interior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: portland four-square

by Grace Bonney

if i had the money to hire an interior designer, jessica helgerson would be at the top of my wish-list. her portland-based interior design firm always creates the most serene, welcoming environments and i’m still swooning over this incredible home she shared with us last year. so i was thrilled to hear from jessica about her latest project, a glamorous portland four-square. jessica and her team completed remodeled a turn of the century, south east portland home by gutting a small and disfunctional kitchen, back pantry and mud room to create a large and airy kitchen. they also added box beams to the dining room, separated the entry from the living room with deep cased opening, added a mantle, built-in shelves, and two windows at the fireplace, and a second window, and a wood ceiling and wainscoting to the upstairs bathroom. i just love the way jessica plays with light and dark so well- the bright white walls, dark wooden trim and pops of green everywhere make me instantly want to move in. there are also beautiful glass pieces by artist andy paiko incorporated throughout the home. want to see more of the home? just click “read more” at the bottom of the post for the rest of the home photos and full-sized images after the jump. thank you to jessica for sharing this home with us, and to photographer lincoln barbour for sharing these shots.

[ps: sarah is still traveling abroad this week and will be back with another weeder’s digest. apologies for the time out, but hard working girls like her definitely deserve a week off every now and then]


CLICK HERE for the rest of the home tour after the jump (as well as additional, full-sized images)


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  • Wow. Stunning. I’m not usually a fan of painting over so much trim (or I like to just keep it white), but this is amazing.

  • I’m not usually a person who pays attention to this sort of detail, but the cabinets in that kitchen are making me salivate.

    As is the chamber stove.


  • Looking at beautiful homes always makes me wish I owned my own home. This house just made me go check out real estate listings. Seriously one of my favorites ever. LOVE that kitchen!

  • What a bright and lovely home. I admit, I prefer the rooms with more color/contrast (like the dark wood) because white intimidates me, haha. But it’s beautiful!

  • zowie. love it. the stark white would make me crazy. i saw a cream/black room like this with more frills t make it look like a Daugerrotype and it was awesome. this cleaner, modern one is more my speed but i would use benjamin moore’s hepplewhite ivory instead. also WHERE CAN I GET THE CHANDELIER? it isn’t andy’s glass (at least not on his website).

  • this house is even better because it is in my amazing home of Portland! I drive by this designers house almost everyday and wish i had x-ray eyes to see inside! So amazing, she blends modern, ethnic and vintage to perfection.

  • I love the clean look of the white kitchen with white counter tops combined with the dark wood floor. Nice way to make a small kitchen look light and airy!

  • Could we please get some information about the bathroom tile? Is that a mix of white and off gray or can that gray/white pattern be found somewhere? Wonderful!

  • love it! just came back from candy-colored sarasota and this is truly a blissful vision! have been fantasying about white kitchens with dark floors and marble countertops forever!

  • OH! The demijohns are back! This time can we get a source for the kitchen stools (the wood and metal ones)?

    Absolutely beautiful, all of it.

  • Such a subtle use of color – very, very pleasant. Does anyone know where one can find the lovely ball chandelier in the bedroom? It almost looks like it’s gold leaf on glass…

  • La-la-love this color scheme. One usually tends to think of black and white as being to graphic and austere. But all these textures and the tones in the dark wood make this home warm and cozy! Beautiful!!! The patterns the lanterns put on the walls are also dreamy… I have always loved the effect!

  • I hardly have anything to add to the comments above…it is breathtaking. Being a Florida girl, I usually want more color, but wow, this is a lesson in neutrals if there ever was one.

  • The contrast of the dark/white…and that light fixture above the dining room table…this home is INCREDIBLE!

  • Where oh where can I find info on the amazing light fixtures…the ones casting the beautiful light patterns on the wall?

  • The dining and living rooms in this home are FAB! Love the black trim, use of mixed-era/style furniture and I’m drooling over the chandilier in dining room!!
    Victoria: EdinDesign Interiors @ DesignTies

  • can anyone tell me about the girl in the jungle bedroom? i’ve seen these for sale and wonder what the open skirt is for/about. and the aloe is gorgeous!

  • I would love to know where they got the light which looks like floating bubbles in the dining room. Does anyone have any idea?

  • thanks so much for all your sweet comments! It was lots of fun to work on this one, but it did take several years from the early planning through construction and furnishing so it’s really gratifying to see it all come together and to get a chance to share it. I’ll answer all the individual sourcing questions tomorrow when I’m back in the office.

  • I also think this is beautiful…I love the dark wood floors…

    Jessica, can you tell us the name of the pale blue paint olor in the room with the vases??

  • impossibly perfect. wow, the crisp contrast is gorgeous. simply stunning. thanks so much for sharing these shots. the woodwork is divine.

  • I am SOOOO in love. I think this is the first time I have loved every room from one designer. But I could live in each room! Usually there is something off, or something I would have done different. Not this place, fabulous room after room. I am glad to know that it took multiple years to create such perfection. Thank you for sharing!

  • Hello, Love every inch of detail…I am specifically looking for the stool in the kitchen with the wooden backrest. Could you tell me where they came from?

  • one more thing, we are restoring a 1920’s stucco four square in Oak Park, Il…I can really appreciate all the work that went into your space.

  • This is the most glamorous house I have ever seen on D*S. I plants always look messy in my house – why do they look so great here? What’s the secret?

  • … ‘speechless’ W-o-w. I frequent this site a lot and am always impressed by what I see, but this takes the cake. Scratch that it takes the whole bakery! This is my official dream ‘adult’ home, when I can afford one. Gorgeous. I never thought such contrast could look so beautiful. Oh and btw I must have info on the light fixtures as well. They are functional and a feast for the eyes.

  • ok. here are answers to the questions, hope I got them all!

    Sarah and Jamie: It’s not actually stark white. The walls and kitchen cabinetry are Benjamin Moore Mascarpone as really pretty cream color that we’ve been using a lot lately.

    Sarah and Allison: The chandelier is Prospetto Lighting, ‘Bubbles”

    Mara: the bathroom tiles are a Carrara marble hex.

    Bre, Jamie and Allison: The kitchen stools were from Get Back Inc. http://getbackinc.com Cool source for vintage industrial stuff.

    Amy: kitchen lights are the “Pelham,’ large over the island medium at the sink, from ‘Brown and Gold Lighting’.

    Laura and Paige: The pierced shades are from Zenza lighting. We couldn’t find a US source though – had to get them from the Netherlands. They are actually silver plated – even prettier in person!

    Laura: The girl in the bedroom is a Mexican cage doll or a ‘santa de vestir’ (dress up saint). She has the wide base to give her stability, as she might originally have been dressed in a velvet costume, human hair wig, and silver crown which would have made her top heavy and prone to tipping.

    Julia: the blue room is Benjamin Moore 1570 ‘gray wisp’

    Diana – the shell bone inlay dresser we bought online directly from the Indian manufacturer. Shipping was a nightmare and tripled the cost of the piece. I would not recommend it. The clients already had the octopus pillow, not sure where they got it.

    Debbie – Trim work is stained ‘ebony.’

  • am i the only one who thinks it’s weird to only use brown & white in some of the rooms. i did not love it…

  • Jessica Helgerson is amazing not only as a person, but as a designer, a mother, and a friend. In these times it’s hard to be inspired, but now I am.

  • This is absolutely beautiful. I dream of living in a place like this. Thank you for this amazing sneak peak–I think it’s my favorite I’ve seen on this site.

  • gorgeous home Jessica! and of course the beautiful lighting came from the netherlands! Lovely combination of textures, colors and scale. We are so lucky to have you in Portland.!*a

  • I have actually met Jessica and she is the nicest lady! While I was attending the Art Institute of Portland I had to interview designers and she was one of them. She has a lovely office downtown that she shares with her Architect husband. Her material room is to die for!

  • I am missing my Arts & Crafts house so much (I sold it last summer). My dining room had the exact same coffered ceiling. This home is just breathtaking–I could look at these pictures again and again.

  • Adrienne: The dining room table the clients owned, it was a family piece, but it was too small so we had a new six foot top made for it by super-talented Portland woodworker Kai Fuhrmann. http://www.pdxmasterfurnituremaker.com.

    The benches around the table were custom too (it took lots of discussions, cardboard templates, and drawings to figure out just the right size) made by a local upholstery shop and Kai again made the legs.

  • This house is AMAZING!! I loved the house featured last May and this one is just as beautiful.

    I hope I am not too late to get some information/resources. I love the inlaid coffee table in the living room and the simple ceiling light in the bathroom. Any information about those would be greatly appreciated.

    thank you!

  • Jessica,

    Thanks for sharing all of the information about the house; it’s amazing. Did you have to do anything to convert the zenza light fixture to work in the US? Was it expensive?

  • Stacey: The Zenza lights did not require conversion, but the canopies were too small to cover the US junction boxes so the installation was a little imperfect. They are so pretty though!

    Ashley: the big glass wine decanters are called demi-johns and I find them online and at antique stores. They are usually around $150 – $200.

  • and Jaclyn: I designed the coffee table which was custom made with zelij tile for us in Morocco. It fits into the negative space created by the bay-window sofa. We got it through Tazi Designs in San Francisco. http://www.tazidesigns.com They were great to work with.

    The ceiling light in the bathroom is by Hubbardton Forge and is called the ‘Acharn semi-flush mount’

  • jessica – i just visited your site. wow. floored. in two of your spaces there was a wallpaper(?) or is it custom painting? of what i can only describe as a starburst–it is in an office in a persimmon and a bedroom in a sage.

    where do i get it?

  • You don’t normally see floor to ceiling drapes in a kitchen and what a wonderful idea — so elegant. I adore this kitchen.

  • Oh my gosh this kitchen is sooooooo incredible! I can hardly stand it. I previously asked about the range, but also, is the countertop marble? Or is it granite? Thanks so much for any help. This is just the most incredible kitchen I’ve ever seen.

  • what is the gray room color ? This looks more like Gray Mist … the blue room color does not look gray to me! I’d love to know what the blue room wall color is, looks great against all the green plants….

    Beautiful color schemes & design, I’m stealing some ideas for my own 1914 Craftsman! ;-)

  • I will pretend that’s the House of my Mysterious Passionate Lover, a place where I would go to escape reality, to spend some loving hours, some dreamy moments… It’s magical, adorable, it balances the breathtaking strictness of black & white with the delightful lightness of glass bubbles and palm leaves and light laces and unpredictable butterflies and unexpected walls where dancing shadows recall the Thousand and One Nights tales.
    Jessica, Jessica… what a talent!

  • Such a beautiful house!

    Will you please tell me how you did the living room ceilings? Were they painted two tones with the wall paint extending into the ceiling and/or were there wall mouldings? It’s difficult to tell from the web photo.

    And if you don’t mind, what colour did you paint the living/dining rooms? My dng faces south, lvg north with 24 sunlight 6 mos and dark 6 mos.

    Robyn Hall

  • hi !
    can i get the name/company/website of where you bought the CHANDELIER (bubbles) in the dining room?
    thank you,

  • Would you mind sharing what color white was used in the bathroom (with the light taupey grey wainscotting)?

  • Wow. Amazing! I am now a fan.
    Can you please let me know how I can get my hands on those light fixtures in the bedrooms and at the stairway? I think they are all the same, just different sizes? LOVE

  • gorgeous house…i absolutely love the dark wood against pristine white walls…always the most elegant juxtaposition!! i spot e few pieces of inlaid furniture..i love it!! lovely post, Grace!! xx meenal

  • I’m now obsessed with that kitchen! It’s like you’re reading my mind! I do have to ask- did you paint all the cabinets and ceiling beadboard the same Marscapone color? They look amazing! I would die to see the before pics of that kitchen!

  • Beautiful!! Lots of love and time devoted to this house! Where could I get a tufted box type mattress (like the one shown in the picture with the Mexican cage doll)made or learn how to make one?

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