By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub
Jody Smith of Brown’s Interior Design was always interested in the fashion aspects of design – the colors, the fabrics and the best way to place objects together. It wasn’t until she studied at the University of Florida that she understood how design and construction coexist.
“The interior design school is in the school of architecture,” she says. “The first two years of classes are similar to those classes architects would take and gives a broader understanding of construction. It is nice not being the designer who suggests taking down the column that holds up the roof.”
Smith, whose firm works on a lot of new construction of custom homes, says it is important for the designer to be an integral part of the team with the builder and architect from the beginning.
“It is very difficult for people who aren’t trained to visualize what is going on in the space just by looking at the plans,” she says. “A designer can help you visualize and avoid mistakes before the home is built.”
How would you describe your personal design style at home?
My style is eclectic and influenced by everything I see and do. I end up liking more of a mix of things.
Who is the designer or architect that has influenced you the most?
Based on my background, I think it would be Frank Lloyd Wright. He was concerned with the integrity of materials and the fact that form really does follow function. A room can be absolutely beautiful, but if it doesn’t meet your needs it’s a waste.
What is your design mantra?
My job is to help you interpret your style and not to dictate mine. It is the clients’ home and they are living in it. After I am done I want you to be happy and comfortable. If you love a piece of art I will find a way to use it in your home. If the sofa is too big or too small I will tell you. If you have collected things over the years, I won’t presume to tell you that we can’t use them. The design should reflect your style not mine.
What is your best find?
It was an abstract bronze sculpture that I found for my backyard. It is in the perfect spot and has acquired a patina over the years.
What is the most important trend that you see now?
The trend is toward more contemporary – clean lines with less clutter. It’s a backlash on things that came before. Everything was so embellished, Old World, heavy, fussy, ornate. It especially didn’t work in our climate. I would walk into a room with velvet drapes and bouillon fringe and think, ‘It’s 90 degrees and I am dying in here.’ People are busy. Less is more. Fewer beautiful pieces stand out more than 300 gorgeous pieces on a table.”
Brown’s interior Design, 501 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton, 561-368-2703, brownsinteriors.com.