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Alyson Jon, Interior Designer

Alyson Jon

Every home has a story to tell

Famous American interior designer Albert Hadley once said, "The essence of interior design will always be about people and how they live. It is about the realities of what makes for an attractive, civilized, meaningful environment, not about fashion or what's in or what's out. This is not an easy job."  After sitting down with Gregory Frederick of Alyson Jon Interiors and discussing how he spends his time and the work he does with his clients, that quote had never been more accurate.

One of the first things I asked Gregory was what was his official title or primary role at the store, his response was straight to the point. "I do everything," he said, "I am the prodigal son of Alyson Jon." Going back to 1967 when the business first opened Alyson Jon was a family run business. As time passed, an outsider was invited in to help run the company, and 10 years later, Gregory is still there, no longer an outsider, and is now the full-time captain running the ship. Handling everything from the showroom displays, purchasing furniture, meeting with clients, and, of course, decorating homes, it seems when it comes to an interior designer, there is nothing Gregory can't do. His passion and love for what he does are as clear as a Baccarat crystal vase.

Gregory is originally from New York City but has spent countless years before his move to Houston, traveling the globe and absorbing the history and the culture from every place he visited. From Rome to London, Greece, India and even Moscow, USSR. Gregory frequently visited museums, studied history and architecture, and become fascinated with the stories behind unique pieces of furniture, art, and collectable objects. These valuable years spent traveling have significantly impacted Gregory's style and aesthetic as a designer.

A client once told him, "My home is an eclectic overview of my passage through life." And that quote has stuck with Gregory throughout his entire career and become the core concept behind how he works. When describing the process of working with a client, he told me it was like marriage counseling. He gets to know his clients on such a personal level, understanding not just their likes and dislikes when it comes to home décor, but what kind of personality do they have, what their hobbies are, what makes them tick. "It's important I get to know as much as possible about my clients before I begin working with them. At the end of the day my clients have to love the end result, they are the ones who live in that house, not me."

This process seems to be working as Gregory has become lifelong friends with so many of his clients long after his work is done. "Decorating people's homes is very personal, very intimate. They let me, a complete stranger come into their private spaces and completely transform it. And since a project can take anywhere from 6-12months, I build strong relationships with them over that time frame. I have even had clients give me the keys to their homes, as they trust me enough to go in there without them to fix a room or add a new piece. When I get the keys, that's when I know I've done it right."

But getting the keys is not an easy process. After a consultation with a client, Gregory studies pictures he took of their home and begins to make notes on his plans for each room. "I begin to build a road map in my head about what will and won't work for that client; that way, when I travel and come across a unique piece of furniture or painting, I know the exact home that should belong in." And the pieces Gregory sources come from all over the world, one of a kind pieces that help tell a story about who his client is and the life they have lived. Starting with one room at a time, Gregory begins with learning the history of each piece of furniture a client already has and looks at new ways to use it within that room, mixing the old with the new to create a space his clients love.

I asked Gregory what his favorite room was to decorate, and his response was the family room. "The family room is a room for everyone, so it gives me a chance to get really creative and bring in colors and objects the clients might not necessarily think would work together, but when they see the final result, they absolutely love it." And having the clients love his work is precisely the results Gregory is hoping for when he starts a new project. "I did a lot of work on homes after Harvey and seeing clients cry with happiness once I was finished really touched my heart. It reminds me how important a home is to a person, and it's humbling for me to know I can bring some joy back to those people who lost so much."

So whether you call it interior design or marriage counseling, decorating someone's home is not an easy task. It takes hard work, patience, and someone prepared to put their heart and soul into each project, ensuring that at the end of the day, every home has a story to tell.