Designer Series: The Fine Art of Design with John-William Interiors’ Easton Logan
While the term “art form” is often thrown around loosely, Easton Logan of John-William Interiors truly approaches his work like an artist. We sat to down to talk with Easton about his unique and detailed approach to interior design.
How did you get your start as a designer?
I owned a high-end antique store for 12 years, and over and over again, people would come in and ask if I did design. I really was fortunate in meeting some designers during that time that influenced me a great deal, and after I closed the store, I was in touch with one in particular who owned a store and loved antiques. She was selling and consigning my antiques and doing an extremely good job, and she liked to go to Europe to buy, so I went with her on a couple buying trips in Europe. Through that I started working with her at her store and from that point, I moved into home construction and custom building. Eventually, I landed at John-William Interiors as the display person, and I did that for 14 years. In January of this year, I became a staff designer full time. I’m absolutely delighted and I feel like I’ve finally found what I want to do when I grow up.
What’s your design philosophy?
One of my first design philosophies is that design is a collaborative process. And by that I mean every artist has to have a patron. Every design project has to have a customer. And my philosophy is, it’s the designer’s job to communicate and to listen, and to develop a design scheme around what the customer is looking for and striving for. The other part of that it is, sometimes, a designer’s job is to stretch the taste and stretch the customers beyond what they initially thought they might want. I believe that every person has a sense or feeling of what looks right. I began to read about Feng Shui and what really stunned me is that the more I read about it, the more I realized it was what I was already doing. I believe every human being has a need for order and a desire to have order in their world, and I think a designer helps guide a person to that. I want to bring that out for them and show it to them.
What do you consider your specialty?
One of the first things I put in my mind when I meet a customer is that I’m here for them; they are not here for me. My first goal is to listen. That is absolutely above all. I listen to what people are saying. I pay attention to body language. And I think a specialty of mine is that interpretive process of getting to know the person and working that into design. I also have a lot of experience of working with what I have, and taking it and making it beautiful. I have a lot of experience putting things together. I’m able to edit and make decisions in very little time.
What is your favorite project since working at JWI?
My first kitchen remodel was a favorite of mine. The kitchen that exists today is nothing like the one I initially drew on day one, but it’s phenomenal. It’s a piece of art. And my customer, her taste, her hand is in everything that we did for that house.
Another recent one was when I was given the privilege to furnish this year’s Parade of Homes. It was a very prestigious project and a prestigious builder, one of the leading builders in San Antonio. This house was an absolute jewel and I had the task of furnishing and putting up drapes. The builder set his feet firm that he would not buy drapes, but he looked at the fabrics I picked, and said, “I like this.” And he kept some. And I take that as a huge compliment. We won the President’s Award, we won the People’s Choice award, we won the Realtor’s Award and he won several technical awards. The project turned out phenomenally well and I was able furnish it out of stock.
It also illustrates what John-William Interiors is capable of. At any given moment, we have tons of merchandise in the pipeline. We have two warehouses, we have two stores, and the resources available to us are really quite large and quite deep.
What’s your design process?
I sincerely believe that design choices need to be made on site. When I meet a customer, initially we discuss upholstery or look at rugs, but really the work begins at home on the job site. Every home is different. Also for me color is crucial. It’s not whether it’s blue or brown or green, its what it looks like and what light it takes in the home and how it reflects off the fabric. Then as I pull fabrics together, I create a storyline. Every fabric and every style every color tells a different story, and this is where my antique trade comes in. Being familiar with period styles, where fabric patterns originated, what is truly modern and what is truly not. I think every project needs to be different and distinct, and it needs to reflect the owner.
How does good design help people in their working and living spaces?
There’s a fantastic quote by Le Corbusier. He said, “A house is a machine for living.” And one of my philosophies is that everything absolutely has to have a purpose. It has to function. It has to have a use, a place. To me this is the difference between decorating and design. Decorating is something you do to a cake. Design is something you build from literally air. I feel that when a room is well designed, when you walk in that room you feel it. There’s nothing like coming home to a beautifully finished, accessorized and organized home. It’s calming, it’s relaxing It’s truly home. And I believe that good design absolutely makes for better living.
What do you enjoy most about being a designer?
I am really getting a kick out of the creative process. I love finding elements that work well together and being able to follow it all the way through to a finished product. I love when we scale a sofa into a room on paper, and we carry it through the doorway and place it and it looks exactly the way we imagined it would, and it works. I love creating a beautiful space.
In your opinion, what are some top traits in a successful interior designer?
Listening is incredibly important. I think having a sense of scale and proportion and an eye for color are as well. I think most importantly, there needs to be a compassion for the customer, who is seeking guidance and seeking help. A really good designer should have some humility about themselves and a desire to do the best for this customer and bring them what they’re looking for.
In your opinion, what sets John-William Interiors apart?
John-William Interiors is a different animal in the retail space. I love the story of how John-William was formed by two men who decided the last thing the city needs is one more furniture store. What they founded was the idea of a designer-based staff, with far and away more experience and skill beyond the skill and motive of someone who is strictly a salesperson. And they’ve created an environment where designers can come into this company and function. There’s a great deal of independence in what designers can do here. Whatever a designer’s strong point is, they work with that. On top of that they have the breadth and depth of stock that gives a designer a number of alternatives. And a customer can come in and sit down and touch, feel and see, and that is a huge part of getting the whole process started.