S. Luckett writes: One of the comfiest pre-summer nights in D.C. was made cooler still on Wednesday when interior designer Jill Sorensen, founder of Marmalade Interiors, stopped by to chat about style and decor at the Sukio studio. Sporting a tangerine-colored top and denim jeans, Ms. Sorensen lounged for two hours among several dozen guests discussing the world of design and giving glimpses into how an export from Sweden has become a model of American success.
Lithe and striking, Ms. Sorensen smiled brightly through applause from a crowd of dozens to take a chair beside the meetup's organizer, Desiré Greene. She recalled coming to the United States from Sweden, gravitating to modeling and acting, then shifting from a peripatetic life with the Ford Agency to gamble on defining décor. Her recollections riveted the guests, and they leaned closer as Ms. Sorensen recounted the birth of a business devoted to interior design. Several young women smiled as Ms. Sorensen described her work/life balance, reflecting on a move to Virginia and trying to cultivate success for Marmalade while also raising her son Luke. The stylish Swede then returned to her commercial efforts, outlining her expansion from upscale suburban clients to include urban living spaces, with an innovative approach. “Now we’re partnering up with condos,” she added, “using printable mood-boards that are earthy modern.” Ms. Sorensen’s closing comments on her style and design favorites were succinct illustrations of her personality. “It’s me,” she offered, “and I do what makes me me. I want people to ask, ‘How can I make my house reflect me?’”
Jill Sorensen’s élan and diverse interests were mirrored by an audience that showered her address with hearty applause. A few young men new to Washington joined a cluster of longtime D.C. fashion mavens in toasting the Swede. One guest, Venesuela Carr, mused on the ambience: “Great—fantastico! Great turnout, great energy, and Jill Sorensen gave a useful presentation.” Wine glasses continued clinking as compliments were shared in Middle Eastern and Midwestern accents alike. Thirty minutes after Ms. Sorensen ended, Sukio was still abuzz by its guest speaker. Beza, a designer from Virginia, was thrilled by the speaker’s artistry. “Everything she does, it’s so cute—changing the room from boring to exciting, you know?” Brent Cantley, a staffer with a D.C. non-profit, raved at the sartorial tastes of the women gathered at Sukio. “I’m impressed by how stylish the crowd is,” he offered. “It’s great to see women so stylishly attired.” But one anonymous attendee—who snaked her way through the throng toward a vigorous handshake with Ms. Sorensen—may have put the most fitting capstone on the event. “She has a contagious sense of humor about design. Her before/after and inspired use of color makes me want to redo my whole house.”
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Thanks to Desiré Greene for her help in organizing, S. Luckett for the writeup and Heather Soskin of Eleven O'Eight for the photos!
Images: Heather Soskin/Eleven O'Eight Photography