Today we have a special treat. Jennifer Price, of Jennifer Price Studio has been kind enough to share her time and talent with us. I first stumbled upon her fabulous boutique at Solo Cedros, a designer collective in Solana Beach, California. I can honestly say I’ve never really found anything quite like it. Enjoy!
Creme: Your collection has a very unique feel to it. (It’s my favorite at Solo!) It’s industrial. A tad rugged. But then you have this thread of 1940-50s nostalgia running through. How would you describe your collection?
Jennifer: I guess in a nutshell my style is considered “vintage industrial”. I was using the term “repurposing” long before it was chic. I find items that have outlived usefulness in their first lives, such as foundry tables and laboratory cabinets, and give them new purpose, introducing them to residential interiors. When integrating my unique items into home decor, I refer to it as “the funk factor”. A whole house filled with my curiosities might be overwhelming, but a few well-chosen, quirky pieces can add the funk that piques interest and stimulates conversation.
Creme: How did you get started in this business? I notice that your website incorporates the work of you father and sister – all three of you seem to have a similar aesthetic. Were you a collector at a young age?
Jennifer: I guess everything I’ve done in my life has led to this venture. I came from a very creative family, growing up in my Dad’s photography studio and Mom’s attached frame shop, eventually starting a photography business of my own. My sister, Joy, and I excelled in art at school and loved redecorating the house. Neither Mom or Dad were big shoppers, but somehow Joy and I became passionate about “junkin”. She lives across the country, but we still manage to meet regularly for antiquing trips and collaborate long distance on projects.
I’ve never been one for structure. Being part of SoLo, a collective, gives me the opportunity to let each day inspire me, whether it’s antiquing, photographing, creating or merchandising. I’m not bound by restrictions of managing a storefront, therefore able to pursue all my passions, creating a collection that’s uniquely mine.
Creme: What is your home like? I picture a hybrid between a 50’s NASA scientist’s lab and a curiosity shoppe. But your pieces are so elegant that I feel they can fit in with almost any decor. How would you describe your own decorating style?
Jennifer: You’re pretty close … I probably have more of that “funk factor” in my house than most. It’s kind of a laboratory for my shop and is constantly changing.
Often I find a special piece that I swear I’ll never sell, but after living with it for awhile, I take it to SoLo and release it to a new life, only to be replaced with a new treasure. Virtually all my furniture is vintage, recycled or artisan-made. Organic woods and textiles soften the industrial pieces and my antique finds abound. I tend to create vignettes of accessories much as I do in my store (old habits die hard!). Thank God I live in a very small bungalow, which limits my temptation to accumulate too much!
Creme: I bet you are an amazing scavenger. Where are some of your favorite places to get fantastic finds? Do you know what you are looking for or do you just let things strike you? Do you put a lot of work into fixing/repairing the pieces you find? Do you have any tips on how to approach flea markets?
Jennifer: The question I get asked most often is “where do you find this stuff?!” The answer is … I’ll never tell. I’m forever searching and it’s not easy work, fun but not easy. I have a very selective eye. I’ve had others try to “pick” for me over the years, but ultimately I trust only my own instincts and my sister’s (great minds!). I choose most items for their aesthetic qualities and as simple as it may sound to browse eBay for vintage finds, there’s nothing like spotting something really cool in a dusty shop that you had no idea existed … hard to enter a searchword for such a thing. Not to say I don’t shop eBay, but it’s a long tedious process and will never replace the thrill of the hunt. Since industrial style has recently developed popularity, I’ve tended to stay away from Southern California flea markets, where prices have escalated and I’m competing with my own clientele. I prefer my secret sources and out-of-the-way haunts.
As far as refurbishing goes, some items are chosen strictly as objets d’art, requiring little repair, but I really strive to find ways to give old things new purpose, always asking “what could this be used for?”. We turn industrial bakery beaters into hanging lamps, music lyres into picture frames, film reels into tables, vintage cameras into clocks … A well-respected designer was in my shop recently and paid me the compliment “you take green living to a whole new level”.
Creme: Absolutely. I think “green” is so much more than a fad, or a look that reflects “necessity” but neglects style – and you’ve really proven that. For those readers who can’t make it to Solo to see your collection in person, do you offer sales on-line?
Creme: Talk to me about your sister, Joy. She has some really unique pieces and paintings that I’ve seen in your store at Solo. What a creative family!
Jennifer: Joy had a faux-finishing and decorative painting business in New York for many years and can paint anything, build anything, figure out how to make anything. Together, we come up with ideas for products and she implements them, providing me with one-of-a-kind merchandise. She lives in Florida now, but hopefully one day we’ll narrow that 2500 mile gap and open a store together. Our Dad always marvelled at our cross-country collaborations!
Creme: Speaking of your father, Jim Price, I really love his photography that is featured on your site. It’s really exquisite – how can I purchase it?
Jennifer: It’ll be a lifelong process, but I’m slowly working on editing my late father’s fifty years of breathtaking photographic work.
Hopefully soon, I’ll have a larger selection of his images up on my site that will be orderable in editions. And soon, I hope to print more of my own photography as well, as it’s taken a back seat to furniture and accessories in the last couple years.
Jennifer Price Studio is located at Solo [309 South Cedros Avenue, Cedros Design District, Solana Beach, CA 92075 (858.794.9016)]
and can be viewed on line at Jennifer Price Studio.