Designer known for traditional style with little funk

Color and classic influences are combined in this welcoming foyer at the Cashiers (North Carolina) Designer Showhouse. Contributed by Tomas Espinoza
Color and classic influences are combined in this welcoming foyer at the Cashiers (North Carolina) Designer Showhouse. Contributed by Tomas Espinoza

Jena Salmon, well-known for her talent of combining old-world elegance with a modern sensibility, was chosen as the lead designer at the Serenbe Designer Showhouse, now through Oct. 8.

Designer & background: Grew up in Houston and graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in interior design. Salmon has lived and worked in Houston, Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, Virginia Beach, Seattle and Atlanta, where she has been for 11 years.

The company: Atlanta-based Jena Salmon Designs (formerly J S Design Group until 2015).

First design job: In the fifth grade, I redesigned my dear friend's bedroom while her mother was at work. My first paid job was a historical home in Houston across from Rice University in the typical Texas style.

Big break: Doing the entire show house for the Dallas Cowboys that benefitted Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Known for: Classic, traditional style with a little funk.

Most every room needs: A mix of old and new pieces of furniture to give it a feeling of balance. Also texture and a living plant/flowers can help give any room life.

Design pet peeves: Rooms that look perfect.

Current design obsession(s): Always loved blue and white. Just used a Thibaut chinoiserie blue and green design in the powder bath at the Serenbe show house.

New (or re-emerging) looks I like: Color is back. Also the re-emergence of traditional styles. For the past five years or so, clients didn't want anything to do with antiques. Now they realize that antiques help make rooms feel more sophisticated.

… and designs/colors I am glad to see go: Grey and industrial.

Fun (or unusual) space: Helped design a private jet.

Biggest design mistake I have made: In the mud/laundry room at my house. Reworking the huge space to make it more efficient and practical. I wish I had thought of that earlier.

… and common mistake homeowners make: Not hiring a designer soon enough.


- Blogs or websites: Coate de Texas; Style Blueprint; The Pink Clutch; and Design Indulgence.

- Instagram: Barry Dixon; Brian Patrick Flynn; Renee Bouchon; Kelly Wearstler; Coastal Living; Southern Living; Susanna Salk; Amber Interiors; John Rosselli & Associates; Suzanne Kasler; and Ashley Stark.

- Atlanta area home/design stores: Mathews Furniture + Design; Swoox, Pryor Fine Art; and Greg Irby Gallery. Duralee; Beau Studio; Stark Carpet; Renaissance Tile & Bath; and Schumacher at the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC). Also Max & Company and Scott Antique Market.

- Places for unexpected finds: Goodwill, estate sales and consignment shops.

- Current project(s): Finishing up a brownstone, which was gutted, in Brooklyn. Also two homes in Atlanta.

- Up next: A Frank Lloyd Wright style house in Cashiers, North Carolina.

Find Jena Salmon at:

· Website:

· Facebook: Jena Salmon Designs

· Instagram: Jena Salmon


2017 Serenbe Designer Showhouse: The Manor at Mado

Thursday-Sunday, through Oct. 8.

Tickets and information at

In Other News