With over 10 years experience in Interior Design, Rebecca Jansma Principle of Space Grace and Style (SGS) is known for effortlessly combining crisp, clean architecture with thoughtful, detailed and tightly resolved interior solutions. We’ve been following her work for a while and have had the honour to interview her, getting an insight into her creative process, SGS studio and pro tips for interior design students.
What is the first thing you do after receiving the brief for a new design project?
The first point for us is to start by examining the spatial planning, along with materials. The two go hand in hand for us, and often one informs the other. There must be a junction of form and function – the basis of all design.
What key pieces of advice were you given at the start of your career?
This is my third career (I know!!) and I’m like a rock that’s gathered lots of lovely moss… I have learnings from the scientific field as well as management and they have all been invaluable in this line of work. Design is a dark combination of science and art; a place where the left and right sides of the brain collide. My most favourite piece of advice was – make sure you have a back up plan as you’ll never make a living from design! I’m so bloody-minded and persistent that I henceforth set out to prove that person wrong! To this day there is no back up plan…
What is your most favourite part of Interior Design? And most disliked?
My favourite part of the design process is when a client signs off on the final design. Given that the development can take months of work, this is always a joyful moment – for the client as much as us I’m certain. It represents the culmination of so much thought, consideration and discussion in the studio – no detail is overlooked, and the midnight awakenings with design solutions all seem worthwhile after that. We want happy clients who are going to love their spaces for many, many years. The most disliked aspect is discussions over money and budget. Most often there IS a budget, and sometimes the budget doesn’t align with the vision or the client’s expectation. So that’s a very important aspect of what we do – ensuring the expectations are realistic moving forward with the design process and managing the outcomes so that us as designers; the trades and also the client are all satisfied with the outcome.
Where is your favourite place to stay and what do you do there?
My favourite place to stay is Cradle Mountain Lodge in Tasmania’s wilderness. I love the untamed nature on the West Coast of Tasmania and visit at least once every couple of years. I’ve travelled all over the world and wild places are my favourite. At Cradle Mountain Lodge you find the perfect combination of beautiful architecture, great food and wine and bushwalking through some iconic World Heritage listed landscapes.
How do you find products to use in your work? Do you have a favourite magazine / social platform you use? How about your favourite website?
We have our favourite suppliers of course but are always uncovering new products and Australia is a hot bed of great innovative design. I mainly read two design magazines – World of Interiors, and Architectural Digest. Occasionally I’ll dip into others, but the opulence and diversity of both the publications cover most of my design crushes. I love Instagram for quick fixes of beauty, and hope it doesn’t change too much as it evolves. The other guilty obsession is 1stdibs… I can spend hours dreaming and scheming from that website.
What inspires your interior design process?
Often the client inspires the design; or even a piece of art, a rug or story. It’s important for a space to have relevance to the client, so we do try to make it personal. I think as a designer you pick up a lot of non-verbal cues as part of the consultation process and these undoubtedly inform the final design – much of it is subconscious. I’m always inspired by nature and her combinations of colour and material… I couldn’t imagine a more generous muse.
What are people living with now or wanting in their home that wasn’t around five years ago? How are your clients’ lifestyles evolving and how are you serving that?
There is an increasing sense of nurturing within our own homes, and a sense that your home is your haven. People are increasingly time poor, and I feel that a reaction to that is to create a mini escape in your own home. In that sense we have seen a rise in the more spa-like bathrooms – rooms that are more decorative than before, and layered with luxury, from the use of beautiful stones, tiles and mosaics to even installing beautiful floaty linen sheers in a bathroom for 100% relaxation whilst bathing.
What advice do you have for Interior Design students reading this interview?
My advice is to figure out your specific flair. We all have an area that really resonates, and your work will always feel easier in that field. Work to your strengths and create a niche area of expertise. Be tenacious and a perfectionist. There is no room for average design.
What are you most proud of so far?
I’m very proud of my longevity in this business. It’s competitive, but it’s also a profession where you improve with experience. We have recently completed a full renovation of a magnificent Victorian home in East Melbourne. The scope of work was vast, and no surface was left untouched. The results are beautiful; the clients are delighted and so are we!
So, what’s next?
More of the same… Every new project is full of possibility and we are constantly sourcing new product and material to add to our library for incorporation into the next project.