Annette Jaffe first discovered her love for interiors as a young child. Born with a natural ability to see space differently, she inherited her keen eye for interior style from her mother, also an interior designer. Now with over twenty years’ of experience behind her, she brings a discriminating aesthetic, perspective and elevated level of taste to each project she undertakes. Here she reminisces about her first project and shares her favorite spots in her home and the city…
How did you get started in the interior design industry?
My mother was an interior designer and every shoe box that came into my home as a child I made into a room. In college people used to knock on my dorm door and say they heard about my room. I’ve always been able to see space and am constantly thinking about ways to rethink spaces.
Can you remember your first interior design project?
It probably was a Buster Brown shoe box that I covered with fabric samples my mother had. I started renovating and flipping houses for myself however my first paying interior design job was a dear friend who bought a property in Manhattan and hired me when he saw the renovation work I was doing. He is still a client 14+ years later.
You are a New York native through and through; do you have any favorite spots in the city you can tell us about?
Just like my love of design, I’m not a one love kind of person. I love The Highline, The Loch or The Naturalist’s Walk in Central Park when I’ve got my sneakers and jeans on. Going with friends to neighborhoods like Arthur Avenue, Williamsburg, and recently Bay Ridge where I met a man who told me he was the “King of Bay Ridge” and sold me some sweets and jellies that were absurdly delicious. Beauty is where you find it and I’m always on the prowl.
What is your favorite room in your home and why?
My house is up on a hill and I have a wonderful front porch complete with an old beat up blue porch swing, sofa and rockers. We play cards, talk, light candles and hang out there all the time. I’m pretty famous for saying ‘I’m going to read on the porch’ and falling asleep within five minutes.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Be accountable. Own your accomplishments and your errors. We all make mistakes; it is what we do afterward that defines our character.
Who or what inspires you?
I try to surround myself with people who know more than me. Everyone at Annette Jaffe Interiors possesses qualities, traits and skills I don’t have. I look at my parents, my daughters and friends and try to see and learn from their strengths.
With 20+ years of experience in the interior design industry, do you have a particular career highlight?
When I finish a job and the client is thrilled and we’ve become friends it’s my highest joy. I’m working to help people express themselves in their home. It’s as though we are painting a picture together. There are so many homes and families that I am so attached to and proud of, my biggest career highlight to date may be the home I recently renovated at 6 March Lane in Sands Point. The house is luxurious yet relaxed one story living. I really listened to my heart during this project and not the market.
How would you spend your perfect day off?
Sleeping on my porch for starters! I love being at the beach, exploring Little Compton and Rhode Island which was a highlight this past spring.
What advice do you have for aspiring interior designers?
Know there is a business component to interior design and it’s important to be aware how much goes into any project. You listen to your clients and work with them to create a visual vocabulary as you work together. Their “modern” or “blue” might be something very different from yours. Respect how they want to live and communicate clearly and honestly throughout the process. All good relationships rupture and repair. Mistakes will happen. I repeat the best advice I was given, own your errors and celebrate your victories.
What does the rest of 2017 hold for Annette Jaffe Interiors?
We have so many wonderful projects in process right now and just this morning I had a phone call with a potential new client that I sense is going to be a great match. We are headed down to Florida to finish some installations and are considering renovating our offices.