It is an honour to feature one of America’s most sought after design professionals, Jeff Trotter. Turning dreams to reality, Jeff specialises in both residential and commercial interior design. Beginning his career in set design and art direction for a major motion picture studio, Jeff is familiar with the glitz and glam of Hollywood. Now decking out interiors fit for a movie star, Jeff Trotter’s timeless style embraces a ‘contemporary twist on coastal comfort’. An eye for detail, Jeff is also a frequent contributor to several home and lifestyle publications.
After graduating from UCLA you began your career working in set design and art direction for a major motion picture studio. What experience did you gain from this and how has it impacted your career as an interior designer?
One of the most important things that I learned was how to be flexible with my designs. Set direction and art design require pieces being moved or cheated to camera for a scene or a shot; so furniture and accessories are constantly being moved and rearranged. This was a great lesson for my residential design work. Families often require flexible pieces that can be moved and utilised for different purposes depending on their needs, so that was a great design lesson to learn early on.
At what stage did you realise your passion lied with residential and commercial interior design?
I knew from a very young age. I was constantly moving around my bedroom furniture and redecorating. My love for design and everything aesthetically pleasing is pretty innate.
Your style is often described as having a ‘contemporary twist on coastal comfort’. Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere. Nature, fashion, travel. I find inspiration in almost everything.
Has your vision and style evolved or changed over time?
Absolutely. Design is art, and to grow as an artist, you’re always evolving. I tend to lean toward the less trendy and more timeless, but I’m always tweaking, changing, and trying new approaches based on what inspires me.
You are regarded as one of the country’s most sought after design professionals. If you could select one celebrity to design their beautiful home, who would you choose and why?
Madonna, because she’s such a chameleon and a master of reinvention. I’d love to work with her to create a home that reflects who she truly is at her core. She also has fantastic taste in art, so getting my hands on some of the pieces in her collection would be fun.
You are credited for your fresh, yet timeless aesthetic. In a grand house, what is your favourite room to get your hands on and transform?
I have a soft spot for kitchens. They’re always the place that everyone ends up gathering in and are the heart of every home.
We would love to see into the mind of Jeff Trotter. What is your process when creating your designs?
I always start with a client’s needs and wants. I like to gather as much information as I can about how they live and how they prefer to utilise their spaces. Then I take all of that information and filter it through my creative lens to deliver finished spaces that both reflect their style and mine.
Residing in the centre of Hollywood, glitz and glamour, does LA influence your designs?
I’m a Los Angeles native, born and raised, so yes, it absolutely influences my work. Both of my surfboard collections, JTD Stone Surf and JTD Skin Surf, are heavily inspired by my LA roots. There’s nothing more quintessential California than surfing. There’s nothing more quintessential LA than blurring the lines between what’s expected and unexpected. Using an authentic surfboard as a beautiful piece of art is the perfect marriage of the two.
We are most intrigued by your latest endeavour, a custom line of surfboards. Perfect for a sculptural art piece or catching some waves, have you hit the beach with one?
Of course! I can’t sell what I don’t use myself. Both of my collections consist of high performance surfboards, so they’re not only beautiful pieces or art, but they’re also amazing to surf on.
Where did this project stem from?
Growing up and spending countless days at the beach definitely influenced my design aesthetic. Taking such an iconic symbol of beach living and turning it into an elevated piece of art that could be used in pretty much any space, anywhere, just felt like a natural extension of my style.
The recent quarantine period has been a confusing and difficult time for so many. Whilst all creative industries were on pause, with many artists stuck indoors during lockdown, how did you keep your creative juices flowing?
I feel like this period of isolation has really nurtured my artistry. It’s allowed me to quiet some of the everyday noise and tap back into my creative instincts. So I’ve actually spent a lot of this time designing two new JTD Surf collections as well as working on my client’s projects.
We would love to hear a sneak peak of any other exciting projects you have coming up?
I’m wrapping up several commercial and residential projects right now that I can’t wait to photograph and share when the time comes, but I’m probably most excited about the two upcoming surf collections that I’ve been working so hard on.
If you did not choose this creative career path, what do you think you’d be doing?
I’m absolutely fascinated by psychology and philosophy, so my alternate career path would involve one if not both of those areas.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and what are your hopes/dreams for the future?
I’d have to say that the highlight of my career thus far has been building and designing my mom’s and sister’s homes. They trust me 100%, so I was able to execute my full creative vision for each of them. I’m also the most invested in their homes because if I weren’t, I’d have to hear about it at every family gathering and holiday. As for the future, I hope to find continued success in doing what I love.