- Story by Angela Cowan Photography by Lia Crowe
Mixing colours, shapes, form and function, interior designer Janice Jefferson spends her life tailoring fresh and vintage design to fit her clients’ desires. A storyteller at heart, she uses her clients’ personalities, journeys and experiences to guide their collaborative style choices “towards beautiful function with gentle nudges in the right direction.”
Janice founded Modhaus Interior Design in 2008 and has worked on personal and commercial projects since with equal passion. (And, as the curator of Design Notes in each edition of Boulevard, she is also a big part of the Black Press magazine team.)
“I love the challenge of an extensive renovation,” she says. “Staying within the boundaries of space and budget, and [working through] the problem-solving involved, is very satisfying.”
And while the design path differs widely from client to client, there are a few signature aspects that she always comes back to.
“It’s important to me to always add vintage items,” she says. “Often it’s freshly upholstered soft furnishings, rewired lighting, art or something which says, ‘Hey, I have a history and I’m awesome!’ I make sure to keep a selection of items on hand awaiting the right client.”
Never afraid of a little whimsy or mystery, Janice revels in pushing the envelope and trying new things, like adding a secret lounge accessed through a useful armoire, à la Narnia.
The bottom line: “When I know the design is a little crazy, I know it’s right.”
The 7 Sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
Dorothy Draper. While my personal design aesthetic lands somewhere between Dorothy Draper and the Bauhaus movement, Dorothy Draper was inspirational in her ground-breaking influence in the world of interior design. She had her hands in many pots, always driving the narrative of her time. Walking in her shoes would be a thrill!
What is the food you could eat over and over again?
I love the variety of Mexican food. I could eat fresh salsa every day. Yummy!
You’re given $1 million that you have to spend selfishly. What would you spend it on?
Short and sweet: a vacation home somewhere warm.
Rugs too small for a room — don’t get me started — and poorly designed kettles. A close friend recently told me I should write a kettle manifesto. (“Oh, you want to buy a new kettle? Have a seat. Do you have half an hour?”)
Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?
I’m somewhat of a water baby. I LOVE being in a lake on a hot day, or in a pool on a floatie with a cocktail in hand. Great solo time or surrounded by friends and lots of laughs, and always with a pile of design magazines close by. I installed a bathtub on our deck as a place to enjoy relaxing in the sun after a day in the garden.
What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
One summer in my early 20s I completed flight school as one of a few civilians among what seemed like 14-year-old Cadets!
What makes your heart beat faster?
If you know me well, you know if I see great design, I walk away or close the book. I have to process how amazing it is before I can take a second look. It’s quite humorous actually, a designer who can’t contain her excitement for amazeballs design.