I sat down with Jess Ebert, founder and owner of Four Story Interiors, to chat about what inspired the launch of her business, design philosophy, and inspirations.
Jess has lived in many places, from San Diego to New York City, which undoubtedly has influenced her approach to design and desire to have one's home tell a story of the people that live there. She likes mixing new with old and isn't afraid to play with patterns and texture. Jess shared a recent project with us, proving that a comfortable space suitable for a family doesn't have to forfeit style.
Noteworthy: Tell us about your design background.
Jess: I believe my design experience has been 33 years in the making. My mom will tell you that from the minute I could talk, I was making decisions for the home. I remember as a birthday gift I asked to redecorate my room. I selected the furniture, wall color, window treatments, and fabrics. In middle school, my best friend's mom was a realtor and I loved tagging along when she held open houses. I'd tour each room and think about what worked and what didn't. And dreamed about the day when I could decorate a home. I don't have any formal training. All of my experience comes from working in the field, getting my hands dirty, and soaking up every bit of knowledge from experts in the industry. I am also constantly reading and researching to keep myself at the forefront of what's current.
Noteworthy: What inspired you to launch Four Story Interiors?
Jess: In 2011, my older sister lost her battle with melanoma skin cancer. As anyone who has dealt with the loss of a sibling at such a young age knows, there's no textbook on how to grieve. It took a while for me to come to grips with what it was like to not be able to pick up the phone and call her. But what came from that was a realization that I had to pick my head up and re-evaluate what I wanted out of life and start focusing on the things that made me happy. One of those things was my career. It took a few years to fine tune exactly where I wanted to focus my efforts, but I knew after speaking with my friend and realtor, that I needed to pursue my passion for interior design. My degree is in Public Relations, so I knew about marketing and how to build a brand. Once I mixed that with my love for interiors, everything came together. I am one of four kids, and without each of those siblings I wouldn't be who I am, so that's why I included the number four in the name.
Noteworthy: What is your design philosophy? Sources of inspiration?
Jess: I have two principles that make up the framework of my approach. First, value each individual working on your project, from the client to the builder, and everyone in between. Large scale projects are comprised of many moving parts and every person brings a different skill set to the table. Providing them a platform to showcase their talent lays the groundwork for a successful project because you allow them to take ownership of their work. It also provides me the opportunity to learn more about a specific trade that I can use for future projects.
The second idea is simple, but crucial to creating a space you love. Be true to who you are and how you live your life. I encourage my clients to be practical about how they use their homes and to decorate for themselves and not for what they see on TV or social media. Everyone lives differently and has a different story - your home should reflect that. In regards to where I derive my inspiration, I try to be a sponge. Hotels I visit, restaurant bathrooms (seriously), a gorgeous Instagram account, taking a walk on the beach or around the neighborhood. Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to open up and look around.
Noteworthy: How would you describe your style?
Jess: Having lived all over the country, New York City, Nashville, and San Diego to name a few, I've got a good mix of West Coast laid-back vibes mixed with a Northeast edge. I also respect the traditions weaved into Southern style and design.
Noteworthy: What top trends for the year are your currently loving?
Jess: I love that homeowners are embracing mixed materials. For example, there's been a tendency for clients to hesitate when I suggest brass and nickel in a kitchen, but you're seeing more willingness to understand the depth that mixing can achieve. And I love that neutrals are fresh again, without feeling basic. You can create such warmth and dimension through rich textures, without incorporating a ton of color.
Noteworthy: One word that best describes you as a designer.
Four Story Interiors: Recent Work
"The hallway stretches over 20-feet in length and this is the main thoroughfare for the homeowners, so we wanted it to feel special. The runner is from the 1920s and I had the World's Away lanterns installed to help showcase the high ceilings."
"Two of the best decisions we made were actually the architecture details we added to give this space more character. We beefed up the columns with custom millwork and added wainscoting around the room. I had the navy paint custom matched to the curtain fabric and added grasscloth paper to warm up the walls with texture. The area rug is from Stark. I saw the gorgeous Marcy Gregg piece on Anne Neilson Fine Arts' Instagram page and immediately sent it to my client. It really brings the room together."
"The living room is right next to the dining room so I wanted to carry over the navy and neutral tones, but in a much less dramatic way. The clients spend most of their time in this room so it needed to be comfortable, functional, and beautiful without feeling too precious. The Allison Chambers landscape (from Art House Charlotte) over the fireplace pulls in the color scheme. I drew up a design for the antiqued mirrors and had them made to fit the space on either side of the fireplace."
Jess Ebert is the owner of Four Story Interiors, an interior decorating company based in Charlotte, NC. Jess believes great design should be accessible to all individuals, regardless of budget. She firmly believes the best homes are the ones that tell a story of the people who live within them. The places they have been, the people they have met, and the experiences had.
Jess works diligently to incorporate the things in your home that you love, while also helping you cultivate new, smart furnishings and design choices. Whether you’re newly married and looking for a few investment pieces; a family searching for durability and organization; or empty-nesters looking for a fresh start. Together with her clients, Jess creates a space that tells their story and is uniquely their own. For more, visit fourstoryinteriors.com or on Instagram @fourstoryinteriors.
Images by Candice Lanning, www.thebeautifulmess.com.