Name: Jennifer Ward
Child: Parker, 5
Website: Minor Details
Jennifer Ward probably has more strokes of design inspiration before breakfast than we're likely to have in a month. Her antenna is always up and scanning her surroundings (physical and virtual) for innovative ideas, unique products, stimulating colors and other ingredients which combine with her natural talent, creative thinking and clever DIY solutions to form a truly original body of work.
Interview and more photos below the jump...
Jennifer's Blog, Minor Details, is a peek inside her brain and serves almost as an online sketchbook for her client work as a family and child-focused interior design consultant. We heartily recommend frequent visits to see both the beautiful, playful spaces she creates as well as her stream of amazing design finds. Below, she shares a bit about her approach as well as some of her sources of inspiration:
How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I have been blogging for two years now! When I started my company, also two years ago, I found myself doing a ton of research online. My bookmarks became out of control! So, I basically started the blog to serve as my own personal reference library.
How would you describe your own design aesthetic?
My personal design aesthetic is a mix of modern, vintage, mid-century and monochrome (with subtle pops of color!)
Tell us a bit about Minor Details, the business.
Minor Details is a children's interior consulting firm focusing on collaboration with parents to bring about an imaginative and constructive space for their family to thrive in. The approach emphasizes independent imaginative play, and developmentally appropriate challenges while maintaining a fresh aesthetic. We offer interior consulting services that include architectural and structural concepts, renovation, furnishings, color studies, design concepts, procurements, installations and baby proofing. Along with these offerings, we also provide commercial and recreational design for children's spaces.
Many of your design finds on Minor Details aren't for sale in the US. We laymen are sometimes scared off and don't want to navigate foreign websites, deal with currency conversion and pay international shipping rates. Is buying from overseas as big a hassle as we imagine?
It can be frustrating for sure. But I would recommend translating any website that you can't navigate through. Babelfish is great for that. You can just plug in the web address and it will translate the site for you. From there, I would go to the contact page and send a direct inquiry. Fortunately, I have not run into many overseas hiccups. Surprisingly, most of the design products overseas that I blog about either have a sales rep or actual retail presence in the states. Just remember, be patient and know that its more than likely worth the wait for international shipping and cost!
What's your favorite or most successful DIY project?
I guess I can't say my daughter or my company right? I would have to say the project that I did for Cookie Magazine Show House in Battery Park City, NYC last year. We had no budget, imaginary clients and 2 weeks to make magic. I rolled up my sleeves and fabricated and/or tweaked a majority of the pieces in the space, did all the painting, sewing and procurements while maintaining several clients at the same time. It was a huge success but I can't say I'd want that type of challenge today!
What current design or family projects are you are working on?
Currently I have some really fun projects. I have a few clients out in Los Angeles that consist of converting a nursery into a big boys bedroom, converting an office into a playroom and turning a spare bedroom into a nursery. In New York, I am working on 2 bedrooms for boys, nursery for a girl, a playspace for siblings, and huge build-out for a girl's bedroom uptown.
From the perspective of both a parent and a designer, what advice would you give other parents looking to create functional, beautiful spaces for their children?
My first rule of thumb is to never sacrifice your own personal design style because you have a child. There are ways to incorporate both worlds into one big happy and functional (not to mention aesthetically pleasing) space! If everyone has a sense of ownership throughout the house or space, then harmony ensues. If your child is at an age where they have opinions, then listen to them. You can help guide them within the choices you give them. For example, if you just can't stand pink and pink is what they want, then pick out 4-5 pinks that you could live with and then present those to your child. If they feel like they take part in the process, then they will respect the space more. Another important thing is to get inspired. Look at blogs like Ohdeedoh, DecoPeques, Bloesem Kids, Kids Love Design, MILK Magazine, Living Etc. for great interior inspirations for kids.
What are some of your favorite blogs to visit?
Man.... this is a hard question! On any given day, I visit around 15 blogs or more. On some days I'll visit completely new or different blogs. I sometimes get lost in what i call the "link effect" ...which is when I find a new site or blog and follow link after link and end up someplace amazing! My current daily hits include SwissMiss, 3191, Design Boom, TheApt, Huffington Post, 2 or 3 Things I Know, Ohdeedoh, Apartment Therapy and the David Report.
What are your best off-line sources for inspiration?
I would say inspiration is everywhere! It could be the color of a brick to how a clothing store has done the dressing room! I'm on design mode 24-7 so it's really hard to point you to a specific point. I actually find most of my inspiration on the playground. Oh wait, I'm not even thinking about magazines! Elle Decor UK, Dwell, Living Etc., Milk Magazine ... and sadly Cookie and Domino were two great sources of inspiration that are no longer with us :(
Thanks, Jenn! We look forward to bumping into you and Parker in the neighborhood and we always look forward to visiting you online at Minor Details!
Since our inception, we have loved hearing from all of our readers as well as reaching out to several in the blog community. You are mothers, fathers, wives, husbands all writing about your families, style and what makes you tick. To continue fostering this great blogging community, we'll be featuring close-ups of our favorite family and design blogs as part of our "Big Blog Family".