Loom House | Charlie Hellstern Interior Design | World Design Awards 2021

Charlie Hellstern Interior Design: Winner of World Design Awards 2021. The Loom House is the first home of its kind—currently, the only residential renovation in the world to achieve the Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification. The LBC is a program administered by the International Living Future Institute that seeks to answer, what if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place?

For longtime clients of Charlie Hellstern, the LBC was in perfect alignment with the vision they had for their new Bainbridge Island home—to go beyond restoration and reimagine the 1968 mid-century classic into a restorative sanctuary—constructed in a healthy, sustainable way that operates at the highest standards of energy efficiency.

The journey to certification began with an unconventional and unifying design charrette with the entire Loom House team—including land and water consultants, architects, engineers, and designers. The hands-on experience resulted in a guide of biophilic patterns aimed to restore the site’s symbiotic relationship with the land and community. While honoring the original character of the Hal Moldstad architecture, the team sought to nurture a love of place, the central principle of biophilic design.

While not required for LBC certification, Charlie Hellstern satisfied the same stringent parameters in designing the interior. She also asked, how can sustainable design exude elegance? How can we improve human comfort and occupant health through all our senses? Hellstern shares, “I think there is a perception that sustainable design can’t be elegant and luxurious. This project absolutely demonstrates that it can.”

Hellstern’s nature-led interior beautifully blurs the lines between indoors and out, providing visual continuity with the Northwest environment. “Humans have an innate need for unimpeded views. The scale and color palette of the furnishings in the main living spaces honor that,” Charlie explains. Floor coverings complement the color of the surrounding soil. Sumptuous seating is oriented to drink in the horizon from every angle. Stones collected from the property’s shoreline reflect the local landscape and create a distinct sense of place.

Hellstern paid close attention to the impact of light on the space to intentionally garner a positive psychological and physiological response. She partnered with local artist Stefan Gulassa to craft lighting that accentuates the natural variance in light intensities and shadows throughout the day. The home’s garden level received a burnished wax Italian plaster finish that adds an illuminance quality, expanding the natural light coming through added clerestory windows. A showpiece chandelier in the guesthouse made by Gulassa features a wired wisteria branch preserved from the property.

Hellstern was also mindful to create moments that appeal to humankind’s desire for retreat, intrigue, and mystery. “The homeowners have a love for pattern and textures that I looked to apply in both meaningful and unexpected ways throughout the space,” Hellstern explains. “As a kid, the homeowner found solace in the woods. So, we commissioned an oak-carved and bronze-casted door handle to recall those feelings.” The powder room opens to expose a stunning William Morris wallpaper, chosen for both its beauty and rich symbolism to the homeowner.

But the most time-intensive and significant part of the project is what you won’t find in the home—the LBC “Red List” of more than 800 harmful or toxic chemicals commonplace in building materials. Hellstern asked for complete fabrication transparency from all her sources. “In many instances, we partnered with fabricators to permanently modify their materials or process in a way that not only positively impacts the health of our clients, but directly improves the health of the maker themselves. Harmful chemicals are often manufactured in lower socioeconomic communities. Part of my job is to reduce the demand. That’s within my power as a designer and is well worth the effort.”

Considered one of the most sustainable residences in the world, the legacy of Loom House extends far beyond its property line. Both inside and out, it emulates how to strengthen an existing home’s connection to its environment—both for the health of the planet and its people. The homeowner summarizes, “This renovation provides solutions for how to take existing homes and make them sustainable into the future. We’ll never build new homes for everyone in time to handle the climate crisis.”

Project Details
Charlie Hellstern Interior Design

Project Name
Loom House

Charlie Hellstern Interior Design

World Design Awards Category
Residential Interior Built 

Project Location
Bainbridge Island

Miller Hull Partnership, Clark Construction, Anne James

United States

Photography ©Credit
©Haris Kenjar Kevin Scott

Charlie Hellstern Interior Design

At Charlie Hellstern Interior Design, we create captivating environments that embrace and nurture the everyday way people live, love, work, and grow. Every space is a celebration of our clients’ individuality and reveals what they find beautiful. Charlie’s commitment to sustainability and the wellbeing of people and their environment is evident throughout her diverse portfolio of residential and commercial work. She prioritizes access and connection to nature as well as the safety, durability, and craftsmanship of materials in the built space. With an artistry that goes beyond trends, Charlie proves sustainable spaces can feel personal, live well, and exude elegance.