As the owner of an interior design business, Jen Hendrickson is used to creating something from nothing. For the past decade, she’s worked with homeowners, offices and contractors in transforming a space and giving it a fresh perspective.
“I love collaborating with creative people,” she said.
Recently her business, Jennifer Hendrickson Interiors, won the Best of Design and Best of Customer Service awards from Houzz, an online platform for home remodeling and design. She’s been awarded with the former for three straight years.
On Tuesday, she took time to speak about her work and success.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about your background?
A: I went to Penn State for hotel and restaurant management and worked in some beautiful hotels. I worked in the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, and then I moved to Washington, D.C., and I was involved in the W hotels when they were just opening up, so I had gone to some branding meetings there. And then my husband and I moved to San Diego — he’s a Marine — and so I took that opportunity to go to design school at the Design Institute of San Diego.
And I went into it thinking I wanted to design hotels and restaurants, so I’m waiting for that perfect hotel and restaurant job. But in the meantime I’ve been doing offices and homes. I really enjoy it all.
Q: How would you describe your process?
A: I do a lot of drawing on AutoCAD first to make sure everything is the right size and will come together well. I give my drawings to the person who is building it and I look for feedback in ways we can change it. We sit down and look at it together.
It’s always nerve-wracking on install day. Because you’ve been waiting and working on it for months and you are just hoping that everything goes well. But it’s really fun.
Q: How did you get involved with the Houzz competition?
A: A few years ago I just decided to put my work up there. It’s like Pinterest, but it’s only residential homes. You can create idea books on it. So basically the Best of Design award that they give you is because a lot of people have marked your work and have added them to their idea books. The Best of Service award is from my clients going on the site and reviewing me. That’s a great place to go if you have a project to find someone because it has reviews and pictures of their work.
Q: What projects do you enjoy the most?
A: They all have their own challenges and rewards at the end. I’m working on a new construction home right now. I’m working with new people and a new contractor, so I think that’s fun. I’ve met some amazing woodworkers; I can draw something and they can build it for me. I have an awesome metal worker; he actually made the table we’re sitting around.
Q: Any memorable experiences from your time in the hotel industry?
A: Yeah, I served tea to Mrs. MacArthur, Gen. (Douglas) MacArthur’s wife, every day. My first job at the Waldorf was being a manager at the fine dining restaurant, so I got to wait on a lot of incredible people. But she stood out. She was just a lovely lady.