When Kim-Julie Hansen moved into her new loft above New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, there was a large amount of space to fill. The Brussels native became an ethical vegan in 2011 and soon discovered the many health benefits of this lifestyle. When it came to furnishing the rest of her new space, she found she was ultimately drawn to products that positively effected the environment and workers in the same way her plant-based diet had positively empowered her. She wanted to create a place where she could relax, entertain friends, and share her love for cooking! “I already had a few west elm pieces and love pulling design ideas from their catalog, which is why I reached out to their Design Crew for some styling help,” said the voice behind Brussels Vegan and Best of Vegan.
“It’s important to me that my furnishings are vegan (no leather, no wool) and make a positive impact, which west elm is known for through its Fair Trade, handcrafted, and sustainably sourced products. west elm DUMBO’s Design Crew helped outfit my apartment with beautiful vegan, Fair Trade pieces—and made it into an oasis I can really enjoy, whether I’m reading in my cozy corner or having friends over to test new recipes on!”
Take a tour of this 2,000 square foot SoHo loft and see how the west elm DUMBO’s Design Crew took Kim-Julie’s existing west elm product and added additional pieces—all while keeping “design to impact” at the forefront.
Kim-Julie already had various pieces from west elm’s Emmerson Collection—product made from unfinished reclaimed pine certified by Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) standards. Included in that was one Emmerson Dining Table with two benches. She knew that the size of her new loft would warrant a larger dining table to accommodate tasting dinners and nights with friends. To expand the size, an additional table was added to create an extended dining space. Instead of using another set of benches, the west elm Design Crew mixed in Classic Café Dining Chairs, with upholstered seats that would help bring a soft texture to the dining experience.
The kitchen island seems to always be the natural gathering spot for guests, so Kim-Julie added another Rustic Counter-Height Stool to the two she currently had as an easy way to accommodate more seating. Completing the kitchen and dining spaces with lighting also helped to bring a bit of shine to these spaces.
Kim-Julie’s favorite additions to her space added a subtle hint of glam—the Roar + Rabbit Brass Geo Inlay Media Console and the Patchwork Side Table—both Fair Trade Certified products. “I love that these products not only have a natural mango wood finish with unique detailing that really complement the other pieces in my space, but most importantly that they are Fair Trade Certified,” mentions Kim-Julie. For a factory to become Fair Trade Certified, it undergoes a rigorous 12-stage process verifying safe working conditions, fair wages, and environmental standards. Today, west elm’s commitment to the Fair Trade program impacts 5,000+ workers.
In keeping with the no leather, no wool requirements, the west elm Design Crew opted to use the Cozy Plush Rug in the living room space due to it being 100% polyester – but still adding the ultra-soft, homey factor that ultimately adds comfort + warmth to the hardwood floors.
The south view from the bedroom captures the heart of SoHo with One World Trade Center in the distance—and the afternoon sun adds a bit of warmth to the desk area. Kim-Julie went with the Emmerson Reclaimed Wood Storage Bed, essentially for its roomy drawer space. The reclaimed pine comes from a variety of sources, including shipping pallets and packing crates. Today, 29% of the wood used in west elm product is sustainably sourced, with the goal of 50% by the year 2020.