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Jessica Lagrange on Interior Design, Collaboration, and Chicago

Jessica Lagrange Interiors is known for luxury interior design and architecture that spans a breadth of periods and styles. Reflecting more than a “signature look,” the firm’s portfolio markedly embodies the lifestyles of its diverse clientele. Through this interview, we got to know more about the firm’s renowned founder and principal, Jessica. Want to know how she works with her team and clients to create these vibrant spaces, the backstory on their recent website relaunch, and how she loves to spend her Sundays? We did too.

"Urban Loft" project

What does interior design mean to you?

I believe people look at a room and often think "oh, I can do that, how hard can it be?" But it’s an incredibly complex, intimate, and challenging process. You need to merge form, function, and content to create something that’s practical, comfortable, and also aesthetically pleasing. And you have to dig really deep in so many ways to do so, from mining your client’s wants and needs, to knowing everything that’s out there in the marketplace to fulfill them. So interior design is a miraculous tool. I think of it as the connective tissue of a home; it holds everything together, improves function, and lets you keep things flexible and forgiving.

What is your design process like? How do you get to know your clients?

At every stage of the project, we ask each client questions about their style and the way they live… lots of questions! Nothing is out of bounds. For example: What does a typical day look like? Do they need a dark room to sleep? Do they cook at home or order in? And how do they entertain? If so, what does that mean for them? Of course, it’s most fun to get to know our clients over drinks by the fireplace at RM Champagne; that’s why our clients become our friends.

"Astor Street Residence" project

How would you describe your "signature style"?

We wouldn’t! Our team works very hard to NOT impart our personal styles on clients. Instead, we get to know our clients really well to ensure that the design of their homes reflects their aesthetic. We want clients to be truly comfortable that their homes are a reflection of them, not us. That being said, when our client is a couple with wildly different styles, that’s when it gets interesting! We love the challenge to combine the two aesthetics into one cohesive, successful interior.

What inspired your new website?

Honestly, it was completely driven by IT. Rick Valicenti and Thirst did such an amazing job designing a timeless look for our former site, but it couldn’t support all the new and evolving social media platforms we wanted to use. So given all the technical work required, we started from scratch with Rick and the team at Thirst. They are not only our partner, but also our friends at this point. The new design is so smart, fresh, and effective. We couldn’t be more pleased.

"Lake Shore Drive Penthouse" project

What can we look forward to reading on your new blog?

Anything that relates to design, which means everything! We see so many incredible new products; partner with so many fantastic artisans, suppliers and dealers; learn so much about materials; come up with some pretty interesting solutions to design issues… we want to share it all and give credit to our smart partners so everyone else knows about them too. Design, just like everything in life, is about teamwork and collaboration.

Who is your ideal client?

As I said above, our focus is on teamwork and collaboration. So our ideal clients are those who we have a great relationship and partnership with, and with whom we have a mutual trust. It just doesn’t work otherwise, and is probably the single most important thing to consider when we choose a client and when they choose us as their designer. All of the little swatches of fabrics and pictures of pretty pieces will become a realization of their vision, and if they believe that as well, then the project will truly be a success!

"Vintage Lake Shore Drive Residence" project 

What are some of your favorite local resources?

There are so many great resources in Chicago, and we have so many favorites! We always go see Barbara at Douglas Rosin for special one-of-a-kind accessories, both for homes and to wear ourselves, especially her vintage designer jewelry by Chanel, Hermes, Cartier, and more! We’re also regulars at The Find for their fabulous and deep stashes of vintage and antique furniture and accessories. And we’ve been turning to Jayson Home forever for accessories, gifts, and floral arrangements.

What does your perfect Sunday look like?

It’s the perfect time to catch up on all my design reading, but even if I spend most of the day reading it’s still impossible to get through everything. Thankfully, I have a team of very smart, in-the-know designers who always have their ‘eyes’ on design via every media! More minds are always better than one.

"Dream Home 2014: Study" project

What inspired your own home?

Without a doubt: my family. Our interests and travels are reflected everywhere, from the little straw pieces from Mexico on our shelves, to the fabric that came from turbans I brought back from India, to the record covers on the wall of my son’s bedroom. It’s my perfect interior because it mirrors us, and my philosophy is that your home has to reflect who you are, how you live, and what you love.

What are you looking forward to most right now?

We’re so lucky to be in such a vibrant, culturally-rich city. There’s always something happening, from fabulous antiques shows and art fairs, to incredible cultural offerings. And I’m doubly lucky because both my sons live in New York, which increases my exposure to all these offerings. I love our city, my family, our team, and the places I travel so much that I have to say I look forward to absolutely everything.

"State Parkway" project 

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