Interview with Designer Jeff Andrews: Dexter’s Refuge

If you haven’t heard of the Showtime House in New York City, it is a showhouse consisting of rooms inspired by seven Showtime original series. The rooms are conceptualized by various top designers including Los Angeles’ acclaimed designer, Jeff Andrews. He created Dexter’s Refuge, which is my favorite design of all the Showtime series inspired rooms. I was so inspired and intrigued by his material, furniture, and accessory choices that I decided to take a deeper look into the concept.

AT: Do you see a little bit of Dexter’s personality in yourself?

Jeff: I guess I do have a kind of dark humor sometimes. I think Dexter is actually quite funny. Michael C. Hall’s portrayal of the character is genius. Beyond that, I don’t spend much time hiding my true personality like Dexter. I’m pretty honest.

AT: What was your first inspiration or sketch that shaped the concept for
the design?

Jeff: I was first inspired by a quote from Dexter, “We all have our public life, our private life, and our secret life that which defines us.” I knew I wanted to design a space for the secret life of Dexter and create a “refuge” packed with underlying references to his character. The design revolves around the fractured, broken, and twisted mind of a serial killer while still keeping it livable. I wanted you to feel the character in the room while not being too theatrical.

AT: How did you choose the color palette?

Jeff: I wanted it dark, moody, masculine, and fairly monochromatic. I started with all the walls being the color of Dexter’s clothing he wears when he kills – basically, a dark olive green. I layered the other colors and textures throughout to keep it rich and intense. Materials include black leather floors, a hide rug, wallpaper on the ceiling which resembles skin, leather pillows and a mixture of reclaimed wood, metal, and stone which all connect to the organic quality of the space. It’s a reference to the hard exterior of the man and what lies beneath – the layers of Dexter’s personality.

AT: What was your favorite element in the design?

Jeff: I love the floating bed. It’s just dramatic enough to be effective as the focal point of the room. Dexter feels most safe on the water and the floating quality of the bed resembles that. I incorporated video projection of water on the entry walls for an additional experiential element to the room. Although water represents freedom and peace for Dexter, it’s also where he dumps his victim’s bodies.

AT: What was your biggest challenge in creating the design?

Jeff: The biggest issue for me was keeping it authentic. I wanted to create a space that really spoke to me aesthetically and represented my point of view as a designer. Instead of creating a design inspired by the series, I chose to remain true to the intense duplicity that is Dexter. There are always challenges with every project, but designing a room for a fictional character who also happens to be a serial killer was definitely an exercise of the imagination.

AT: What are some of your sources for the furniture and accessories?

Jeff: I worked with many talented and generous people on this project! Everyone involved really got into the concept and helped me pull it together on many levels. I am so thankful to all of them.

Showtime House tour

MORE INFO: The Showtime House is open to the public on Saturdays from 11AM – 5PM through October 23, 2010. Tickets are $15 and the proceeds benefit the Harlem Children’s Zone.

Images: Andrew French and Patrick McMullan for Showtime House 2010