The Bradbury Cafe Defines How to Add Character Through Interior Design

Designer Jean Stoffer of “The Established Home” creates timelessness showcased in her cafe and retail shop.

Written by:Diane Conrad
Photographed by:Jon Stoffer
A Smithfield bar top in a coffee bar

Cambria design shown: Smithfield™

If you’ve ever looked at a newly decorated space and wondered how the designer managed to make it feel so timeless and collected, you’re in luck. Designer Jean Stoffer of Jean Stoffer Design has some easy advice for you. According to Stoffer, it all comes down to the details—the layers of interest that give any space life and personality. Here’s how you can add that character to your own space—as Stoffer did to The Bradbury cafe, featured in the 26th issue of Cambria Style, which is basically ambience-central even though it’s a brand-new space created within a retail store.

Keep the look fresh with vintage or antique accents. “It may seem counterintuitive, but pieces with some age will keep a newly decorated space from looking out of date too quickly. Generally, if a room has a mix of things from different eras and even styles, it will have more staying power. So don’t be afraid to mix!” says Stoffer.

Combine textures and finishes.Well-designed spaces have a multitude of textures. In a room with upholstery, I like to have velvet, linen, leather, woven fabrics—and not too much of one thing. If we have a wooden coffee table, I like to put a tray on it that’s not wood—try metal or rattan, for example.” Stoffer also incorporates a mix of finishes. “I love patina, hand-rubbed, and worn textures in addition to newly painted finishes—it just adds life,” she says.

Don’t pick matching light fixtures. “The key is to mix it up—so you can have different metals in the same room, different types of fixtures and lamps, differences in scale and mass,” she says. “So, for example, you might have a chandelier over the kitchen table but then something over the island that has more mass, like a globe. You just don’t want to be matchy-matchy.”

Cabinet hardware is more than an accessory. Stoffer says, “It’s really an integral part of the design. Take your time choosing hardware that feels good in your hand, then place it carefully. We look at antique furniture to get inspiration for hardware placement.”

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