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Meet Jenny Manka of Manka Interiors  

Designer by Heart

Jenny Manka believes that interior design should bring meaning to your home and to your life, as interesting, individual and extraordinary as you are. 

“The right mix of bold, interesting and energetic elements should reflect your individual personality,” says Jenny Manka, owner of Manka Interiors. “Meaningful interior designs should fit the style and values of YOUR home.”

Manka says she loves serving the interior design needs of Leawood and the area, including furnishings, lighting, carpet/rugs, custom fabrics, paint/wall selections and artwork.

In 2017, Manka founded her design firm, but her journey there was a winding staircase. Originally from Hutchinson, Manka didn’t necessarily fit into the small-town mold.

“Instead of posters of boys on my walls, I had posters of works by Van Gogh and Monet. My high school French teacher instilled in me an appreciation for art and culture, so I like to incorporate original art, especially from local and regional artists, into my clients' homes.”

After earning a journalism degree at KU, her career took her into software sales where her tenacity brought success but not fulfillment. Years later, after her first daughter was born, she stayed home. One day, she made a necklace for her sister who wore it to a party. Manka’s jewelry design business took off, culminating in three employees, a rep in Dallas and a feature in Women's Wear Daily.

“I did this for four years, then returned to corporate America (boring). It wasn't until I got remarried that I was able to go full time into interior design.”

The same drive that brought success in other fields is what Manka now applies to a career she loves. “I get to know the client before starting a job, so I can ensure they’re in harmony with their surroundings. I genuinely have liked everyone I’ve worked for, and none of their homes is alike.”

Manka is a huge fan of lighting—the jewelry in a room. She also loves to mix clean lines with antiques, retail with custom. She works with all budgets and is forthcoming in pricing with no hidden markups.

“You don’t have to be wealthy to hire an interior designer. I get a kick out of finding a ‘steal’ for a client. I often repurpose their current furnishings—painting a piece or reupholstering a chair—and I shop as many stores as possible, so their home doesn’t look like a furniture showroom.”

Manka’s own home includes the unexpected like her recent purchase of a gold mirror with rats that she got at a great price at Anthropologie Home. “It might sound creepy, but I love it. That said, I don’t push clients into a look that isn’t them. After all, they have to sleep there.”

Jenny’s Inspiration Quick list: 

• Get the Manka look with no-fail wall color Dover White/Benjamin Moore, adding “explosions of color” with original art. Favorite local artists include Jennifer Bricker-Pugh (Overland Park), Audrey Benskin (Leawood) and Bekah Ash (Iowa City).  

• For a trendy upgrade, mix rich, saturated jewel tones with warm accents. Current project: a powder room painted Galapagos Turquoise/Benjamin Moore with satin gold hardware. 

• Light it up! Manka’s insider tip is to shop children/teen lines—similar to adult lighting but at a fraction of the price.  

 jenny@mankainteriors.com or www.mankainteriors.com

How Jenny Manka is Helping Fight Leukemia

I’m asking the good-hearted people of KC to help the mission of my daughter, Sarah Vrana and her friend, Natalie Swerdlow’s team: ‘Beating Cancer...YOU are the answer!’

My aunt, Ann Manka, lost her life to lymphoma at age 40 on Christmas Eve. I was in 7th grade, and it was the first real loss I had experienced.  Years later, I joined Bar Method of Leawood under Hoddy Potter. She seemed the picture of health. But we lost her to blood cancer. Last June, my husband lost his sister, Marj, at age 54 to leukemia. You may have similar stories.  Sarah and Natalie are leading their team to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Greater Kansas City, and all money stays in KC for research, medical bills and treatment.. Their minimum goal is $50,000, but they’d like to raise $100,000 between Feb. 13 at 12:01 a.m. to April 1 at midnight. (https://events.lls.org/mid/kcsoy20/JennyManka)  

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