As Jean Liu Design (jeanliudesign.com) prepares to open in a shiny new space on Dragon Street in the Design District, we talk to the eponymous owner about the past year and her favorite new design trend.
Design darling Erin Sander marries form and function in each of her gorgeous projects. PHOTO COURTESY OF JEAN LIU DESIGN
Jean Liu’s eye for style lends itself to her fabulous projects. PHOTO COURTESY OF JEAN LIU DESIGN
Congratulations on the big move. Tell us about your new space.
The new office on Dragon Street will be an amazing opportunity to create a space from the shell, and the building is shared with other creative types who aren’t directly in the interior design world, so it’s a great group of people with similar, but not competing, interests.
What has the past year been like for your design firm?
We are feeling extremely lucky—we started working from home in March, and then about three weeks to a month in, the phone started ringing and hasn’t stopped since—everybody is attempting to make their homes more livable as they spend more time at home and transition extra bedrooms and dining rooms into workspaces. We’ve also started working on a couple of hospitality projects, the most exciting one being the new Sassetta, which was once in the Design District and will be reopening in The Joule hotel.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JEAN LIU DESIGN
What has changed in the way that clients approach design?
It’s been a lot more liberating! We used to work with clients who would be building a house and need four bedrooms, four baths, neutral, good for resale value, etc. These days, clients want the most enjoyment out of their homes. In new-construction projects, we’re seeing a lot of thought going into things like mudrooms, a usually overlooked space—doctors including a space in their home where they can take off their scrubs and clean up, for instance. It’s also nice to see clients take on very specific functions for rooms instead of just converting something—with people foreseeing that they will be working from home for quite a while, they are designing beautiful offices for themselves instead of converting the dining room. And we’re even noticing that clients with second homes, who used to just send things they’d purged from their main home, are now making it a priority.
What design trends are you noticing or do you love the most right now?
I am seeing a lot of clients designing two kitchens. They like the idea of the open kitchen concept, but don’t want the mess of cooking to be visible when they are entertaining. So, we create a font kitchen and back kitchen, which is used for heavy cooking, chopping, assembling and all the mess. We’re trying to break up the functions of a kitchen. I just finished a project in Preston Hollow like this, where all the heavy stuff is the ‘back kitchen,’ which is also used as a pantry.