Home at Last
Although L.A.–based Stephan Jones has created many interiors over the years for his clients, he and his partner only recently moved into their first home.
Now Jones understands that process in a new way.
EARLY ON, Stephan Jones was a fearless explorer— through art. Though he studied painting, graphic design, and interiors as a student at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Jones was drawn to collage. He worked nights in his studio, assembling compositions with found elements, drawings, and paint, combining the rough with the smooth, blending the subtle with the bold. Jones’s explorations, combined with his penchant for creating, building, and experimenting, set him on the path to a career in design.
During an internship, armed with a history degree and a passion for architecture, Jones incorporated his fine art skills (creating scale models for interior architecture assignments) before accepting a position with Bruce Gregga Interiors, the venerable Chicago interior design firm. “The experiences I’d had to that point all came together when I went to work for Bruce,” explains Jones. “The training I received there in classic, old-school interior design was like a master’s program at Disneyland.”
The broad perspective on the industry Jones gained while working in Chicago enabled him to start his own namesake firm, which is based in Los Angeles and recognized as the source of design work that has been highlighted in national and international publications. The foundational principles of art and design that led Jones to his field—scale, balance, juxtaposition—are evident in the interiors he creates for his clients, as well as in the two-bedroom, 1,100-square-foot home he and his business partner/husband, Arthur Redman, share in the heart of West Hollywood. “We both grew up in the Midwest,” says Jones, “and we’ve been urban dwellers for a long time. This is our first house with a backyard; the closest we’d come before was having a balcony.”
Jones and Redman, a professor at a Chicago university, purchased the home so that Jones could be closer to his Los Angeles design commissions; the couple travels frequently between the two cities. Their West Hollywood home, which Jones describes as a “plain-Jane bungalow” built in 1941, was all original, and they purchased it from the original family. “I knew it was mechanically simple enough for us to make some upgrades and make it our own,” says Jones.
The couple spent months developing their plans. However, as first-time homeowners often discover, few things are as simple as they appear. Jones, who had initially decided to live in the house during its renovation, soon learned that there
was no place to hide. “I thought I’d been through it all,” he says. “I’ve done all kinds of projects for my clients—working from the ground up or tearing down to the studs. But it’s the first time I did this for myself, and it was eye-opening.”
“The first time I did this for myself, and it was eye-opening.”
“In some ways,” says Jones, “the work I’m doing now is another type of collage in which a collection of items becomes a composition and creates a moment. That’s frequently what I look for in artwork.” Jones points out two collage works hanging over the fireplace—oil on plywood with iron nails holding slate shingles in place. “When the dealer showed me those, they immediately brought me back to the beginning, to the layering and texture and rawness that interested me as a young artist. In that way I’m always looking back;”