Q&A: Jay Jeffers

The designer (above). Photo courtesy of Jeffers Design Group
Name: Jay Jeffers
Occupation: Founder of Jeffers Design Group, co-owner (with Michael Purdy) of home furnishings boutique Cavalier, and author of Jay Jeffers: Collected Cool
Resides in: San Francisco
Best known for: Balancing look-at-me-patterns with vintage statements for a lived-in, "stories-to-tell" effect that's always interesting and never feels forced. 

1. Antique or modern? 
Modern antiques.  20th-century pieces that have a bit of age on them in a modern setting.

2. City or country? 
City during the week and country on the weekends. Because you can! Country life on the weekend is like being on vacation.

3. Which colors do you use most?
Charcoal, persimmon, slate, emerald.

4. Favorite materials or textures? 
Grasscloth, stone, sisal, silk.

5. What is your favorite interior design-related word? 
Matchy-matchy. One should never be.
A Palm Beach-inspired vignette in a client's LA residence . Photo © Michele Arnaud
6. Does your current home look like the one you grew up in, and how so? 
Not even close. I grew up in Texas in a traditional home.  It was a nice house, but not my taste. 

7. Does a room need a view? 
Well, it doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t always need a view.  Create the view inside.

8. Favorite designer or architect? 
Jean Louis Deniot. He is innovative, interesting, and steeped in tradition.

9. Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without? 
Pinterest has changed the way I collect inspiration.

10. What qualities do you most admire in a room? 
Correct scale. You can spend all the money in the world on a space, but if the scale isn’t right and the parts of the room aren’t proportionate, the room is a failure.

The figurative art-filled dining room in the designer's former residence. Photo © Joe Fletcher11. Forbidden words in your house? 
Out. Of.  Wine.

12. Design rule you love to break? 
Painting or wallpapering a small room a dark color—it makes the room more intimate.

13. What is your favorite room in the house? 
I love a library with low lights, surrounded by shelves with books and objets—and don’t forget the bar cart and comfy ottoman.

14. What is your most treasured possession? 
My husband and two dogs. Because my world would be empty without them.

15. What do you wish you could do without? 
Sugar. Because my pants would fit all the time.


The living room in Carmel Valley's LEED Platinum Caterpillar House. Photo © Joe Fletcher. 16. How does West Coast design differ from East Coast design? Does it?
West Coast is more relaxed. There is an element of formality and an element of show on the East Coast. I think the West is all about being luxurious but liveable. 

17. What is your favorite thing about the West Coast—design-related or otherwise? 
I love the lifestyle. And California artists.

18. If you could live in one historical figure’s house, whose would it be? 
[Thomas Jefferson's] Monticello would be pretty amazing. Or Sir John Soane’s home in London. And of course there is Philip Johnson’s glass house. I can’t decide.

19. On what movie set would you like to live? 
Moulin Rouge. Because who doesn’t want to live in a fantastic giant elephant?

20. To which country would you move for the design? 
Spain. I love the Spanish sensibility and the people.

21. If you were reborn as a piece of furniture or an object, what would it be? 
A lamp. I would have a nice shape. And sometimes get turned on.
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