Meet Charlotte Jolly—she’s an interior designer from Indianapolis who joined our Seattle office last year. When she’s not heads-down on workplace interior projects, she’s involved with ZGF’s Green Team and recently pulled off our first virtual Earth Week celebration.
On weekends, she is happiest outdoors, hiking Tiger Mountain or walking the beach at Discovery Park. The stay-at-home orders may have changed her plans for the time being, but that hasn’t stopped her from starting a small victory garden on her balcony, adopting a cat, and testing out her vegan cooking chops.
Learn more about Charlotte in our latest Q&A.
What has been fueling your creativity over the last several weeks as we continue working remotely due to COVID-19?
Color! Enjoying the spring weather from my apartment rather than the office means I’m seeing different colors in my environment. This has led me to rethink how I use color in a way that works for me in my daily life. I’ve gone back to the drawing board and gutted my closet several times over the past few weeks (I’m sure I’m not the only one doing spring cleaning). Even considering how to display my clothes in ways that encourage certain color selections has been fun.
Also, food! More time at home means more time to cook. I’ve been trying a lot of vegan recipes in my new Instant Pot (fully aware of the irony in purchasing an Instant Pot when I now have the time to slow-cook). So far, I’ve made chocolate-tofu cheesecake, dumplings, tamales, and mango sticky rice.
Tell us about your Instagram account, @care4bigblue. What inspired you to start sharing sustainability tips?
As you might have guessed from the name, it’s all about caring for our beautiful blue planet. The idea stemmed from having many people in my life ask for advice on how to reduce their impact in their daily lives, and I wanted a one-stop source for them to get ideas. I post 1-2 times a week on a variety of topics—travel, technology, shopping, energy, water, waste, eating, offsetting, self-care, etc.
I believe that adopting sustainable habits is as much about psychology as it is about reducing impact. When a person consciously decides to do something as small as choosing an ice cream cone over a disposable bowl, for example, that decision becomes attached to their self-identity, making it more likely that they will discuss climate change news, support eco-friendly businesses, or vote with the environment in mind. Never underestimate the impact of “small actions.”
While I create and share the posts on @care4bigblue, the blog is ultimately for everyone and I love collaborating with others , so send ideas my way!
Around the office, you’re known for being passionate about green design. Is that what led you to ZGF?
Definitely. Coming from the Midwest, I was tired of the lack of interest, resources, and projects focusing on sustainability. I loved the ideas behind the Living Building Challenge and decided to invest in attending the Living Future UnConference, where I met Peter Harrison from our Portland office. He led me to ZGF and has been a dear friend ever since. I could tell from meeting Peter that ZGF is a firm that prioritizes sustainability. Upon further research, I knew it would be exactly what I was missing in the Midwest, so I decided to move. Even within the eco-minded Pacific Northwest, ZGF is on the front line.
You recently got accredited in the LEED AP Interior Design + Construction. What advice do you have for other designers considering this credential?
I highly recommend to anyone that they get accredited in one or more certifications like LEED, WELL, and Living Future Accreditation, which I’m currently working on. While I haven’t yet been on a ZGF project pursuing LEED through the end, I can apply the program’s knowledge to any project. As the design methods used in LEED become the new baseline, it’s increasingly important to be aware of them and get in the habit of using them so we can lower the industry’s carbon footprint to where it needs to be.