Jay Jeffers: Redefining California Cool

Jay Jeffers may be based in San Francisco but that doesn’t stop Angelenos from calling—the award-winning designer and Elle Décor A-Lister has projects up and down the state (and beyond). After studying design in Texas, the designer moved to the Golden State, where he established his firm, Jay Jeffers Design, some fifteen years ago. Jeffers, who credits English designer David Hicks as a primary influence on his aesthetic (he’s been known to quote Hicks’s famous line, “Style is not merely what you do, but how you do it.”) recently published his first book, Jay Jeffers: Collected Cool, a must-have if you’re looking for fresh inspiration. As well, the designer operates home décor boutique, Cavalier, with his husband, Michael Purdy. Despite a busy schedule and amid the holiday bustle, the in-demand designer sat down with us to talk about his signature style.

What is your design aesthetic? I take each project with an individual approach tailored to the client. The underlying theme in every space is that it feels collected and very cool!

How did you get started in the business? I was working for Gap, Inc. in media and it was not satisfying my creative spirit. I took an introduction to interior design class for fun and fell in love. I cut my teeth with a mentor, Richard Witzel, and then started my own firm in 1999.

Where do you derive your design inspiration? Everywhere—a lot of travel. I love hotels and find great inspiration in hospitality design. Also fashion magazines, design magazines (the real ones, not the digital ones) and I love Pinterest.

If you could reside on a Hollywood movie set from any era, what would it be and why? Auntie Mame because she was redecorating constantly to suit her mood!

What do your clients like best about working with you? All of us at Jeffers Design Group love our jobs and we work very hard behind the scenes to make it look easy and effortless. Creating a dream home should be pure joy for my clients, not a stressful situation. We take on the stress for them. I also design for real life; I take factors like entertaining, kids and proper lighting, into serious consideration for every project. It should always be chic, but functional at the same time.

What takes a kitchen or bath from ordinary to extraordinary? Amazing materials—like great tile and stone, and fantastic lighting so you can go from serious cooking to serious partying with the push of a button.