St. Louis native Jessie Miller may be best known to locals as the “design daredevil” who competed on the eighth season of HGTV’s “Design Star” and earned rave reviews for her work on the “White Room Challenge.” Miller’s professional experience spans design, construction and development and emphasizes creativity and the application of an artistic eye to every project. She’s also built a strong social media following and been featured in numerous publications, including Elle Décor and Huffington Post. Her time in L.A. was inspirational and affirming, but she realized the city was not calling to her like St. Louis.
Born in Michigan, Miller grew up in St. Charles County and went to the University of Missouri (Mizzou). Fresh out of college, she began working in residential real estate with a focus on urban lofts and luxury condos downtown. When the real estate market crashed a decade ago, she briefly worked as a waitress, a humbling and grounding experience that cemented her commitment to design. Since launching her own company five years ago, her sole focus has been design and transformation. Her finely tuned eye helps her spot both quality art and antiques, and she loves that she can frequently find the perfect anchor element or statement piece just a few miles from her home in the Central West End.
Today, Miller is in demand and busy working on custom homes and large-scale remodels, and she genuinely enjoys the experiences and relationships that come from these longer-term projects. “First and foremost, spaces are 3-D,” she begins. “I want to engage all the senses, but I also need to consider all the variables. Material selection is important here because we get all types of weather in St. Louis. You want to ensure you’re delivering quality that holds up.”
Living in St. Louis provides her constant inspiration as well. “The Saint Louis Art Museum and the Missouri History Museum are incredible structures. You can admire their beauty almost as much as the exhibits; that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” she notes with a sense of pride. Miller goes on to mention the quality and dedication of the artisans and innovators working in St. Louis. She embraces innovation and finding new solutions — as long as they actually work for her clients — but she’s equally appreciative of the aesthetic traditions of the city.
“St. Louis is rich in architecture and design, which can be a blessing and a unique challenge, and trust is very important when suggesting change,” Miller explains. She looks to find the “soul” of a space and bring it to life. “An important part of what I do is guide my clients to solutions that really strike a personal chord with them.” After considering their tastes and needs, she narrows the options to provide choices without overwhelming anyone. “My goal is exceeding their expectations in a way that makes them say, ‘This is so me, only better,’” she says. “That’s when all the effort pays off.”
3 Trends to Update Your Bachelor Pad
Do not buy matching furniture sets — ever. Every single one of my bachelor clients has come with the ever-present, all-matching furniture set. The headboard, nightstands and dresser — often with the accompanying attached mirror (ugh) — proudly crammed into his bedroom, regardless if they all properly fit into the space or if any of the drawers are actually being used. Gentleman: Please stop. This is the furniture version of dressing yourself in Garanamals.
Scale is everything. Let’s be honest: If a single guy has anything hung on his walls, that’s a step in the right direction. But where they almost always go wrong is scale: Size does matter. When selecting a piece or art, the bigger the better, especially with contemporary or modern art for maximum impact. If the piece is being hung on a focal wall alone, it should be two-thirds to three-fourths the width of the wall. If hanging over a piece of furniture such as a sofa or console table, it should be three-fourths the width of the piece of furniture and hang 6 to 12 inches above the top. Orientation is also important; vertical pieces look best on tall, narrow walls while horizontal walls look best with landscapes.
At all times, have a sexy bar set up. Get rid of your Cancun shot glasses from spring break 2014, college homecoming beer steins and the engraved flask you received from being in your cousin’s wedding. On a bar cart or side table, set up an adult bar with several different styles of matching glassware sets — bonus points for vintage barware — a variety of premium liquors and mixers as well as red and white wine. And always have fresh lemons and limes on hand for impromptu guests. Cheers! M