Jeffrey Douglas of Douglas Design Studio Talks 20-Year Career and Goals For The Future [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

Jeffrey Douglas - The Scoop
(Photo : Courtesy of Douglas Design Studio - Interior Designer Jeffrey Douglas )

For this week's The Scoop, we had the opportunity to interview award-winning interior designer Jeffrey Douglas of Douglas Design Studio.

The Toronto-based design firm was established in '95 and today, after 20 years, Jeffrey and his team continue to transform and enhance the lives of their clients through home design. 

Jeffrey views the world with an artist's eye to find new inspiration, and is fervent for travel. In both furniture and interior design, each of his projects reference past cultures and styles, while juxtaposing a freshness and timelessness.

However, design isn't Jeffreys only passion. Find out what other activities the designer devotes his free time to in our interview below! 

MB: Who is Jeffrey Douglas? As an individual and as a designer? 

JD: I'm artistic at heart and have always drawn and painted. I am particular, and think in a very detailed fashion. I'm interested in people and derive inspiration from them, so I believe the most unique ideas come from collaboration rather than isolation. This interest also makes me an effective listener and negotiator with architects, builders and tradespeople. I love helping my clients realize that a home that is uniquely their own and an expression of who they are. 

MB: Did you always have an interest in interiors, when do you believe you realized your talents?

JD: As a kid I used to draw house plans. I recall one in particular that I drew at the age of 13. It was a circular home with a pool in the center with each level a few steps up, spiraling up to the master bedroom. I could see the spaces so clearly, and I still do. I'd love to build it one day. 

MB: What was the initial "sign" that propelled you to build a brand?

JD: My design focus has always been interpretive, and ever-changing to avoid the boredom of a rut, until recently when I noticed a commonality between items I had designed for different clients. Not a sameness, but a consistency to the approach. Then I looked back, up to seven years back, and felt the same vibe. That was my sign. 


(Photo : Courtesy of Douglas Design Studio - Jeffrey Douglas Interior)


MB: Where do you seek inspiration? What continues to facilitate your growth as a designer? 

JD: It's banal, but I see inspiration everywhere. It's about looking at the world with an artist's eye until you see into things, you feel them and become aware of their origins. Traveling is my favorite way to refresh. 

MB: Who is your client? What do you believe it is about your work that intrigues people and keeps them loyal? 

JD: My clients are fascinating people. They are curious and they want to learn and contribute to the process. They appreciate and value creativity and are confident to sculpt something new. My clients have told me they come back to me, because I listen to them. I care about their lives and they trust that my creativity will always be in support of their needs. 


(Photo : Courtesy of Douglas Design Studio - Jeffrey Douglas Designs - Damson Credenza)


MB: How do you differentiate yourself in today's industry? 

JD: I approach the interior sculpting of a space, integrating decorative elements more seamlessly into the architecture. Furniture has always been a passion and has led me to come out with my own collection, Jeffrey Douglas Studio Line. Most importantly, I pride myself on being an individual. I try never to copy, and I revel in discovery. 

MB: Could you define your aesthetic in 3 words? 

JD: Thoughtful, appreciative and detailed. 


(Photo : Courtesy of Douglas Design Studio - Jeffrey Douglas Interior)


MB: Do you have a specific developmental process or does it depend on the client? 

JD: I take every client on a bit of a journey. Everyone comes to the table with a different mix of associations, apprehensions and desires. I want to know all of those things, including their favorite foods, favorite places, worst childhood experience, happiest moment, most important family heirloom, etc.  With this knowledge, I gather images and we do a love/hate analysis and from that a vision develops. I use the top three images as a touchstone as we proceed into deeper decisions to be sure we're on the right track. I also challenge them to find just three "emotive descriptors" to describe the way they'd like each room to feel. We test future ideas against those initial instincts. 

MB: What is something that most people may not know about you?

JD: Most people may not know that I write poetry. I am also passionate about helping youth in need and improving mental health understanding in our society. 

MB: Who has been a mentor or role model for you over your 20-year career? 

JD: I admire the work of French architect Jean Nouvel for his rigor and pared-down-to-the-essentials aesthetic. I also love the work of Andrée Putmann for her perfect, modern elegance. You can see the inspiration in the pieces I've designed, like the James sofa or the Orbit desk. 


(Photo : Courtesy of Douglas Design Studio - Jeffrey Douglas Designs - Orbit Desk)



MB: What do you believe is your legacy?

JD: I hope for some of the things I've designed to stand the test of time, age well and feel new at any time. Trends come and go, but style and quality can last and last, and among my furniture pieces I try for elements that will continue to be relevant even as tastes change. 

MB: Where do you see yourself and the Douglas Design Studio in the future?

JD: I see working internationally on high quality hotels and spas as an extension of the residential work I love. I am keenly interested in culture and how design is a reflector of our individuality. I will continue to expand the furniture line to encompass a wide range of needs, styles, eras and cultures — with elegance. 


(Photo : Courtesy of Douglas Design Studio - Jeffrey Douglas Interior)


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