Bay Area designer—and Rue favorite—Clara Jung has one very special quality that shines through in her work: optimism. The mission statement of her firm, Banner Day Interiors, is to provide clients with a sense of happiness and wellness in their space. A Banner Day-space doesn’t shy away from color, pattern, even pop culture references (in the case of this very chic dining room). Today, we get to know the gal behind the design—former lawyer, Peace Corps volunteer, and a designer who will continue to make waves. Meet Clara Jung, Principal of Banner Day Interiors. 

When did you first discover your love of design? Is there a specific moment you can remember?
I always had a penchant for interior design, but for most of my life didn’t truly take it seriously. It was during my time in Ann Arbor, Michigan where I fell deeply in love with interior design. Domino and Blueprint magazines were prevalent then, and it was the first time where design spoke to me in a way that seemed not only accessible, but also extremely appealing. Seeking distractions from the demands of grad school, I really invested in my very small apartment to ensure it remained a cozy haven through the long Michigan winters as well as the rest of the year. 

You began as a lawyer…does that experience help or hinder your work as a designer?
My past experience as a lawyer is definitely an asset in my work as a designer. Instead of running cases, we run projects now and my skills as a project manager from attorney to designer is highly transferable. Our ability to communicate, problem solve and organize is what contributes to a strong foundation for any successful design project. This is especially true when things go wrong. We don’t shy away from mistakes, and we try not to dwell on blame. Instead, our immediate response is to acknowledge the mistake, move into problem-solving mode, and formulate a range of solutions. 

Although I’m experienced in adversarial situations when needed, it’s nice to take a more collaborative role in design alongside our clients and extended network of building teams. Lastly, as an experienced advocate, I use those same skills on behalf of my clients and ensure that they know they can rely on me to advocate on behalf of them. 

How do you describe your style? What are the hallmarks of a Banner Day Interiors space?
A Banner Day Interiors space is punchy, colorful and whimsical. In addition, most of my clients are young families, and for them we always take care to create practical spaces that are truly livable. In many of the homes we do, we sprinkle a baseline of mid-century aesthetic with doses of unexpected traditional elements. These are all common themes in the spaces we do. 

That said, all our projects are unique and different from each other, as represented in our portfolio of work. This is because I strongly believe that the core of our job is to execute our client’s vision of their space (adding value by distilling and editing), and I’m really proud of this. It’s also what keeps this profession so fun and fresh. 

What do you love most about living and working in the Bay Area? How does California influence your creativity?
I love the wide spectrum of architecture and design you can find in the Bay Area. We are working on a handful of historical Victorians, an Eichler, and a couple of Spanish Mediterranean style homes to name a few.  

Additionally, the Bay Area attracts a wide swath of people from different occupations, backgrounds, and geography. This is important to us, and it is what part of what keeps it interesting. 

Where do you go to get inspired?
Hands down, travel. I’ve really missed it this past year and a half. Exposure to different places and things reawakens my design senses. I take a ton of photos and try to sear it into my design brain. Seeing unusual color combinations, textiles that are new to me, or tile with a cool texture are all different ways to look at things in a new prism. 

What do you think every room should have?
I think every room should have fun artwork, texture, and a dose of black. 

What does “home” mean to you?
Home is where you feel safe and comfortable. And post 2020, I think most would agree that home can’t be taken for granted. It’s the refuge to allow us to rest and restore. With a more centered and balanced foundation at home, arguably, it allows one to go out and participate in society in a more meaningful way.   

What is the accomplishment you’re most proud of?
My team. I never thought I would be in a position to employ other people. Being able to generate enough work and attract enough clients to keep our team growing is something I’m extremely proud of. 

I also take our company culture seriously and it’s been a weird yet amazing experience to create my own company, brand and culture. We’ve all been at jobs/places where even interesting work isn’t enough to overcome a less than optimal culture. I’ve made a concerted effort tried to ensure that my team loves working at Banner Day Interiors just as much if not more than our clients love working with us.