The relationship between an interior designer and a homeowner is a balancing act, built on open communication, understanding, trust, and a shared vision. For Create & Cultivate founder and entrepreneur Jaclyn Johnson, she knew she wanted to work with interior designer Ginny Macdonald—especially since their first project together, the Create & Cultivate's clubhouse turned out so well. So, after Jaclyn and her husband closed on their Spanish-modern home in Los Angeles's Silver Lake neighborhood last March, they recruited the British-born, LA-based designer. What resulted is a stunning redesign that beautifully layers in Jaclyn's modern style to her 1940s home. Luxe, monochromatic materials, like black honed marble, mirror-topped accents, and bouclé upholstery, are paired with sunny pops of color to add warmth. We got a chance to sit down with Jaclyn and Ginny, to chat about their inspiration, favorite moments of the project, and that interior designer-homeowner dynamic. Read on for more.
Tell us a little bit about this project and how you started working with Jaclyn on her home.
Ginny: I started working with Jaclyn on her office for Create & Cultivate in 2019, and our relationship continued from there once she bought her new home. The house is a Spanish-modern style, and Jaclyn’s style tends to sway more towards the modern, so we leaned into that with the design. There were no major renovation works aside from updating the tiles, plumbing, and countertops in the bathrooms and kitchen, so the project was mostly decor-based.
How would you define this redesign in Jaclyn’s home, especially considering it happened during quarantine?
Ginny: Since this was mainly a decor project with some small renovation upgrades, it was fairly seamless despite the pandemic. The only issue we really faced was lead times since a lot of companies had back-ordered products or were working at a reduced capacity. Anytime we had to conduct meetings on-site we made sure to socially distance ourselves and wear masks.
From brainstorming to install day, what is your favorite part of the design process?
Ginny: I love getting the materials palettes together. Whether that’s hard materials like tile and countertops or soft furnishings like upholstery fabrics and rugs, coming up with interesting and layered looks are really what makes a space. The install is an exciting time since you get to see the vision you’ve worked on for months come to life.
The living room beautifully blends inviting neutrals and pops of color. Was that intentional, choosing a few neutral-toned pieces and then layer on different colors, patterns, and textures?
Ginny: I’m obsessed with how the living room came together. While Jaclyn isn’t afraid of using bold color, for the living room she wanted to go with a more tonal, monochromatic look. We started the idea with an off-white sofa, which is a great foundation for any space as you can enhance it with patterns from the pillows and throw blankets. From there, we brought in texture through the black and white rug and color from the mustard boucle-style side chairs. I love these chairs as they add the warmth of color without being overbearing. The other elements we kept to shades of black like the honed marble coffee table, mirror-topped side table, and powder-coated lamp. For the styling, we really wanted to play into the mustard color even more with decor accessories like the pillows.
Tell us a bit about how you and Ginny started working together—first for Create & Cultivate's clubhouse and then on your stunning new home.
Jaclyn: We met via Instagram—I was a fan! I love interior design but the ins and outs of functionality, logistics, and all the items that can come along with it are way out of my realm of expertise so Ginny was a Godsend! The C&C clubhouse was such a fun, inspiring space that I knew I wanted to work with her on the house!
What was your inspiration behind the redesign and the feel you wanted to create for your space?
Jaclyn: The space was truly a blank canvas, it had great bones, arches, and open spaces to play with, but I was truly a white box. I knew I wanted a mix of Scandinavian modern meets Boho-California cool. In theory, I love a minimalist style but in execution, I can’t help but have warm, colorful spaces!
We love the grand built-in desk in your office! With our home workstations even more important now, how do you balance finding inspiration with staying productive and organized?
Jaclyn: Thank you! The room was a challenge cause it had windows on a lot of the walls so I went back and forth and then decided to do a built-in with California Closets customized to my needs—with a built-in file folder drawers, outlets, and more. It’s been a game-changer having all this storage and functionality, especially working from home!
In your living room, a few furnishings seem to anchor the space. What made you choose that furniture to build out the room's aesthetic?
Jaclyn: I knew we wanted the fireplace area to be a statement room! We needed a bold, design-forward chair to help with that, which is why I am obsessed with the bouclé chairs! We also wanted a black marble oval coffee table to fit the space to add some drama and an L-shaped couch for maximum comfort and to create boundaries between the kitchen. It came together so well it’s one of my favorite areas!
If you had to pick, what is your favorite space in the home?
Ginny: I'd say either the living room or main bedroom
Jaclyn: The kitchen!
Now that you both have had time to reflect, is there one note you have for homeowners and interior designers to keep in mind when partnering together for a redesign?
Ginny: I think having expectations set out from the start allows for a smooth process throughout. One thing that clients don’t always understand is how long things can take—lead times, for example. We do our absolute best to expedite things, but when we’re dealing with third-party companies and custom-made items, we don’t have control over everything. It helps that clients understand the worst-case scenario, so there are no surprises along the way.
Jaclyn: Have fun with your space! Don’t get hung up on trends or trying to replicate what other people have!