Ultra-unique light fixtures, cool gray hardwood floors, anything but ‘builder-basic’ paint colors—yeah, we’re just as flabbergasted as you are that this cool space is actually a model home! Fashion-turned-interior designer, Jesse Leigh Vickers, managed to give this new-build dwelling her signature bold and modern aesthetic, and we’re providing you with an exclusive sneak peek below. Read on to find out more about the project, plus learn what the Charleston-based designer thinks will be the next big thing in 2018 design.
Have you always known you wanted to be an interior designer? When did you kick off your career?
I’ve always known I wanted to be an interior designer, but I didn’t consider it a practical career path. At first, I considered it just a passion. It wasn’t until I had a career in fashion and was working on design projects for friends and family on the side that I realized I was so slammed with “passion” projects that I didn’t have time for my actual career. So I had to make a choice: keep working for someone else in fashion or take a major risk and try turning my passion for interior design into my actual job.
Let’s do a little trend forecasting! What do you think is going to be hot in interior design in 2018? What trends do you think will start to peter out later this year?
I think that people are going to stop the obsession with rooms that are white on white on white and gravitate toward rooms with a little more mood and color on the walls and in furnishings. I believe that the tendency to mix metals with hardware, plumbing fixtures and lighting will be strong in 2018 as opposed to trying to be matchy-matchy. Interesting new trim options and stained shiplap, beadboard and board and batten will make an appearance. I think people are slowly going to tire of white shiplap, the all-brass infatuation and standard 3×6 subway tile (there are other sizes, colors and applications that make subway tile so much more interesting!).
What big plans do you have for the second half of 2017?
Personally, I’m pursuing a master’s degree, which I’m extremely excited about! I’ve also got some fun travels coming up to Cuba and South Africa. Professionally, we are expanding our team and growing into two new markets. We also hope to put more attention on our retail shop that we’ve been somewhat slow to announce. We are also trying to find more ways to get involved in the local community.
Who do you love to follow on Instagram?
Can you tell us a little bit about your Johns Island Serenity Waterloo Estates project? How did you get involved, and what were a few of the main goals?
We partnered with an awesome builder a couple of years ago on a project and it went really well. They decided to develop a gorgeous community on Johns Island (think: horse trails, gorgeous old oak trees, a lake) and asked us to design the model home. We fell in love with the property and its large lots, winding streets and the astounding nature. It really influenced our design. They wanted to make sure that they could appeal to the diverse prospective buyers for that neighborhood, so our goal was to create something relevant yet timeless. We wanted to accentuate the cool features of the home (vaulted ceiling, tray ceiling, cool loft space, tall stairwell, etc.), so we did a lot of fun trim and lighting accents. We were able to dream up a family and then design a house we thought they would be proud to live in. It was super creative!
What is your process when designing/consulting?
We are looking for inspiration constantly so we are never at a shortage of inspiration when it comes to projects. We find inspiration in architecture, fashion, textiles, landscapes, other designer’s creations, products, etc. Regardless of who our client is (a builder, a homeowner, a commercial client), we start with an informal meeting where we discuss the space and the specific goals for the space along with any limitations the project might have. We conduct a site visit and/or review relevant floor plans and discuss budgets and timelines. Once we have an idea of the project scope, we let clients know the best way for us to help them achieve their goals.
We then set to work trying to decipher their style. A lot of clients have trouble verbalizing what they want, so we provide them with photos of rooms to give us feedback on. This exercise is helpful for us and the clients because it helps both of us really hone in on what they like and dislike. From there, we set to work putting together space plans for each room and begin selecting fabrics, furniture, décor, etc. We are a very collaborative firm so we usually all give feedback along the way, which is an awesome way to come up with really elevated, well-thought-out designs for our clients. After a client approves our suggestions, we place orders and have everything shipped to our local warehouse. We choose an installation date and then the magic happens!
If you could explain your aesthetic as a designer in one sentence, what would it be?
I’m unafraid of color and I love juxtaposing themes: balancing masculine and feminine, mixing organic elements with metallics, combining vintage and new items, etc.
Got any tips for coming up with a cohesive color palette in a home?
Start with a photo or a textile that you love. For example, do you have a rug you adore? Use it as your base for the room. Choose a neutral wall color and then bring in the colors in the rug in your furnishings and pillows/drapes. If you have a rug that is off-white with pops of light gray, aqua, navy, tan and olive green, then you could do your walls in light gray, order a sofa in ivory, chairs in navy, and pillows, art and drapes that feature aqua, olive, navy, gray and tan.
To me, coastal design isn’t just about navy, white and aqua. The landscape here features a plethora of amazing colors and textures, which we try to weave into our inspiration…We do fresh, casual coastal and balance it with organic elements so it doesn’t scream, “I love anchors and nautical stripes!”
What’s your number-one piece of advice for couples designing with two completely separate design styles in mind?
Find someone who can help you so you don’t both end up being dissatisfied with the end result! A good designer can help decipher what both of you can agree on and find a way to create a space that appeals to both parties.
Where do you love to shop for home goods and furniture in Charleston?
What’s one design rule you love to break?
I love to include multiple finishes in a kitchen! Instead of going all chrome or all brass or all oil-rubbed bronze, I love to mix it up in a way that isn’t limiting and that creates a bit more visual interest. When done right, this can make an awesome impact and is really practical!
How have you made the traditional Charleston aesthetic your own?
Charleston is known for two aesthetics: coastal and traditional. That being said, we are a growing city and a lot of people that are relocating to Charleston want to feel like they live here but they don’t feel comfortable with super-coastal-themed spaces or rooms featuring tons of antiques and marsh landscape oil paintings. We find ways to use coastal colors and materials in fresh ways. To me, coastal design isn’t just about navy, white and aqua. The landscape here features a plethora of amazing colors and textures, which we try to weave into our inspiration. We have the colors in the ocean and the stunning sunsets, the texture in the marsh grass and the fishing nets, etc. We do fresh, casual coastal and balance it with organic elements so it doesn’t scream, “I love anchors and nautical stripes!”
What are a few things your designed rooms always include?
Mixed metals, lots of layered accessories and greenery.
What are a few things we can do to make a minimalist space feel cozy?
Layer, layer, layer. Choose cozy fabrics on sleek frames and layer on pillows and a throw blanket that are within the same neutral palette but are different textures. Lighting should be warm versus cool and there should be lighting at varying heights. Incorporate wood in small doses and plants to bring in organic elements.
Tell us about your favorite project to date!
One of our favorite projects was our new store and office space because it was so personal and we were able to gut the space and renovate it to meet our needs! We get new shipments of furniture, rugs and art in all the time so the space is always changing, too, which makes it fun. We love coming to work in our new space! We also had a blast with our mid-century modern bachelor pad project. It was really custom and we were able to create a functional, beautiful space for a single father of three that feels both family-friendly and grown-up all at the same time.
Builder of model home: Crescent Homes
Looking for more interior design inspiration? Check out these posts: We’re Living For This Beautiful Kid-Friendly Home By The Sea // How To Make The Most Of A Small Dorm Room // 7 Ideas For Styling Open Kitchen Shelves