By Rebecca Teagarden | The Seattle Times
WHEN word comes in that so-and-so’s got it, that so-and-so has a great eye for design, and that so-and-so, with her mix of earthy glamour, represents the future of interiors, one heads straight over to so-and-so’s.
Meet so-and-so: Jennifer Kirschenbaum.
“You see something that’s the thing, then that’s the thing,” she says. “It’s like when you meet your husband. If you keep thinking about it later….”
Jennifer is fueled by instinct (and a job she had working in finance for Carol Egan Interiors in New York City). Her instinct skews modern, and vintage and antique and industrial and keepsake and artistic. It’s in the blend, really. Two secondhand midcentury modern chairs, covered in a creamy Holland & Sherry cashmere herringbone, anchor the living room. On the other end, a long antique French farm table from ABC Carpet & Home surrounded by rosewood ladderback chairs (eBay). The entry holds an exuberant and royal gilded mirror: $100, found in Colville, Washington.
Keep in mind that The Post, where Jennifer, her husband Eddie and Toby, their shih tzu mix, live is an apartment building. A very nice one, to be sure. But, still, walls, fixtures, cabinets, floors (laminate with a whitewashed pine appearance, some wall-to-wall carpeting) come standard. And, thus, Jennifer and her out-of-the-box thinking are constrained by, well, this box.
“I’m always switching out the furniture,” she says. “I have two storage units full.” She knows that’s a lot. Her husband thinks it’s too much. “I have probably 30 chairs in storage.” Previously, the Kirschenbaums, who moved to Seattle from New York City almost four years ago, called a three-story West Seattle town house home. It had loads of rooms and lots of space. But….
“Coming from New York to Seattle, we felt it was kind of too in the middle of nowhere,” Jennifer says. (Don’t take this the wrong way: Jennifer grew up in Rainier, Washington, population 1,794.)
This is their urban downsize, 850 square feet. Her method here, “everything counts.”
“This quartz,” she says picking up venti-sized rock, “comes from Eddie’s grandfather. So did that rock ashtray. And I’m learning tricks for small spaces: The two stools in the entry are more seats for the dining table.” What their home lacks in size, The Post makes up in amenities: a reflecting rooftop pool, sky lounge with a demonstration kitchen, theater, game room, library, dog lounge, fitness and yoga rooms.
The apartment, though, lives much larger. Credit Jennifer’s gentle color palette and glass walls. Outside is an urban wallpaper of views: the magnificent Art Deco Old Federal Building, Smith Tower, the Central Library, ferries, mountains.
Jennifer is a sucker for textiles, many and varied. “I would love to cover my house in sheepskin throws, but they’re expensive.” The vintage coffee table in the living room (marble) rests on a colorful and shaggy Moroccan rug. There’s another in their bedroom. She’s painted the wall behind the bed in the deepest eggplant and installed two brass reading lamps from Schoolhouse Electric. The second bedroom is their library. Open shelves hold books from Eddie’s grandmother and liquor bottles set upon a tray, an elevating touch. Jennifer scored the tufted linen sofa at the Restoration Hardware outlet in Tulalip. The wall is black, Benjamin Moore’s Caviar. The only thing on it is a set of antlers, her dad’s.
“I have so much fun doing it,” she says of her mad decorating skills. “I could do it all day long.”
And, for sure, there is more to come. “I would like to have a place in the city and a house at the beach. I can see it: black exterior, Swedish design, on Hood Canal. In my head, it’s all done.”