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Designers on the Verge
Carla Jordan Melanie Warner | Photo: Phoebe Rourke Ghabriel and Nick Prendergast | October 3, 2013
They’re young, talented and doing it their own way. For this generation, it’s not just about making beautiful rooms—it’s about creative multitasking. They’re producing furniture lines, offering graphic design services and minding the store.
Sister Story: Buzzworthy sisters Saba and Sarah Jawda share more than striking good looks and an alma mater. This dynamo Houston duo also cohabitate, oversee a thriving business and, most important, embrace a design sensibility that veers toward impossibly chic combinations like emerald green, white and gold. Since opening in 2009, Jawda and Jawda has ventured beyond conventional interior design to offer graphic design services, fine art and a burgeoning furniture collection.
“We do tend to like and dislike the same things aesthetically—and that goes from design to fashion,” says younger sister Sarah, 29, who studied advertising and marketing at the University
Adds 33-year-old artist Saba, UH architecture and interior design alum: “We don’t like to do just one thing. Our look is about mixing different pieces from different periods in a way that doesn’t feel cluttered.”
The Jawdas also maintain a commitment to the environment, frequently repurposing antiques on projects, like using an 18th century door for a LEED-certified retail space. Moreover, they produce their modern 50-piece, made-to-order home furnishings collection locally. A range of colors, textures and finishes gives the line an international appeal—fitting as the sisters spent much of their girlhood in Iraq and Belize.
Saba and Sarah use both their 2,400-square-foot Memorial-area condo and office to showcase their furniture as well as their knack for creating beautiful yet livable spaces. “The kitchen is always our favorite place,” says Saba. “It’s where everyone comes together and there’s always delicious food and wine.”
Their largest ongoing project to date—redoing the Holiday Inn Resort Galveston—sees the duo injecting a transitional vibe into the Seawall Boulevard stalwart. They are working on the hotel in stages, expecting to complete the lobby, lounge, restaurant, guest suites and bathrooms this year. They are also at work on several homes in The Heights and West University, projects that range from selecting furniture to retooling a master bath to a top-to-bottom renovation. “Ever since we can remember, we have worked and encouraged one another,” says Saba. “Having your sister and best friend as your business partner is amazing. We have fun every day.” 713.419.8018, jawdaandjawda.com
Cool Kids on the Block: Creatives are at once introverted and extroverted, conservative yet rebellious, playful yet disciplined. This paradox, outlined in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book, Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People, seems to be at play more today than ever before, as up-and-comer creatives, rather than working for others, design their own careers as entrepreneurs. Case in point, the design-minded crew at Neighborhood, an edgy showroom and “design bar” in the South Dallas Bishop Arts District.
After a few years spent working for other firms, Erin Hossley, 30, and her building designer husband, John Paul Hossley, 33, began their own design business. In 2012, they opened a design store and filled it with sleek sofas, killer urban art and fresh decorative objects. Not content to be a one-trick pony, however, the couple also continues to operate their design business from the storefront, offering up a user-friendly “design
bar menu” that demystifies pricing on services, such as color consultation, furniture design, construction administration and schematic designs. Clients with other design needs, such as graphic design, are assisted as well, via the couple’s network of creative collaborators.
“Our ideal client is someone who is fun to work with, willing to think outside of the box and isn’t afraid to be bold,” Erin says. “We love to create memorable spaces that have a sense of pop.”
John Paul and the other resident designer, Jesse Rodriguez, 33, got their start working with Dallas modernist architect Russell Buchanan. The pair has worked on everything from residential projects and educational facilities to hospitality projects. Currently, they are working on the interiors for a new Violet Crown movie theater with Domiteaux + Baggett Architects, and also crafting the finish out for a collection of loft units.
“A large percentage of our clients are walk-ins who like our shop’s general aesthetic,” he says. “They generally want their home or business to have the same fun or modern vibe that our store has.”
Natural materials, clean lines and colorful tiles, countertops, furnishings and even appliances are what get the team’s juices flowing, Hossley said.
“When a client allows us to integrate some of these design moves, we feel that our projects turn out the best.” 411 N. Bishop Ave., Dallas, neighborhood-store.com