With over 30 years of experience, Jessica Lagrange has cemented her position among Chicago's design elite, boasting multiple features in Chicago Home + Garden and Traditional Home® magazines. Her seemingly effortless ability to design commercial and residential spaces puts her in hot demand, both in the city and suburbs. It also earns her the title of http://www.zillow.com/digs/ Designer of the Month for June 2013.
Zillow: You were raised in a very aesthetically conscious home with your mother working as a professional model, and an architect cousin. How does your family's emphasis on fashion and design trends continue to influence your work?
Lagrange: So much of what we do as designers is about fashion. It's the starting point for a lot of interior work; colors and shapes work hand-in-hand, so it's necessary to be aware of both. As a little girl, my mother always had interior and fashion magazines around the house, so it feels almost second nature to have that fascination and appreciation for beauty and form.
Zillow: You've described interior design as a type of livable art where even the tiniest of details can help shape the overall look of a room. How does your design style embrace that sense of intentional creative expression?
Lagrange: One of my favorite projects was an 9,000-square-foot apartment in Chicago that we made to look like something belonging on the Left Bank of Paris. It was the first time I got to own the design aesthetic — everything from the towels to the dishes were hand-picked to create a feeling of being in an edgy French neighborhood. It's that moment when you pick the right bed linens or mixing bowl matching your kitchen tile that you're able to really take a deep breath and appreciate the beauty of the grander vision.
Zillow: Being able to create an environment that appeals to all of a homeowner's senses seems to require a consistent stream of creative inspiration. What do you do to challenge yourself to step outside your design comfort zone?
Lagrange: This past year, I traveled to India and got to see all of the women in their saris with the vibrant colors and textures — that brought me outside of my box. I don't tend to wear or use color personally, so I felt stirred to incorporate more exotic elements. When I came back, my team and I sat around the office drinking wine and ripping out photos from magazines with those looks. Now we are using the same kinds of colors, ceramics and textured materials in our projects today; it goes full circle.
Zillow: We see bold blues and emerald greens taking center stage this year with everything from accent pillows to paint colors. How can a homeowner best accent their home's color palette without breaking the bank?
Lagrange: It's important to incorporate different layers by placing different types of lighting at different levels throughout a space. Start with more public areas such as the living room or dining room. Play around with your sources, maybe having a floor lamp with smaller, more directional cans in the ceiling. Design is meant to accentuate your life, so most importantly find the right mix that works for your day-to-day routine.
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- Meet May Digs Designer Jamie Herzlinger
- The New Neutrals: Infusing Bold Color Into the Home