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Flor is coming to DC!

27 Mar

By now you’ve surely heard of Flor, the modular carpet tile company that is fashionable and reasonably priced.  If not, you’re going to love it. Luckily, you’ll soon be able to check our their wares in person because they are going to be opening a store in Georgetown!

One of my favorites: "Sophistikat," 4 colors, $12.49 a tile (image via Flor)


I have so many good things to say and tips to share about Flor, so here’s my Flor primer…straight from me to you:


The color range is HUGE. You can even shop by color. This is just the color range for one of their popular tiles, called “Toy Poodle.” So many!

(image via Flor)


The pile, well, it’s a bit of a shock to the system for those of you who are used to plush rugs and shags. Though some are thicker than others, Flor tiles are generally less cushy than a true rug. You may want to use them in a playroom, family room, or transitional or utility space and save the plushness for your living room and bedroom. So that’s something to be aware of. As you may expect, the thinner/more industrial the pile the cheaper the tile; the one picture below is just $7.99 (for one)!

"Reverb" in Magenta. (image via Flor)


I love love love how you can just swap one out if it is bears the brunt of a catastrophic spill (pets? kids?…you know what I mean). I recommend them highly for dining rooms, because the pile is low so they easily accommodate chair scoots, and their interchangeability is friendly to spilled red wine/marinara sauce/all that stain-ey stuff.

"Working Class" (image via Flor)


They stick to the floor with little circles of adhesive, and though they can be removed easily they really stay put. They’re only for use on hard surfaces though, so unfortunately, there’s no carpet layering going on with these colorful squares. (Do try a test sticker or contact your flooring manufacturer if you have a laminate…we don’t want any stripping of the finish).


Flor tiles are customizable, which means you can size them into rugs, cut them to make specialty shapes or sizes, and use just a few to create fun runners or entry mats. See?

L: "Parallel Reality" R: "Fedora" (images via Flor)


Until now, when specifying Flor for clients I’ve always ordered samples from the company (they do charge shipping for samples) or used a few that I have on hand to give clients a feel for the tiles. So I am thrilled to be able to hop in my car and head over to Georgetown to see their tiles in person on a more regular basis.

Three cheers for Flor! I can’t wait!


(I rarely say this, but I feel like this is one of those posts that is so gushingly complementary that I need to clearly state: “I was neither compensated nor asked by Flor to write any of this.”)


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.


Zoo Weekend!

12 Mar

What a lovely weekend this was! My family and I had a great time spending much of it outside, and even managed to squeeze in a long morning trip to the National Zoo!

Are we the only family who can’t ever manage to get a photo of all three of us?

At the zoo, we saw boldly striped zebras

Zebra Sky Papier-Mache Head, Dwell Studio, $76 (image via Dwell Studio)


big, gentle elephants

Antique Art Print, $22 via Etsy seller BlackBaroque (image via Etsy)


and those crazy reminders of dinosaurs long gone: crocodiles!

Maison Crocodile Blue Rug by The Rug Market, staring at $800 (image via Bold Rugs)


We also made chocolate chip cookies (yum!), got some new soccer gear (for the boys, one of whom tried on his first pair of mini cleats!), made it through the headache of day light savings time, and (shudder…) went to Taco Bell for those new Doritos-shelled tacos (don’t judge us).

Hope your weekend was equally relaxing, and that your week is spectacular!


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Jonathan Adler Comes to DC!

5 Mar

I don’t know about you, but I love a little bit of pop, lacquer, and 70s chic in my life. So naturally, I’m thrilled to hear that Jonathan Adler is coming to the Georgetown neighborhood of DC this spring! How did I miss this?

Like this room? The website will point you to everything in it via their "buy this room" tab! Or better yet, you can head to their DC store sometime this year and hunt for the pieces yourself! (image via Jonathan Adler)

Earlier this month, a presentation was made to the Old Georgetown Board by Chris Gray of Cox, Graae and Spack Architects for a building on Wisconsin and N Streets NW, which will be the location of the new Jonathan Adler Furniture store! According to The Georgetown Dish, “Plans to modify the façade included an orange and grey color scheme, raising the canopy and a new awning with signage.” You can read more about the pending fabulousness here.

Just to whet your mod appetite, here are ten stunning and unique picks from Jonathan Adler. Enjoy!


1.) Lacquer Nesting Tables, $995; 2.) Pink and Blue Bargello Zig Zag Pillow, $165; 3.) Scales Duchess Tote, $198; 4.) Greek Key 4 Piece Setting, $50; 5.) Mr. and Mrs. Muse Salt and Pepper Shakers, $48; 6.) Haines Chair in Oslo Sea, $1395; 7.) Syrie Wallpaper, $250/roll; 8.) Zebra Rug, $995; 9.) Bond Console, $3,800; 10.) Rider Tripod Table, $795 (all images via Jonathan Adler)

Just what DC needs! A lot more color, a little more fun, and way less blah. Don’t you agree?


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Washington Post’s House Calls! It’s My Turn!

1 Mar

I just had the opportunity to be the “designer on call” for The Washington Post’s House Calls column, and it was an absolute blast! You can see my design, which was a sunroom for a family of four in Springfield, VA, here.  This is the lovely illustration of the space, by The Post’s very talented Julius Goyanko.

(image via The Washington Post, illustration by Julius Goyanko, design by Jessica Bonness)


The whole process for House Calls is thorough and interesting, so I thought I’d recap it for you briefly. When I was initially contacted about the column, a room had already been selected for me. I thought this one was a great match that allowed me to engage in one of my favorite types of design: family-friendly. I was able to contact the homeowner, who filled me in on the uses of the room and preferences. In this case, they wanted a place to play, relax, watch television (but they watch television primarily in another room), and sometimes even snack in.

I had a great time selecting all of the child-friendly elements of the room, particularly a table that ultimately wasn’t shown in the drawing (can’t show it all!), that has a durable metal top, casters, and is situated underneath a wall mounted chalkboard. There’s also a book nook with comfy ottomans (that can double as middle-of-the-room seating) in a corner where the wall is painted in wide horizontal stripes to add some visual interest. The ample seating and durable fabrics are well-suited to a large family. The television is amidst a wall-collage that conceals it, but still provides a central view; it’s mounted just over a low media console. The coffee table is a gorgeous play table that features pull our drawers to hold toys, magazines, or whatever else lands there. And finally, there’s some lovely art floating around on all the walls (and all of it is very reasonably priced).  Here is the rough, scaled plan I provided to The Post. 

If it appears there have been some minor layout changes between this and the illustration, there have been. Mostly for purposes of representation. (image via JGB Interiors)


With the plan, I included a key of items that indicated the sources for furnishings, fixtures, and finishes. This is that collage (without the mountains of text; though, if you have a specific source question, feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email).

(image via JGB Interiors)


You may notice that many of the pieces are from children’s stores: Land of Nod and Restoration Hardware Baby and Child in particular. One of the tricks I use often, and certainly did here, is to mix up more expensive pieces (like the media console from Gus Modern) with less expensive, unconventional alternatives (like the art on the wall from Urban Outfitters). It’s a sort of “catalog curating” that is full of style, but costs less than it looks. …and can’t we all appreciate that?

I hope you enjoyed this week’s column as much as I did participating in it! I can’t wait to do it again sometime, and I hope to be one of the DC designers who contributes regularly. Many thanks to Megan and Julius at the Post for a seamless and fun experience!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Another Sneak Peek: A Peaceful Bedroom!

6 Feb

This sneak peek of a calming, green and neutral-toned bedroom is literally just a tiny peek, but I think it’s worth it.

Are you ready?

Ok. Here we go.

First up is the bed: a gorgeous combination of about seven different fabrics ranging from a lovely suzani print to an elegant lattice to velvets to linens to an off-the-shelf Restoration Hardware print that I had cut to use as cording and flange material. (Phew – that was a lot!) The rug is a simple woven jute and wool – and was a steal if you believe it! – and the fantastic patina-finish bed was existing to the client’s home. I am beyond thrilled with the results.


Next up (and last up — I told you it was a super tiny peek) is the fantastic mirror I chose for the wall that is adjacent to the bed. With the reflection of all those perfect textiles in it, it looks, well, perfect!


Pulling together fabric collections is incredibly fun, and satisfying when it turns out well. These photos make me so happy! Thankfully, my client feels the same way (and gets to live in the room)!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Architecture and Design in the Classroom.

31 Jan

While I was perusing my iPhoto library this morning, I came across photos of the final project I did with elementary school kids back in 2006, when I was still in graduate school and teaching a few afternoons a week at an upper NW charter school for an after-school enrichment program. My class was “Architecture.” That may make you a bit confused, because you see, I’m not an architect. But these kids were eight and they weren’t exactly ready for their M.Arch yet. They were however, eager, focused, sharp, and they impressed me so much with their enthusiasm for learning and their limitless creativity. It took a matter of days before I realized that I could divide them into teams, give them each a box of straws and a handful of rubber bands, and they’d start figuring out how to build stable and structurally sound towers by using trial and error. I didn’t even have to show them first — they got it, and they liked it. Our final project was to build a neighborhood using boxes and “trash” they brought from home – cereal boxes, yogurt cups – the kinds of things that parents of school-aged-children know all about having to save. Their task was also to plan the city so that it made sense and was efficient and safe. Beyond suggesting that they rethink locating the jail next to the neighborhood school, I was able to mostly take a backseat to their ideas; they had good ones. This is what the town ended up looking like:


Finding these images is fortunate timing because I’m starting to think about future classes that I’ll be teaching this year – for graduate students, not kids. As heavy and stressful as that can be, I do love it, and I find that once I get some basic themes and a good structure going I tend to find good ideas for class exercises and projects all over the place. They come in the form of podcasts I hear in the car, rise out of conversations I have with vendors about new products, and they’re always popping up in my RSS-feed. As advanced and worldly as the adult students I now have are, I’ve found that they benefit greatly from some of the same exercises I used to give eight year olds. Not because they’re in need of review or an easy activity to keep busy, but because some of the most creative solutions come when your tasks are fun, open-ended, and colorful. In many ways it’s more challenging to work that way.

Being a designer is great, and being an instructor on top of that is awesome. It’s a complementary pairing, and I feel lucky to be able to do the work that I do. In fact, I’m lovin’ it (…get it?).



Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Stunning Climbing Walls!

20 Oct

This past summer, my husband took me to an indoor top-rope rock climbing class for my birthday. Heights aren’t my #1 idea of a good time but nevertheless I was excited to give it a try. Flash forward a few months and we are both the proud owners of harnesses and belay devices and all that fun stuff. So in short, climbing is awesome, I love it, and you might too.

The typical design of an indoor climbing gym, such as Earth Treks in suburban DC, looks like this:

A typical, though really large, wall. This particular one is at Earth Treks in suburban Washington DC, which is also where we go. It's an awesome experience seeing this for the first time. (image via Earth Treks)

You’ve got your standard sedona-esque walls in that orange-y clay color studded with bright and irregular hand and foot holds. Technicolor electrical tape marked with hand-scrawled ratings and names shoots out of each knob.  These are to mark the courses; if you begin your climb grasping or stepping on a blue hand/foot hold, then you continue up the wall using only the hand/foot holds marked with blue tape.  It’s really a unique experience and it’s exciting and satisfying to say the least. I’m not very strong, but lugging around a 30-pound kid for a year has made me strong enough to climb, and that’s a great feeling.

My husband has always said if we had unlimited land and resources he would build his own soccer field. As someone who never was interested in sports beyond 30 minutes of solitude at the cardio gym, I now think that if I had the same luxury I’d build an indoor climbing facility. And here’s the great news: it need not look like a caricature of Yellowstone!

Here are two very design-centric climbing facilities that took the sport and made it visually stunning, while maintaining true function. These are so neat to me, and I’d love to visit one.

The PekiPeki Climbing Center is an indoor bouldering center located in Tokyo. Bouldering is a type of climbing that uses floor pads but no ropes or belay devices; as such, the height is significantly less at usually no more than 15 feet (versus the top-rope climbs that can be up to 50 feet high). It looks like a climbing GALLERY, doesn’t it?

The PekiPeki Climbing Center in Tokyo (image via PSFK)

Another wall that caught my attention just this week is at Illoiha Fitness Club in, you guessed it, also Tokyo. It’s in the fashion district, and well, that makes sense. Look at it.

Indoor Climbing Wall by Nendo in Tokyo, Japan (image via Toxel)

I question whether the frames are moveable, which is kind of essential for a true climbing gym (as you re-route challenges and move them around fairly frequently), but I suppose that’s not the point of this installation. Especially given that the climbers are ascending the wall in business casual garb. Here’s another shot of the wall, designed by Japanese firm Nendo.

A close-up of the monochromatic foot/hand holds and the subdued, striking aesthetic. (image via Toxel)

I also like the looks of this wall, outdoors in Kathmandu. I love the authenticity, the understated elegance, and the ruggedness of it. This type of installation would fit in an indoor space very seamlessly in the right kind of residence. 

Wall in Kathmandu (image via asianoffbeat)

Which one is your favorite? …or would you rather have a custom-built soccer field like my husband?

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.