Interview with Jean Nayar, Decorator and Author Extraordinaire!

I have some amazing insight into the world of decorating that you guys are going to love!  A couple of weeks ago, I sent some interview questions to Jean Nayer. She has graciously answered and given us some fun information about decorating and some insight into her own personal style.

Take a minute to check out Jean's blog, The Happy Home Workshop. Then come back here and read my interview with her. She is a fantastic decorator (& author!) and Wednesday I will be reviewing her newest book, The Happy Home Project.


{My Questions in Red, Jean's Answers in Black}

1. When did you first become interested in design & architecture?

As a child growing up in Minnesota. My parents worked with a female architect to design my childhood home. Houses designed by architects were rare in the rather small town where I grew up, but those designed by female architects were even rarer at that time. My father made a point of showing me the subtle design details that she included in our prairie-inspired home. My parents also regularly journeyed all over the country with my brothers and sister and me to visit most of the nation’s landmark structures and notable gardens and parks, which piqued a lifelong love of good design.


2. What is your favorite style?

I don’t really have a favorite style, but I do gravitate toward classical structures with symmetrical floor plans, and I also like the simplicity of International-style buildings. When you start in a structure with a solid foundation, you can layer in elements of any style to craft a mix that expresses your personality. I also lean toward furniture with clean lines like Scandinavian modern or French Empire and Directoire pieces.


3. What is your favorite room in your house?

Our double-height living space that overlooks a massive linden tree as well as the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty.

4. What has inspired you as a designer?

The work of other talented designers, such as Mariette Himes Gomez, Vicente Wolf, Victoria Hagan, Thomas O’Brien, Brad Ford, among countless others. I am also fascinated by elements of other cultures, such as Indian textiles, Japanese teacups, and Mexican folk art, which I like to gather on my travels and then find places for in my home. They have the ability to transport me.


5. What are your favorite decorator magazines, books or design blogs?

I like House Beautiful, Elle D├ęcor magazines, Lonny and Trad Home online magazines, and Remodelista and My Marrakesh blogs to name a few.

6. What type of projects are you currently working on?

I am working on decorating an apartment in the Visionaire, an eco-friendly building in Battery Park City. I’m also branching out in new directions and have recently begun working as a real estate agent with Bond New York. So along with writing about improving the values of homes through design and renovation, I’m now also helping people to buy, sell and stage them, too.

7. How does being a "Green Professional" influence your work?

Sustainability is now a standard part of every choice I make. For example, I recently opted to part with a substantial number of old books that I’d be hauling around with me for years. Instead of tossing them, I sold them to Strand Books, a rare and used bookstore in Manhattan, which will resell and recirculate them into the world in an eco-friendly way. I’ve always been rather monastic in my approach to my home, tending toward minimalism, but being a green professional has made me even more so—I try to acquire only things I really need and love, and I part with things conscientiously to minimize my carbon footprint. Ideally, I’d like to become like a Net-Zero Energy home and create more energy, or give more to the world, than I consume.


8. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what one household item could you not live without?

What comes to mind first is my husband, but he’s not a thing, so I’d have to say my cotton/linen blanket, which was made by artisans for at Brahms/Mount Textiles on antique looms in an historic mill in Maine.

9. What do you see as some of the newest trends in home decorating?

A spirit of playfulness with more daring mixes of furnishings, colors and patterns.


10. Some quick wit:
          sun or snow?  Sun
          east or west?  East
          book or movie?  Book
          late night or early morning?  Early morning
          2 door sports car or 4 door sedan?  4-door sedan
          dog or cat?  Cat


Jean Nayar is an amazing decorator and author. She was also incredibly gracious to participate in my Q&A.  If you have any additional questions for Jean, please ask them in the comments. Also, be sure to check out her newest book, The Happy Home Project and some of the others that I have reviewed: Real Life Decor, Money-Wise Makeovers.



InMyOwnStyle said...

Enjoyed this interview very much. Thanks

My best- Diane

Tote said...

She is very interesting. Would like to read her book.


km said...

I just love name--- THE HAPPY HOME PROJECT... you can see it in her style too--- happiness and joy! What a gift to have as a decorator.

Anonymous said...

Great interview!