Meredith Ellis, founder of JAMES Showroom, is an Austin-based interior designer specializing in new construction and large-scale renovations. Meredith feels her most important role is to help each client discover the full potential of what their dream home can be. She tailors each project to the client’s personality and lifestyle. Her spaces are always fresh and creative, with a touch of the unexpected.
What inspired this career path for you?
My mom was a designer for 30 plus years, so basically I was born into this profession, but I chose it by my own free will because I am truly passionate about it. I have also been lucky enough to have some of the best designers as mentors throughout my career. The experience and knowledge I gained while working with them was invaluable. When I moved back to Texas almost seven years ago, I missed the camaraderie of the design community in Los Angeles. It fueled my longtime dream of creating a curated collection of beautiful textiles and antiques, offering designers a welcoming, inspiring place to shop and scheme.
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
Travel, books, and JAMES Showroom. With over a thousand fabrics to choose from, I see something new every day. I can pick up a textile and minutes later I’ve created a room in my head.
Tell us about your creative process.
I don’t have a formula. It really depends upon the task at hand, but first and most importantly, I listen. Knowing my client is the key to giving them something that will make them happy. I don’t push them to do something trendy or edgy for my benefit, but rather I show them the potential for making their home the best it could be for their lifestyle. I typically start with a couple of floor plan options, and then I gather images (usually from books) to show the application of different details. I will pull finishes and textiles from my library to create a couple of schemes, and display all of these items on several presentation boards.
Describe your style in 6 words or less.
Classic, layered, livable
What’s a staple in your tool kit?
The obvious tape measure and iPhone … but I’d really be lost without my scale, sketch pad, and a mechanical pencil. The ability to quickly and accurately sketch something out during a meeting is invaluable to help convey an idea, or confirm that something will actually fit properly in a space.
Who do you look up to in the design world?
Bunny Williams has always been an incredible example of how to run a creative and successful business and career. I also love Lisa Fine, Carolina Irving, and Peter Dunham … their use of pattern, texture, color, and overall creative flair is always inspiring.
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
I’d love the opportunity to design and decorate a boutique hotel. It would be the perfect project to let you really push the boundaries and create a collection of very inspiring spaces.
Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.
Do it once, do it right.
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
It’s a toss-up … World of Interiors, House & Garden, and recently Cabana Magazine.
Share a little bit about the pieces you’re consigning on Viyet, e.g., do any have unique back stories, in what kind of space do you hope they end up, etc.?
Most are unique pieces I’ve found and carefully restored and reupholstered in one of our artisanal textiles. Many of the items have been around for hundreds of years, so the quality, craftsmanship, and design ensure they’ll be around for hundreds more. For example, we reupholstered the 19th-Century Empire Chairs in a new Walter G linen, but also refurbished and cleaned the original horsehair stuffing in order to ensure their long-term value. Any home would benefit from the incorporation of an unusual antique piece. It immediately elevates the space and gives it authenticity.
What do you love about Viyet?
The variety of items, the great deals, and that I can shop in my PJs!
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