Behind The Designs Of Jaxon With Victoria Richter
Furniture brand Jaxon recently made its online debut, offering its custom creations and home accessories nationwide. Founder Victoria Richter started Jaxon in 2006 in Los Angeles as a small boutique. A lover of textiles, the busy mom of three has created a line of home furniture that is both elegant and durable.
TotalHousehold:Have you always been interested in furniture design?
Victoria Richter:Originally I attended F.I.D.M. in San Francisco for fashion design but found a stronger passion in interior design. I studied in additional programs that were specific to textiles and found myself managing a showroom at the San Francisco Design Center. Being involved with custom upholstery case goods and lighting allowed my creativity to reach new heights and my love of furniture to grow.
We custom made this miniature sized armchair for our daughter, Ryland. It’s the perfect size for her to curl up with a book and gives her room a posh feel.
TH: What led you open up Jaxon?
VR: After the showroom, I moved down to Los Angeles to work with an upholstery manufacturer and manage their key accounts. I noticed that with all of the large retail chain successes, they also had a downfall which was their inability to offer full custom options. At Jaxon, we have stayed consistent with our motto to offer custom designs for upholstery, case goods , lighting and rugs. Even through the economic difficulties brought on in 2008, our factory connections allowed us to immediately make changes in materials and styles that brought the pricing to a more desirable level.
TH: What’s it like working directly with the factory?
VR: It’s great because a majority of our furniture is locally made through factories we own which cuts out the middle man increases in cost.
TH: What types of materials do you use in the line?
VR: So we wanted to create durable furniture appropriate for homes with children and pets, but that also has high-end appeal. To achieve durability on a surface level we work with a lot of synthetic fabrics. They have the texture and draping ability of natural fabrics, but offer enhanced performance. Across the board, whether it’s a dining chair, sofa or bed, the synthetic fabrics really stands strong against spills, snags and general wear and tear. We also use a fill option called Trillium, a recycled product that is a comparable down alternative and is hypoallergenic. We also love to incorporate leather into our pieces to create a rich look that works into any style. We use only top grain leather with innovative and luxurious finishes.
On a more structural level, the frames of Jaxon upholstery are constructed of kiln dried Alder and made to last a lifetime which is why they offer a lifetime guarantee. We also try and use reclaimed wood for our case goods such as Douglas Fir, but have other options as well like mahogany, walnut and oak.
We like to mix it up with outdoor furniture—this is a vintage cart that we repurposed with a few accent pillows to create a unique seating area.
TH: Where do you get your design inspiration?
VR: It can be from a movie, a concert, a bar, a restaurant, anything really. For example, I love the old James Bond movies and the unique pieces that were way ahead of their time, but that’s just a piece of my design inspiration. I’ll start with one little thing, draw it out and then shift it into something that makes sense. A design never comes in one inspirational thought.
We love this oversized ottoman for its versatility— add a tray and it’s a coffee table, and the rounded, soft edges make it very kid-friendly.
TH: What are your future plans for Jaxon Home?
VR: I would love to open another shop in San Francisco where I grew up and then expand to bigger cities, but right now we’re focusing on our L.A. shop and growing our online business.
TH: Do you have any suggestions for someone who wants to buy furniture online?
VR: Fabric is key! We know how difficult it is to find furniture online so at Jaxon we can ship swatches to you so that you can touch and feel the fabric that you’re going to be sitting on. Another important step before buying furniture online is to measure and lay out your space. You really need to tape out your floor and know the footprint your furniture is going to have. Also, follow the proportions of the other elements in your house. Whether you have large midcentury pieces or small contemporary pieces, make sure your new piece of furniture will sit well next to your existing pieces. Although, if you do end up purchasing a piece of furniture that just doesn’t work in your home, Jaxon has a great return policy.
TH: Should you start designing a room with furniture or accessories?
VR: If you have an accessory that you absolutely love and you want to build everything else around it, you’re really starting with the best intentions to create a space that’s true to you. However, it is a lot easier to start with the larger pieces and key elements and then go on to fill in the space with your accessories. When designing a room it’s also great to mix higher end furniture with not so high end furniture. Signature pieces are the ones you should be putting money into since they’ll get a lot of wear and quality pieces will last longer. In my home, my sofa means the most to me because that’s where my family and I sit and hang out together. It’s important that this piece of furniture is cozy, fun and big enough to fit the whole family.
We have a playroom for the kids and most of the toys are stashed away in there, but some things need to come and join us in the living room!
TH: What are the signs that you need to replace your furniture?
VR: From your sofa to your wood pieces, any scratching, squeaking or cracking are telltale signs of worn furniture. Also, if your furniture fabric is losing its look and showing signs of rubbing, it’s probably time for new furniture. Another sign—boredom! If you’re bored of an item and need something new, you can always work pieces in and out, one at a time, to build a room that you love.
I made a gradual shift from primarily Ikea furniture and hand-me-downs and built a great cozy space that I love by slowly shifting pieces in and out. Start with one because replacing everything can be such an overwhelming task.
A basket here and there keeps clutter at bay.
TH: What are your tips for working with a designer?
VR: The designer can only create a space that you’ll love and enjoy if they know about you. They need to figure out your purpose for the space and its functionality, so giving the designer your priorities is a must. Do you want your space to be relaxing and zen or bright and energetic? You need to give them something to work with. Tell the designer who you are and what you like, even if it’s music and movies. It really is all about YOU. It’s not good to tell a designer to “just do it” because you’re unsure of what you want. Explain to your designer who you are and what you like. Ultimately their goal is to make you happy.
For more visit www.jaxonhome.com. If you’re located in the Los Angeles area you can find Jaxon at 8884 Venice Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90034. For any questions you can contact Jaxon at (800) 656-8605.