Jenny Velasquez capitalizes on South American influences to design comfortable, elegant and simple rooms her clients can enjoy.
Tell us a little bit about how you got into the design business.
Originally from Peru, growing up I was always exposed to art and music, it was most likely due to my Spanish and Italian background. I remember when I was around 16 years old my parents got my brother, sisters and I involved in the decorating process of our beautiful Spanish colonial custom built home. What an amazing experience, it seems like it was yesterday when my sister Patty, a designer as well and I couldn’t wait to move in, we actually did a few days before the move in date, we didn’t even have a phone line connected yet.
It was 10 years ago when I decided to step out of the corporate world and embrace my passion for design professionally. With an MBA, Bachelors in Hospitality, Sales and Marketing work experience and an Interior Design education I was confident and ready for my new journey and launched my Interior Design business through Décor and You.
What are some of the first things you try to notice when meeting a new client at their space? Do you have a checklist?
The first things I try to notice are how my potential client feels about their current space and why? How is this affecting them and how they would like to feel after the job is finished? I believe in order to serve my clients and understand their needs the key is to ask as many questions as possible, take notes and most importantly LISTEN.
Your job is filled with challenges. Which do you face most often? Do you have a method to work through those problems?
Sometimes dealing with the subcontractors and making sure they are on the same page to prevent costly mistakes can be challenging. Having a great team of professionals and good communication is the key. The good news for my clients is that this is a behind the scenes challenge. My job besides designing an enjoyable beautiful space is to manage the whole project from Inspiration to Installation and to make this process a great experience for my clients so they are able to enjoy the ride and share it with their friends and family.
Describe to us the project you are most proud to have designed. What did it look like before? After?
It is hard to say, since I enjoy most of my projects and they are all unique in their own way. I will say one of the best ones was a full Master Bedroom and Bath renovation. The clients were a retired couple looking for a warm, yet elegant and modern design. The design reflects simplicity and elegance. The bathroom space went from outdated pink white tiles, to a beautiful polished porcelain tile with Italian glass mosaics and river rocks accents, rain shower, polished chrome faucets with Swarovski crystal handles bringing elegance and a warm relaxing feeling. Vanities were custom built on maple solid wood, medium tone finish with a gorgeous onyx countertop and a Swarovski crystal door knob. As for the bedroom, we changed the flooring to Brazilian cherry wood floors, custom built headboard with silk fabric panels to coordinate with the custom design bedding, 100% wool modern area rug to bring comfort and unique accessories. As a designer it is such a rewarding feeling when the end of the project comes and you see your client’s smiles and your design ideas come to life. It makes me realize how blessed I am that I get to do what I love as a living.
We love rugs. Can you take us through how you use area rugs in your business?
I love rugs too! An interesting rug transforms the floor into a focal point. From a fine antique Persian rug to a relatively inexpensive braided rug. There is a design and price to suit every decorative scheme. I always tell my clients the importance of including an area rug in their design, especially for the main areas. It is a plus for many reasons no matter what style they like, area rugs help you to tie all the colors together, define the space, and bring warm and comfort to the room. In fact sometimes I start my designs by selecting the rug first as an inspiration for the rest of the room.
Which type of designs do you see yourself using more? Less?
Interesting question but it is hard to say. Very often I get asked by prospective clients if I have a specific style I like or prefer to design, my answer is always no, since I find every style beautiful and inspiring. In the end it’s about my client and not me. Each of my designs is unique and reflects my client’s personality and lifestyle. I see every space as an empty canvas ready to become my masterpiece and my client portrait.
Which area rugs do you find most durable? Least durable?
I tend to prefer a natural fiber, hand knotted or hand tufted but it all depends on my client’s budget and the area that we are working on. Most often I prefer to use 100% New Zealand wool and the least are Polypropylene or Olefin.
These things can be expensive. Any assistance on how to cut down on the initial price?
I think it is important to have a plan before anything else. The budget discussion is an essential part of the initial consultation. Once we agree on the right budget for the project, I will look for the best choice of products and finishes from the 100+ preferred vendors and suppliers I work with. By hiring a designer to help you with your project, you will be saving time and money and best of all you will end up with a beautiful space you can enjoy and be proud of.
Thanks for your time today! Any more hints for our readers!
Have fun with the process, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, when working with a designer first make sure you feel connected, that there is chemistry and trust, then be open minded to their ideas even if they sound crazy, you just may be surprised what you discover about your own taste.