COLOR, TEXTURE AND TASTE

BY KALENE MCCORT | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

For interior designer Jennifer Mendelsohn, ASID, the art of home décor is highly reflective of a client’s particular style, with equal emphasis on comfort and aesthetics. Over the course of her 25-year career, her firm, J. Rhodes Interior Design, has decorated many types of homes, from sprawling Kiawah Island estates to mid-century modern ranch homes, proving there’s no sized project she can’t handle. In 2017, she decided to open a retail showroom where sleek end tables mingle with vintage jewelry and sterling silver serving spoons.

“I felt this area was calling for luxury contemporary furnishings,” says Mendelsohn, former president of The American Society of Interior Designers’ Carolinas Chapter. “The product that I’m selling will not be found anywhere else in Charleston.”

Hampton Home, whose name pays homage to Mendelsohn’s late black Labrador mix, takes retail to the next level with a charming array of show-stopping pieces personally selected by her.

Growing up on the Isle of Palms, Mendelsohn’s childhood was filled with beach exploration and endless sketching. Her desire to adorn interiors always seemed to be bubbling below the surface. During her senior year of high school she worked weekends at Island Interiors, a shop in neighboring Mount Pleasant. It was here she fell in love with the skill and inventiveness needed to pull together a truly unique space.

“My parents were always renovating our home, and my dad owned a cabinetry and woodworking shop,” she says. “They were DIY long before it was a channel.”

These days, Mendelsohn keeps Hampton Home stocked with the very products she could envision placing in her own residence. To accomplish this, she schedules trips to North Carolina’s High Point Market, the largest home furnishings trade show in the world.

From simple coral-inspired ceramic lamps to a custom one-of-a-kind piece of furniture, there’s something at Hampton Home to fit everyone’s taste and budget.

Here you’ll find modern European case goods and clean-lined furniture from Swaim, Hurtado, Directional and Moe’s Home Collection.

Mendelsohn, a true fan of color, says she doesn’t live in a white house, and judging from the vibrant items found at Hampton Home, her customers don’t shy away from making a statement either.

Oversize nature prints from Penny & Lucy Lou Art have a prominent place on Hampton Home’s walls. Among them is an intricate close-up of an allium flower and a flock of electric pink flamingos wading in cool, blue water. These large-scale, highly saturated digital photographs, printed on aluminum, draw the viewer into the natural world.

“I want Hampton Home to be a place where folks can enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of coffee,” says Mendelsohn, who hosts weekly Friday in-shop happy hours. She uses these times to chat with clients who are new to decorating, as well as with long-time homeowners looking to deck out a second home.

When she’s asked about the price of using a decorator, she says: “One of the biggest misconceptions about interior design is that it is too expensive. It doesn’t have to be. Part of my success comes from really listening to what my clients want and making it as easy a process as possible.”

Fusing luxury with livability, Mendelsohn continues to artfully shape installations for both residential and commercial properties.

“I want people to love their homes and I want to be a part of that,” says Mendelsohn. “Ninety percent of life is spent indoors, so it’s very important to have a space that will make you happy and work for you.”

THE SUMMER SWITCH

During these balmy months we tend to switch up our personal style, whether it’s with a beach-ready haircut or lighter cotton attire. There’s no reason your home shouldn’t enjoy a slight transformation, too. Mendelsohn reveals how subtle additions can help your abode evolve with the season.

A little greenery goes a long way. Lowcountry sun is ideal for houseplants. Whether you want to pick up local succulents from area farmers markets or keep a rotating selection of blooms in a vase, having foliage within your walls is a great and easy way to capture a slice of the outdoors. “My orchid is my star performer,” says Mendelsohn.

You’ve seen the translucent, cool stones on pendants and rings, but agate is finding its way into home décor. “This colorful crystallized rock is in big demand and appears in a range of home design products,” says Mendelsohn. “With its gemstone quality, agate items add a touch of glamour and luxury.”

Macrame has made quite the comeback. Woven, fringed wall hangings or even a table runner can reinvent a room in seconds.

“In another retro design trend, Lucite acrylic is enjoying a resurgence in home furnishings and for good reason,” says Mendelsohn. “This chic plastic material is a real workhorse. And translucent pieces don’t take up visual space in a room.”

Kalene McCort is a Charleston-based writer dedicated to capturing the beauty around her. Follow her adventures on Instagram @kalenemccort.