearly a decade ago, and after a few years found a five-acre parcel with two decrepit houses, two barns, lots of gorgeous old oak trees, and a million projects. My son Max came up with the name Wild Goose Farm, and it stuck.  

We first fixed up one of the little houses, and our family of four lived in that tiny, 540-square foot house for four years. Over the last two years we’ve been building a larger farmhouse where we now live. During all of these years we have been working the fields, getting the soil healthier, planting fruit trees, flowers, berries, and lots of vegetables. It has been a huge undertaking, but it finally feels close to ‘done’. It is a beautiful, happy place where friends are always welcome. I love, love, love to be home.

Tiny House on Sauvie Island. Image by Lincoln Barbour.

Who or what are you inspired by right now?
I really love British designer Ilse Crawford. She can do no wrong in my book. I’m also continuously inspired by the designers in my office. They have wonderful ideas, and do beautiful work. We work together in a positive, symbiotic, inspiring way. JHID is a lot more than Jessica Helgerson!

What do you think of the color gray?
I love it! I love dark green-grays, pale beige-grays, soft blue-grays, warm yellow-grays. What’s not to love? The color gray is subtle, intriguing, beautiful. I even love gray weather! 

Image Courtesy of Parker Fitzgerald.

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