The Style Files: Jean Liu

Jean Liu is a Dallas-based interior designer who spent the better part of a decade working in her family’s outdoor furniture business before translating her love of design into a full-scale design business, Jean Liu Design in 2007. Jean strives to design thoughtful homes, rather than houses for her clients and aims to “transform spaces into places”. Her work runs the gamut from modern to traditional which is no small feat. As a result, Jean was recognized as a “Next Wave” interior designer by House Beautiful a few months ago. In addition to running a thriving design business, Jean, along with her family, also launched Stori Modern, a tightly-edited collection of chic outdoor furniture at an accessible price point. Jean is certainly one to watch. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know her in today’s installment of The Style Files.

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Jean Liu: Varied but edited; modern but warm; sometimes verging on formal, but always with a sense of humor…

PC: How has living in Dallas influenced your aesthetic?

JL: Most people in Dallas have yards, some larger than others. That coupled with the mild weather makes outdoor living a priority, so when working with clients, we are constantly thinking about the transition from indoor to outdoor spaces and maximizing the time spent outside.

PC: What does your home say about you?

JL: It says “don’t judge a book by the cover”—it’s Italianate in architecture but that’s it; it says we’re young art collectors who still love an antique here and there; it says the house is a work in progress; it says I’m a frustrated gardener who refuses to accept some plants just will not grow in Texas.

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

JL: Movies, fashion, and art

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

JL: Ashe + Leandro, Arent Pyke, Christian Liaigre, Andrea Cochran (landscape architect), Tom Ford, Isabel Marant

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

JL: Character, sense of humor, and compassion.

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

JL: Binge watching “Shameless” after our daughter goes to bed.

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

JL: Katherine Graham of The Washington Post

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

JL: Anytime I can go somewhere without my phone and computer

{Jean’s Favorite Summer Getaway in East Hampton via her Instagram, @jeanliudesign}

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

JL: We’ll be finishing up several new construction projects—all of them modern in style; we are also working on a new apartment concept catered to millienials, and look out for some fun new collections and collaborations from our outdoor furniture line, Stori Modern.

{Chic Outdoor Chairs from Jean’s Company Stori Modern via @storimodern on Instagram}

Go-To Outfit: For work, straight legged black pants by Cos with a collared J. Crew top, and Gucci Ghost leather slippers; For going out: Dolce Gabbana silk pajama set and matching heels. So comfortable, chic and a bit irreverent.

Style Mantra: Keep it stupid simple

Scent: Premier Figuier by L’Artisan Parfumeur

Piece of Jewelry: Vintage Rolex watch from the year I was born. I love the weight of it on my wrist. I don’t use it to tell time anymore but it serves as a reminder to make the most of each day.

Color I Never Tire Of: Black and White

Flower: Lenten Rose

Indispensable Design Element: Really good art

Era for Design: Mid Century

Dream Project: A Bed and Breakfast

Fabric/Textile: Silk velvet of any kind or color

Hostess Gift: A box of Kate Weiser chocolates

Meal: My grandmother’s dumplings—she only made them once a year to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Drink: AM: The Gem’s Green Glow with Cayenne; PM: A Moscow Mule

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Having dinner with my family

3 Things I Love About My City: The airport; the Nasher Sculpture Museum; the “can do” attitude

Weekend Destination: New York City

Hotel: Fendi Private Suites, Rome

City: New York…every chance I get…

Museum: Cooper Hewitt

Artist: too many to just name one but Jonas Wood, Gillian Carnegie, Thomas Struth

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”

Actor/Actress: Meryl Streep—she just keeps getting better…

Prized Possession: My small drawing by John Currin

Risk Worth Taking: Jaywalking while I’m out for a run

Greatest Extravagance: Taking Blade to the Hamptons

Go-To Color Palette: Black and white

Rule to Break: In everyday life, starting a sentence with a conjunction. In design, there are no rules. That’s what it means to be a creative.

Movie Set Design: The Intern

I can never have too many…pieces of Old Paris Porcelain



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