House Call: Jen Corace

House Call: Jen Corace

Dec 18, 2007

We admit to being a bit starstruck here. As longtime fans of Jen Corace's artwork, we were thrilled when she agreed to give us a peek at her home. She describes the Seattle abode as "a cozy den of mish-mash, kitschy items." (We would describe it as being full of personality and treasured mementos.) She added that its tiny size makes it difficult to photograph, but we love what she's been able to show in this mini-tour.

How would you describe your decorating style? I think I'd describe it as "comfy casserole." I don't have a very clean decorating style. I worked at an antique co-op for a few years so I have a love of many different, not necessarily complimentary, things ... Like afghans and old lamps, '70s kitchenware, old photographs of people I don't even know. I also have a great collection of handmade items, crafts, pieces of art that were either made by friends or given to me by friends. I love knick-knacks and it's a love I have to keep a leash on. Looking at my home again, I would have to say that it's got a sort of '70s grandmother sort of touch.

Favorite spot in your home and why? My favorite spot is my kitchen table. I like the light that comes in from the garden window. It's a good space to work from time to time and the coffee pot is in arm's reach.

What's on your nightstand? My room is too small for a night stand — eight feet by ten feet to be precise. I have a bureau that is by my bed and it has a pretty lamp that is completely wonky, my grandmom's jewelry box, nesting dolls and bits of jewelry.

Favorite childhood memento that's in your home? A corduroy doll with yarn hair made for me by my mom.

Favorite travel keepsake? One is a collection of pennies that have been run through those penny-mashing machines that are usually in highway rest areas. The second is a plastic "monk" that I got out of a 50-cent machine at a truck stop in the badlands of North Dakota. He serves as a good luck charm when I travel.

Current inspiration(s) for your work? Walking around and taking in the immediate atmosphere and light have always been the bigger inspirations of my work. I moved back to Seattle at the beginning of this past summer and that has been a great boost to my work. I came back to become a hermit — a workaholic hermit — and I spent most of the summer looking forward to the fall. I really enjoy how dynamic the clouds can be, how the light behaves over the Olympics and across the Sound.

Favorite home/design magazines or websites? I don't really stay in touch with home or design media. I do stop by Design*Sponge from time to time, occasionally I will leaf through ReadyMade magazine. But I think that I get most of my home/design ideas from old movies and grandmas.

Best bargain in your home and where did you get it? Honestly, the best bargain in my house is something only illustrators or designers could get excited about and it's my flat files. I've been wanting/needing them for a long time but they are usually expensive and a pain to move once you've made the commitment to own them. I found them somewhere online ... They're nothing fancy, but I love them.

Biggest splurge? I haven't splurged on anything yet. My move west [from Providence, RI] was fast and furious. I had a lot of work to finish up and more work to start when I arrived in Seattle so I had to set up home and shop quickly. Most of my furnishings are from Ikea. One day I hope to splurge.

What's at the top of your list of things to buy next for your home? I definitely need a new rug. There is a specific area right in front of my couch that is the most slippery surface I have encountered that is not a body of ice or a bathtub. I also have been thinking about pillows for the couch. I get caught up in being about to buy them, then thinking I can just sew them myself.

Favorite local resources for furniture and accessories? As I have spent my entire time here working on two children's books and a solo show I haven't had much time to seek out resources. There is a store on Capitol Hill called Area 51 whose windows have their own siren song.

Thanks, Jen!

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