Meet The ASPIRE HOUSE McLean 2020 Designers: An Exclusive Interview With Janie Molster

Known for her fearless use of color, Janie Molster is balancing bold colors with layers of texture in the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean Living Room. Floor-to-ceiling merlot curtains with silk ruffle trim are among her favorite elements. Find out more about the overall design and the finishing touches that will make this Janie Molster Designs living room a standout in an exclusive interview with Sherry Moeller.


Janie Molster Designs Living Room for ASPIRE HOUSE McLean 2020. Rendering by Riley Sheehey.

Sherry Moeller: Describe your room at the show house. How did you come up with the concept and what’s the backstory?
Janie Molster: The Living Room is a sophisticated and feminine retreat for the lady of the house. It’s a restful room where she can enjoy morning coffee and a newspaper. Bathed in flattering pastels ranging from sherbet pinks to rosy merlots, there are punctuations of energizing pops of green. Evening light transforms the room into an elegant salon, suitable for cocktails and high heels. Our lady of the house is feminine and her design aesthetic is adventuresome. As with her personal wardrobe, there is a broad mix of materials and styles in her interiors. Against the palest of coral-y pink walls, a contemporary landscape by Virginia artist Karen Blair hangs above a green velvet sofa flanked by pressed shell tables and jeweled lamps topped with whimsically patterned shades. Painted chairs inspired by Dorothy Draper surround a vintage 1970’s era acrylic draped table. In front of the expansive picture window, a low slung mod sofa is framed by curtains in a warm merlot velvet. Pillows in complimentary rosy hues, as well as those featuring antique passementerie embellishment dress the sofas. The artwork reflects our girl’s more modern sensibility and a vintage furry Moroccan rug channels her inner bohemian wanderlust. Like its muse, this room manages to feel layered yet edited, and feminine while strong.

SM: What’s a favorite element you plan to incorporate into your space at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean?
JM: I love luxe curtains with dressmaker details. Our floor-to-ceiling velvet curtains are in a rich merlot color. The leading edge of the curtain panels has a similar toned silk ruffle. I adore the contrast of the serious velvet curtains paired with the frivolous ruffle trim. Details like hand-pleating, hand-forged hardware and plenty of fabric volume pushes these window dressings over the top.


This living room by Janie Molster Designs features substantial curtains and bold colors, similar to what she is designing for ASPIRE HOUSE McLean. Photo by Gordon Gregory.

SM: What projects have you done in the past that most resemble or relate in some way to what you plan to design at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean? Or is this a completely different concept?
JM: I’m known for a fearless use of color. We have been bold in this living room as well, but the color is balanced with layers of texture and interest. There are many influences. For example, the vintage Moroccan rug and acrylic draped table sing of the bohemian 1970s, while the gold marble-patterned ceiling and green glass chandelier scream over-the-top elegance. At the end of the day, I hope the room is remembered as warm and pretty.

SM: Have you participated in other show houses?
JM: We’ve participated in our local symphony show house, but in recent years, I’ve opted out of show houses. The ASPIRE HOUSE McLean show house captured my interest for several reasons, including the architectural design and the new build aspect – no hidden surprises are likely to surface during installation! We fell in love with the living room’s tall, coffered ceiling and several large windows. ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine is doing a great job of supporting us and of course the McLean location will provide such a good audience.


This living room by Janie Molster Designs has a similar aesthetic as the one she is designing in the upcoming ASPIRE HOUSE McLean. Photo by Gordon Gregory.

SM: What’s next for you design wise—are there some projects you’re particularly excited about? Are there any projects you’d love to tackle, sort of a design bucket list?
JM: It’s endless…how many words do I get?! I don’t think any of the designers in the show house would be participating if we didn’t eat, drink, and breathe our work. We are an obsessed group. As far as exciting work in the queue: 1. We are wrapping up a three-year renovation and design of a large family estate. It’s been a soup-to-nuts project with many wonderful custom pieces, wall finishes, and commissioned artwork; 2. We are in pitch-mode on a spectacular estate on the west coast of Florida. It’s a retreat for a large, rambunctious family who wants vibrant color, durability, and exquisiteness. We have been so inspired by this challenge; and 3. I was thrilled to get a call recently from a favorite client with a new project. It will be our fifth project together and we can’t wait to get started. We often fall in love with our clients and miss our collaboration when the project is complete. We’re thrilled to get an past favorite back in the fold.


About The Designer | Janie Molster of Janie Molster Designs believes good design should delight, inspire and embrace her clients. With a portfolio that ranges from family homes to boutique hotels, urban apartments, restaurants, and retail stores, the Richmond, Virginia designer is equally adept at transforming public and private spaces. Her 25+ years as a design principal and her diverse portfolio of acclaimed projects has established her firm as one of the Southeast’s design leaders. House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Southern Living, Coastal Living, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal have featured her work. “I like to think my rooms inspire Southern graciousness, whatever the region. Even the most sophisticated designs, when handled thoughtfully, should infuse a space with warmth and personality.”


Sherry Moeller is a contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine.

Proceeds for ASPIRE HOUSE: McLean will benefit First Responders of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more, and purchase tickets for the event; open August 21 – September 7, 2020.

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