Today, I am thrilled to tell you that one of my favorite designers, David Jimenez, has graciously agreed to do an interview for The Vintique Object.
David is known for his role in developing a visual aesthetic for Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware. He currently lives in Kansas City where he is vice-president of visual merchandising and store design for Hallmark.
Do you recognize his work?
Do you recognize his work?
During my research for this interview, I kept coming across people who commented that you are a favorite designer. What is it about your style that you think is appealing to so many people?
Great question! I have been told that my spaces are stylish, livable, and timeless. The kind of place that invites you to prop your feet up on an ottoman and make yourself comfortable...and I can't imagine a better compliment. I enjoy creating spaces that are warm, collected, and personal. I am bit of a romantic too, and love including nostalgic and vintage furnishings, art, and accessories in my homes. I think people resonate with my projects because they see something familiar in my rooms that speaks to them in a personal way.
(KC bedroom, sitting room, guest bedroom)
Your House Beautiful interview, mentioned that you had amassed a collection of 9 sofas and 65 lamps from flea market and thrift shopping. That's a pretty astounding collection! I'm guessing that many readers of The Vintique Object love to scour for vintage and antique finds too. What advice can you give about making a decision to buy a piece, even if there is no immediate place to put it?
I am laughing out loud! Nine sofas and 65 lamps seems excessive (and a little like I have an editing problem), but the house actually had four levels, a portico, carriage house, and sat on three city lots so it required a lot of furniture. I recently downsized to a condo in an historic building on the Plaza in Kansas City . What I've found is that when you purchase something you love, it can travel with you and withstand fads or trends. For example, I originally spotted the 1960's sofa that now sits in my living room, covered in badly worn orange crushed velvet at an antique shop in Indianapolis, over ten years ago. I wasn't shopping for a new sofa at the time but fell in love with its lines and length (95"), and had to have it. I reinvented it with fresh upholstery and silver nail heads to accentuate its sleek lines and it's traveled with me to two cities, three homes and counting. I have found that buying vintage is a terrific way to pick up pieces that have great style without breaking the bank and have had similar success with lamps, side tables and small accent chairs. If you find something you love and it fits in your budget, buy it! You'll find a spot for it later.
(KC living room photo, carriage house buffet)
On your website, you have photos of your carriage house decorated in a modern and again in a classic style. Similarly, there are separate photos of your Palm Springs retreat decorated in mid-century and Hollywood Regency styles. What inspired you decorate the same space in two different styles?
Upgrading my 1906 home in Kansas City took a lot of work and I lived in the carriage house while improvements where under way. When it came time to move from the carriage house into my newly renovated home, I took a lot of the furniture shown in the "classic style" photos with me to the main house. That gave me the perfect opportunity to recreate the carriage house with a slightly different look which was more modern in sensibility. It was a fun project and I had the carriage house photographed both ways for my website.
The houses in Palm Springs are actually two separate homes in different parts of the city. One is a vacation rental and the other is my vacation get-away. I wanted the houses to have a nod to the past and set one up with mostly mid-century furnishings and the other one is distinctly rat pack swank.
(photos of Palm Springs mid-century and regency)
I have read that you only use 15 to 30 watt bulbs to achieve a warm, romantic glow -- it's a kind of signature look for you. What do you have in mind now that the incandescent light bulb is being phased out?
Dim lighting creates a warm glow, puts you immediately at ease when you walk in a room, and let's face it, it makes everyone look better! I outfit all of my lamps throughout the house with a mix of 7.5, 15 and 25 watt bulbs. The mix in wattages creates pools of lights instead a consistent, even glow throughout a room. I was horrified when I heard that incandescent bulbs are slowly being phased out and am hoping that fluorescent bulbs are enhanced to emit similar light as incandescent bulbs. Meanwhile, you'll find me stockpiling bulbs at my local big box retailer!
Update: I'm guessing David is relieved to know that Congress has defunded the ban on incandescent bulbs.
(KC dining room, media room )
I wonder if you would take a moment to discuss the use of black in your spaces.
I love classic, neutral spaces that are richly layered and have found that black has a way a way of punctuating a space and enhancing a sophisticated, retro vibe. Whether it’s black shades on lamps, an eclectic mix of black and white photography and charcoals on a wall, a zebra or cowhide rug across a floor, or an ebony baby grand piano, black keeps a room from becoming prosaic and creates instant chic.
(KC Carriage House bedroom, study, living room)
As a child growing up in New York , you rearranged your parents' furniture and used black and white photos from calendars to decorate your room. Do you believe that your interest in interiors is innate, or do you think that you learned by example?
There was a great quote by the indomitable romance novelist Jackie Collins in Vanity Fair recently who said she became a writer because her husband gave her a typewriter. And then she added, "If he'd given me a violin, I'd be performing at Carnegie Hall." I think we all have gifts that can be nurtured but some are innate. For example, I've always had a passion for the piano but after years of classes and practice realized it wasn't meant to be, but even at a very early age, I was keenly aware of my surroundings and understood the impact of lighting, music and furniture placement in rooms. I have been asked if my design style was inspired in part by the home retailers that I've worked for in the past, but the reverse is true. I've been able to bring Pottery Barn and Restoration an aesthetic that is uniquely my own. I have a passion for interiors and am inspired by magazines, design blogs, and books on decor but the thing that drives my choices for colors, furnishings, and finishes is how I want to feel when I walk in a room...a space that speaks to my soul and makes me smile when I walk in the door.
David, I am so grateful to you for your graciousness and generosity of time. What a huge treat this has been for me!
Be sure to check out more pictures of David's interiors on his website. His Kansas City carriage house is pretty much my idea of a dream home. Cozy, classic, neutral, layered, and perfect.