By Nicole Barley
Photographs by Cayla Zahoran
Jeffrey Smith’s home instills a sense of peace in those who visit. That, of course, is by deliberate design. The color palette is earthy, the approach is minimalist, and the main influences are from the Eastern hemisphere, with a special focus on India. From a mask of the Hindu goddess Tara, who represents virtue and enlightened action, hanging next to the front door, to the elephant figurines placed throughout the house, Smith’s Buddhist beliefs are beautifully represented. “The elephants face towards the door with the trunk up because in Hinduism, that is a most auspicious blessing. People, when they enter, don’t know that, but the energy is there,” he explains.
Smith is the creative force behind the Lawrenceville salon Jeffrey Smith Studio, a similarly soothing, inspiring space. “I do like to keep it simple, but I think the space, no matter where you are, dictates how it should look. Our upper salon is more ornate because of the architecture of that space. The downstairs is more like this, simpler, plainer. But definitely, I like less,” he says when comparing his house with his salon.
Smith’s place of residence for six years, the three-story house is 98 years old, but thanks to a complete renovation with the help of contractor Bill Noble, the space is modern and open.
Much like his physical appearance, his nearly all-black wardrobe contrasting with vivid, intricate full tattoo sleeves, Smith’s living space carries a dichotomous element, too. Though the majority of the house is streamlined and simple, his in-home jewelry studio is, in a word, “chaos,” he says laughing. A colorful explosion of beads and necklace-wearing busts fills every inch of the space. “This looks nuts,” he says, gesturing at the wall-to-wall mélange, “but I know where all these pieces are.” After all, from chaos comes creation, and cultivating creativity is really Smith’s main goal in pursuing this new craft. His interest was originally sparked when the salon began retailing jewelry. Smith soon found a teacher to sit with, and discovered a natural affinity for designing. Though the pieces are for sale at the salon, he is most content to simply create beautiful art that inspires joy in the wearer.