An inside look at the new interior design business and one of its latest projects.Photos by Kyle J. Caldwell
After building a robust interior design practice for a Cape Cod-based firm, Jess Bodamer started her own company, Double Knot Home, in 2016. We caught up with her recently to learn about the new business. She also took the time to share with us some pointers on how to create a well-designed space, giving us a peek inside one of her latest projects—a stylish office studio designed on a budget.
A Q & A with Jess Bodamer of Double Knot Home
Home Remodeling: Is there a story behind the name of your interior design business?
Jess Bodamer: There is indeed a story! The foundation of my business began with a collection of vintage rugs, which I still source for client projects. A “double knot” is a type of rug fabrication, but it’s a double entendre as well, meant to convey security and steadfastness, both feelings I try always to evoke in the design of a home.
HR: What do you like best about being an interior designer?
For me, the psychology of design is absolutely fascinating. Learning—and ultimately anticipating—your client’s preferences feels like unlocking the key to a secret universe. And, at its most basic level, knowing what someone is going to like is mandatory for designing a space they will enjoy.
HR: From your perspective, what makes a well-designed room?
Jess Bodamer: A well-designed room is above all else unique. It should tell the story of its owner through pieces that come from a number of sources, but look composed and cohesive together. Anyone could go to a big box store and order up a living room package—good design goes much farther than that to both visually convey something about the client at a simple glance, and make the client feel perfectly content in their surroundings.
HR: If you could give homeowners one design tip, what would it be?
Jess Bodamer: Buy what’s meaningful to you. Not just things you like, but things that really speak to you. If you stick to that, you’ll always find a home for those pieces and they’ll always work in your spaces. Oh, and make sure you include something vintage in every room—instant character!
As part of a larger development project, Bodamer designed this office studio for a local builder who wanted to drive sales to a neighboring property. Working on an extremely tight budget, she kept improvements simple. “The space already had such great light and bones, so we didn’t want to do anything that would conflict with those features,” she says. Most improvements were limited to paint, lighting, and the installation of a simple powder room, complete with a vintage sink and a door from JFK’s nearby home.
Another fun feature of notable origin is the spiral staircase—a castoff from the renovation of Taylor Swift’s home in Hyannis Port, which the pop star sold in 2013. Bodamer recalls, “The staircase was laying on its side in the home next door and I asked the builder if we could install it in the studio to provide a focal point and amplify the height of the ceiling. It still takes my breath away, even though it doesn’t actually lead to anything!”
The overall style of the office is what Bodamer would call a “modern mix.” “We kept the space really quite simple while mixing in a number of modern and antique pieces for layering and visual interest,” she explains. The color palette was also kept simple, with a predominantly white backdrop.
The office makeover was a complete success. “Injecting simple design principles and signs of life worked,” Bodamer reports. The property sold just one month later.
ARTWORK: Most of the art is vintage or antique pieces I’ve sourced on my travels, both stateside and abroad, with a few pieces by local artists as well. I’ve arranged much of the art in a clustered “gallery” style, but have grouped the pieces by predominant color to simplify the overall look.
FLOORING: The flooring in the space is the ultimate high-low mix! It’s actually simple plywood (very affordable, aka “low”), painted Farrow & Ball’s Off Black (super expensive, but incredibly durable, aka “high”). I wouldn’t recommend this type of flooring for a home, for example, but for an office on a tight budget it worked perfectly!
PAINT: The white [wall paint] is Farrow & Ball’s All White; I chose it because it’s a bright, neutral white that provides the perfect backdrop for all the gorgeous natural light in the space.
RUGS: The rugs are all from the collection I started years ago, which includes pieces from Turkey, Morocco, Iran—all over! Selection was easy, as you can absolutely never go wrong with a vintage rug—the colors and patterns are so rich, but yet they somehow read neutral to the eye. The deer hide is a vintage piece I sourced at the Brimfield Antiques Show, and I love the texture and warmth it brings to the space.
DESK: The desk is an eight-foot-long pine table that came out of a convent here in New England, so I can only imagine the stories it would tell if it could speak…! I love its generous proportions and the statement it makes floating in the middle of the space. Three of us can work at it at once and never be in each other’s way.
CHAIRS: Here too the pieces are all acquired from different vintage sources, with the exception of that original Nelson bench, which belonged to my very avant garde, design-loving grandmother! I love the mix of styles and textures, and the fact that because the tones are all neutral, they all work together.
ACCESSORIES: I love anything bold, so while I wanted the office accessories to be neutral, I nevertheless wanted them to make a statement, and I think the heft of the typewriter, anchors, skull, etc. definitely achieves that. Then I layered in some plants in vintage ceramic vessels and pillows by some of my favorite textile designers to bring it all to life.