Kristen’s Bold Black & White Mix

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

Name: Kristen Shenk
Location: Northwest Portland, Oregon
Size: 1,100 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years; Owned

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Kristen moved from Ohio to Portland to work as a graphic designer for Nike and has loved the process of setting up her first home. Her space is a direct reflection of her career, her personal style, and her love of a modern, graphic aesthetic.

(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

As Kristen prepares for a move to New York City, she wanted to document the home that she has so thoughtfully put together during her time in Portland. It happened to be Kristen’s 30th birthday the day this tour was shot—this woman has accomplished so much already—and maybe you’ll see her next apartment in NYC featured here soon!

(Image credit: Kristen Shenk)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Modern, Minimal and Graphic

Inspiration: Design and Lifestyle Blogs, Modernism, Scandinavian Design, Graphic Design

Favorite Element: The color palette. I love the balance of black, white, and gray, with selective pops of color. The grayscale color palette provides a nice foundation, while bright pops of orange, green, and pink (amongst others) give the space personality.

Biggest Challenge: My bedroom. It look a long time to make my bedroom feel cozy and finished. The greenery is what finally did it.

What Friends Say: That I live like an adult (even though we are all adults!).

Biggest Embarrassment: My closet. Thank goodness I have a sizable, walk-in closet closet because I have a lot of stuff! When the rest of my space looks pristine, the closet is usually a different story. I don’t let anyone see it.

Proudest DIY: My world map, which is studded with concert and art museum tickets, currency, race bibs/medals, and restaurant memorabilia I’ve collected from my travels. I’m proud of this not because it’s all that DIY, but because I’m proud of the experiences, memories, and mementos I’ve collected from around the world. It’s always a great conversation piece.

Biggest Indulgence: Large-format typographic woodblock prints from Nashville’s historic Hatch Show Print (geeky graphic designer stuff). Also, Jonathan Adler vases.

Best Advice: I have two pieces of advice: 1) When starting to furnish and decorate your home, have a plan. Do some research to find/create the aesthetic & style that works for YOU. Create a moodboard in order to curate your space exactly how you envision it. 2) Take your time! It’s a layering process. Invest in the larger, long-term furniture first, then have fun accessorizing. Enjoy the process!

Dream Sources: Hay, Design Within Reach, Jonathan Adler, custom one-of-a-kind crafted furniture and artwork.


(Image credit: Heather Keeling)


  • All grey walls: Martha Stewart Nimbus Cloud—this is the perfect light, neutral gray. I highly recommend.
  • All black accent walls: Benjamin Moore Black Jack
(Image credit: Heather Keeling)


  • Map: IKEA
(Image credit: Heather Keeling)


  • Couch: Perch
  • Cowhide rug: Perch
  • Coffee tables: Muuto Around Tables
  • Nelson bench: DWR
  • Drink cart: vintage via Three Monkeys in Portland
  • Green accent chair: IKEA
  • Blankets: West Elm, IKEA
  • Pillow: silk-screened by a friend as a gift
  • Gazelle wall hanging: Bend Goods
  • Bookcase: IKEA
  • Painting: Kristen Shenk
  • Other artwork: collected from around the world
(Image credit: Heather Keeling)


  • Chairs: DWR Eames Molded Plastic Side Chairs, DWR Salt Chair, DWR Hoffmann Armchair
  • Dining table: BluDot Skiff Large Outdoor Cafe Table
  • Table trays: Hay Kaleido Trays from Woonwinkel in Portland
  • Hanging light: IKEA
  • Accessories: Jonathan Adler, DWR, IKEA, local boutiques
  • Large-scale woodblock prints: Hatch Show Print
(Image credit: Heather Keeling)


  • Tablecloth: Kate Spade Saturday
  • Tray: West Elm
  • Accessories: West Elm
  • Stools: World Market
(Image credit: Heather Keeling)


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Kristen in her graphic living room (Image credit: Heather Keeling)

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Thanks, Kristen!