After having worked for iconic fashion brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, and Kenneth Cole, Jessica Gersten took time off to start her family. When it was time to get back to work, she followed her dream of interior design and as good fortune would have it, found great success.
Jessica, can you elaborate on how you segued from working in the fashion industry to starting your own interior design firm?
Even while working in the fashion industry, I always loved researching vintage furniture and lighting in my spare time. I realized decorating was my passion after designing my own apartment for my family 15 years ago.
I took some time off to have children, but when I decided to get back into the workplace, I luckily met great success pursuing my passion for decorating.
Do you feel your fashion industry background gave you a leg up on high-end aesthetics?
It absolutely did! Working for Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani taught me everything about fine fabrics, detailing, and workmanship. And being that they are full lifestyle brands, I developed an eye for all things luxury.
What does “eclectic modern” mean in terms of interior design?
Modern is difficult to define in interiors but there are some underlying characteristics. There is “minimalist modern” and “rustic modern” and so on.
I chose “eclectic modern” because it reflects my style of mixing clean furniture lines with mid-century lighting and infusing interesting patterns and textures. It’s mixed, but it’s modern.
Do your clients find you directly or do you work with specific architects?
Most of my clients find me through word of mouth from other clients whom I’ve previously worked with. There are a few architects, builders, and contractors whom I work with regularly who refer me to clients as well.
You’re based in New York City. How did you find yourself designing homes in the Hamptons?
All of my Hamptons projects have begun through clients I’ve worked with in the city. Once I get to know clients and build trust with them, it’s natural to expand the design to their second homes in the Hamptons.
What are some differences between creating a lifestyle design vision for the city and the country?
The country is more cozy and relaxed. It’s an opportunity to play with more natural fibers such as linen, hemp, and aloe, and materials like wood and steel.
Most of the spaces I do in the Hamptons are more soothing and ethereal, based in shades of white. Then I layer on my signature textures and patterns.
Do you have a design philosophy that your prospects can see interpreted in your work?
Intriguing. I try to make each space with comfort, usability, and intrigue. Whether it be in the city, suburbs, or the beach, my spaces introduce a mix of pieces that make the eye stop and look more closely.
There has to be tension in a space, something unexpected, but that unexpectedly works amazingly together.
Do you design the room and then retrofit pieces to balance the two worlds or do you start with a piece and design around that?
I always think about the room and the architecture of a space first. That is a must. And often I can make incongruent architecture and interiors come together in a dynamic way.
Is there a project that was a favorite?
The Tenafly, NJ 10,000-square-foot house will always be dear to me; it was the perfect opportunity to blend natural elements with luxurious interiors. The home has a strong connection to nature, a motif that can be seen in my Hamptons homes as well.
What trends are you excited about?
Shapes! Interesting shapes in rugs, upholstery, tables, everything. Geometry is really big right now: how shapes come together in a space.
What are some of your favorite go-to magazines, books, or websites for design inspiration?
There is so much inspiration out there. Instagram has been a great tool to share and receive ideas. I am mostly inspired by innovative, directional product design that inspires whole rooms and homes. One or two amazing pieces can jumpstart an entire space.
What marketing tools are you using to showcase your work? Are you on social media?
Instagram, Instagram, Instagram. It’s been an amazing tool to reach a broad audience, collect followers, and show off an aesthetic.
When you’re not designing gorgeous interiors, what do you do for fun?
I’m a yogi. I do yoga and mindful practices regularly. And I think that mindfulness translates to all parts of my life, including my design work.
To reach Jessica or inquire about her properties, call 646-642-1331 or visit www.jessicagersteninteriors.com.