Jennifer Jones is the owner and principal designer at Niche Interiors, an SF interior design firm specializing in high-end residential services. She and her team are known for their down-to-earth, family-friendly and environmentally conscious designs—they infuse a practical, everyday sensibility to their designs from sustainably sourced and non-toxic materials. We enjoyed chatting with Jennifer and hearing about her design inspiration and homeowner tips. Keep reading for more.
Q&A with SF Interior Design Expert, Jennifer Jones
Jeff King: Happy 10-year anniversary to Niche Interiors! What are you loving the most about your work these days?
Jennifer Jones: Thank you so much for recognizing our 10-year mark! It is unbelievable so much time has passed—I feel very fortunate to be doing what I love every day. Lately, I have particularly enjoyed working with our incredible Bay Area clientele—we always leave meetings with new insights and perspectives from some of the brightest minds.
Any big design plans for 2017?
We have a diverse mix of projects that are currently wrapping up, from a colorful mid-century vacation home in Sonoma to a refined, traditional remodel in Woodside. After years of work, our team can’t wait to put on the finishing touches and share these amazing homes with the world!
Let’s talk approach. When it comes to aesthetics, how do you bring high-end design down to earth?
I think our pragmatic approach and sense of humor goes a long way. While Niche Interiors does specialize in high-end residential design, we realize that most of our clients do not want a pricey custom bed for their three-year-old child. We help our clients decide where to make key investments and where to scale back, mixing trade sources with retail items where appropriate. We never forget that good design should be beautiful and functional.
Speaking of children, what does having a young one of your own teach you about family-friendly design?
SO much! I thought we had a decent grasp of the basics before I had my son; however, after his arrival, I realized that families can NEVER have enough storage! Baskets, bins, cabinets—all of these are crucial to corralling the inevitable clutter that comes with little ones. We also recommend non-toxic, water-based stain treatment for high-traffic upholstered pieces such as dining banquettes and family room sofas. I will spare you the gory details, but this came in really handy for my own home!
What is earth-friendly design and why is this important to you?
Eco-friendly interior design focuses on improving indoor air quality as well as reducing the impact that furniture purchases have on the environment. Typically, what is good for the environment is also good for our health. We weigh both of these factors when sourcing furniture and finishes.
Tell us about the value of using green materials, such as chemical-free furniture and FSC-certified wood.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that most Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often two to five times higher than outside. It is crucial that we pay close attention to the products that we bring into our homes.
Upholstered furniture is one of the biggest culprits in off-gassing harmful chemicals. The flame retardants used in typical upholstery foam have been linked to a wide range of health problems. At Niche Interiors, we design custom upholstery made with FSC-certified wood frames and natural latex foam wrapped in organic wool. We support local business and reduce our carbon footprint by using a San Francisco workroom. Win win!
When homeowners choose to incorporate a green approach to their interior design project, what benefits will they see in the long term?
Better health is the number one benefit! Improved indoor air quality can have a far-reaching effect on the whole family, most drastically on the developing bodies of young children.
In addition to improving the environments we live in, you and your team also make it a priority to donate to local nonprofits. Why is this important to you?
San Francisco has been an amazing place to start and grow a business, and our entire staff is invested in giving back to our community. This year we helped raise funds for LEAP Arts in Education, helping to bring much-needed art programs into local elementary schools.
What is the most common advice you give to homeowners embarking on a new project?
Be realistic. Map out your goals for the project and determine a clear scope, timeline and budget. Enlist help from professionals in creating this framework. I think that setting clear, realistic expectations is the first step to completing a successful project.
In a word, what is great interior design?
Restraint. When you walk into a space that has been thoughtfully and intentionally designed, it just feels right.
Thanks for taking the time to share your expertise on our blog, Jennifer! Find more SF interior design inspiration at Niche Interiors.