Jay Jeffers, founder of JayJeffers Inc. believes that every project is a collaborative venture that addresses form and function, architecture, and aesthetics in a process individually tailored for each client’s unique needs. “A house has to reflect the personalities of the people who live in it and their sense of style,” Jay says, “not the person who designed it.”
We sat down with Jay to discuss his love for vintage, authoring two acclaimed design books and his biggest design inspirations, like Kelly Wearstler.
Take us back to the beginning. What led you to become a designer?
My degree is in marketing and international business and I was working in the advertising world, but I knew I needed something more creative. I ended up taking a night class in interior design and fell in love. It was the first time I could see myself making a living doing something I love. I ended up going back to school and simultaneously working for a friend, where I really learned the ropes. I opened my own studio in 1999.
“Living with great design can be intimidating to some people, so I wanted to show that there is something for everyone.”
What inspired you to write your two acclaimed design books: Collected Cool and BE BOLD: Bespoke Modern Interiors?
In both cases, I felt like I had a point of view to express. Living with great design can be intimidating to some people, so I wanted to show that there is something for everyone. With the second book, I felt like my own style had truly evolved since the first. These are not how to books but I hope a great source of inspiration for others. I love design books and hope that people love mine!
You are known for infusing original vintage pieces into your projects — what is your process?
Yes I do love vintage and antiques. It is the soul of the room, of the home. Having everything brand new doesn’t create that layered richness that I love in a home. Sometimes we will earmark pieces in the home that will be vintage and source to that piece and sometimes we go shopping (in the past to physical shows, these days more online) and find a piece that we love and present in that way.
Have there been any notable influences on your career?
David Hicks was the first designer that I saw using color and pattern and modern influences in very traditional settings. Billy Baldwin was a master at his craft. Kelly Wearstler was one of the first designers that was using vintage pieces in a new and modern way and I related to her work on such a strong level. I recently stayed at the Proper Hotel in Santa Monica and I continue to be wowed by her talent. Albert Hadley, Piet Boone, Christian Liagre and so many others have influenced my work. I’m basically a total design fan-boy.
How does environmental sustainability factor into your projects?
While I will admit it is not top of mind for all of our projects, we do our best to stay up on whats new and innovative in the design industry. Obviously, buying vintage and antique furnishings is a step in the right direction. And materials like bamboo silk woven into rugs, locally made materials such as stone and wood are all important factors we consider.
What advice would you give to those just entering the design industry today?
Learn from the best – work for a medium size firm so you can wear many hats. Find inspiration everywhere. Travel as much as you can. And professionally photograph all of your work.