"There was something about the gray that resonated with me,” Jordan Carlson says of the accent wall she painted in her Capitol Hill bedroom. “Defining that space made it so cozy and created this sense of calm.” Carlson, a freelance graphic designer and community manager for West Elm, recently moved to the Pacific Northwest after living in New York City. Her two-bedroom apartment employs the same clean, minimalist aesthetic seen in her graphic design work. “It’s the sort of look that someone without design training sees and thinks, ‘I could do that,’” she says. “But in actuality every detail is intentional.”
Carlson lounges in her living room.
Carlson’s bedroom showcases this attention to detail with what she calls “the basics”: a good reading light, a place to keep books next to the bed, comfy sheets and a heavy down blanket. A friend once dubbed Carlson a “professional appreciator,” so it’s fitting that her room would be filled with furniture that hints at a fine-tuned sense of the sentimental—from big-box purchases to hand-me-downs to DIY pieces. Whether it’s the teak dresser she scored at a Bushwick estate-sale advertised on Craigslist NYC, the sample sale lamp she rewired to create the Edison-style light fixture hanging over her bed or the pine kitchen table from her childhood now repurposed as a desk, there seems to be some lore behind every piece in Carlson’s home. The artwork hanging above her bed is a mix of etchings from a Brooklyn art fair and antique pieces found in her mother’s basement. “There’s not a lot that I have around here that doesn’t have some sort of story behind it,” she says.
A minimal arrangement of cotton branches in the dining room.
The rest of Carlson’s home is curated with an eye toward communal comfort. In her spare bedroom, a terrycloth robe hangs in the wardrobe for visitors. In the kitchen, a pair of barstools flanks a metal island, where guests can pull up a seat or help prep a meal. “I want people to come in and sit down, put their feet up and have a cup of coffee. I don’t want anything to feel too precious,” she says. “The sanctuary is as much about other people as it is about myself.”
Learn more about Jordan Carlson’s Capitol Hill home in Sage Living: Decorate for the Life You Want by Anne Sage (Chronicle Books, $30).