Something I really love about Design*Sponge is that it’s a place for homes with a personal style and a story to tell. The homes in our archives are largely decorated by the people who live in them. It means that sometimes we might shy away from showcasing a beautiful house because it may have been designed wholly by an interior designer without much personal sentiment or style from the homeowners. So I was very excited to come across Jennifer Riley‘s home in San Diego, CA because not only is it a gem full of history and incredible vintage pieces, but she’s also an interior designer and creates spaces for other vintage aficionados through her full-service design firm, Hohm.
Jennifer grew up in a 1892 Victorian Queen Anne filled with beautiful, ornate furniture and objects. “I spent my childhood ensconced in ‘visual splendor.’ Being surrounded by antiques fostered my love of timeless design and history — and the marriage of the two,” Jennifer shares. Now Jennifer lives in a 1909 Craftsman Bungalow in San Diego and has allowed her upbringing to inform the way she decorates her own home and designs for her clients. “Since I grew up in an antique house, all of my design decisions go back to the bones of this house. I wouldn’t knock down walls and have an open-concept home, and I wouldn’t take out the original elements; I wouldn’t paint over original wood paneling in the home, and if the bathroom renovation happens, I will be using period appropriate everything.”
While there’s no wrong way to renovate a home necessarily (I’m guilty of not always sticking with era-friendly renovations in my 1900 home), it’s refreshing to see anyone honor the original aesthetic and materials of a home in their designs. Jennifer shares that while she’s never purchased a new couch, she has recently started to source a few more modern pieces for her home to incorporate with her incredible collection of vintage decor. “My decorating goals might be a little off-the-cuff and unusual. I am a visceral, intuitive decorator for my home. It unfolds slowly and I go with the flow of it,” She explains. “I always, always go with what speaks to my heart and makes it leap with joy!” Her home is a sweet mix of all things beautiful and serene. “I would advise homeowners to find their style and own voice. Also, the creating of a home takes time, it’s not like an HGTV show where a whole house is outfitted in two short months. It’s okay to not live in ‘perfection.’ It’s great to evolve with your style; my style is completely different than it was just three short years ago.” The thoughtful design in every room is evident. Jennifer has allowed her coastal surroundings, her childhood home and the era of her own home to influence her design choices — but at the end of the day, she chooses whatever feels right for her home and her clients’ spaces. The result is so, so lovely. —Lauren
Image above: Jennifer’s bedroom. She shares, “I’d say since the beginning of 2017, I have been moving to more of a fusion of natural pieces, textural [elements], and doing my rendition of California Casual; I enjoy the woven textures and having a more subtle, calm space, but I also do a bit of my own thing with lots of family pieces, Victorian [items] and a few more global pieces.”