Kind, Creative, Inclusive

Jeanne K Chung, founder of Cozy Stylish Chic, shares how a passion for design and helping others is shaping the Pasadena design community.

Born in Fargo, North Dakota and raised in Pasadena, interior designer Jeanne K Chung has been living and working in the Pasadena area as an interior designer since 2013. Her projects have spanned from updated traditional local homes to stunning kitchens inside the Pasadena Showcase House (she’s a four-time participant) to blogging about some of the world’s most popular design fairs. Since opening her showroom Cozy Stylish Chic in 2016, she’s expanded to collaborating with Monogram Appliances to create a luxury kitchen showroom—their first Experience Center on the West Coast—opening a workspace for interior designers and architects, and has leveraged her industry relationships to make Old Pasadena a true design destination. Below, Chung shares her dreams of creating an official design district, right here in Pasadena.


How has Pasadena’s design community changed in the last 10 years? 

The design community is anchored by two organizations: the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the Pasadena Showcase House. A decade ago, designers were still pretty guarded about what they shared and who they shared with. Thankfully, this mentality has evolved. Many designers in the area are members of ASID or have participated in the Showcase House, or both, but a big chunk‚ especially the newer designers, are not affiliated with either. Collectively, designers today are not as competitive. Many of us now share resources and bounce ideas off of each other.


How has the local design aesthetic evolved?

Pasadena is known for a very traditional aesthetic that matches the historical architecture lining our streets. In the past, people would hire the same decorator as their parents, so interiors would look the same generation after generation. Now there’s more exposure to inspiration, whether through Instagram or Pinterest, so we’re seeing fresh, more modern takes on that traditional style. People today want their homes to reflect their individual personality, lifestyle, and experience.

Why are so many design companies coming here?

The retail landscape is changing rapidly. On the one hand, there is the immersive digital presence that caters to the impulsive buyer, but on the other hand, there is the consumer that values the full experience of a physical location that can cater to all the senses, which is why so many national brands are opening up showrooms in Old Pasadena. I believe these companies noticed that a lot of their product was being shipped to the Pasadena area and set up brick and mortars to strengthen their position.

We opened our doors in 2016, within a couple of months of the Roche Bobois and Farrow & Ball openings. When COVID hit, a bunch of showrooms closed on Green Street. I recently took a stroll around Old Pasadena and was amazed at how many showrooms have popped up or are about to open since COVID—mostly corporate-owned showrooms like Room & Board, Herman Miller, Avocado, Custom Comfort Mattress, Parachute Home, Tempur-Pedic, Visual Comfort, and Lovesac.


How does our design community compare to West Hollywood’s?

In WeHo, the businesses are dedicated to helping the designer succeed, because when the designers succeed, that means their business will thrive. WeHo has more industry events and dinners, and the design community is more social. Networking and social media are recognized as being a big part of the business, and the more you are out and about, the more likely you are to make connections that will lead to other opportunities. I see that starting to change here in Pasadena as designers recognize the value in promotion. What you give and the effort that you put in will get paid back in spades.


How are you cultivating a local design community?

Participating in a Pasadena Showhouse House can be stressful, especially for those who are doing it for the first time and have no idea what to expect. With experience designing spaces for the Pasadena Showcase House and working with brands, I see and hear a lot of what goes on behind the scenes. I try to share that info with other designers so they don’t have to learn the hard way like I did.

Some questions that come up: What are the best practices when soliciting donations? Should you rely on the docents or should you staff your own room? Who pays for what? How do you create show-worthy space but within the parameters of what is allowed?

When we opened Designer Domicile early last year, I realized that we had the space to host larger groups of people. We started hosting designer mixers last year—there’s no better way to get to know your peers than over some nibbles and wine! We have great conversations. Those who work alone may think they’re the only one dealing with a difficult client or having problems with orders being late, when the truth is, we are all facing the same issues.

How has your Cozy Stylish Chic showroom helped Pasadena’s designers?

Our showroom is a mini-extension of the Pacific Design Center (PDC). With our recent expansion, we are a real one-stop shop for design. Now designers don’t have to make the dreaded trek across L.A. traffic because our pricing is no different from ordering directly from the PDC showrooms. We’re also open to the public.

I travel to many of the trade shows around the world: High Point Market in North Carolina, Heimtextil in Frankfurt, Déco Off and Maison & Objet in Paris, Salone del Mobile in Italy, and Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Las Vegas. Not every designer has the same opportunities, so I’ll write a trend report from each show on my blog. This spring, I decided to bring the best new products I saw at Déco Off and KBIS to Pasadena. We also brought in one of my favorite software vendors to demonstrate how designers can make their lives easier and their workflow more efficient by using the Lidar scanner on their iPhone or iPad.


What is still missing from Pasadena’s design scene?

I would love to see more independent showrooms and retailers. The Old Pasadena Management District helps in promoting a “shop local” mentality, but “shop local” is something that needs continued support from locals year-round for the independent retailers to survive.


What’s next on your wish list for Pasadena’s design community?

Each May, West Hollywood’s design district (the La Cienega Design Quarter) hosts Legends, a celebration of design that draws in media and designers from around the country. Panel discussions, parties, and designer-decorated store windows line the streets of the design quarter. I wish the businesses in Pasadena could join forces to officially designate (with signage!) a Design District and put together a design map that links the antique dealers along Fair Oaks to the showrooms in Old Pasadena. So many designers from outside Pasadena come to the Rose Bowl for the flea market and frequent the antique dealers along Fair Oaks, so why not bring more awareness to the collective design scene in Pasadena? Let’s collaborate instead of compete.

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