Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Design Tome: Jay Jeffers' Bold New Book ‘Collected Cool’

New energy on the design scene, and a dash of iconoclastic wit are Jay’s signatures

Pour a glass of bubbly, or turn on the kettle and make a cup of Assam tea—because I’ve got lots of exclusive tips from Jay here today. He’s witty and very opinionated, and he’s sent us bright ideas. It’s all exclusive to THE STYLE SALONISTE, and you’ll love it.

I’ve also got wonderful images from his frisky new book.

Bravo, Jay!

Designer to Follow: San Francisco designer Jay Jeffers has attracted an international following for his inventive and joyful interiors, as well as for his cheerful demeanor, his Pilates-fuelled energy, and his philanthropic generosity.

This week he is launching his new Rizzoli book—rich with ideas, tips, humor, and colorful interiors with crunch.

THE BOOK: ‘ Jay Jeffers Collected Cool The Art of Bold, Stylish Interiors’ newly published by Rizzoli. It was written with Alisa Carroll.

“My intention is always to create interiors that are sophisticated and have a sense of fun,” says Jay Jeffers. “I don’t have a formula and I don’t always follow the old ‘rules’.” — Jay Jeffers

In his lively new book, Jay Jeffers presents his most memorable projects divided into four groups:

Collected Cool presents captivating rooms that are thoughtfully layered, revealing themselves over time through myriad details.

Bold Bespoke offers a series of interiors viewed through a sartorial lens with custom elements essential to their unique style;

Unabashed Glamour is Jeffers at his most vivid, with all-out rooms that make an instant impression with luxe finishes, sumptuous materials, and sparkle.

Casual Chic is an approach Jeffers has mastered over the years, with his clients’ favored comfortable but stylish spaces with a sense of ease.

In each section, Jeffers shares his process and offers tips and ideas and helpful guidance to readers for re-creating the look at home. From the start of his career, Jay’s rooms have been fresh, frisky, witty and exuberant, and while some are low-key, most are filled with details on the complicated design process, color, furniture, and accessories.

Jeffers and his staff at Jeffers Design Group pull together rooms that are neutral and monochromatic, but over the last decade, his best work has virtuoso splashes of color with a touch of exuberance.

This jolt of color is not surprising. Jeffers, like many top designers, is a lifelong devotee of the late, great English designer, David Hicks. Brightly graphic fabrics on pillows, artful tablescapes, and bold colors were David Hicks signatures, and Jeffers uses these design devices deftly. Like all the best designers he has chosen his inspiration wisely. 

Jeffers likes to throw out and reject design rules and make his own fresh furniture choices. Defestration of the dull and dreary is a fine art, chez Jeffers.

“Ever since I was growing up in Dallas, I’ve spent weekends at flea markets and vintage shops looking for art, sculpture, off-beat finds, unexpected treasures,” he said. “It’s these quirky pieces that give rooms character.”

“Interiors should feel of their time and not look as if they are recreating the past,” noted Jeffers. “I always want my clients to feel comfortable and happy in their rooms. I want them to be inspired. And I want to surprise them and give them something original and fresh. I offer design ideas they could not dream of. If they walk into their rooms and simply say, “That’s nice”, I’d be insulted. It has to be “Wow.”

Jeffers said his plan is to create a smart, efficient, and modern decor that feels personal and welcoming.

“The rooms have to incorporate flexible arrangements of furniture,” said the designer. “I usually keep windows free of clutter and complicated curtains.”

“My approach to design is not exactly traditional,” said Jeffers.

“My college degree is in international business and marketing. I planned to work in advertising. By chance, I took an introductory design course at UC Berkeley Extension,” said the designer. “I studied interior architecture, the history of design, materials, color and space planning. By the time I completed the course, I was hooked, and I knew this was where I wanted to go. I never learned traditional ways of decorating so I look at design in a more contemporary manner, without preconceptions.”

Few interior designers are as bold and creative with color as Jeffers. For a client’s living room on Telegraph Hill he gathered a collection of vibrant turquoise and orange Blenko glass designs. An ottoman in another client’s sitting room makes a witty statement in orange and taupe cowhide.

“I like vivid colors like lemon, purple, red, orange, or coral on walls or on furniture in classic and formal rooms,” Jeffers said. “I’ve used taupe and cream, but always with a kick of color. Used with discretion a carefully considered color will give a room a sense of life.”

Jeffers said that he appreciates traditional style and design but his clients often prefer a new approach.

“I never repeat designs, and I don’t have one look or color I impose on my clients,” he said.

Jeffers approach is evolving. Each client gets an individual look, and rooms that are perfectly crafted to their life, their requirements, their dreams and hopes.

Jeffers travels often in search of antiques, art, rugs and accessories for his clients. A recent trip to Marrakech produced antique Berber rugs and atmospheric pierced brass lanterns.

“I place an emphasis on artist-made decorative objects, hand-woven textiles, and lighting that is thoughtfully produced in limited editions,” said Jeffers. “I want my clients to live with fine paintings and one-of-a-kind lighting and custom-designed furniture that will give them a lifetime of use and pleasure.”

For this designer, the joy of decorating continues.

“I like to create rooms that have a flow and an ease to them, a light-hearted feeling,” said Jeffers, who grew up in Plano, Texas, attended the University of Texas, and began his design practice in San Francisco in 1999.

Jeffers said he has little affinity with formal rooms or heavy-handed antiques and for a recent client created a fresh modern décor that would show off an art collection, vintage glass, and a view.

“Rooms should feel of their time and not look as if they are clinging to the past,” noted Jeffers. “I always want my clients to feel comfortable and happy in their rooms. I want them to be inspired. And I want to surprise them and give them something original and fresh. I offer design ideas they could not dream of. If they walk into their rooms and simply say, “That’s nice”, I’d be insulted. It has to be “Wow.”

Jay Loves Color

In his introduction to a recent book on David Hicks by Ashley Hicks, Tom Ford noted that Hicks had “an Englishman's fearless relationship to color and he knew how to use it.” In Hicks’ hands, said Ford, scarlet or chrome yellow, or pink or orange became handsome and civilized, never flamboyant.

Similarly, Jeffers wields his color palette with confidence, and the overall effect is cheerful.

No-Holds-Barred Color

Jay Jeffers is a lifelong David Hicks devotee. His admiration for the legendary English designer is evident in his vivid, confident décor and eclectic interiors.

Brightly patterned fabrics on pillows, artful tablescapes, and fresh and bold colors were David Hicks signatures, and Jeffers uses these design devices deftly.

Jeffers admires the late, great decorator so fervently that he can quickly quote Hicks’ pithy pronouncements on design.

“David Hicks’s work, especially his major interior design from the seventies, has become something of a rulebook for luxury, style and instant elegance," said Jeffers, whose library is stocked with all twelve of David Hicks out-of-print books on design, fabrics, gardens and style.

“He was a pioneer in revolutionizing the way we see and live in traditional interiors, “ said Jeffers, who studied art and design at Texas universities. “At a time when interiors were either traditional or modern, and the two were never mixed, Mr. Hicks always avoided one-note design. Hicks’ rooms combined daring colors like chocolate brown and pink or coral, and modern Scandinavian chairs with Chinese antiques. I see his work, I’m inspired, and I don’t hold back.”

David Hicks mottos that inspired Jeffers include the statements, “Style produces atmosphere”, “Do not follow fashion too fanatically”, and “Accessories should not have an overworked-out look”.

Jeffers said his clients requested light-hearted rooms with truly individual interior design.

Go Boldly Forth: Tips from Jay

Accessories:  Mix It Up
It all comes together for the installation and finishing an interior with art and accessories. I know they can really put a dent in the budget. One of my philosophies (and one of our core beliefs at Cavalier, our new shop) is that you should have a mix of high and low. Buy some really wonderful pieces for your bookshelves and coffee table, and compliment it with less expensive pieces. The mix elevates everything and gives rooms a cool, collected look and feel. 

Only the best
No matter what your budget, buy good art. Really good art. One great piece is so much better than 5 not so great pieces in my opinion. Flea market finds and well priced galleries like Lost Art Salon in San Francisco are an excellent compliment, but build your collection with a piece that you love by an established artist. Keep your eye out for a new website, an online art rental gallery so you can try things for a few months. If you like it, buy it. If you don't, try something else. 

Light and shade
Give every room several light sources and opportunities, such as a chandelier where appropriate, sconces on the walls, lamps for reading instead of recessed cans and I always say that candles count as a light source. Every light switch should have a dimmer. Everyone looks better in dimmed light.

Shopping the Look: Fun with Cavalier

Jeffers and his partner, creative director, Michael Purdy, recently launched Cavalier, a new style shop in the Polk Street district of San Francisco. The shop was named for Jeffers’ Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Kingsley, (who is also acknowledged in “Collected Cool’).

“My goal with Cavalier was to gather rare and unusual pieces, so that designers and everyone who loves design can find rare and beautiful things.” — Jay Jeffers

In one corner of the 1,000 square-foot Post Street gallery are collections of American-made tailored sofas and armchairs, jostling a Jeffers designed hexagonal oak table with a base inspired by cogwheels. There is Alex & Lee braided and jeweled necklaces, and limited edition jewel-colored Lucite boxes in crystal and shocking pink and vivid chartreuse by Alexandra von Furstenberg.

Jeffers loves candles and has collected from his favorite hotels—Hotel Costes in Paris (sexy, amber), New York’s Crosby Street Hotel (lavender) and the spicy candle from Hotel Meurice on the rue de Rivoli in Paris.

Cavalier is styled to the rafters with photography, lighting, cashmere blankets, throws, monogrammed pillows, unglazed Nordic pottery, framed photography, and hard-to-find vintage design books.

1035 Post Street
San Francisco

Jay Jeffers, left, with his partner Michael Purdy and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Kingsley.


‘Collected Cool The Art of Bold, Stylish Interiors’ by Jay Jeffers is published this month by Rizzoli.

All images courtesy of Rizzoli and Jay Jeffers, used here with express permission.


Karena said...

A stunning book by Jay, Diane! I was having a glass of wine, while paging through Collected Cool last night and truly savoring each and every page. Artfully done!

The Arts by Karena

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

I missed his talk in London the other day! Wish I could have gone to it.