Designer Jay Jeffers is known for creating interiors that are perfect reflections of their owners. He is drawn toward projects where a story can be told, as is evident in the homes featured in his two design books, Be Bold: Bespoke Modern Interiors and Collected Cool: The Art of Bold, Stylish Interiors. He also creates lighting, furniture, and accessories for Arteriors.
Jeffers’s designs are driven by the personality of his clients and their lifestyle. “The geography of the home and its inhabitants inform the aesthetic even more than I do,” he says.
One such homeowner was in search of a modern interior that could complement the extraordinary views of the Golden Gate Bridge in his new home in San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood. He sought out Jeffers, who jokes that his firm seems to have a niche in designing “bachelor pads.”
To achieve a modern aesthetic that felt tailored and inviting, Jeffers mixed quality furnishings with vintage items, textural fabrics, and accessories that filled the space without making it feel cluttered. “Maximalism might be in vogue at the moment,” he says, “but that would give my client heart palpitations.”
We asked Jeffers to share the inspiration behind this home’s decor and chat about his other upcoming projects.
ELLE Decor: You were brought in to decorate this apartment after a gut renovation had already taken place. Did that give you pause?
Jay Jeffers: Usually my first reaction is, “Oh, God, I hope they did it right!” We really thrive on being a part of the team from the beginning. However, when I found out the architect was Stephen Sutro of Sutro Architects, with whom we have worked in the past, I breathed a big sigh of relief. I knew all would be good under that hood.
ED: There are stunning views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge from this home. How did that affect your approach to the interiors?
JJ: Window coverings and furniture placement both play into the design of a home where there are great views. I love simple, tailored draperies to soften a modern home. In the dining room, we used a sheer fabric so that even when the curtains are open, the sunlight will penetrate.
ED: The palette here consists of cool blues and grays, but it certainly doesn’t feel cold. What’s your secret?
JJ: Texture helps, like the soft maple finish on the vintage cabinet in the dining room and the concrete tables in the living room. Tactile fabrics, even in blues and grays, give a sense of coziness. Also, the art throughout the home adds not only warmth, but soul too.
ED: How do you achieve the right balance between contemporary and vintage pieces throughout the interior?
JJ: I don’t really have a formula, but I do my best to ensure that there are one or two vintage pieces, at a minimum, in every room. It is so important in creating a layered effect to have a piece that has some age and some patina to it.
ED: Which room here is your favorite?
JJ: I love the living room. Architecturally it is interesting, especially with the repetition of the windows. The symmetrical layout is appealing, and I was happy with the mix of new and vintage furnishings in the space.
ED: Any design obstacles that you had to overcome?
JJ: Honestly, no. The only “architectural” change we made was to replaster the living room fireplace black instead of white. We did this to slightly camouflage the TV so that your eye wasn’t drawn to it upon entering the room.
ED: What can we expect to see from you next?
JJ: We have just completed designs for our third collection for Arteriors, launching in 2021. We currently have projects in San Francisco, Aspen, Lake Tahoe, and Montana. On Lake Michigan, we are doing a remodel of a log cabin originally commissioned by Hollis Baker—of the famed furniture company Baker—in 1910.
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