Local interior designer Janie Molster – a frequent partner with H.J. Holtz & Son on residential projects – says Holtz work is on display throughout her new book “House Dressing,” even if the company name is nowhere to be found.
“My editor advised me not to name vendors and business partners, because I was sure to forget someone,” she laughs. “But Holtz is basically the star of the book.”
“House Dressing” was published in early September and features five chapters on single-home projects and four thematic chapters – or “design lessons,” Molster says – on topics such as color and mixing styles, among others. “I wanted to show some things that were very fresh, and also very much wanted to show the range in what [my team can] do,” she says.
Molster credits a friend for first suggesting the idea of a book and her public relations agent for continuing to nudge. “Every good PR person thinks their seasoned designer needs a coffee table book,” she says. “I wasn’t completely convinced, but then I met with a wonderful book agent who helped ensure I had a book with a unique perspective. In the end, we had multiple offers for [publication].”
In the book, Molster emphasizes the importance of creating a home that is faithful to its occupants. “I’m shooting myself in the foot a little here,” she says, “but having the perfect home from a design perspective is so much less interesting than having the home reflect the family that lives there.”
When she works with clients, Molster likes to separate their current holdings into three categories: What’s on its way out the door? What is negotiable? What will always be with you? In this way, she says, she helps people identify what’s essential and where room exists for something new and wonderful.
“To be memorable, every room needs the ‘off’ thing – the off-colored painting, the off-colored pillow,” she says. “That’s the thing that separates the cookie-cutter room from one that is authentic.”
That willingness to incorporate something unusual or “off” is something that she’s developed through experience, Molster says.
“I don’t know I would have thought that 20 years ago” she says. “Now I’ve seen enough to know good design is important across the board, but we see so many rooms without personalization, without authenticity. That has given me the platform to say, ‘If you want something that is memorable, make it personal.’ ”
Molster’s fall has been busy with travel up and down the East Coast, giving talks and attending book-signings in support of the book’s publication. “My husband jokes that for three months, it’s been like having two jobs,” she says, noting that she’s thankful for her design team in Richmond that is continuing to work with clients. “That’s why we’re here – to help people with their projects,” she says.