Today, we’re visiting Jessica Bates, the creative force behind Jack and Ella Paper Press and the mom to two children whose names just happen to match those of her company. We love her chic, family-friendly style and were excited to chat with her more about her home, business and decorating style.
Can you tell us a little bit about your home and your family?
“I live just outside of Madison, WI with my husband, two children (Jack, 13 & Ella, 11), along with too many pets. Our home is a small three-bedroom Cape Cod that was built nearly 70 years ago. While the rest of my family would prefer larger digs, I appreciate living in a home where every square inch of space is utilized. While it is not ideal for entertaining, it’s nice to not have those ‘extra’ rooms to clean….i.e.:‘formal dining room’ or ‘formal living room’. Our dining room gets used on a daily basis. Formal is not a word I would use to describe our family, nor our home. Luckily, my husband and I share a similar design aesthetic. While we like a classic and traditional style, we are transitioning a bit to a more modern and minimalist look. We both have a love for comfort and a strong dislike of cluttered spaces.”
We love how you’ve interated office space into your bedroom while keeping the feel of this room serene and uncluttered. What would you say was most important to achieve this?
“Using the nook in the master bedroom as my office/studio was decided out of necessity. There was simply no other space for it. I believe we have made the most out of this small space (it measures eight feet by nine feet) by choosing the ideal office furniture. I would have never been able to achieve an organized/uncluttered space with a traditional desk. The Bedford collection is a storage powerhouse. I primarily conduct my entire business ‘in-house’ from this one area and the files and cubbies provided by this set keep everything in its place. I believe tidiness is vital when you are combining a space like a bedroom with a busy workspace. I’ve heard people suggest avoiding having work areas within a bedroom, but it works for me . . . my only commute is to the kitchen for coffee.”
Can you tell us a little about your business?
“Jack and Ella Paper Press is a design and paper goods studio. I started selling to a local shop in 2009 and opened an Etsy shop in 2010. I create a variety of simple and stylish, eco-friendly paper goods ranging from greeting cards to social stationery. Wedding projects are what’s keeping me busy these days. Although I wear a lot of hats operating this business, it couldn’t be a more perfect fit for me. Technology has made it possible to have clients from around the world, while not leaving my own bedroom . . . how cool is that? I currently have a lot of plans in the works including developing a website, expanding my wholesale designs and introducing a new wedding line.”
Did you always want a white kitchen? How do you keep this space organized and stylish?
“￼Funny you should ask. I have a bit of an obsession with white kitchens (I tend to hoard ‘white kitchen’ images on my Pinterest boards). This all started from the movie, Something’s Gotta Give, where I spotted my dream kitchen.”
“You could say that our kitchen is a work in progress, as she still needs some love (in the form of subway tile and marble countertops) but I do love her just the same. My late grandfather had built the wall cabinet that houses my cookbooks, dry goods and ‘organized junk drawers’. I’m not sure what I would do without it. I love cooking and one way that I keep my space organized is limiting my cookbooks to one shelf. You can see it is maxed out and if I were to buy one at this point, I would be forced to part with one. I keep my recipes tidy by placing them in categorized binders. If we were to have a house fire, these would be one of my things to grab on my way out.”
What Pottery Barn products did you use in your home?
“Pottery Barn products are in every room of our home, (with the exception of my son’s bedroom which my husband and son ‘created’…don’t ask). The dining room houses one of my favorite pieces, the Tucker Buffet which stores everything we need for entertaining. The dining table and chairs are all from Pottery Barn (different than what is currently available but similar to the Lawton Table and the Aaron Chairs). I love that the table extends to seat up to 12 for when we do host a holiday, everyone has a seat at the big kid table.”
“We have the dupioni silk drapes in the living room that have held up really well in our active household. I’m a big fan of the Savannah lidded baskets to contain the kid’s shoes in the entryway. Durable, easily accessible, hides the clutter and looks pretty. Enough said. In the office/studio, I purchased the Pottery Barn Kids giant Larkspur corkboard for my inspiration board. Looks great with the Bedford desk. All the furniture from the master bedroom is West Elm (part of the PB Family). Ella’s room has a Pottery Barn seagrass rug as well as a Cameron single shelf with baskets for toy storage. Our love the PB extends to the back yard with the Chesapeake dining table and chairs.”
We love your daughter’s bedroom. What elements in this room really stand out to you?
“This room was so much fun to put together. Ella is very creative and I wanted her space to be a blank slate with fun & colorful elements to encourage her imagination. I stocked it with art supplies and an 8 foot long desk to provide lots of space for art & crafts. We whitewashed an oak butcher block countertop for the desk. We painted a large area of the wall with magnetic paint, covered it
with chalkboard paint and framed it in. I ordered permanent decals from Shanna Murray Illustrated to dress up the black space on the board. We hired a contractor to make her built-in bed and dresser which helps keep the rest of the room wide open for play.
What’s your favorite room in your home?
“I adore Ella’s room, but it would have to be the master bedroom/office. It’s my haven and I spend the most time there. Once my kitchen has its upgrades, ask me that question again.”