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Spotlight on a Designer: Jennifer Bertrand

Karndean Designflooring

Jennifer Bertrand

You may recognize interior designer Jennifer Bertrand as the Season 3 winner of HGTV’s “Design Star”, but in addition to her successes on “Design Star” and hosting her own show, “Paint Over! With Jennifer Bertrand”, Jennifer actively uses her design expertise to help those in need. 

As part of the International Design Guild’s “Design for a Difference” initiative, she works with local charities to provide makeovers for needy spaces. Her bedroom makeover project for the Reeds, a Ronald McDonald House family, featured our HC06 Midnight Oak and recently won the Angie’s List Sleep Sanctuary contest. We spoke with Jennifer to learn more about her unique experiences and a designer and her inspiration behind the design for the Reed family.

What inspired you to become an interior designer?

I loved that I was able to help people to pull off their dreams of having an amazing home and not just seeing it in magazines or on Pinterest!

What’s the most important element you look for when stepping into a space? 

It’s funny because I actually don’t even worry about the space. I spend the initial part of the design process focusing on the client and the psychology of design. It’s amazing how our environments can really enhance our lives. Then after that phase, I imagine all of the possibilities that the room could have and I start to play with what fits their budget, personality and what is something I haven’t seen before. 

What are the important aspects or elements in a residential design?

For residential design, you start looking at function first. How can a remodel or a new-build enhance and improve your life and you address your needs? After that, then you think, “What design can I do that fits the clients’ needs and still does something unique and fresh?”

Sleep Sanctuary Room

How would you describe your design style?

I have two design styles. The first is for my clients, I am a chameleon, I pop into their heads and help them pull off whatever will make their souls happy and help them feel like it was money well spent. My personal aesthetic for my own home is a cross between palm springs modern meets an artist. So, I want to create unique risk-taking moments that are happy and light hearted.

Are there any particular trends you are incorporating into your latest projects?

I am currently doing a rustic bedroom and I’m thinking, “How do you do rustic without involving shiplap and barn wood or if I do, how do I do it in a way no one has seen before?” I also am making custom headboards rather buying ready-made products. I always joke that I am a custom kind of gal, but I am also very aware that everyone is at different phases of life budgets and my goal is to make every person of every budget feel cool and special. I also love showing how the color gray can be used in unique ways and paired with browns. And then when I get to, I am going back to using rich, saturated colors! I can only do so many gray and white rooms.

What’s the first question you ask a client when undertaking a design project?

I always ask them how they want the space to feel. Then I talk to them about how I will do my best to listen when they are nervous or worried, but that I will also push them to go outside of their box. It is really about building an initial trust in the first few meetings. Then after that, it’s all about trying to make it a fun experience, because design is a first world problem and should always be a fun thing to be a part of. I appreciate any dollar I am able to spend creating a beautiful space.

How do use flooring to affect the design of a room? 

Flooring is one of my favorite aspects of a room because it creates the base that pulls off the whole look. And let’s not forget, flooring can be used to be clad on ceilings, walls and so on! The world of flooring is fabulous fun! I also adore creating patterns with flooring and adding interest in a space where needed. Clients often forget how important flooring can be. It’s the only element besides drywall that takes you from one space to another and is a major design element that helps a concept have fluidity!

Regarding your project in the Sleep Sanctuary Contest, how did you become involved in designing a new bedroom for the Reed family? 

When I was asked to do the contest, we could pick any family we wanted. Right away, I knew I wanted to pick a Ronald McDonald House family. Our own son, Winston, was born with two rare malformations and we stayed at a Ronald McDonald House in New York City. So we wanted to give a breath of fresh air to a family that we knew exactly what they were going to. I like to say it is my George Costanza “worlds colliding” moment!

Sleep Sanctuary Family

Could you give us a little background on your involvement with the Design for a Difference?

I am very lucky to work with International Design Guild (IDG) as a Design for a Difference ambassador. My job is to be a bit of a fairy godmother to national makeovers for non-profits that teach local designers and IDG showrooms how to use their powers for good. Creating a sense of community, helping nonprofits around the United States and inspiring others that every moment matters.

What were key aspects to your vision for the final space in the Reed’s bedroom and how did the flooring selection play a role? 

For the Reed family, I wanted to create a soothing, calm space that fit the criteria of the Angie’s List contest. We looked to Arianna Huffington’s book called The Sleep Revolution and met the five criteria that are needed to design a bedroom correctly:

1. No blue lights.
2. Create a cool space temperature wise.
3. No technology.
4. Surround yourself with things you love.
5. It should be a calming, quiet, dark space.

The flooring allowed me to create a dramatic base for the design and I absolutely fell in love with the resilient plank flooring. So much so that my husband and I want to use it in our home. This family has young children and pets and I felt like the Karndean product was a fabulous solution to hold up to the traffic of a family but to also meet my design criteria. 

Did you encounter any challenges to completing your design, and how did you overcome them?

The craziest part was a two week make-over to clad the bedroom in a unique wood pattern. And because I’m a designer, I wanted all of the wood lines to line up as they met at the ceiling and crossed back down. Whew, I’m so glad we pulled that off. It was created by using only volunteers and it truly was a room made with love!

How would you describe Karndean Design flooring to friends or colleagues in your field? 

I would ask people to forget the vinyl of the past. I would tell them, lay multiple products on the floor and see if you can tell the difference. It’s amazing how Karndean Designflooring can be the perfect solution to many design needs. All I keep thinking is what I want to do next with the product. I would love to start playing with the inset metallic strips. No joke, once you start playing with Karndean, you’ll start to challenge yourself as to what you can dream up next!

We’d like to thank Jennifer for taking the time to speak with us. Watch this space to see some of her upcoming projects featuring Karndean Designflooring. To see what else Jennifer is up to, visit www.jenniferbertrand.com

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Blogs From   2019