Ashley's Window /
Known for bringing character and a unique personalized touch to each design, Jen Dallas has made a name for herself in the design world. Along with her design firm, Jen Dallas Inc, Dallas approaches each of her projects as a collaberative effecort between the client and herself. With the growing success of her firm, Jen also plans to launch a collection of homewear by the end of 2018. We recently sat down with Jen to talk all things design, and what inspires her work.
Tell me a little about yourself in general. What’s a day in your life like? What kind of clients do you work for?
My morning routine starts at 4:15am every morning, when I head down to the Marina to row crew. I hurry home to make pancakes for my son. The rest of the day is never the same. I am soon flooded with appointments, client calls and texts. I love that all of my clients are all highly involved with the design of their homes. We work together hand in hand to explore their style and help them to discover options. Recently, I started a line of textiles and a vintage online shop. So, I have been working hard to get the site ready to launch.
What drew you to design and what made you choose this as your profession?
My father was an art teacher and had me painting and throwing pots in the back of the studio at a very young age. My mom laughs at how she used to hear me moving furniture around in my room at night. I grew up around a lot of artists and creative people, all of whom have made a mark on me. Design is such a perfect mix. It requires creativity, organization and a desire to help make life better for people.
Seen here:Our custom handmade 'Portafina' 100% Wool rug.
How do you describe the style that you bring to most situations?
I find that my look is coastal and comfortable. I love a muted palette that highlights the outdoors. Our interiors are light and we like to keep it fresh. We love the feeling of a room as much as the look. Layers are important to my work as I like it to look like a room has evolved over time and not like your designer just left.
What inspires you when it comes to design, both direct and indirectly?
Inspiration for design is everywhere. My vendors greatly inspire me. I went to see two new ceramic artists this week and it was so fun to see their spaces and hear how they create by trial and error. Instagram is the new way to supplement my magazine viewing.... I still love my magazine subscriptions though, and I read 14 or so monthly. My house and studio inspire me. I am constantly moving things around and place things that make me feel good or connect me to my current projects Right now, I am working on a bohemian, beach house and now my own house is revealing some rattan and a display of sea shells.
Do you have any signature design tricks that you wouldn’t mind telling us about?
1. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. I find so many people set limits on what goes with what. Sometimes it goes against the “rules”. Go for it!
2. Paint sheen should be a priority. It makes such a difference in the room by what the sheen highlights or doesn’t highlight. Rooms need a variety of different paint sheens. A room will never require just one.
3. The color of light is key. The introduction of LED light bulbs is still new. Don’t let the electrician tell you that LEDs only come in one color. LED bulbs come in different light colors and bulb styles. Some bulbs are ugly and definitely should not be seen. Shop and see the different styles so you know what will look the best.
Jen's window design for the Decorative Carpets by STARK showroom.
When you first look at a room, what do you consider building off? Carpet or rug? Furniture? Wallcoverings?
I always choose a rug first. It is much easier to choose the other material selections once you have the rug.
What are three words that you hope someone would use to describe a room that you designed?
Innovative, Beautiful and Timeless
What do you like about working with STARK? What about STARK products stands out to you?
Stark means quality. Their showroom has so many carpet and rug options available. It makes it easy for me to shop with clients to experience a variety of options all in one place.
What can a rug or carpet bring to a project?
A rug grounds a room and the opportunity to add color and texture. I like to use area rugs in open floor plans as they help create intimate settings within a larger space.
How do you work a piece of Stark product into a room? Do you allow it to compliment other pieces or do you let it take center stage?
It all depends on the room’s feeling and purpose. If the room requires the rug to be the “art” than no doubt it will take center stage. If we want an exterior room to be about the garden, then nature will take center stage and the rug will support that direction.
What do you think is the most unique room/project in your portfolio of work that utilized Stark?
I just finished an entertainment room. It is a large room that required multiple chairs and ottomans and a very long sofa. We united the furniture pieces by doing a custom colored rug. The texture and color was perfection with the fabric selections. The final result made the large room feel more intimate and relaxed.
If you had no budget on a project, what kind of room would you create?
I would create a solarium of tropical plants around a salt water pool surrounded by a mix of plush chaises and chairs. The skylighted ceiling would be painted with a jungle scene.