Niche Interiors is a design firm based in San Francisco that specializes in eco-friendly, contemporary designs. Their designs are beautiful and their knowledge is enough to keep your house as healthy as it is masterfully designed. The firm is owned by Principal Designer Jennifer Jones, Associate ASID and Certified Green Building Professional. Jennifer works with Designer Lynn Trinh, LEED AP: United States Green Building Council to provide a very green approach to design that will leave your house with an organic, healthy, earthy feel. They perfectly combine this earthy element with a contemporary and almost minimalist approach to create what is a distinct “Niche” Design, but it is obvious that each design project is approached with the client in mind. We here at Coco Web believe in their efforts towards green design and want to spotlight the changes they are making in the world of eco-friendly interior design.

First off, thank you so much for participating in our interview. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? (your childhood, your journey towards becoming an interior designer, etc.)

I have always been happiest when working on a creative project. At the age of six, I designed and made my first throw pillow with my little sewing machine! As I matured I gained a passion for painting, fine art, photography and graphic design. I grew up in California in a family that loves the outdoors and nature. My environmentally aware parents fueled my interest in eco-friendly, responsible design.

What is your main design philosophy?

At Niche Interiors we believe that our furniture choices have a large impact on the health of our clients and the environment. We do our best to improve indoor air quality for our clients and make responsible selections to avoid environmental waste. We also believe that each home should be as unique as its inhabitants. Our strong focus on discovering each client’s individual style reflects this.

I started reading about VOC’s on your website and now I’m really curious. Can you tell us more about VOC’s and how your designs help avoid them?

Volatile Organic Compounds are chemicals that off-gas into the air – some of which have harmful health effects. The main culprits are typically paint, carpets, upholstery foam, and the glues found in cabinets and furniture. Look for eco-friendly upholstery without flame retardants, solid wood tables, and natural rugs such as wool, cotton, or jute. Zero or low-VOC paints are the standard now – almost every manufacturer offers this option.

In your opinion, what do people have the hardest time with when designing their space?

Editing! I think it’s difficult for most people to hone in on their specific design style AND to stick to it. It’s natural to have many ideas for your space, but the key to a successful design is coming up with a design concept and purchasing items that fit with the style and in the size constraints of your space.

How do you incorporate “Green Design” into furniture design?

One of the most harmful laws passed in California was Technical Bulletin 117 – this was passed in 1975 and required furniture manufacturers to add flame retardant chemicals to their upholstery foam. In an effort to offer healthier alternatives, we design custom, non-toxic upholstery made of natural latex wrapped in organic wool, which has inherent flame resistant qualities.

Do you feel your background in Art History has influenced your work as an Interior Designer? How so?

Definitely! The core principals from fine art translate easily to design – composition, color, and scale all come into play. I think my background in art has helped shape the way I see the flow of a room and a home.

What is one of your favorite custom pieces you have done?

We designed an eco-friendly, curved sofa that I was tempted to keep for myself! It’s always fun when our clients are open to taking risks and creating something unconventional.

What advice would you give to an aspiring interior designer?

Be proactive and start designing! In the beginning of your career you don’t have real examples of your work or design style (apart from school projects). Potential employers want to see your design point of view. Help show them by decorating your own space or offering to help your friends or family. A few well-styled photos will go a long way in getting you an interview and hopefully a job!

For Design inquiries, more information about green design, or to learn more about Niche Interiors, check out their home page.

15th Apr 2014 Lauren Miller

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