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At Once Modern and Classic

A clear kitchen table with modern artwork hung on the wall

Wowhaus is a boutique interior design firm led by principal Holly Jaffe. Wowhaus finds the most exciting rooms exude style, a je ne sais quois, and are, at once, modern and classic. Jaffe doesn’t believe in rules. Rather, she believes in sleuthing out the essence of the dweller—her passions, his joys, their color philosophy.

Tell us about your business’s philosophy on design. It’s all in the mix. Cheap and chic. High low. Modern mid-century. Heirlooms and stainless steel. Concrete floors and diaphanous sheers. I received my master’s degree in design from Yale, an intense and rigorous training. To my clients, I bring that design discipline and my passion for their collections—of memories, travels, objets—and craft distinct spaces that are uniquely theirs.

How do color and pattern play an important role in your work? Color in my work is essentially and mostly the absence of color. But alas, in neutrals is the most beauteous and sublime color, a thousand different whites—in a sheer linen drape, a white snakeskin pillow, a Farrow & Ball “Distant Grey” flat on the walls. Or the mottled grey in a hand-poured concrete floor, the platinum ombre in a porcelain tile or the spark of industrial chic in a stainless steel threshold. The patina of the silver gilt of a 1940s chest. We love the deep rich browns of a reclaimed 200-year-old barn wood table against the crisp white sofa and the blanched almond of the resin-coated goatskin coffee table. The dark wire of the wheel pendant above the stainless table. Color is in the collection—artworks, objects.

Name your three favorite ways to look for inspiration? A Pablo Neruda love poem, a Nick and Nora ’40s film (the sets are fabulous), a modern storefront in the Marais district in Paris, a fashion iconoclast.

Photos: Living room, Keith Scott Morton; Dining space: Timothy Burke Mannle

Presented by Wowhaus.

A modern living room with white couch.

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