Interior designer, artist, print shop founder, content creator and (soon to be) author are some of the answers you might get if you ask Jenny about her work, depending on the day.
Jenny Komenda is the founder of Juniper Studio, LLC – a Phoenix-based interiors media and products company. Since launching her blog, first called Little Green Notebook, in late 2007, Jenny has been sharing her favorite home products, ideas and projects on her site and social media platforms. Her mission is to empower her community to make their spaces more personal, storied and unique. In 2017, Jenny launched Juniper Print Shop with the goal to provide affordable designer-curated art. Juniper Print Shop now represents over 40 female artists, including Jenny’s own work, and has partnered with museums all over the world to print vintage and antique works.
Jenny’s interior design work and home products have been featured in a wide range of publications, like House Beautiful, HGTV, Vogue and the Wall Street Journal, and she was a featured designer for Real Simple’s New York City Show House. Jenny has been a contributing editor for Domino Magazine since 2014, and was named as a Designer To Watch by Elle Decor. Early in her career, Jenny was dubbed the reigning queen of accessible design by Better Homes and Gardens, a title that has shaped her content and product offerings from the beginning and encouraged her to lean into her DIY roots.
Jenny and her husband, Michael (who also works at Juniper), have four young daughters, who also love to participate with projects at home and at work.
A NOTE FROM JENNY
In my 15 years of working with interiors, I’ve learned there aren’t really “design rules” (and if there are, the very best designers break them, and break them well!). Although, it does seem like there are a few design principles that feel tried and true for me.
MY DESIGN PRINCIPLES
- Only you really know your story and the most beautiful homes are storied, curated and highly personal. If you have the time (and it does require LOTS of time) and a good eye for design (mostly color, pattern and proportion), you should be your own decorator. When guests come to your home, they will better know the real you, rather than your decorator’s preferences, or some highly marketed avatar designer who tells us “what’s in” or “out.” These mass-market designers can create pretty but usually soulless spaces. Who is the person that lives there? Where have they traveled? What are their quirks and preferences? What is their heritage? How are they showing up in the world? Storied decor is a great way to connect with our guests, but, more importantly, it reminds US who we are. The idea of not feeling truly at home when at home, after all your time, money and effort, seems pretty tragic.
- Let nature inspire your paint color choices. My go-to colors are muddy greens and blues with a thoughtful use of interesting neutrals. Black provides contrast and is KEY as an accent in every space. Bright, punchy colors have a smaller, yet very important, role. They are like fruit on a tree and encourage the eye to jump around the room, from fruit to fruit. Color truly makes a space come alive, so maybe rethink using white as a foundation for every room! Unpopular opinion alert here, but I think white walls are actually the most difficult to pull off without a lot of stunning millwork and an expert’s level of decorating and styling skill. Invest in a can or two of colorful, interesting paint (I like Farrow and Ball colors best!) and watch your room go from basic to absolutely life-giving in a single afternoon.
- Beware of trends. They are hard to spot in real time, so be mindful of your sources of inspiration. A good rule of thumb is if you can find the material, shape, pattern or form used in homes more than 100 years ago, it’s got longevity and is a good, solid choice. If you really want to try something, but you suspect it might be trendy, keep it to your accessories and less expensive home items.
- Art is a very efficient way to tell your unique home story. I like using a good mix of unique originals, beautiful prints and interesting sculptures. A home filled with unique art is like adding pictures to a book – when you’re trying to create a feeling, or developing a character, imagery instantly makes the narrative so much more alive! Show me a person’s art and I can tell you a lot about them.
- When it comes to decorating, a curated mix of high and low, and new with vintage, creates the most interesting spaces. Is all of your decor brand new and super high-end? This can come across as try-hard and sort of unapproachable. And what if everything in your home is vintage (even if it’s expensive vintage)? Well, there’s a good chance your furniture creaks and the room looks (and maybe even smells) like an antique or thrift store. There IS such a thing as too much vintage! The truth is, you don’t really need an exact formula, but if I had to make one, it would follow the Rule of Thirds. One third of your furniture and decor could be really special investment pieces (make these the pieces where you sit or lay). The next third would be made of cool but less expensive new pieces (think Target and Homegoods). I like to keep these to accent furniture or accessories that don’t get physically touched all day, everyday. This really helps to stretch the budget, so you can actually have more than just a sofa in your living room! Vintage pieces can make up the final third and are SO IMPORTANT in the mix! The age brings soul and texture and meaning to a home. My favorite ways to incorporate vintage are with art, lamps, small accent furniture, high quality case goods, books and accessories.
- Slow burn is the best decorating speed. HGTV and Instagram would have us believe that it’s possible to design and decorate a space completely in the course of a week. Of course, it is possible, and I would say it’s even a fun project, but the end result is not going to feel authentic- that I can promise you. Take your time. Allow the house to speak to you. Pay attention to the light and to the traffic flows. Observe how you live in the spaces. Then approach the projects playfully and honestly. Ask yourself WHY is this _____ (color, fabric, tile, chandelier, print, etc) right for this space? Can I afford it? Does it feel like an extension of my personal style? Will I for sure love it next year? In five years? In 20 years? If it’s not an ALL-CAPS-YES!!!!, then it should probably be a no. In reality, will everything you buy for your home be an all-caps-yes? Probably not. But it’s a great standard to shoot for. Imagine your home filled with only YES pieces! It’s possible. Just let the process take time, and enjoy it.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I hire Jenny for an interior design project?
It was not an easy choice, but recently I had to make the difficult decision to step away from client work so I can better focus on growing Juniper Print Shop. We hope that the ideas and products we share here help give you confidence to tackle some of your own design projects!
Do you sell all of the products that you promote?
Our Finds section is a curated list of products that we love and recommend! When you click on a product, it will take you directly to the retailer and you complete the purchase through them.
Are you hiring?
We are not currently hiring, but keep an eye on our social pages because we will always post openings there first!
Will you be doing more flip homes any time soon?
We are currently pausing on flipping homes while I finish my own house, but if I find a good project, I have a hard time saying no!