In Coffee and Tea, Jennifer delves into the mind of Interior Designer Jackie O’Neil. While sipping coffee and tea, Jennifer learns why and how a designer does what she does through discussions of process, techniques, and tools of the trade.

This welcoming, relaxing room was once a blank slate.  But, decorating it was too big of a task for the homeowners, who bought the home as a weekend getaway from hectic lives in NYC and Chicago.  After Googling and reviewing designer portfolios, the homeowners chose Jackie O’Neil from Saybrook Home. They liked her style — a sophisticated yet comfortable, coastal elegance.

“When I first met the client we really hit it off,” said Jackie.  “We had an initial consultation in their home which allowed me to get a sense for the architecture of the space.  From that initial meeting, I was able to pull together a color story and options for sofa frames that would work in their home.  Next, it was important that the client visit the showroom at Saybrook Home to sit on the sofas and feel the fabrics that I had selected.”

Dont Distract From the View

With the main living room overlooking the water, the challenge Jackie faced was to create an indoor space that felt like an extension of the water view. She enhanced the natural feel by selecting a color palette of soft blue and green fabrics.  The idea was to create a very soothing space that draws you in and serves to amplify the natural beauty of the outdoors.

Use Organic, Natural Materials

The homeowners, like many, care about the environment and wanted to choose from natural and organic furniture lines.  Lee Industries, a North Carolina based manufacturer who prides themselves on being eco-friendly, was Jackie’s go to.  Lee Industries offered a soy-based cushion instead of the standard chlorofluorocarbon foam core, and several organic fabrics to select from. As a result, Jackie was able to make the room as natural as possible, in both the appearance and construction of the furniture.  In addition to these all-natural furnishings from Lee Industries, the client fell in love with a live edge dining table, a specialty item at Saybrook Home that accentuates the natural characteristics of the wood. It also adds unique character to the room.

Make Artwork and Rugs Pop

“Our collection of one-of-a-kind rugs make for some great statement pieces,” said Jackie.  “The Oushak patterned rug we used in the main living space was one of my favorites from our collection.  It was important that we place a glass top coffee table in the room so it didn’t cover up the beauty of what lies below.  Plus, using glass gives the room a more open and airier feel.”

Other than the Oushak rug, Jackie selected a Gabbeh to use underneath the live edged dining room table.  “A Gabbeh is a great rug style for any room.  It has a simple geometric pattern that provided great color for the dining room, but wouldn’t outshine the live edge table or the stunning host chairs,” described Jackie.

Trust Your Designer

“What made this project extra fun was the personal connection that I made with my client,” said Jackie.  “The process of designing an interior space is an intimate one because the client lets you into their home and their lives.  When there is a personal connection, and the trust that goes along with it, the project is stress-free and fun.  With this client, they loved the work I did so much they have asked me to redo their Florida home!”

If you have additional questions about the home, or would like to use Jackie for your own project, you can email her at