Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Jessica Williams | Kingston Design Showhouse 2019 | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

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Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Jessica Williams

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Growing up in rural Maryland, Jessica Williams’ working-class parents—a contractor and baker—were always looking to beautify their home in an affordable way. Since then, she’s gone from a teenager working at spas and bakeries to the founder of Hendley & Co, a full-service interior design studio based in Brooklyn and Newburgh, New York.  Williams didn’t know until college that interior design would be the path she would follow—but looking back, it all made sense.

“I was enamored and never looked back. I feel completely understood and fulfilled on this path,” she says. “It makes great sense when I reminisce on my monthly bedroom rearranging as a teenager, and asking Dad to repaint every season.”

With her parents’ eye for simplicity and affordability in mind, Williams aims for a palette both “complex and calming” while adjusting to the needs of each client. She and her Hendley and Co. teammates Taylor Bailey and Cindy Ortiz designed the Airbnb bedroom suite on the second floor of the Kingston Design Connection Showhouse. She boils down their design principle to three points: 1) study the context, 2) listen to the needs of the client and 3) prescribe solutions or design ideas.


Williams sees the sitting room as a place to read or put together a puzzle, relax and unwind. “We love that we can incorporate the opposite function that the bedroom serves,” she says. “It should instill the same calming effect as the bedroom yet feel like the next step in a productive day.”


Continuing under the principle of “context first,” Williams finds it crucial to always pay homage to the house at hand. “We do not find our inspiration in trends, but rather motifs that are appropriate for when a house was built,” she says. For the Kingston Showhouse, she says, her team gathered aged items appropriate for when the house was built in the mid-1800s and mixed them with “graphic qualities of today.”


Her interest in the history of the Hudson Valley came naturally from her life experience, when Williams and her husband “followed their work hustle” from Maryland to Brooklyn. Like many city-dwellers with an eye for design, they were attracted to the possibilities in the Hudson Valley—and settled in the town of Newburgh, about 60 miles north of the city and 40 from Kingston. 

“The architecture, history, diversity, and access to nature were a few of the many reasons we took the leap, she says. “I've personally been drawn to Newburgh's influence in early homes and how it remains a tastemaker city—the creative community and collaborations here are unmatched.”


And when it comes to the Kingston Showhouse, Williams thinks back to her parents seeking functionality and beauty in equal measure—and connects it to how she can apply that to the Airbnb. “We are most excited at the potential of our design staying intact for future guests to stay and enjoy,” she says. 


“It's more meaningful to us when our mark can become more permanent in a person's life,” she continues. “And in this case, part of their experience in the Hudson Valley.”

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