Minnette Jackson, a Texas native, grew up with a mother and grandmother who kept their homes and made a point to make others welcome and comfortable. This influence, combined with an eye for detail, appreciation of classically inspired interiors and ability to balance elegance and comfort are what help Minnette imagine attractive, livable interiors. Through her full-service design firm, Minnette Jackson Interiors, Minnette brings an unmistakable sense of thoughtfulness, ease and beauty into every space she designs. Based in Nashville, Minnette manages projects locally, in her hometown of Houston and anywhere else she is needed. We are currently crushing on this Vanderbilt and O’More College of Design (now the O’More School of Design at Belmont University) graduate and now-Nashvillian for her stunning designs and charming demeanor.
Tell us about your experience and background in design.
My interest in interiors began long before I ever decided to pursue interior design as a profession. Growing up, I was lucky to be exposed to creative people and beautiful objects — I had one grandmother who was an artist, another grandmother who was an antiques dealer, and my mother was in real estate and historic preservation. I’ve always known that I had a strong spatial awareness and an interest in a person’s surroundings. However, I was not exposed to many designers or decorators, and when it came time to go to college and decide what to study, that interest took a back seat, and I went with a practical degree in Communication Studies while taking a handful of art history classes on the side. It wasn’t until years later that I decided to switch gears and go back to school to pursue a degree in interior design.
What is your design aesthetic and how does it set you apart?
My aesthetic is centered around updated classics. I have a great appreciation for classically inspired interiors, love antiques with a modern sensibility and believe that even the smallest details make all the difference in the overall design. In a world where it has become easier to “add to cart” and furnish a room, having unique details such as carefully selected finishes, fabrics and trims, along with well-designed pieces, really sets a space apart and makes it a special place to come home [to]. I do gravitate toward lighter colors but am not afraid of a bold hit of color, and I also like to imbue a certain level of elegance with comfort in a space.
Upon returning to Nashville after living in NYC, what most surprised you about the city’s interior design scene?
Having grown up in Houston and then having lived in New York, I was surprised at how few places there were to shop for things for your home. I happened to live a block over from “Designers Way” in New York City and every morning and evening reveled in walking past showroom windows for major fabric, wallpaper and kitchen and bath companies on my way to and from my subway stop. When we moved back to Nashville in 2011, the city was at the beginning of its big growth spurt, and it seemed that the marketplace hadn’t yet caught up with that growth. In recent years, there have been several beautiful home stores that have opened where people can see nice pieces, even if just to get ideas and understand the quality.
When did you start your own business? What motivated you to make the jump?
I started my business four years ago, after dabbling in interiors on the side of a full-time job. Years ago, while I was in the middle of helping a friend navigate her new dining room, she asked me point-blank why I wasn’t doing this professionally as my main job. I couldn’t come up with an answer for her and couldn’t shake the question from my head. Within months I enrolled in O’More College of Design (now part of Belmont) to gain technical skills and learn about building practices and haven’t turned back since.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned in working for yourself?
Take what you do seriously, but not too seriously. You are dealing with people’s homes, which is a very personal thing. I want to produce and execute the best design possible for my clients, but I also want them to have a fun throughout the experience. Also, stay organized. It makes staying on track so much easier.
Do you have a favorite space in the home to design?
I love designing all areas of a home, although I do find I enjoy living rooms quite a bit. After the kitchen, the living room is so often where all sorts of activities happen — conversation, cocktails, reading, napping. There is often a great deal of opportunity for layering colors, patterns, textures, lighting and art, and if space allows, to create clever seating areas that can be used for different gatherings.
What is a favorite room in your home and why?
Currently, I love our living room. It’s evolved quite a bit since we moved in, and a little over a year ago I painted it a rich, full gloss Farrow & Ball dark green color and the result was magical. I contrasted it with lots of ivory upholstery, green pattern fabrics, modern art and antique furniture pieces with beautiful wood grains. During the day when the light comes in at just the right time, the room glows with life; in the evening, it becomes a cozy spot where light dances quietly off the walls.
Where do you take chances in design?
I do like to push people a little bit with color and pattern, even if it’s in small doses. An easy place to take a chance is with wall color! If you really don’t like it, it’s a marginal expense to repaint, and it can be done in a day. If you are ready for more of a commitment, a beautiful wallpaper is an amazing way to liven up a room.
What has been your most challenging project to date?
I recently wrapped up a major renovation of a historic home in Nashville. It was challenging because every day was a surprise that led to an entirely new set of decisions that had to be made quickly – walls would get opened up and major discussions would have to happen regarding something surprising we uncovered in the old walls. These small construction setbacks delayed the project, but the end result has been worth it!
What has been your most rewarding project to date?
I get really attached to all of my projects and am so lucky to have worked with so many nice people. Not that long ago, a woman literally cried with happiness and gave me the biggest hug when we revealed her new master bedroom to her. That was a good feeling.
What is currently inspiring you?
Spring just turned to summer, and I am so drawn to everything earthy at the moment — rich leafy greens, the lavender-blue of endless summer hydrangeas, the blue-green of the ocean and soft ivory stone colors.
If you could choose one designer to redo your home right now, who would it be?
So tough! There are so many designers whose work I admire, past and present. I have to say if I could him bring him back to join us, I would love to work with Albert Hadley. There is a quote from him that I encountered not long before I went back to school that cemented for me that this career path was the right choice: “Decoration is really about creating a quality of life, and a beauty in that life that nourishes the soul, that makes life beautiful.”
If you could design one person’s home, who would it be?
I always find it fun to work with a couple who appreciates history but wants to keep things fresh and a little bit fun. Will and Kate could be a fabulous client!
What are three household items you couldn’t live without?
Magic erasers, my instant hot water boiler and Sonos.
If you could squeeze your design philosophy into five words, what would they be?
Classic style for modern living
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