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Jeff Andrews on Choreography, Kids, and the Kardashians

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Welcome back to Curbed Interviews, wherein Raina Cox (of If the Lamp Shade Fits and Curbed's Moonlighting series) interviews major players in shelter media and interior design. Have a suggestion for someone whose voice should be heard? Send it here.

Any Los Angeles interior designer worth their salt should have at least a few star clients, but Jeff Andrews can claim a constellation's worth in his portfolio. He has made a name for himself decorating celebrity homes, including those of producer Ryan Seacrest, actors Michael C. Hall and America Ferrera, and reality TV's current royal family, the Kardashians. Andrews may have taken the path less traveled to his decorating career, but he considers it a calling nonetheless. He recently spoke with us about fame, the famous, and an upcoming TV appearance.

How did you come to be the Kardashian clan’s go-to design guy?
[Laughs.] I designed a home for Ryan Seacrest [producer of Keeping Up with the Kardashians] a few years ago, and the story goes that Khloe and [her husband] Lamar Odom were at Ryan’s house, as well as [Khloe’s mother] Kris [Jenner]. Apparently Lamar was the first one who really loved Ryan’s house. As soon as they bought their house, I got a call from Khloe to come and meet them and they wanted me to design their house. I worked on a house with them and then I met Kris Jenner. I started working with Kris, and we’re in the final stage process of a huge renovation at her house in Hidden Hills.

The first time I met Khloe, I met [her sister] Kourtney. So when she eventually bought a house, I started working with her. So it’s all been kind of incestuous and I love it, I love it, I love it! They’re such great people and so good to work with and really just respectful and inspiring. I can’t say enough good things about them.

Did you attend Kim’s wedding this past weekend?
I didn’t. I was actually in Minnesota visiting a friend of mine who was my very first client.

Do celebrity clients require different handling from everyday folks?
A lot of times there’s an issue of privacy and trust, and also a lot of times with people in entertainment things happen very quickly. So lead times and availability and things like that are definitely something that comes into play. Not that it’s necessarily more with a celebrity—I think everybody is that way lately. They want things super fast, they want them now. But I think with celebrities, it’s mostly getting the trust factor down and the privacy. But also they tend to entertain a lot, so I find that they’re coming to me for something that is a complete look and one hundred percent finished by the time we’re done with it—not a lot of ongoing projects. We dig right into it and get it done, and then let them enjoy it.

You have a background in the entertainment industry, having started out as a choreographer. How did you make the transition from dancing to interior design?
Just sheer will and determination. [Laughs.] I’d always been involved in style and design on some level, ever since I was a kid. When I was choreographing I was also directing, and I did a lot of sports fashion things, like live shows, around the world. I was directing and styling and choreographing and helping with set design, so I think I’ve always considered myself a bit of a visionary and really interested in the big picture. When I got to the point where I had achieved what I wanted to achieve with choreography, I switched gears to interior design and it’s treated me really well. I work really hard, and it was a natural fit for me. I’m good at dealing with clients and people. I think dealing with the corporate clients I had when I was choreographing really taught me to listen and to pay attention and work with a client’s goals in mind. I think that definitely helped me in my transition into interior design.

You’ve spoken of your desire to develop lines of furniture, rugs, lighting, and accessories. What future projects are you working on?
Mmmm... I can’t really share it yet, but I do have some things in the works. I might be collaborating with somebody. That’s all I can really say.

A home line?
Yes, a home line.

Tell us about next Friday’s HGTV appearance.
It’s on a show called My Favorite Place, and it’s basically a house tour of one of my favorite projects in Beverly Hills. It’s the home of a repeat client of mine who is also one of my best friends. The episode talks a lot about designing for people with children, designing with kids in mind. That’s the running theme of this episode.

What can you share about how to actually design with kids in mind?
It’s mostly things like sturdy upholstery. I did a fully upholstered headboard in [the daughter’s] bedroom. Things that are great colors for kids and are super stimulating in rooms that are well-designed but also kid-friendly, where kids are not restricted to certain areas of the house.

That project work was recently featured in Trad Home, a relatively new online shelter hybrid of the Lonny editors and long-time print player Traditional Home. What are your thoughts on this digital medium?
I love it! I think it opens up a lot of information for the public as far as where to buy things, how to find things. It just gives them information right at their fingertips, because you click right on something that’s in an editorial and find out what it is and where to buy it.

Your Rome project (?), featured in Vogue Living Australia nearly 10 years ago, is still the blog world’s touchstone for contemporary luxe decorating. What influence do you think blogs have on design?
I think the people who blog do so much research, and for a lot of them it comes from a passion for design. They handpick things, they do all the research and then they feature them. I feel like it’s good for regular design junkies and consumers who feel like they like to have their finger on the design world in some way. I love it! I think it’s really great. It’s helped make design more reachable for everybody.

· Jeff Andrews - Design [official site]
· Meet "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" Decorator Jeff Andrews [Curbed National]
· Designer is keeping up with the Kardashains, indeed [Los Angeles Times]
· My Favorite Place: Kid-Friendly Favorite Spaces [HGTV]
· Jeff Andrews: For Fun's Sake [Trad Home]
· Exploring the Supersize Premiere Issue of Trad Home [Curbed National]
· Glamour Pad [Jeff Andrews - Design]
· If the Lamp Shade Fits [official site]