Wife, mother, interior designer and owner of Colordrunk, Jenna Buck-Gross has a lot on her plate,but despite being constantly on the run, she’s still found the time to work with the nonprofit organization, Sunshine on a Ranney Day that helps support children with lifelong illnesses.
Jenna talked with SVM about her business, her passion for design and her newest project with Sunshine on a Ranney Day.
How did you get started in Interior Design?
I didn’t really mean to get started in Interior Design. It happened almost by accident. Three years ago my husband and I renovated an old house here in Decatur. Through that process I learned a lot - mostly because our contractor wasn’t a very big help. I was frustrated at the time, but now looking back, I am grateful. Not too long after we completed it, our home was featured on a TLC show, Four Houses. After it aired people, at first friends and acquaintances, began calling me to help them with their own homes and Colordrunk Designs was born.
I think people thought it was refreshing to see a little color and a lot of folks were tired of the grey and neutral trend. I was quickly having to find childcare and run this little business out of a spare room in my house. It all happened so quickly and I am thankful for the clients who have taken a chance on me. I am still blown away at how fast my little business has grown. I love to decorate. I’ve always been a creative person. I majored in Fashion Merchandising and studied art history in college, and later went to work for Marc Jacobs, a fashion designer, in New York. While I have always been a creative person, I wasn’t sure where I was going to end up, but I am so glad I landed here! I love fashion, but the scale of interior design, “dressing” an entire room, is just so much fun!
A lot of your designs give off an exuberant, cheerful vibe. Where does your passion for bright and vibrant colors come from?
I am a big believer that your surroundings effect the way you feel. Color makes people happy. Maybe it’s a bright yellow or maybe its subtle blue. It’s different for everyone and its my job to find that out.
You were recently nominated for HGTV”s Fresh Faces of Design Awards. What was that experience like?
Being nominated for HGTV’s Fresh Faces of Design Awards was a huge surprise. It was so nice and validating for someone, especially HGTV, to recognize the hard work I’ve been putting in these last two years. It made me feel good that they liked my work. I was up against some very fabulous designers and that was huge for me!
If you could design your ideal room, what colors and patterns would you use?
If I had to design my ideal room it would be much like our family room. The primary fabric in the room is my favorite fabric, Schumacher’s Chiang Mai. That fabric is on floor to ceiling drapes and several throw pillows. I will never get tired of this fabric, it has a ton of vibrant colors and interesting objects. The sofas and carpet are neutral and so I really played up the fabrics and objects on our bookshelves to balance things out. I also added a chocolate colored wallpaper in the backs of the bookshelves so the colorful objects and art would really stand out. I also have one of my favorite pieces of art by Columbus’s own, Lulie Wallace, hanging above our fireplace. It’s a very funky room, but it’s comfortable and able to handle some wear and tear from our two small children and two dogs.
Vintage has made a strong comeback in the past few years and its popularity doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Have you found yourself consumed by the vintage and repurposing bug like many other designers?
Growing up, my grandmother, Violet Buck, had a home full of antique and Chinoiserie furniture and items that she and my grandfather, Thomas, had collected on trips throughout Asia. I always admired her home and collection greatly. I had never seen another home like hers. So vintage Chinoiserie style furniture and decor holds a special place in my heart for that reason. If I buy vintage items, they are usually Chinoiserie or Asian inspired items. I incorporate those items into my designs whenever I have the chance. I also love to use midcentury furniture because of the clean lines. With all the color and pattern I use midcentury pieces usually create a great way to break up and balance the vibrancy of my designs.
One of your latest projects has involved working with the nonprofit organization, Sunshine on a Ranney Day. How did you get involved with that?
I was so thrilled to be connected with Sunshine on a Ranney day. The Ranneys have created a wonderful non-profit organization for kids with long term illnesses. They work with designers like me to bring joy and hope to these kids. Raynel was a perfectly healthy little boy until the age of four when he caught an upper respiratory infection, which later led to meningitis, and his slipping into a coma for 4 months. When he woke up he was paralyzed and unable to see, hear or speak. It is hard for me, as a mother of two young girls, to even fathom the daily challenges these families face.
They installed a wheelchair lift on his stairs, we ripped up the carpet in his room so he can get around better in his wheelchair, we gave him much more storage for all of his equipment and equally of importance, we gave him a room that makes him happy.
There is no better feeling than doing something for someone else and seeing the joy on Raynel’s face the first time he entered his room was the most rewarding experience of my design career. You can check out SunshineonaRanneyday.com to make donations. svm