Interview / Carly Coulson

Carly is a long time Beklina customer, as well as architect/founder of the architecture firm COULSON, a practice dedicated to the highest level of sustainability and design excellence. Check out her current project Disappear Retreat, it's sure to inspire.

Questions asked by Risha Lee....

What is a childhood dream that you are now happy that you didn’t achieve, and why?

I had two childhood dreams, being an artist/illustrator and running the 800 meters in the 1992 Olympics. Luckily I was introduced to the profession of architecture in junior high, the perfect combination of my love of art, drawing, building, and science, and this overtook these earlier dreams which, by then, I realized I did not have the pure talent to really excel at. And yet, these are both skills that continue to provide me daily pleasure, and I am grateful.

How do you cope with a gray day?

I love gray days...snowy days…foggy days. I like adapting to the changing moods and drama that weather and seasons create. On gray days I go for a walk; the harbor fog horn is sounding and all color is muted. I’m transported into black and white movies and photography, maybe Paris. The gray creates a wonderful introspective haze to focus on work.

Who do you trust most for fashion advice?

I trust my own instincts about what works and feels right for me. I have never been one to ask for fashion advice. I look to art, photography, movies, and thoughtful sources like Beklina for inspiration.

What is your mantra?

“How much does your building weigh?” (Buckminster Fuller) striving for lightness in all aspects of design and living: energy, resources, waste, water, structure, transparency, details, maintenance, technology, flexibility, feeling, aesthetics.

Questions by Angelina Rennell...

Please share a childhood outfit memory...

My mom is an excellent seamstress and made many of my clothes. I have lovely memories of picking out stylish patterns and fabric, and the hum of her sewing machine as I sleep, an exciting new outfit waiting for me in the morning. A favorite was a 1984 aqua with white pinstripe first-day-of-school set with flared shorts and boatneck top, and a Princess Diana hair cut.

What’s your morning dressing routine?

First thing, no matter the weather, I go for a long walk along Lake Superior. So morning dressing routine is looking at the temperature, and deciding how to outsmart our climate. Minus 20°F and heavy snow to 85°F and humid, and all variations in between. Over the years I have collected most of the NAU pieces, all in black, from super light wool base layers to their smartly designed coats. Minimal, functional, sustainable, comfortable. These pieces take me from outdoor treks to work. My favorite is their Down Stole.

Do you have a décor style?

For living I enjoy modernist steel and glass design interwoven with lush layers of vegetation, views, art, and textiles. Midcentury modern design of the West Coast, Italy, France, and Denmark.

For working I enjoy to be surrounded in all white modern minimalism to have that fresh clean canvas to counteract the mental complexity and physical clutter of architectural problem solving and practice.

If you were a fruit, what fruit would you be?

An Avocado: green is my favorite color; I love avocado – I have one everyday; not sweet!