Welcome to the latest installment of our Portland Interior Designers segment, which profiles talented interior designers working in Portland, Oregon. Today, we profile Hanna Elizabeth Jones, Designer and Owner of SenojDESIGN.
Originally from the Gulf Coast, Hanna moved to Portland in 1994, where she established her career in Interior Design. From full-room design, down to the details of custom pillows, Hanna believes that design should be “fun, innovative, curious, classic and always comfortable”.
I have always been inspired by color, scale and solving puzzles….hence design being the perfect fit! There is a beautiful balance between finding solutions and expressing creativity though color, textures and pattern, it is the best of both worlds — math/science and art!.”
Creativity, flexibility and listening. You have to have all 3 create success in the design world I truly believe.”
What is the highest compliment you’ve been paid for your work?
Being invited back into the spaces that I create on a social level. I have wonderful relationships with my clients and we become a team working together to achieve the goal of a space perfectly suited to the individual’s taste, needs, and wish list. Creating these lasting relationships really is a fantastic compliment.”
How would you describe your design style?
Traditional with a splash of eclectic.”
Do you have any rules? If so, do you ever break them?
No rules. Except maybe don’t settle for your second favorite. Surround yourself with items and materials you love.”
What is your idea of what a beautiful home should feel like?
A beautiful home is not necessarily one that has a specific aesthetic but rather one that honestly reflects the person or people that live there. If you don’t like wearing dresses and you force yourself into one you won’t be comfortable and those around you can sense that. But when you are comfortable with what you’re in, it shows. This creates a beautiful home — having it reflect you.
A great wool rug, linen drapes and grasscloth walls with a splash of a Greek key somewhere doesn’t hurt though!”
How would you describe your own home’s interiors?
Timeless. I keep the large items classic and clean. Found and collected objects add the touch of antiquity and pops of fun are found in my pillows and art. I like to change items out when my mood dictates it as well as the seasons, keeping the “pop” items small and less expensive allows me to have a new feel when ever I want.”
What inspires your creativity?
Lots! Movies, magazines, books, travel, food, art, you name it and I can find some inspiration!”
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
Having clients truly love where they live. Not just like, or enjoy but LOVE. It is so important.”
What is your favorite room to design, and in which style?
I love living rooms. Creating the floor plan of how we use, traverse and enjoy our spaces is really one big jigsaw puzzle with many solutions!
I also really enjoy small spaces where you can add lots of panache — powder rooms, foyers, even hallways. You can be bold and fun in these spaces…it’s not like you live your whole day in them so you rarely get tired of the punch!”
What are some of your favorite finishing touches when designing a room?
Details such as tapes on drapes and ottomans, unexpected textures (I cannot get enough hide and mohair!), a splash of acrylic somewhere and a stack of great books goes a long way.”
What are your favorite ways to add color and texture to a space?
I love walls for both color and texture — specifically grasscloth and great wallpapers. I love to mix up my textures and most are with natural materials such as linen, wool, leather and metals. It is all about the balance of timeless meets modern, cold meets warm, bright meets subdued. Pillows, throws and a great accent chair are fantastic ways to bring texture in without overdoing it.”
What’s your approach to interacting with clients?
Ask then listen. You may have what you think is the best idea ever for a space, but if the client is not going to be comfortable with it and truly love it, it will show and your design will lack the cohesion that makes a space really shine.”
How involved in the day-to-day details of a project do you like a client to be?
That is entirely up to them. The process is a lot of fun but some people would rather not be involved with every little decision and others love the process. Each client and space is unique and I allow the client to decide their level of involvement.”
What are the most common decorating mistakes made by homeowners?
Settling. Not surrounding yourself with items you love. They don’t have to match in style but when you adore all the items you live with, it shows.
Also one of my biggest pet-peeves: buying sets of furniture. Mix it up, it will look more edited and curated than buying the chair that goes with the sofa or the whole master suite having the exact same look.”
How can a homeowner discover their signature style?
Look through magazines and tear out the pages. Then hand them to someone that doesn’t have an attachment to them and see if they can pick out trends (like a designer!). Do all of them have tufted upholstery? Do they all have natural elements? Are the colors cool/warm/neutral? Clean lines? Rustic wood? Big art? Adding a few trends together is what a signature style is all about.”
What advice do you have for homeowners reading this interview who are looking to remodel their home?
Compile your wish list of aesthetics and function. Images (Pinterest, magazine pages, saved photos, Houzz, dog-eared book pages) will eliminate communication breakdown between you and the designer and/or contractor. Also, things that you do not like are just as important as ones that you do! When starting a project, it is a process of elimination — eliminating styles, color, textures and materials until we are left with the winning selections!
Also, realistically think about your budget. This is a big one and can keep the process from being exasperating and frustrating. Having a well thought out budget allows the designer to save you time by looking at the appropriate vendors, materials and selections.”
What improvements can a person make to their home without spending a lot of money? You pick the room?
Clear clutter, create interest in a handful of items — whether that is paring the room down or amping it up, use your current furniture and re-arrange it throughout the house for a quick change up (yes, the pair of x- benches can be the coffee table or the accent chair in the living room as the entry chair, also swapping rugs around makes a huge difference).
Other big improvements for cheap: touch up your trim with fresh paint, wash your windows and screens, flowers, flowers, flowers, use a magic-eraser (what did we do before these!?) on your cabinets and get some new pillows. Bam — new place!”
When you are not designing, what are you doing?
Playing! Playing in my world consists of: cooking, wine tasting, entertaining, paddle-boarding, cycling, being with my animals, being outside, trying to be close to water, looking for an adventure, traveling and spending time with my amazing partner, friends and family.”
Share something you would like the world to know about you or your ideas.
I am half Icelandic, born and raised on the Gulf Coast and always wear gold jewelry. I am 1 of 5 kids and have a weak spot for lamb and cheese. My nickname is Livet. I grew up riding dressage and stadium jumping and can sail a boat. Billy Joel is my favorite artist and I am terrified of snakes. I have traveled all over but the Cayman’s and Slovenia have been some of my favorites.”