NYC and LA get all the credit for design innovation, but if you ask us, there's plenty of design to celebrate across the country. Take the Kentucky-based design duo, Amanda Jacobs and Jaclyn Journey, of Journey + Jacobs. Their studio, located in the historic Butchertown neighborhood in downtown Louisville, is the epitome of their style: vintage-inspired, warm, and always personal.
"We like to think of our style as collected, with bits of old world, eclecticism, and modern," the pair tells MyDomaine. "Our 'style' is based on curating a feeling and depending on the client, that can be versatile. We personally lean towards earth tones and neutrals and then use statement-making unique pieces for charm and interest."
This 2,100 square foot double shotgun style house was built in the 1860's and is filled with history. Louisville has the largest collection of shotgun houses in the country, and the duo admired this one for years before they were able to renovate it, along with their landlord.
"We designed the space to feel warm and welcoming," Journey and Jacobs explain. "It was important that clients felt comfortable here and immediately felt at home. We love to have candles burning, soft music playing and the perfect balance of lighting. If a client likes the way our space makes them feel, they immediately trust that we can create that same feeling and space for them. It has become our calling card - our only source of advertising."
If a client likes the way our space makes them feel, they immediately trust that we can create that same feeling and space for them
Keep scrolling to learn more about this warm and inviting design studio filled with vintage finds.
For a room this well decorated, the design team has to be in sync. Though the pair grew up together, they didn't realize their mutual love of design until 10 years ago. They started designing corporate events, church dinners, and then full-scale wedding design, but interiors weren't far off.
"My parents were also extremely skilled in fixing up the houses we lived in, constantly restoring old homes to their natural state and focusing on the character of the home," Jacobs says. "Whether we liked it or not, my siblings and I were always active helpers in their DIY projects. That work ethic and appreciation in these homes really resonated with me into adulthood."
Journey also had a passion for design at a young age, writing in her journal at age eight, "I love to coler. I think I am going to be a deziner."
"I always recognized the way I felt in spaces," Journey explains. "I preferred spaces that were full of character- old trim, winding pathways, thoughtful nooks and lots of windows. It was always important to me to honor the spaces and enhance the authentic bits about it and that’s what I’ve tried to do with my entire career as a designer."
It's easy to tell in this space that the designers have a strong history with each other and a strong connection to history. They use antique dining tables as their desks, almost always choose vintage lighting over anything modern, and ditch matched sets in favor of eclecticism. Though they're not opposed to bringing in contemporary pieces, vintage reigns supreme.
"Some of our favorite pieces are ones we found while going antique and vintage shopping because they have a soul, a type of nostalgia that palpable," the duo explains. "We believe in filling your space with things that you love, and it should be versatile and ever-changing, just as we are as humans."
By filling the space with family heirlooms and pieces from each of their homes, Journey and Jacobs created a studio that feels more like a home.
"It’s not one thing, but a combination of everything that creates a feeling," the pair says. "There’s a warmth to the space, and it’s the memories tied to a lot of the pieces in here. Our remembrance from our travels, shopping trips, and pieces from home remind us not only of our adventures together, but a reminder of our friendship and the growth of this business. It’s nice to share that with clients when they enter the space, and whether or not they know it, I like they get a sense of the nostalgia that’s almost tangible in here."
While they're definitely known for vintage eclecticism, it's their eye for accent chairs that really sets them apart.
"It’s an obsession, we have to admit," Journey and Jacobs explain. "Any beautiful chair we see, we feel inclined to buy. Maybe because there’s always room for just one more chair. Our collection ranges from items from antique malls, vintage shops, Facebook Marketplace, Wayfair, Overstock and some designer market pieces. We don't discriminate!"
The space is filled with fabulous finds, but it doesn't feel cluttered or overwhelming, thanks to a strict color palette.
"We love texture, color and pattern, but we were really thinking about how each of those things play off of each other so it’s not overwhelming," the duo explains. "For our studio, we stayed in the same color palette, but had no boundaries beyond that. So whether it was an antique from the 1800’s, a carved mango wood armoire, or mid-century chairs, we used them if it felt like us and had the tones we wanted infused."
Whether it was an antique from the 1800’s, a carved mango wood armoire, or mid-century chairs, we used them if it felt like us and had the tones we wanted infused.
Journey's design philosophy boils down to a simple mantra, rooted in Southern hospitality: "Design for a feeling rather than just what the eye can see."
"My mother always talked about the idea that people notice when something is off, but never notice when things feel just right and it is something I think about all the time!" Journey says.
That idea was top of mind when overhauling this space and preparing the studio for work and client meetings. That meant everything from knocking down a wall to open up the studio to coming up with a flexible floor plan that had room to greet clients but plenty of space for project messes.
"We thought a lot about design psychology and we wanted to appeal to all of the senses," they say. "Our goal was to accentuate the natural beauty and features of the original building and develop a space that we felt individual to us. Filling the rooms with all the things we love, and no restrictions, no categories prevented us from feeling boxed in. We chose items that resonated with us, invoked emotion and made us feel safe and happy."
When clients enter this studio, they're met with a gorgeous space that feels personal, with a hefty dose of Southern hospitality.
"Interior design is about much more than designing for aesthetic appearance, and when someone enters, we don't just want it to look good but to feel good," Journey and Jacobs say. "We love to host and offer drinks, warmth and conversation to allow someone to feel fully at home and a true guest of honor. It’s the least we can do, and by welcoming them into our space, it is also one of the most personal things we can do."