Jennifer Rose Smith’s Loft Apartment

By Camille Styles
Jennifer Rose Smith Home Tour | Camille Styles

Whether it’s an inborn trait or something that’s carefully honed over time, there’s no denying that some people simply possess really good taste. Our art director, Jennifer Rose Smith, is one of them (lucky us!), and she has that rare knack of making everything she touches appear hip, thoughtful, and never overdone. In other words, just right. It took a bit of convincing before Jenn finally agreed to let us sneak a peek inside her soulful South Austin home here on the blog, and boy am I glad she did. I’ve been obsessed with her space, her retro furniture, and her amazing poster collection since I first laid eyes on them years ago, and we even shot one of my favorite gatherings in my soon-to-be-released book here. So pour a second cup of coffee, settle in, and prepare yourself for some major minimalist inspiration.

What things inspired the design of your home?

I’m a big student of Liz Lambert and the Bunkhouse Properties. I love the way she creates these really soulful spaces. I wanted this to be a sort of hip little mouse hole, that felt good for hanging out and playing records late at night. I was also inspired by the home of a Spanish model named Eugenia Silva.

Is there one underlying principal you adhere to when it comes to decor?

When in doubt, let the architecture of a space guide you.

What’s your best piece of advice on decorating?

Take your time. Live in the space for a while before you make any expensive decisions. People are always talking about the slow food movement these days. I guess you could say I’m into “slow decorating”! The best homes are the ones people have lived in for 20, 30 plus years, don’t you think? I went for a long time without a dining table. I was just waiting to find that right one.

What are your dream design resources?

I can go anywhere in the world? Fun. The Mach Shau Gallery in London. Bloom in Sag Harbor. Magazine Street in New Orleans… and I’ve always wanted to visit a Parisian flea market.

Are these all family photos?

They are! This little photo wall is probably the thing in my place that garners the most attention. My favorite people are in these photos. A lot of my furniture is nostalgic stuff — hand-me-downs from my parents and grandparents, things I’ve lived with all my life. Even though my family lives in East Texas, I feel like they’re very much with me in this place. It’s a good feeling.

photograph by Chad Wadsworth

What do you like about living in a multi-dwelling building?

You know, I always had that dream of the idyllic South Austin house with the screened-in porch. But I’m so glad I opened my mind to condo living. I have zero maintenance, so I get to spend my weekends doing the things I love: traveling, hearing music, working on art projects. They call it a “lock and leave” lifestyle. Also, I get to live right above some of my favorite shops, which is both handy and dangerous!

What’s your favorite thing about your home?

I love my view of the Butler Pitch and Putt, the par three golf course across the street. It has these incredible trees and there’s just a certain magic light to that place. People of all ages and backgrounds go there to play golf. It’s beautiful, and endlessly entertaining to watch.

Tell us about your poster collection. Where did you get all of them?

I started collecting them about ten years ago. I wanted to start building an art collection that felt cohesive, so I figured I’d better give myself some parameters. Posters fit my budget, and seemed like a good thing to focus on. I had this one great print by Frank Kozik, and it sort of grew from there. Each one has a story, either from an event I attended or an artist I met… so they’re very meaningful to me.

Your current favorite color palette for the home?

Right now I’m really digging these sort of classic muted, fall tones. Also navy, cream, and black. Ralph Lauren type stuff. I’m always admiring photos of  really neutral interiors. But clearly, I have absolutely no self restraint when it comes to color! I seem to always end up drawn to accessories in bold, saturated colors.

photograph by Chad Wadsworth

Your dream house guests:

My dream? A great mix of musicians, film people, artists, and old UT preps. I guess I’ve always been a bit of an eclectic collector when it comes to friends.

What’s your favorite room in the house?

This room, because it’s where my friends stay. It seems like there’s always someone in this room. I’ve definitely had a few overnight guests that pretty much turned into short term leases. What can I say, I love taking in strays! Friends going through break ups, people in town for festivals, old friends from college… it’s an open door policy. The beds belonged to my father and uncle when they were little boys in the 50s.

I also use this room to watch movies on the projector with my boyfriend. It’s one of our favorite rainy night things to do.

What have you watched lately?

We’re watching season three of American Horror Story right now. I love the incredible sets created by Mark Worthington. You just want to live inside them. And Jessica Lange is pretty much everything.

Fill in the blank: A good house guest should                      .

Always make the bed.

A well designed home should                     .

Function with style. It should inspire your senses and encourage the activities you love.

Describe your decorating style in 5 words or less:

Friendly, nostalgic, summery, minimal, soulful.

How does your space relate to the creative work that you do?

We use my living room as a photo studio all the time. I’m always making a mess of some sort on the weekends, doing some project or another. And I like to write here at night when it’s very quiet.

A pair of vintage Lee jeans are displayed on the wall in the master bedroom.

Those are my dad’s old jeans. I always thought by the time he was finished with a pair of jeans, they were pretty much art. So I tacked them to the wall.

photograph by Chad Wadsworth

How do you relax and unwind in your space?

I’m a big night owl. Night time’s when this place really comes to life. I like to light candles, play records, mess around on the internet, or just hang out and think.

What’s been the biggest challenge decorating your home?

Making a very generic, builder-grade condo feel like it has some soul.

photograph by Chad Wadsworth

What are your go-to tools for creating atmosphere in the home?

Dimmer switches. Candles. And fresh flowers always feel special.

photograph by Chad Wadsworth

Your perfect late night playlist:


Sonny & the Sunsets

Eagle Eye Williamson


Eccentric Soul

New Order

Listen to the full playlist here.

Thanks, Jenn, for giving us a peek into your space!