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17 Apr

Eye on Design: John Fernandez


We asked top interior designers about their go-to colors; what's hot and not; market must-sees and more.
This week: John Fernandez of John Fernandez Interiors.

How would you describe your signature style?
Collected and curated. One of the lovelier compliments I receive from clients and their friends is that my interiors do not look “decorated.” The rooms look as though they happened naturally.

When and how did you know you wanted to design interiors as a career?
I was working as head of visual merchandising at an upscale furniture store in New Orleans, and was sent out on a call to help a gentleman figure out a solution to his “drapery issue.” I was intimidated when I arrived at the English Tudor mansion on Audubon Park. Greeted by a butler, I was ushered into the drawing room. I looked around and thought, “Wow, this is bad.” I got over my intimidation and realized that I was equipped to make it better. My experience creating vignettes for the store served me well. I became “lead designer” for the store, and eventually launched my own business.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
The people and the relationships. Clients become friends, always. The jobs become collaborations, and the homes seem, somehow, “ours.”

What’s the first piece you like to begin a room design?
Furniture layout. I always think of the human element as it relates to conversation distances, options for sitting and tables for drinks, etc. A good layout is key to building a great room.

What design "rules" do you love to break?
I love to use dark colors and oversized pieces in very small rooms.

What are your go-to colors?
For light and airy interiors, I use Benjamin Moore Vanilla Milkshake. My go-to darks are Iron Mountain and Regent Green, also from Benjamin Moore.

What's hot? What's not?
Mixing modern elements with weathered antiques is a classic mix, but it also happens to be “a thing” right now. Not hot is a tough call for me because I believe all styles have merit. That said, I think the oversized upholstery pieces of a few years ago are a bit “done.”

Favorite AmericasMart destinations?
J Douglas, Codarus and Zentique are always my starting points. I love my recent discovery of Jaipur Living for rugs.

What are some pro shopping tips at Market?

Study the guide for categories: furniture and accessories, outdoor, gifts, etc. Start at the top floor. Work the whole floor until you get to the elevators again. You may see something that you did not think you needed. It’s the best way to “discover.”

Take the elevator or escalator down, and repeat. Grab a coffee at Starbucks (first floor) if you fade. Then pick up where you left off. Happy shopping!


Put these tips to the test at The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, July 9 - 15.

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Contributing Writer
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