Designing the perfect room from abroad
Interior designer Jenn Butterworth moved to London a week before the pandemic hit last March.
“The move had been in the works for awhile,” said Ms Butterworth of Jenn Butterworth Interiors. “With all my ducks in a row, to not go would have been worse.”
Ms Butterworth had always intended to continue to cater to Bermuda clients, virtually. The large number of people shifting to a home-based work platform during the pandemic, normalised her business model.
She started Jenn Butterworth Interiors a few years ago after spending nine years working as an designer with a local window treatment firm.
“It was during that time I began working on and creating my boxed interior concept aimed at offering clients a more cost-effective approach to decorating,” she said. “Boxed Interior is for the ’do it yourself’ homeowner that wants the expertise and guidance, but does not need a full service decorator to execute the design.”
Ms Butterworth went out on her own and founded Jenn Butterworth Interiors in January 2016.
She moved to England last year looking for exposure to a larger design community. Living in London also gave her a chance to explore textiles more, one of her passions.
At Jenn Butterworth Interiors, her main focus is soft furnishings; she does not make structural changes to a building.
After consulting with a client she creates a 3D model with the selections she has made, so they can walk through the space, virtually, and decide if they like the design, or want to make changes.
Because she is overseas and most of her clients are in Bermuda, she can not do any measuring. Instead, the client can do it themself and provide her with photographs of the space, or she can hire someone to do the measuring. She has a large pool of industry partners in Bermuda.
She also provides the customer with a shopping list of items needed. The customer can source the materials themselves or she will do it for them.
“It puts control back in the clients’ hands,” she said.
Ms Butterworth said many people have become more comfortable with shopping online for themselves.
“Sometimes the biggest hurdle is just having a design plan and a way forward,” she said.
Her typical clients are young professionals with families and busy lives. Sometimes they have just bought a house and have a problem space they don’t know what to do with.
Other clients are simply looking to refresh and upgrade their living space.
“Because people are spending so much more time at home, there is an increased interest in turning our spaces into sanctuaries or making them more pleasurable to be in,” she said. “There is a bit of nesting going on right now.”
The shift to working from home also means a lot of people are looking to make their spaces more multifunctional.
Ms Butterworth works hard to get into the mindset of her client and create a design that reflects their personal style.
“If every room I have designed looks like a room that I have done then I haven’t done my job,” she said. “It really should be a reflection of the client and their taste. That doesn’t mean not guiding them to an aesthetically beautiful choice. It is about their lifestyle, who they are as people, and what they are interested in. It is about listening to the client and understanding who they are.
“That is what I love about my job. I get to step into a lot of different styles. There are very few I don’t like.”
But she described her personal style preference as “ mid century modern meets traditional Bermudian materials”.
“I love cement and white plaster,” she said. “In my house I did a poured concrete counter top with a modern white sink, but with cedar details. I love pattern and colour from all over the world.”
But she would never impose that on a client.
She said tile that looks like wood is trending right now. Colour-wise, both bright, bold colours, and neutral greys and beiges are popular.
So far, her virtual formula is working. In October, she won the product and services award in the BERMUDIAN magazine’s annual Best of Bermuda awards.
“It was the second time,” she said. “I also won Best of Bermuda in 2018. It is something really wonderful when your work is recognised and you come to mind as doing really well in the industry that you are in. There are a lot of really great designers in Bermuda. To be picked is a thrill.”
For more information see www.jennbutterworthinteriors.com or on Facebook and Twitter @Jennbutterworthinteriors or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.