Real Estate

Property Watch: Timeless Pearl District Loft by Jessica Helgerson

A once basic loft transformed with statement tile, a multitude of storage, and a built-in sectional that can seat 12 party guests at once

By Melissa Dalton April 4, 2023

Part of the shared spaces at the Chown Pella Lofts in the Pearl District in Northwest Portland.

Editor’s Note: Portland Monthly’s “Property Watch” column takes a weekly look at an interesting home in Portland’s real estate market (with periodic ventures to the burbs and points beyond, for good measure). This week: a reimagined loft in the Pearl District. Got a home you think would work for this column? Get in touch at [email protected].

We’ve been inside the Chown Pella Lofts building before. Then, we took a tour of a fourth-floor penthouse in the former industrial warehouse turned condo stronghold. Now, we’re going to the fifth floor, in order to pore over a once basic loft unit reimagined by renowned Portland interior designer Jessica Helgerson.

Helgerson started her eponymous firm, Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, in 2000, and it has since grown to include many talented designers, working on projects across the country and abroad (via JHID Paris). A Wall Street Journal article from last year used the firm’s work as an example of taste over trends; the firm is often setting the latter. Along the way, Helgerson also started the One Percent Project, which encourages people in the design field to donate 1 percent of their business profits to vetted nonprofits that are working to end houselessness.

For this home's transformation, completed over a decade ago with senior designer Mira Eng-Goetz, the loft was de-lofted, merging its industrial bones with more timeless features. Helgerson and Eng-Goetz reconfigured the basic 887-square-foot plan, eliminating a raised sleeping area in favor of an actual bedroom behind a closed door. Along the way, they added something a lot of lofts lack: storage. And a lot of it: in the bedroom closets, the floor-to-ceiling built-in cabinetry in the kitchen, and under-sofa drawers.

The living spaces now flow for easy entertaining and are better defined in the open floor plan, thanks to subtle cues. In the living room, ceiling-height bookshelves and a wall-hung media console, itself looking like a treasured antique, anchors the lounge area. In the dining room, a gorgeous wood table with a chandelier overhead contrasts with the charcoal and white scheme of the kitchen around it. On the cooking wall, a short return wall separates the counter run—and provides another pretty storage niche with inset walnut shelves—from the living room couch on the other side.

Some design features, seen in an earlier version, have since become signature JHID moves. Things like the built-in living room sectional, which here seats up to 12 people, and a statement tile treatment, as the textured white brick tile backsplash covers the stove hood for a seamless look. The new owner is in luck: for the right offer, the sellers will include additional furniture to keep the picture-perfect scheme complete.  

Listing Fast Facts

  • Address: 416 NW 13th Ave, Unit 507
  • Size: 887 square feet/1 bed/1 bath
  • List Date: 2/21/2023
  • List Price: $535,000, with $744/month HOA dues
  • Listing Agent: Blake Ellis, Windermere Realty Trust

Melissa Dalton is a freelance writer who has focused on Pacific Northwest design and lifestyle since 2008. She is based in Portland, Oregon. Contact Dalton here. 

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