A couple of weeks ago, I posted pictures of one of my all-time favorite homes–that of Los Angeles designer Jenn Feldman. I decided to email her and let her know (holding my breath that she would be okay with it!), and received the nicest email back. In fact, she further made my day by agreeing to do an interview about her home, her interior design business and her “Oprah experience.” ( Her home was featured on the Oprah show and in O at Home Magazine in 2007, after she was chosen by Nate Berkus as a winner of Oprah’s first design contest.) She was also kind enough to share pictures of her latest projects with us. Enjoy!
EAC: First, the Oprah Show questions (that I’m sure you’ve answered 1000 times!): How did you find out you had won? What was it like meeting NATE?
JF: I submitted my own photos, and had gotten a call several weeks later that the O Mag staff wanted to send a photographer to take their own photos of the house for consideration … and long story short, Nate and the crew showed up. The whole thing was surreal, and Nate was beyond. He is even a nicer person than he is handsome … and he’s REALLY handsome. I kept saying it was kind of like getting engaged – I was nervous and giddy and really just wanted to kiss him (sorry honey, but it’s true!). We still keep in touch today, he’s such a genuine person and so amazingly talented.
EAC: How stressful was it getting your home camera-ready? I’m assuming you didn’t have a lot of time. . . .Is there anything you wish you would’ve changed after seeing your home in a magazine/on TV?
JF: I’m pretty much a neat freak so the house was ready … My outfit was another story–I was not prepared for that big of a moment at 8 am when I opened the door – it was awful! They wouldn’t let me change so I filmed the whole thing in this bad shirt. Not my prime time best. One of my favorite parts of the whole experience was spending the time with the crew. The photographer was great and home stylist on the shoot was so clever, and creative … I learned so much just watching her tweak and move things around all day for the photos. And she brought more flowers that you could imagine. It was a flower shop!
After seeing the house on tv I decided my bedroom walls were too dark, so I repainted them all a creamy taupe and changed the bed linens to all cream on cream. It was a refreshing change.
EAC: Tell us a little about your design business. Did it automatically take off after your Oprah appearance?
JF: I did end up getting a bunch of calls, and when it re-aired the following Christmas I got even more calls. That’s when I realized it was a big enough sign to start my own business. And last year Jenn Feldman Designs was born!
EAC: Where do you get your design inspiration?
JF: I get inspiration everywhere! I decided my clients playroom for her daughter should be watermelon pink and turquoise after I saw the snack table one day at my son’s preschool. The colors were so happy together and I loved the sophistication and playfulness in the combination. You just have to look at everything and see the possibilities. I have to see something to trigger me before I would ever think of it on my own most of the time. And I must admit, I’m a big blog junkie now. And I love decorpad.com, peakofchic and the new online magazine Lonny.
EAC: What’s the one design trend you’re feeling the most right now?
JF: Wallpaper. Everywhere. I love it, especially on the ceilings too. And at very least, I’m painting all the ceilings now. It’s a great place for color, and with molding around the room it becomes “framed” and less severe. It’s a great added dimension to a space.
EAC: You’re known for beautifully mixing low-end with high-end pieces. Any tips for finding great bargains?
JF: It’s simple, but look everywhere. And if it kind of looks good “there,” chances are it will look a lot better out of the store/shop/flea market when it’s surrounded by other things that are great. It’s pretty amazing what you can find if you have vision.
EAC: What’s the best deal you’ve ever found?
JF: An antique, mirrored pagoda lamp for $10.00. I’m pretty sure they forgot a zero – or two! But I didn’t mention that at the register :)
EAC: Has your design philosophy changed since having kids?
JF: NOT AT ALL. In fact, I’m more adamant about having a beautiful, adult space that is free of kid-clutter. Not every room has to have toys in it! I do use more semi gloss paint (easier to clean) and am a huge fan of Sunbrella fabrics (goof proof for kitchen spills and couch cushions) but in no way shape or form do I think you need to compromise on style just because there are little ones running around. And a little imperfections here and there add good character!
EAC: What’s your favorite room in your house?
My blue room/den. The couch has big mushy pillows and I’ve framed my sons artwork and great family photos on all the walls. It’s so cozy and warm and lived in. And with 2 boys, a dog and a husband it’s definitely being lived in. A lot.
Jenn, Thanks so much for doing this! It was fun learning more about you. Can’t wait to see more of your work in the future.