Designer Crush Q&A: Jeff Henry

1. Where do you currently live in CA and what's special about how you've designed your personal space?

San Francisco and The Sea Ranch, in Sonoma County. Both spaces are, by design, “under designed” and for me that makes them special. When I moved into my place on the north coast, the architect Fiona O’Neill visited me and said “I thought you would have done it up!” I realized that I couldn’t have the interior compete with the views, so I kept things simple. Never mess with Mother Nature. And in the city, after a day of designing for clients, the last thing I want to come home to is a riot of color and pattern. Well, maybe just a bit of pattern. My tiny study is absolutely explosive, thanks to an aggressive David Hicks patterned wallpaper. Large scale moves in small spaces somehow work.

2. What's your dream design project? Who would it be for (dead or alive)? 

The project that I’ve yet to do! Maybe a compound for aging baby boomers, or a library that never ceases to inspire, its retro feel imbued with technology. I wonder who the head librarian would be? Hmm.

3. In real life, what's your favorite design project you've completed to date?

San Francisco International Airport Terminal Two.

4. You've been gifted a fabulously furnished dream home but can only bring one item from your current space. What would it be? 

Jasper, my red Miniature Pinscher. If he balks, then I’d take my eerie John DiPaolo painting, “The Alchemist.”

5. What's your creative process when designing a space?

Start every design by listening to the client, period. After absorbing their thoughts I like to write a narrative - a story - that becomes a litmus test that every component of the design must answer to. And I always allow for the serendipitous to sneak in.

6. Where do you score prized interior design items? Any shopping tips?

The answer is always blowing in the wind! The vintage mega store Stuff on Valencia has been a recent haunt. I snared a Niels Thorsen vase that I can’t stop looking at. Tips? Shop with the eye of an editor. Don’t be fooled by the brightest, shiniest object. Before paying for your finds put one thing back on the shelf.

7. Ever had an epic DIY disaster? What project would you never take on again yourself?

Well, yes! As an overly confident fourteen year old, along with my brother (also an interior designer) I transformed the family house. My parents were away on a long trip, and they gave us carte blanche to go for it.  We reimagined the foyer, living and dining rooms as a homage to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the French philosopher. Looking back, it was criminal to rip out beige level loop wool carpeting, replacing it with turquoise nylon shag! Not to mention the practically fluorescent coral paint! I’ve learned that a paint roller can be a dangerous tool in my hands.

8. What new design trend are you excited to integrate into your next project?

Adaptive Circadian Rhythm lighting. This LED technology shifts the color of the interior light throughout the day to mimic the exterior light. The health and wellness aspects of this system are well documented in the medical press.

9. Lightning round! 

Beach or mountains?

Mountains.

Instagram or Pinterest?

Landline.

Architectural Digest or Wallpaper?

British House and Garden. 

Should you spend money on a fabulous bathroom or kitchen?

Bathroom. 

Would you rather shop new or vintage?

Vintage.

Great view or perfect pool?

Great view. 

SF or LA?

SF.

10. What's one tip you wish someone had told you when first starting out in the design world?

Above all, perseverance.

 

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