Jenny's credentials include a degree from the prestigious Art History program at Williams College and studies in Residential Interiors from the Boston Architectural College. After working for firms in both Boston and Chicago, this year she launched her e-design services, Jenny Brewster Style, along with The Foo Dog Blog. I am a HUGE fan! Jenny graciously agreed to an interview, which you can read below while enjoying a few e-design samples from Jenny Brewster Style.
TGP: How did you become interested in interior design, and when did you decide to pursue it as a career?
TFD: I think it was kind of inevitable. My mother is extremely stylish and was always decorating and re-decorating our house, so I spent a ton of my childhood in antiques stores all over Long Island and New York, and being dragged through ABC Carpet and the D&D Building in the city. And we always toured historic houses when we were on vacation or home. It didn’t occur to me until a lot later that not everyone grew up like that. I was working in fashion for the first few years after college and I got a really good piece of advice – what you do when you’re goofing off at work is what you should actually be doing. So after reading all these interior design blogs constantly while at work and getting steamed because I thought I could do better than all these girls only a bit older than I was, I decided to go to art school.
Kiawah Island, SC Family Room
TGP: Which decorator, individual, and/or design period has served as your greatest inspiration?
TFD: My parents are both immigrants, so even though I grew up in the northeast, I think I came to appreciate the traditional style of the region with an outsider’s eye. The relaxed, faded, formality of New England homes has always been very special to me. Antiques and heirlooms mixed into with more casual pieces. Everything going together, but not looking overly decorated or styled. So I guess if there’s one person that’s inspired me the most, it’s got to be Sister Parish. Her work was what really got the ball rolling. And then all the people coming out of Parrish Hadley, and now those peoples’ protégés. Right now there are a few people’s work who I keep coming back to year after year, and I think it’s because not only are they immensely talented, but they understand the history and heritage of the elements they incorporate. Meg Braff, Ashley Whittaker, Christina Murphy, and Palmer Weiss are always creating the most beautiful things.
Coastal Connecticut Family Room with Mod Style
TGP: Describe your dream home. What style and era of architecture do you gravitate towards, and how would you decorate?
TFD: Oh that’s hard, I love so many things!! But I’m definitely a traditionalist. At the moment I’d have to go Georgian revival -- red brick, sprawling, symmetrical, dormers, killer pedimented doorway. I strongly believe that the décor of a home should make sense with the architectural style of the structure and relate the surroundings, so knowing my dream home would be in the northeast, I would decorate in the classic, comfortable Anglo-American style, mixed with lots of color and personal touches.
French Garden Inspired Living Room
TGP: We share a passion for real estate stalking… I am still swooning over the Aspen home decorated by Carolyne Roehm that you uncovered for sale! How did you begin this pastime?
TFD: It’s my biggest vice! Well my family has always had a home in Amagansett and out east all the shops, like in many resort towns, have stacks of real estate magazines out in the front. And everyone looks at them and has one hanging out of their tote bag, even if you’re not looking to move. Real estate stalking is just part of the culture. It didn’t occur to me that other people don’t do it!
French Garden Inspired Dining Room
TGP: When did you decide to start Jenny Brewster Style? What services do you offer?
TFD: Oh well, it’s been a long time coming, I’ve been thinking about it forever. I only recently got to the place where I felt I was ready to be doing work for other people. Currently I’m offering e-design services, accessorizing, and color consulting. But it totally varies project to project depending on what a client wants – just shoot me an email!
French Garden Inspired Master Bedroom
TGP: Tell me more about your e-design services. Who would be an ideal candidate?
TFD: Well it’s definitely a different project depending on what the client needs. I can furnish an empty room (or rooms!) from scratch, or show you ways to zhush what you have depending on the budget. Anyone looking for an easy and fun way to add fresh classic style to their home would be a good candidate!
Brooklyn Bedroom with Chinoiserie Style
TGP: I love the name of your Tumblr account and now blog… How did you come up with the name?
TFD: Thank you so much! It was the very first thing that popped into my head when I started thinking about blog names – The Foo Dog Ate My Homework. It was a time when everyone was calling their blog something short and cutesy. I thought I wanted to go that way, but I couldn’t get the Foo Dog Ate My Homework out of my head. I’ve always loved any sort of Chinoiserie madness, the kookier the better and I never did my homework growing up and was always making creative excuses. I never had a dog so I couldn’t use the old stand-by, “the dog ate my homework” but a Foo Dog I definitely had… So making my “real blog” Foo Dog Blog was a natural choice. I don’t have any intention of getting rid of my Tumblr, so I wanted their identities to be linked.
TGP: What is your favorite design element that stands the test of time?
TFD: Shocker -- Chinoiserie elements of all sorts: blue and white porcelain, Chippendale fretwork, anything with a pagoda. Whether subtle or fanciful, if you see something in an 18th century London townhouse, a Regency country home, chic midcentury apartments, city homes, seaside homes, and realize that thing looks beautiful in all those places, that’s clearly something that’s going to last forever.
Jenny Schnabl Brewster
I loved getting to know Jenny better, and I hope you did too! You can follow her new blog and learn about her design services at The Foo Dog Blog.