I recently sat down with Leigh Jones, the energetic and colorful owner of The Very Thing Ltd. and Leigh Jones Interior Design in Burlington North Carolina, to ask her some questions about interior design and her successful design studio. Leigh has an intuitive creative vision that is always on target. Her use of traditional elements mixed with modern details make the spaces that she decorates timeless. Working with Leigh is a collaborative process and the end result is always a reflection of my personality and taste. She has been able to guide my decisions by listening to my ideas and also by considering the needs of my family and the use of the space. She has encouraged me to let my love of color be reflected in our home and as a result it is a place I love to be!
I hope you enjoy the interview!
What has most influenced your aesthetic and how has it evolved?
I started developing my creative thinking process during 4 years of art school...My mother requested that I teach my 4 year old niece to color inside the lines. My response was "I spent 4 years of art school being taught not to color inside the lines".
Contemporary training coupled with years in the antiques business causes your aesthetic to naturally evolve.
Who inspires your work?
I am most inspired by the Colonial American aesthetic. So clean, so balanced, so functional.
What are your favorite colors?
For my own environment I gravitate toward neutralized colors, colors occurring naturally in nature, probably because I am working everyday with all color, even really clear colors.
What's next for you?
I don't know, but I do know that what people sense that they need is influenced by what is going on in their lives, in their environment, and in the world. I just need to stay sensitive to those needs.
What projects have you been the most proud of?
When customers resources are very limited and I can pull off a good look, that is the most gratifying.
Why did you decide to become an interior designer?
I realized that I had to make a living and weaving ponchos and placemats was not going to cut it!
If you splurge on one item in a room, what should it be?
A good sofa.
What are your don'ts?
Don't let your friends tell you what to do. It will end up to be what they want. Don't buy cheap. Buy the absolute best you ca afford, especially lamps. Don't turn every space in your house over to the children. Don't stress too much over your decorating choices. There are too many options and life is too short.
What are your three must haves?
Good rugs. Good lamps. Good art.
What is good value?
The best design, the best quality, for the best price.
How would you describe your sense of style?
Timeless, avoiding trends at all costs. No one really wants to be redoing their spaces every few years.
Are you a collector of anything?
Antique lace and textiles, my weakness.
What do you find captivating or inspiring at the moment?
Updating my portfolio and collaborating with Mary Beth DeLoache on the design of the website. Even though Mary Beth carries the responsibility of the website, it is still an exciting design project.
Whose personal style do you most admire?
Barbara Barry for her theories on colors and light.
Gil Schafer for bringing his sense of historic architecture to the present.
Tricia Guild for her endless creativity.
Mary McDonald for her sense of drama.
Steven Gambrel - he always hits a home run.
Nina Campbell because she is not afraid to be herself.
I have learned from Leigh that a beautiful space can enrich your life and nourish your soul!