Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jason Ball: Top 20 Designer For 2009

Each year, Landfair Furniture + Design Gallery in Portland, Oregon rewards the most loyal interior designers based upon their use of our various lines of furniture and accessories. We call the list our Top 20 Designers. We know there are many fine furniture stores in the area and we are grateful for the design community’s support.

This year’s top position goes to Jason Ball, owner of Jason Ball Interiors. Jason Ball was kind enough to sit down with me and share some thoughts about his business.

LF+DG: Jason how did you become a designer?

Jason: I think I’ve always been interested in design at some level. As a kid, I constantly rearranged my room and put up new posters. My room was just never right. I was working as a market researcher in 1999, when my wife, Julie and I bought a 91 year-old NE home. A previous owner tried to modernize it with thin baseboards, gray carpet and white walls, rendering it not very interesting or comfortable. We decided to restore/remodel the house in 2001. We brought back some of the period items of 1908 like wood floors, custom woodwork and period light fixtures, but modernized it as well. I fell in love with the restoration and remodel process and decided to take on remodeling as a sideline. Then in 2004, I was laid off and decided to devote all my time to my new interior design business. It’s amazing how my life changed when I was laid off.

LF+DG: What kind of training do you have?

Jason: I have a Masters in Experimental Psychology and I had business and marketing experience. The first thing I did in 2004 was to consume every design book and magazine I could find to see how the professionals do it. At this point in my design career, I have over 5 years of experience behind me. This on-the-job training, I feel, is the best kind of training anyone can have.

LF+DG: How do you decide on the look and colors.

Jason: When I first start working with a new client, we go through the discovery phase of the project. Clients may not know specifics, but they know what they like and don’t like. I often have them walk me through their house to show me the pieces of furniture or art that really speaks to them. We may go though magazines and I’ll ask them what they like. Through all of this, I’m taking mental notes on the styles, colors and materials clients are drawn to. Clients often say they want a particular style, but the things they point out may lead us in a different direction. Then the clients and I will visit hard surfaces, tile, lighting and furniture stores, where I will steer them toward a limited set of options based on our previous conversations.

LF+DG: Would an informed person walk into one of your finished projects and say this look is Jason Ball?

Jason: While I work with all styles, I would love it if someone came to me and said, design my house to be a “Jason Ball” house. I’m working on it. The look is a contemporary to modern. The look involves clean simple lines that are edited down. It’s traditional in its bones, but with a contemporary/modern flavor. I love how in European design magazines, they’ll take an old space with traditional details (moldings, plaster work, etc.) and mix it with really modern furniture and lighting. I want the rooms I design to have just a few pieces with huge impact. Each piece has to have meaning on it’s own, as well as contribute to the overall look. Right now I’m really into custom glass pieces and original artwork. I wish more homeowners would take the risk to buy original pieces and support local artists at the same time. In the recent Condos In The Pearl, I felt right at home in the Manhattan Condo in Block 90.

LF+DG: Many men like the clean, black and chrome modern look, but it can be cold. How do you remedy that?

Jason: You’re might, modern design is generally thought of as cold and sterile. But, I don’t think it has to be this way. Color, texture, natural materials can all be used in such a way that the look is modern, but the feeling of the room is one of warmth. For instance, why not bring some natural wood pieces in like a coffee table cut from a tree stump? That one piece would go a long way to adding warmth to a space.

How do you know when you are done? How do you know when it’s good design?

Jason: I recently found and adopted Suzanne Trocme’s definition of good design as my design mantra. She’s a writer and journalist specializing in interior design, architecture, art, and fashion. She said, “Good design is movement that comes to rest.” For me, a project is done when everything is in its perfect place and changing anything more would ruin it.

LF+DG: You have been an early adopter of Social Media. Why?

Jason: I have a marketing background and think that this is the best way to stay in contact with people about my business. While I’m not the first in the design community to adopt social media, I’m learning quickly the importance of having my name out there. I currently manage a website, a blog Insight into Design, a Facebook page, and am working on getting my portfolio on Flickr. This new media gives me another way to interact with clients and potential clients that wasn’t around just a few years ago. However, I’m also a firm believer in traditional media. I regularly submit finished projects to the shelter magazines, because they are always looking for good content. I’ll be appearing soon in Oregon Home magazine.

LF+DG: I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us and thank you for shopping at Landfair Furniture + Design Gallery.

Bev & MIke

Landfair Furniture + Design Gallery

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permanent event displays said...

This design takes things one step further outside the box, or maybe I should say inside the walls. This space is made up of freestanding objects and interior volumes. Within the space you feel the openness, but the interior of the volumes feel very intimate. The kitchen and wardrobe are contained within one volume near the entrance.