Q&A With Jaclyn Genovese
Casaza: How did you get your start?
Jaclyn Genovese: I owned a fashion boutique on Queen Street West called Jacflash for seven years. One day I woke up and realized I wasn’t excited to go to work anymore. As time passed and this feeling intensified, I decided to close the doors of Jacflash. Since I lived in the apartment above the store, closing meant that I had to move into a new place. At the time I had a big old dog, named Gunther, so I wanted to find a house with a backyard for him to run around in.
My budget was on the lower end so I settled for what my friends called a creepy, haunted house. For the next two weeks, with lots of time and hard work, I redesigned the entire house. My friends came back over and were shocked to see the makeover and soon started asking me to do their own places. From there, Spaces by Jacflash was born.
After gaining some experience, a friend of mine who played in the NBA asked me to design his new condo. After this project, I received press and some high-end clients, and I knew that I would soon need employees. I hired a few team members and the rest is history! They specialize in the technical side of interior design: floor plans, elevations, electrical plans, HVAC drawings, and 3D sketch ups, while I stick to overall design intent and sourcing.
C: How would you describe your style?
JG: I would describe my personal style as constantly evolving, but I love clean, modern spaces with organic touches, combined textures, and lustrous touches. I believe the most unique thing we do at Spaces by Jacflash is to design a space according to our clients’ style, rather than creating projects in our own style every time. From modern and industrial to shabby-chic to eclectic, our designs reflect the personality, taste, lifestyle, and culture of our clients.
C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
JG: I feel inspired and find new ideas in places I’ve travelled. My family is scattered around the world, so I am often visiting and observing culture, art, and design in different countries, which translates into my multi-culturally layered designs. I am always taking notes and photos of the restaurants, hotels and homes I visit, and feel particularly inspired by antique markets.
C: Favorite room in the house?
JG: My favourite room in my house is the master bathroom. I designed it to look like a luxury hotel bathroom – it’s open, airy and bright with a marvellous freestanding bathtub. My bathroom is my favourite place to hang out in the morning; I like to listen to podcasts or ebooks while I get ready for any meetings or events to come. I have friends that often take “staycations” in the city with their partners and I am blessed to have designed the bathroom of my dreams; it feels like a staycation every time I walk into it.
C: Design rule you don’t subscribe to?
JG: I don’t subscribe to any rules at all! I love mixing different styles, textures, and new pieces with old. I am always fusing modern pieces with antiques, lustrous textures with organics, and sophistication with comfort to reach balance in every room.
C: Recent project that inspired you?
JG: I was recently recruited to design a monochromatic event space in the iconic New Era building on Queen Street. We couldn’t make any permanent changes to the space as the pop-up would last just 3 weeks and had to be demolished and cleaned in 36 hours, so we got creative! We built walls, ceilings, and re-floored over the existing ones – which meant we had to do framing, drywall, mudding, sanding, and painting in each room. We built four rooms, each with its own monochromatic theme as per the company’s logo colours. We sourced the perfect fabric to match the company’s colours, then re-upholstered and painted all furniture pieces accordingly. My favourite was the pink room, as it isn’t every day that a designer can create an entirely pink space! I also love the interactive mirror setup we put in the centre of the room.
C: Favorite texture/pattern/color?
JG: I just love mirrors! They can entirely change a space. They make any room feel bigger and brighter, and can add elements of drama depending on what frame and technique are used (patina, smoked, coloured tints etc.).
C: What is “good design” to you?
JG: Good design, to quote Marie Kondo, “sparks joy” in me. I love a space that’s clean and modern enough to not feel cluttered (I can’t concentrate or work around clutter!), soft and warm enough to be cozy, and organic enough to stimulate ease, inspiration, and cheer.
C: Pack your bag! You’re moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
JG: I am forever inspired by Jenna Lyon’s homes (she’s the former creative director and president of J.Crew). I just love how she mixes unexpected elements to make each space characterful, refined, but still relaxed.
C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
JG: Cleanliness! Hosting people is the ultimate motivator to get your space into tip-top shape. Instead of doing it all in one go, plan days ahead to minimize stress. A week prior to hosting, organize and de-clutter your home: donate the items you haven’t used in the last year, organize all drawers and cupboards so that everything is easily accessible, clean out bathroom medicine cabinets and more (there will always be a snooper)! During the party, clear guests’ plates and cups as they finish so there aren’t dirty dishes lying around. This will ensure your guests feel comfortable and at ease throughout the event.
C: Best advice for DIYers?
JG: Ask for help when you need it! One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that you can’t do everything on your own. So especially for more difficult projects, ask someone who is skilled in that area to help you.
C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
JG: Hire someone who you’ll have fun with! Renovations can be stressful and the design process can cause tension between the homeowner, various contractors and the designer, because everyone is trying to do the best job they can on the timeline that works for them. For this reason, it’s important to feel comfortable with your designer; to collaborate, laugh, and speak honestly together will result in an overall positive experience.
C: What is one design trend you are most excited about this season?
JG: I don’t take trends too seriously, though one trend that’s big this season is the mixing of styles, textures, eras, shapes, and pieces from around the world, which has dictated my design process from the very beginning. Similar to fashion, design trends come and go. The last thing you want is to look back in a year, after spending ample time and money designing your home, and ask yourself “What was I thinking with all of those pineapple prints?”
I’m excited that rounded, curvy furniture is coming back this season, as it creates a soft and inviting look, bringing a contemporary update to more traditional spaces.
C: How do you take your coffee?
JG: I actually stopped drinking coffee three years ago when I noticed it was making me feel drained by about 3 o’clock in the afternoon every day. My drink of choice is now a matcha latte, with cashew or coconut milk and raw honey. Matcha contains the same amount of caffeine as coffee, but has a more energizing and long-lasting effect so I don’t crave that afternoon cup!