In our monthly Interior Designer Crush series, we talk to an interior designer we are crushing on and ask them 10 questions we’re dying to have answered. Today, we visit with Jan Ware of Jan Ware Designs. With the the guidance of trusted mentors and talented, experienced designers, Jan spent 10 years designing interiors for friends and family before taking the leap of faith to start her own business in 2009. Today, she designs homes across the Southeast. Her spaces marry functionality with form in a clean yet warm style. Mixing timeworn antique finds into white, airy, modern spaces, she creates a dreamy, elegant look that feels almost otherworldly. And that is precisely her goal: to turn her clients homes into havens. We asked Jan to describe her aesthetic, let us in on some tricks of the trade and give us a glimpse of some of her favorite projects. We hope you enjoy!
What is your design aesthetic and how do you translate that to a client’s home?
The setting and the personality of the client is the basis on which we start our project. First and foremost, it’s the client’s home and my wish is to create a living space where they can feel at home. I enjoy taking an individual approach to each job.
Where are your favorite local spots to find what you need to decorate a client’s home?
Birmingham has no shortage of gems when it comes to home decor. It would be an injustice to try and name them all but I do have a few go-to spots. Henhouse Antiques in English Village consistently has exciting and unique pieces, art and accessories. Paige Albright Orientals in Mountain Brook has a beautiful selection of antique rugs. Hiltz-Lauber is a go-to for current furniture and light fixtures. I like to pull accessories from At Home Furnishings, Architectural Heritage and Details. Fixtures & Finishes has the most gorgeous selection of Waterworks plumbing fixtures.
Are there any trends you’re loving at the moment and, alternately, any timeless aspects of design that you cling to?
Formal dining rooms are making a comeback and it couldn’t come at a better time. It seemed everyone was always looking for that extra room, often sacrificing the one place where the family can gather and commune. As the pace of life grows faster and busier, I believe there is a desire for the home to be a place where less is more, where the quality of a simple space is preferred over excess and clutter. As for timeless aspects of design, I will always cling to brass. It is timeless and never goes out of style. I love taking a plain, modern space and adding warmth with some antiques. And I love to bring the outside in, whether that’s through natural light, driftwood or greenery.
What has been your most challenging project to date and why?
We just finished the lake house of an avid bow hunter who was determined to display his water buffalo, antelope, American bison and his impala standing on one leg. That was a challenge! It was a fun project and turned out great.
What brings you the most professional joy?
A well-loved, lived-in home.
How does Birmingham’s design scene differ from the rest of the country?
Birmingham has an extreme measure of talent. Our architects are nationally known, and we have so many great options and local shops for sourcing decor that you can’t find anywhere else.
Who have been your industry role models and why?
I have several designers that I appreciate: Bunny Williams for her livable, luxury style; Kelly Wearstler for her love of geometrics and boundary pushing edge; Ralph Lauren for his classic, masculine, traditional look; Aerin Lauder for her feminine touch; and Christian Liagre for his fabulous Parisian simplicity and style.
Share one designer secret with us regular folk.
A fresh coat of paint and fresh flowers cover a multitude of sins.
What are your predictions for interior design in the next 10 to 15 years?
Less is more.
If you could squeeze your design philosophy into five words or less, what would they be?
My tag line is “turning homes into havens.” Home should be a peaceful place when you enter. We live in a chaotic world where your home can be your haven, a place of escape.
Thank you to Jan Ware for sharing her design talents and style insights. To view more of her fabulous work or to contact Jan, visit Jan Ware Designs.
And a huge thank you to photographer Jean Allsopp for sharing her wonderful pictures with us!
See who else we’re crushing on in our interiors archives. Click here and enjoy a look around!