Jessica Schuler is inspired by her clients and their needs. Her design wheels start turning as she learns what makes them tick — how they move through their homes and their personal style preferences. Then, through color, texture and light, she creates spaces that perfectly address her clients’ functional needs and capture their unique personal style, so no two projects in Jessica’s portfolio are ever the same. We are thrilled to introduce Jessica Schuler of J Renee Designs. We asked her to describe her design aesthetic, tell us about what inspires her and give us a glimpse of her stunning portfolio. We hope you enjoy!
What is your design aesthetic, and how do you translate that to a client’s home?
I don’t always conform to one specific look or design aesthetic as I work with a lot of different clients and design styles. My favorite designs, which are most represented on my website, include clean lines, simple patterns, pops of bold colors and usually natural elements added in like wood tones, soft metals or marble. I am drawn to very natural elements. Also, functional living is a huge part of my design aesthetic as I want my designs to work for my clients in a personal way that is comfortable in their everyday life.
Tell us a bit about your background in design.
I’ve known I wanted to be an interior designer since I was young. I loved decorating my room many times over with the help of my mom. I went to college at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and received a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. I started my design journey working for a custom furniture manufacturer. By learning the ins and outs of furniture design, scale, proportions and construction quality, I was given a solid base of the fundamentals of good interior design. I then worked for a few interior design firms in Fort Lauderdale before deciding to return to Louisville to work for Interior Motives and Design as the lead designer and buyer for the store. In 2009, I started J Renee Designs to fulfill my desire of owning my own business.
Are there any trends you’re loving at the moment and, alternately, any timeless aspects of design that you cling to?
I love high-contrast design. I am drawn to the simplicity of it while still creating such a bold impact in the space as a whole. Not that it’s a trend, but that’s as close as I typically go towards trends. I am drawn to unique design styles, not trendy patterns. However, I know trends can be fun, and if my client is really wanting a specific item, I try to incorporate it in the accessories or pillows so that they are easily changed as the trend fades.
What has been your most challenging project to date and why? How did it help you grow as a designer?
Every job is challenging in its own unique way. Sometimes it’s lack of client involvement to move a job forward or it’s a really awkward furniture layout that has you biting your nails until the furniture arrives. I embrace the challenges that different homes or buildings can provide and rely a lot on my memory of what has worked (or not worked) in the past to help foresee problems before they arise.
Do you have a favorite space in the home to design?
For me, I think kitchens are the easiest to design and that can make it the most fun. I enjoy working with homeowners over the space planning and function of their kitchen. I love hearing the details of how they cook and entertain so we can create a flow that is ideal for both. Did I mention countertops? Marble and granite shopping has always been one of my favorite things to do, and clients who have never been are usually so amazed at the natural elements they get to see!
What brings you the most professional joy?
Seeing my clients live happily in the spaces I have designed ranks top on the list for me. I love to go back years later to a client’s home to see things unchanged. I will also say one of the most thrilling moments is to get a fresh batch of images back from the photographer of a recent project or opening up a magazine to see your rooms in print. Somehow seeing it on screen or in the pages snaps you back to life and helps you to remember your goals and aspirations and how you are achieving them.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Inspiration comes mainly from my clients, starting with what they like or dislike or if their room has a specific style we want to hold true to. I shop for a stand-out piece, usually a rug, set of accent chairs, a bold sofa or something that really strikes the mood we want. Then I work in elements that inspire me in life, a bit of nature or any natural elements to help soften any bold features. I am not a designer who searches through photos for inspiration. I feel if you are just re-creating other people’s visions all day, you lose sight of your own. Instead, I work with my clients to get the look that they envision for themselves and their spaces.
Who have been your industry mentors and role models and why?
I’ve kind of paved my own way. I can’t say I’ve had one design mentor or role model who has helped me grow. I have always enjoyed Kelly Wearstler for her use of mixing many bold and eclectic features in a space and it always looking effortless with such a cool vibe.
Share one designer secret with us regular folk.
The most common mistake I see is with rug size. There is truly nothing worse than seeing a rug that is too small for a space occupying the most visible spot in the room. All of your furniture (at least the front legs) should sit on the rug. This allows seating arrangements to be grouped together and feel more connected. When in doubt on rug size, go larger!
What are your predictions for interior design in the next 10 to 15 years?
This is a tough question! Design has changed so much in the last 10 to 15 years, I couldn’t begin to say I know where we are headed. I do however feel like design styles today are so much more blended than they were 10 years ago, so I am sure we will see more of this happening, which scares me a little! I also think people will still continue to seek out more green alternatives to home-building and energy efficiency. Maybe your fridge will talk to your oven, and they can get together and bake your dinner!
If you could choose one designer to redo your home right now, who would it be?
I would choose Shea McGee of Studio McGee. She creates spaces that are timeless and comfortable — slightly traditional with a cool contemporary edge. I can honestly say I like every room they create, and if you know me, I don’t say that easily about anything design-related.
Hypothetical: You have to choose only three colors to use throughout your home. What are the three colors?
Blue, white and black
If you could squeeze your design philosophy into five words, what would they be?
Clean, comfortable, classic, inviting, warm
Thank you, Jessica! To learn more about J Renee Designs or to contact Jessica, visit jreneeltd.com.
Thank you to J.L. Jordan Photography for these gorgeous images!
See more of our interior designer crushes HERE!