While I am heading home after attending the Nate Berkus show yesterday in NYC, I thought I'd share an interview with me posted on the very chic blog, BluLabel Bungalow, a few weeks ago. If you didn't see it on Erika's blog, here it is again. (And please be kind, the clothes below were designed longer ago than I will admit to!)
It's not often that you meet someone who has had successful careers in both fashion and interior design. Janell Beals, on the other hand, has done just that. She parlayed her passion for design into a clothing line, Janell Beals Design, then into a career in interior design with Isabella and Max Rooms. Though she has left the fashion world behind, its influence remains in her approach to interior design.
In this interview Janell explains the parallel between the two fields. She also gives insight as to how her skills as a fashion designer became transferable in her current field of interior design.
Janell found much success as a clothing designer receiving accolades from WWD and The Chicago Tribune
When choosing fabrics for a decor project, how is your approach similar to choosing fabrics for a clothing design?
Movement, texture, pattern and colors...I love fabric, I get completely excited when shopping for fabrics especially if I find something exceptional. I love to feel it, scrunch it in my hand to see how it will "behave". I find I am frequently using my past experience with fashion to create clothing's counterpoints in interior design: drapes, pillows, bedding.
What unlikely element in fashion design, would you also consider in interior design?
Movement, flow...energy. Clothing is not static, it is always changing and moving, and while interiors are much more static, it is important to bring in a sense of movement. Drapes that move in the breeze, flowers and plants, music is very important in a space, seeing how light moves around a room as well.
As a avid reader of your blog, I'm amazed at how well and how quickly your designs come together. What is your secret?
A sharp eye. I can quickly read a space, see existing problems. It is like fitting a garment, quickly analyzing what you see and what requires adjusting to create a strong design with great lines and fit. I try to do this is a room...I'm still learning.
What two important considerations in fashion are equally important in interior design?
In clothing the proportion and lines (after fit) are everything. The same is true of many items used in decor, furniture, art, light fixtures, accessories.
Janell, I read that you received a BFA in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From your studies of painting and drawing can you "draw" a parallel between painting a picture and designing a space? If so, please give us a few words of advice.
- Rather than predetermining ever aspect of the design prior to beginning, let the project evolve. Make decisions and change directions as the picture unfolds...somewhat like when working on a painting.
- In the same way you pay attention to how your eye is drawn around a piece of art, pay attention to this characteristic in a room. Attempt to bring energy into a space that keeps your eye moving around the space and back again.
- I find a lot of people are uncomfortable with empty areas of a room, believing each surface, wall and corner has to be filled. Instead of enhancing a room, this can often detract from its success in the end. In fine art negative or empty space is given as much attention as filled space. When making decisions about how to decorate your space, don't be afraid to leave areas empty, knowing they also play an important roll in the design of a room.
Janell, thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to indulge us in your adventures in fashion and interior design. You are truly a wonder and I look forward to seeing your "new" career skyrocket like never before!
Thanks Erika! And by the way, who did I have the privilege of meeting yesterday? Yes, you guessed it, Erika herself! She is even more fun and fabulous in person.