As a rule, Jennifer Fuller is hired to interpret the styles, tastes and sensibilities of others. A rare exception came three years ago, when the interior designer moved to Bryn Mawr from Princeton, N.J., with her husband and two young daughters. For once, she had free reign to revel in her own ideals. “It was nice to bring in some strong colorations, some edginess and some things that are just fun,” she says. “There are so many fun people out there, and their houses need to reflect more personality.”
The Fuller house is anything but vanilla—that much is apparent the moment you step into the 1913 Georgian Colonial’s grand foyer, with its large-scale zebra-print rug and unexpectedly beautiful Venetian plaster treatment on the ceiling. As she did throughout the rest of the house, Fuller kept the foyer walls a neutral color so her collection of abstract art would stand on its own. A high-gloss black closet door and a deep-raspberry cushion on a gilded Art Deco chair sharply contrast the cream walls. “I wanted people to be intrigued by the foyer—for it to have a ‘wow’ factor,” says Fuller. “It should make them want to see what’s happening throughout the rest of the house.”
From the start, Fuller was open to either a new or an old home. Now, she feels she has the best of both worlds. “This was an older house that had great bones and structure that I knew I could give more of a modern touch,” she says.
The previous owners had completely renovated the home. “But their tastes were very different from ours,” says Fuller. “This house was a creative platform where I could forge ahead and make it my own style.”
Fuller’s style is one she admits has evolved over the years. “I grew up in Georgia, and I lived for a time in North Carolina,” she says. “Those areas were definitely more traditional in design. I was fortunate to work for Lindsay Henderson, a prominent designer in North Carolina, when I was starting out my career.”
After a few years with Henderson, Fuller ventured out on her own, quickly growing a client base in Princeton that she maintains to this day. Last year, she opened Willow, a chic home-accessories boutique in Haverford Square, bolstering her Main Line presence and expanding her client base. “People appreciate the fact that I’m willing to introduce them to things that are considered different or unexpected,” she says.
Fuller’s home office is a direct reflection of her risk-taking style. A former gardening room, the space is small. Fuller made an outsized impact with wide, horizontal black-and-white stripes on the walls, a color scheme continued in a patterned area rug.
Elsewhere in the space, an Eames-inspired chartreuse desk chair works with the gold accents found in a desk tray and a frame nearby. “You don’t always have to err on the safe side,” she says. “At the end of the day, it’s just paint.”
The living room uses color in a less dramatic way—but the impact is impressive, nonetheless. Fuller’s favorite color is orange, and it’s showcased in a lacquer Jonathan Adler tray on the coffee table and a curved-back chair by O. Henry House, which Fuller affectionately refers to as “sassy.”
Meanwhile, the walls are a cream shade, and the furniture is upholstered in a matching linen fabric. “The orange provides sharp contrasts,” she says. “But if you took those items away, it’s a completely neutral room.”
Fuller employed the same strategy in the family room, where an armchair’s bright turquoise appears again in a tufted ottoman. As for the walls, “gray is my go-to neutral,” she says. “It’s more modern.”
Upstairs, the master suite features a custom closet “room.” “I pored through countless design magazines and websites for inspiration,” says Fuller.
She found it in a story about renowned designer Kelly Wearstler’s personal closet. In Fuller’s version, crisp white built-ins and cabinets offset the orange walls, and two round windows provide plenty of natural light.
For her daughter’s room, Fuller went for something sophisticated, with natural grass cloth on the walls and hot pink on the ceiling and in the curtains. A starburst light fixture adds a funky element.
Pink also finds its way to the third-floor guest bedroom, in the form of the striking Osborne & Little wallpaper. A turquoise light fixture and table lamps break up the pink, as do the twin beds with black headboards. “It’s an odd-shaped room with all the eaves,” says Fuller. “The wallpaper brings interest to the space.”
Though she’s acknowledged an expert, Fuller doesn’t think you have to be one to make an impression. “Start by just taking one room in your home and say, ‘What can I do to make it unique, and how can I think outside the box?’” she says. “You’ll be surprised by what you come up with if you trust your instincts.”