St. James’s New Tastemaker

Katie Randall catches up with international interior designer Jennifer Bradford Davis as she touches down in London to launch an intriguing New York-style venture

RiverPlaceimage: River Place

‘My mother strongly believes that wherever you are in the world, you bring your china, cutlery, bronzeware and silverware,’ Jennifer Bradford Davis reveals. ‘It does not matter where you are, you still entertain as though you are in your own home.’

It is excellent advice; this decorator (an ‘old-school’ term she learnt from interior design guru Albert Livingston Hadley Jr.) was clearly tutored in style from an early age. I have the pleasure of meeting with Jennifer at Franco’s on Jermyn Street, just ahead of the launch of her business in London. The ensuing conversation sparkles, as does the restaurant’s exceptionally delicious bubbly. The vivacious, engaging Jennifer explains her love affair with this fair city and the help that she hopes to bring to its residents.

‘I believe in service,’ she says, ‘inviting people into your life that can help you to organise and create a home – that’s what I do.’ She is a traveller of sorts and wanderlust runs in the family. Jennifer grew up in the Orient to a pilot father with dual-citizenship in America and Britain, and a mother who was content to travel with vast trunks filled with her occasion dinnerware. ‘My mother loved to entertain.

When I was a little girl I always watched her preparing for parties. She would change the house all the time, buying flowers and using lighting to develop different moods. She loved creating an atmosphere that transports you.’ This entrenched penchant for perfection and escapism has translated in Jennifer as a deep desire to create a ‘home’ for her clients. This might be through organisation of their space, their belongings or even of their music. Yes, across the pond, music stylists are all the rage.

‘In New York there are so many specialists and supportive people. A music stylist curates the music for you on your iPod and then syncs it all up with your home system. I would like to start this in London as a strand of my business.’ She admits that this service is quite ‘New York,’ St James’s new tastemaker Katie Randall catches up with international interior designer Jennifer Bradford Davis as she touches down in London to launch an intriguing New York-style venture however the modern city worker is so busy and often stressed that a friendly and professional helping hand can be the answer to a variety of quandaries. Having studied at both Parsons The New School for Design and Rhode Island School of Design, the self-confessed ‘organiser,’ is more than qualified to create harmonious, characterful homes. She cut her teeth working with renowned architect Peter Marino, the man behind some of the world’s most impressive residential and commercial projects, including Chanel’s 2012 Avenue Montaigne Parisian boutique and New York’s infamous 740 Park apartment (utilising the largest interiors budget ever raised in the Big Apple, approximately £49 million). Jennifer was working with Peter Marino at the time of the 740 Park project and admits that it was an incredibly exciting period: ‘Marino incorporates a lot of fashion into his work. Our job was to be outrageously creative and create custom everything. Most of the people we worked with could afford anything.’ She jokes, ‘I called it the McMansion phase.’

Jennifer subsequently went on to found her own design business, specialising in high-end residential interiors. The firm is based in New York, but takes on international projects extending throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Europe and South America. In addition, Jennifer operates a retail space Across Forever Home in Mustique, a purveyor of luxurious and unique resort wear and interior pieces. Never one to rest on her laurels, she is also co-founder of Villa Branding, which allows her to bring her experience designing and branding homes on the aforementioned tropical island to villa and yacht owners across the globe. So what exactly will Jennifer be launching in London, I wonder? It is in this moment that the designer becomes really animated: ‘I have all these ideas and I think London is the place to implement them.’ She adds: ‘There are just no services here.’ In her opinion Londoners have very good taste in their own right and may not necessarily need a designer, but she can step in to assist with smaller projects and custom pieces: ‘Without a doubt you need to do custom in London. I love British architecture as the houses are so particular – all weird and wonderful shapes. I’d like to work on these more personal projects.’ When decorating villas, Jennifer quickly identified that, ‘the owners visit once or twice a year and want you to choose and organise everything.’ She picks the candles, linens and table settings and even tells the staff how to make the bed.

She would also love to help clients inventory their wardrobes: ‘One of my clients in Belgravia, oh my goodness, she has so many clothes, she just has to store them. So I have developed a clothing inventory system.’ Fashion is another area that Jennifer is very au fait with. She adores her own collection of equestrian boots and jackets and designer pieces from brands such as Dolce & Gabbana and Maxmara. The businesswoman practices what she preaches, clearly not expecting you to hand over all of your clothes to a system that she does not operate in her own life: ‘I have a lot of clothes and my pug Princess Leila has some too. I am not a grand lady but I love clothes and they are stored in an inexpensive place in Harlem. I have a lady who pops over there for me two or three times a month.’ Other projects include assisting clients list and sell their items on eBay and re-introducing people to customising and craftsmen: ‘We are losing our independent shops and artisans and I want to bring that back, I love monogrammed belongings and personalisation. I can help you with your existing logo, or start one from scratch.’

I am intrigued as to Jennifer’s own aesthetic identity and enquire what inspires her: ‘Our family loves Asian arts and I think it’s something to do with the exotic. Baroque is my favourite period though, it’s crazy and over the top.’ However, it is London that has got Jennifer’s heart racing: ‘The London design scene is incredibly exciting at the moment; it is a sort of celebration of the globe. London

jbd represents the world for me, you do not realise how international you really are.’ Taking in all that London has to offer when she is not hard at work, Jennifer can often be found on the weekends wandering the streets of W1. ‘I have these great old architectural walk cards that my neighbour lent me,’ she says. ‘On one side is a map and route, on the other the history and details about the architecture. I take my dog on the walks and we learn so much. The architecture is astounding; it really represents the height of the British Empire.’ Spoken like a true Anglophile, we think Jennifer Bradford Davis will be a wonderful addition to London’s design scene and can’t wait for her to make her mark – one monogrammed towel or personalised stationery set at a time.

Jennifer Bradford Davis offers home consultation appointments and meetings at her business club in Mayfair. For further details email: (

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