Did you ever stay in a rental house and feel like, wow I could really just pack up all my bags and just move right in? Well that is exactly how I felt when I rented a Palm Springs Mid Century Modern pad with a group of girlfriends as a weekend getaway. This mid-century masterpiece (yes I dare said it) is perfectly decorated with tufted Chippendale sofas, Regency vintage looking flocked wallpaper and bright yellow upholstered Milo Baughman chairs. This wonderful home is designed by David Jimenez, who is not only a talented designer, but is vice president of visual merchandising and store design for Hallmark Cards, Inc. in Kansas City. David who was born and raised in New York City, currently resides in Kansas City. David has played an important role in developing the visual aesthetic of Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware and as a result has influenced what constitutes style in the American home.
David's homes in San Francisco, Palm Springs and Kansas City reflect his passion for design and his eye for detail. His Kansas City home was just recently published in the August issue of House Beautiful and more images are located below. I recently interviewed David and asked him some questions about his experiences in design thus far. How did you come to be a designer? Ever since I was young enough to move the furniture around in my parents living room in the Bronx, I have had a passion for interiors. I started my career at the GAP in 1985 and worked my way up the ranks from a sales associate to visual merchandising director. Early on, while at the GAP, I knew that store presentation and design was for me. From there, I transitioned from store management to home interiors as vice president of visual merchandising at Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware and now Hallmark.
What's your favorite color to work with and why? The location of the house influences my palette. For example, I enjoyed working with bright colors like citron, black, white and blue at my vacation home in Palm Springs. The colors are bold yet somehow classic. At my home in Kansas City, I gravitated towards a more neutral palette. I love how easy it is to create a visual thread throughout a home when you use neutral colors. In both houses, I used black in the way of lamp shades, artwork, rugs and furnishings in order to add strong contrast and keep rooms from becoming prosaic. What color combinations do you see using in the future? I was at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City last weekend and was inspired by a room that had walls covered in canary yellow damask print fabric with a beautiful collection of turquoise china from the 1700's. The color combination was truly beautiful and I think those colors would work well together in the right setting. Though the classic in me still gravitates to shades of heather gray with a shot of camel as being plenty in the way of cutting edge. What is your greatest source of inspiration? Hard to define one source as the greatest source of inspiration. I am inspired by so many things — a friend's home, museum visits, nature and epic films all move me.
Which interior or furniture designers, past or present, do you most admire? I think Thomas O'brien, Kelly Wearstler and Vicente Wolf are visionaries and true originals. Each of them has a unique point of view that is their trademark. In a similar way, I think Dorothy Draper was way ahead of her time. Describe your design theory in 4-6 words. Collected rooms that are well edited. What is your signature mark that you always try to implement in a space? I love piles of design books on coffee tables or consoles. Different sizes of framed photography or artwork leaning over mirrors or on a mantle and I love beautiful vintage table lamps outfitted with nothing stronger than a 25 watt bulb- everyone looks a little better in dim lighting and the mood the soft glow of a low wattage light bulb creates can't be beat.
If you could redo any space, past or present, what would it be? My grandmother's living room growing up as a boy in the New York. Does anyone really need to have their furniture hermetically sealed behind thick layers of plastic? You have no idea of the misery it caused on hot days when we had shorts and hang-ten tank tops on. What 5 things does a well designed home need? An eclectic mix of furniture- Smart looking rooms don't need to be expensive. Flea markets and thrift stores offer a great way to pick up unique finds without breaking the bank. Chic Lamps with dim lighting- Forget the overheads. Pick up some cool lamps, experiment with different style shades and make a commitment to dim lighting-your friends will thank you. Smart sound system- Every well designed home deserves a kick ass sound system. Get one that sounds bassy and that has volume control by room. A good scent- Like a mother's hug when you walk in the door, a good scent in your home is equivalent to wearing a great scent when you leave the house. Baies by Dyptique is a great start. A signature drink- You may not be a great cook, but having a signature drink means in many ways you may not need to cook. Pick one great drink and have it become your trademark.
If you hadn't become a designer, what do you think you would be doing now? If I had a voice, I would be a jazz singer in a smoky bar in the New York. But it's truly hard to imagine enjoying anything else as much as I enjoy what I currently do. I feel incredibly humbled by the opportunities that I've had and the experiences that have steered my direction. I'm in a great place.