We spotted Clara Jung’s not-so-hipster home tour on Apartment Therapy last year and were immediately smitten with her classic and whimsical aesthetic. Jung, the woman behind Oakland-based Banner Day Consulting, left behind a career in law to pursue one in interior design – a move she describes as, “coming home.”
We caught up with her to pick her brain about interior design, personal style, and to ask her to divulge a few industry secrets to us.
Can you describe your aesthetic?
I like a mix of mid-century and transitional/vintage with a dose of whimsy.
What advice do you have for a person looking to hire an interior designer?
Many of my clients have never used an interior designer before, and they’re somewhat intimidated. Once I meet them for a consult, they’re usually persuaded that this is a valuable investment, especially if they own their home. You have to apply a monetary value to the feeling that when you come home, it’s a beautiful, restful retreat. It all affects your well-being and productivity levels.
People who never consult with a designer believe that it’s out of their reach - that designers only work with high-end clients - and that’s simply not true. An interior designer can implement a cohesive design scheme for any space that is suitable for a client’s lifestyle and budget.
Working with an interior designer is a very personal relationship, so make sure you feel comfortable working with him/her. You should make sure the designer is transparent about his/her process and always ask for references. As a client you should do your due diligence and make sure that this designer is recommended by others.
What’s your approach to designing a space? What are questions that you always ask the client?
My clients often have demanding careers so their time at home is sacred and valuable. My approach is to make sure that each and every space I design is comfortable, inviting and beautiful no matter what the style is. Some of the questions I ask my clients are:
- How do you currently use the space?
- How do you want to use the space?
- How long do you plan on living in your home?
- Do we have to account for child-friendly finishes?
- Where do you usually shop for furnishings?
- What colors do you gravitate towards?
What are some timeless pieces that you recommend?
In the living room, for a sofa, I lean towards ones with clean lines and a neutral fabric color. With rugs, something with a more classic overtone, so no chevron and nothing very trendy. A neutral foundation with nothing too bold.
What items do you splurge on?
I tell clients to spend as much as they can on upholstered items because the gap between something from Ikea and something of higher quality is very obvious even a year into the use of the item. Other items to spend money on are curtains and window treatments because they’re not something you change out often.
Do you have any favorite projects? Why?
A dining room I did in New York is one of my favorite spaces. I only use dark colored paint for rooms that truly deserve it and this one did. It’s a room that is moody and glamorous for dinner parties but also ideal for just hanging out with your friends or plopping down to read your favorite book. An unusual chandelier adds that magic, something unexpected that is seamlessly woven in.
Can you tell us an interior design secret that you’d like to share with our audience?
Unique smaller vases can actually be quite difficult to find. My secret source? The bathroom accessories aisle. Bathroom tumblers often come in many different finishes and styles, and are the ideal vessel for a small bouquet of flowers to cheer up any space.
Saving up your pennies for that perfect wall art? You can still decorate those walls with bookmark art by framing beautiful giftwrap, fabric or scarf.
Dress up your houseplants and take them up a notch by laying gravel and/or stones on the top soil. They will look like they are wearing their Sunday best every day.
And lastly, how was working with Barn & Willow?
Working with Barn and Willow draperies has been a great experience. The customization options are endless and when I present my clients with the fabric swatches, the quality of Barn and Willow curtains can be felt immediately on their fingertips.
Thank you Clara, for your kind words and for taking the time to speak with us!
If you’re interested in contacting Clara for her interior design services, she can be found at Banner Day Consulting. Also check out her blog, where she gives design inspiration and talks about her projects.