Some of you might be familiar with Jennifer Boles from her design blog, The Peak of Chic. Jennifer, our FACE of the South, writes beautiful essays about the history and creativity of traditional interiors, and she showcases the work of designers she has long admired. In In with the Old, her book published in late 2013, Jennifer highlights 100 decorating details that never go out of style. Today we welcome Jennifer to talk about design, about growing up in Atlanta, and about how we are supposed to hide our TVs!
You started your blog, The Peak of Chic, on a whim in 2006. Did you ever think it would grow into something so large?
No. I started my blog as a creative outlet, and I thought that only my friends and family might read it. When my readership started to grow, I was pleasantly surprised. And when I learned that many magazine editors and top designers were reading my blog, I was even more surprised!
Out of the 100 classic trends in your book, what are a few of your favorites?
All of the entries in my book are design styles and elements that I would gladly have in my own home. That being said, two of my very favorites are trompe l’oeil and tented rooms.
What is your favorite way to quickly change the look of a room?
Change up the paint color. Wall color is the first thing that people notice, and it sets the tone for the entire room.
Which pieces of furniture do you view as investments?
Save your pennies to buy the best quality sofa that you can afford. A well-built sofa will last decades. Also, invest in a few quality antiques, whether they’re furniture, paintings or porcelain. Antiques add patina and depth to a room, and those are two characteristics that new furniture and accessories unfortunately lack.
What decorating trends do you wish would disappear?
Mish-mash decorating. A well-decorated room requires forethought and careful planning — you can’t just throw a bunch of stuff into a room and call it decorated.
What is your favorite trick to hide a TV?
Stick it in a bookshelf!
When I bought my TV a few years ago, the salesman at Best Buy couldn’t understand why I wanted such a small TV. When I explained to him that it had to be small enough to fit discreetly in a bookshelf, he looked at me like I was crazy.
Where in your home do you spend the most time?
Hands down, my study. That’s where I read, work, watch TV and even eat dinner.
What’s different about how Southerners decorate their homes, compared with the rest of the country?
Southerners have great house pride, and they want their homes to be pleasing and inviting to guests. That’s why Southern homes tend to be filled with gracious touches like fresh flowers, scented candles, copious seating, drink tables within reach of all chairs and beautiful dining rooms.
You are in the middle of a whirlwind book tour. When you have a few minutes, how do you relax and recharge?
After two years of working seven days a week, I have forgotten how to relax! I also haven’t taken a vacation in years. Whenever I am lucky enough to have a few free hours at night or on the weekends, I like to read biographies and mystery novels, such as those by Dorothy Sayers and Georgette Heyer.
What are your earliest memories of growing up in Atlanta?
I remember a time when Buckhead really was a village. I remember reading in the children’s area at Ida Williams Library and taking classes at the Atlanta Ballet when its studio was across the street from Peachtree Road Methodist Church. And buying cookies at the Pepperidge Farm Thrift Store on Pharr Road.
When friends visit Atlanta, what activities do you think are a must?
What meal at a local restaurant has wowed you?
I usually don’t love salads, but I’ve grown addicted to the lunch salads at King + Duke.
Do you have any Atlanta neighborhoods that you draw inspiration from?
I’ve lived in Buckhead all of my life, and I continue to find inspiration here.
If you could change one thing about Atlanta, what would it be?
Bring back Rich’s department store! Back in the good old days, before Federated bought it and screwed it up, Rich’s was a wonderful store.
Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
London. I’m a huge Anglophile, which is a trait that I inherited from my parents.
What is a valuable piece of advice you have been given?
Trust your gut. It’s such a simple piece of advice, and yet it’s one that is easy to forget.
What are three things you cannot live without (excluding God, family, and friends)?
- My dog, Alfie
- My books
- Veuve Clicquot champagne
And a special thank you to our FACES photographer, Cat Maxwell!