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The Influence of Design

From Stylist to Interior Designer, Jennifer Rhode Strikes the Perfect Balance

Article by Cassidy Ritter

Photography by Heather Knierim

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

Most people are afraid to put too much color in a room or mix and match patterns, but local interior designer Jennifer Rhode has found the perfect balance.

“I find that bright colors and unexpected patterns really enhance the feeling of a space,” Jennifer says. And her most recent project on Christmas Tree Drive is the ideal combination of a highly edited, modern space with vibrant colors and bold patterns that create an inviting, warm home.

With each project, Jennifer starts by consulting her clients to determine their wants and needs. Her clients on Christmas Tree Drive needed a comfortable, easy environment for two children that also resonated with the adults of the household and a spunky French Bulldog. To accomplish this, Jennifer selected felt side tables and a big, soft crocheted ottoman for the living room for the kids to safely move around and a striped runner on the stairs so the dog wouldn’t slip. She also placed vintage rugs and hung colorful artwork throughout the home to give it cheerful pops of color. “We were able to make these kinds of accommodations without compromising on the overall design,” Jennifer says.

Jennifer also paired the wood tones from the home’s interior and exterior with a neutral-colored palette that she says gives the eyes a place to rest. The furnishings and accent pieces, however, are full of texture and color.

There’s also a consistent style throughout the home. The interior walls feature only one paint color, and Jennifer created a sense of continuity by repeating tiles, copper light fixtures and other materials throughout.

Part of Jennifer’s design process involves exploring art galleries, shopping online for unique products and perusing antique stores and flea markets. She says she often finds something special and holds onto it until she finds the right client to place it with.

“With Christmas Tree there were several pieces that I've loved for a long time and finally found a good home for them, which was really exciting,” she says. “I love an eclectic mix: clean, pared-down pieces with vintage ones, neutral areas with pops of color, simple structures with a surprising twist. And I always like some whimsy thrown in.”

From the home’s office to the nearby stairs and the outdoor dining area, each space was created with intention and boasts an unexpected piece.

Jennifer’s clients for this recent project wanted the office to be light and airy, even when the door was closed. So Jennifer worked with craftsman Roger Sims to design an angled glass panel that echoes the lines of the stair railing. These sharp, black lines also inspired the outdoor area, which features an expansive steel pergola whose shadows create visual art on sunny days. This pergola was designed by Ashley Stevens of Evoke Landscape Design and Construction.

But Jennifer hasn’t always been keen on unexpected patterns and bright colors.

She started her career in fashion in Calvin Klein’s design department for accessories, where she found Calvin’s minimalist respite brought her a sense of calm among the “whirlwind of visual stimulation” in New York City, she says. After working as a wardrobe stylist for print and TV commercials and crafting windows for Banana Republic, Jennifer moved to Amsterdam where she was captivated by the way Dutch architects and designers blended old structures with modern interiors. She also fell in love with the idea of “gezellig,” a broader social concept to describe something inviting and friendly.

“My aesthetic has been heavily influenced by the minimalism of Calvin Klein and the idea of ‘gezellig,’ or coziness, from Amsterdam. I believe a modern space can be warm and inviting, as well as clean and edited,” Jennifer says. “Over time, I think I have gotten more playful and bold in my use of color and texture.”

More information about the project:

  • Interior Design: Jennifer Rhode of Jennifer Rhode Design
  • Interior photos: Heather Knierim of HBK photography
  • Architect: Mark Gerwing of M. Gerwing Architects
  • Builder: Ron Monahan of Ron Monahan Construction
  • Landscaping: Ashley Stevens of Evoke Landscape Design and Construction
  • Vintage furniture sourced from Mod Livin’ of Denver
  • Artwork by local artist Sarah Kinn