Ellen and Jake's spacious, colorful apartment FULL of art

Ellen & Jake's living room
Much of the art on our walls is by a friend or by one of us. Artist credits, from left to right: Shawn Wolfe; Ellen Forney; Semi-hidden art by: Nicole Eriko Smith; Rachel Maxi.

The offbeat occupant: Ellen (Cartoonist) and Jake (Artist/Designer, creator of iPhone games about kittens, puppies, and rainbows)

Approximate square footage: 1000-2000 sq. feet

How many bedrooms? 3

Lives in: Capitol Hill, Seattle

When did you move into this home? June, 2010

Let's start with the neighborhood. What's it like where you live? Capitol Hill is the funky, artsy, cool part of Seattle. Capitol Hill residents may accidentally not leave the Hill for months without realizing it.

Ellen & Jake's home tour
Ellen's studio. Large framed silkscreen is by Jim Woodring; framed heart drawing is by her 10-year-old niece, Alice; pulled felt wall hanging by Coco Howard.
Ellen & Jake's home tour
Ellen's light table is a little high for her, so this is the soup pot she's used as a stepping stool for the past decade.
What makes your home offbeat? It's full of art, much by us and our friends. We both have our art studios here. It's a cool old building built in 1929. The old in-cabinet refrigerator is still installed in the hallway.

Ellen & Jake's home tour

What's the most challenging about this space? How do you deal with the challenge? There's no recycling in our building — it's such a pain. There's a loophole for old buildings and the landlord doesn't need to have recycling here, so we have to store our recycling in bags and drive it to the transfer station ourselves.

Ellen & Jake's home tour

What's your favorite feature of your home? The big windows — we're on the second floor corner and we have a view of the Olympics to the west. Our place is bright! And the sunsets in the summer are amazing.

Ellen & Jake's home tour

Also, the spaciousness is new to both of us, and it's amazing to have so much room and high ceilings. Coming from a small 1-bedroom (Ellen), being able to have guests stay over has been wonderful.

Ellen & Jake's home tour
Hallway art gallery. Foreground wall hanging by Lisa Petrucci; painting by Sean Joseph Patrick Carney.

What's the most important lesson you've learned from this home? Having come from two separate apartments to live together here, we both theorize that the large common space AND having enough room for both of us to have separate studios has been extremely beneficial to our happiness and sanity.

Ellen & Jake's home tour
The pillows are from Love Note, an art installation we created for the 2010 Seattle Erotic Art Festival. The painting behind the couch is part of an Ellen series called Big Fuckin Hands, this one done for the 2007 Seattle Erotic Art Festival.

What's your grandest plan for the space? E: I would love a bidet. I hear there are fancy ones that attach to the toilet, and I would entertain that possibility.

J: I ponder the possibilities of doing an art installation in our long hallway.

Ellen & Jake's home tour

What advice do you have for other offbeat homies? These go a long way: large pieces of art, easy-to-take-care-of plants, fresh flowers, walls painted a bright color, and keeping common areas relatively clean, or at least tidy.

Eat Lightning, Crap Thunder
Ellen found this lamp at a second-hand store thirteen years ago. Eat Lightning, Crap Thunder by Shawn Wolfe.
Ellen & Jake's home tour
The fireplace originally had an electric heater in it. Ellen & Jake took it out when they moved in and filled it with tchotchkes of various sorts -- ceramics from Omaha, Seattle, and Beijing, Futilityware clay vessel by Tim Foss, antique Chinese vase that had belonged to Ellen's grandmother, plastic figurines of Jim Woodring's characters.

Any stuff or services you want to recommend?

Ellen & Jake's home tour

  • The throw that's on our bed: "Sleep With Ellen Forney," limited edition blankets made of sustainable ECO2cotton, available from NuBe Green, Seattle
  • Window cleaning: Crystal Green Window Cleaning. This guy ROCKS, we loved him and his prices were great.
  • Awesome sheets and shower curtains: Sin in Linen

Show me the decor porn!

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  1. That chair! That chair! That wonderful chair!

    I simply must know where that peacock-plume-y-backed chair came from. Sweet Jesus…NEEEEED…

    5 agree
    • Here's what I know about the chair. We found it at Kasala Furniture in Seattle. It's called Fiori, and it's a kids (though super comfortable for this 6' tall adult) chair. It was Ellen's birthday gift to herself. 😉

      1 agrees
  2. I love the stuff in the fireplace, especially the contrast between the white stone and all the colours. I'd love to do something like that one day. Except I'd be torn between that and a real fire.

    I'm also intrigued by the bed in the relatively small space. I've seen a few pictures like that recently and it's making me re-think our bed taking up most of the space in a fairly big room.

    1 agrees
    • Yeah, I love the contrast of the spacious living room full of art and stuff, and then this tiny, sparse little room with a bed.

    • It is a narrow bedroom with a long walk-in closet. We were originally going to paint the room a different colors; however, we've come to really appreciate the spareness of this small room.

  3. I love that built in fridge. I mean, everything is AWESOME (especially the art!!) but the fridge is bangin'.

  4. See, I was sold on the place itself when I saw the built in refridgerator (the steampunk in me loves it). But I fell in love with your artwork, especially when I saw Kimba in one of your paintings. The artwork and furniture are fun and the space seems perfect for you guys.

    • Thank you! We are still growing into the space. Ellen lived on Capitol Hill for some time, and I came from Portland, OR. It is really great for us to have a home together.

      Oh, and the fridge is our liquor cabinet. 😉

  5. As a history nerd I love the 1920's fridge. But what stands out the most is the ART! I aspire to have that much art on our walls! I'm most fond of the wood sign in your collection. 😀

  6. Could you tell me if I can buy the shelf thingy that goes over the radiator somewhere or if that came with the house?
    I recently moved to a 1925 house and we also have radiators under pretty much every window. It's nice to see a house of a similar vintage personalized so nicely. 🙂

    • The radiator covers were in the apartment when we arrived. Unfortunately, the classic radiators don't provide the heat anymore. That means we can have plants and books on top of them year-round.
      I have seen some made from wood. Though, if the radiators are working, they can get very hot.

      • Oh well, I will have to keep my eyes peeled. Actually a heated shelf would be fine with me- cat heaven! Thanks for the reply 🙂

  7. Ellen and Jake, wonderful art work, design and wall coverings. Mazel government for the good works and well recignize

  8. big fan of ellen's work, what a surprise to get a little apartment tour this afternoon! beautiful space, love all the art.

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