I met Jennifer Duchene on Twitter since we share similar tastes in books, travel and beautiful decor. She is a re-designer and speaker who focuses on helping her clients “create delicious spaces with what they already own”. This year, she released her debut book entitled Le Chic Cocoon: 7 Steps to Creating your Selfish Space, which became an Amazon.com #2 bestseller in the Do-It-Yourself and Decorating categories. Le Chic Cocoon provides that in order for a woman to be her best self, she needs a space of her own in which to focus, dream, and be selfish — in the most positive sense of the word. I thought to chat with Jennifer on her book and ideas — AND she has graciously agreed to give away a copy of Le Chic Cocoon to one lucky reader. Excited? Let’s dig in…
Jennifer Duchene: That fateful weekend was when I decided I was going to write a book, I decided that if this life was a story, I was going to make it mine. Speak to my passions. Combine what I loved with my gifts. Create a marketing tool to move me out of being just another decorator in a sea of decorators, to a woman on a mission. Own my space and give women a holding space to empower theirs.
I found a course through a friend to write my book in a weekend. Actually it sounds crazy, but when I arrived at that weekend and started formulating ideas, things fell into place. I was inspired by Virginia Woolf and her book, A Room of One’s Own, and I use her quotes to begin every chapter.
I have been on a journey since [last] April that has changed my business. It has changed me. After the weekend, I signed up to finish the book and publish by September and somehow I, with a little help of friends, family and mentor, made it happen. I hit bestseller on Amazon and Le Chic Cocoon even trended on Twitter for a moment. What a thrill and thanks to Twitter and Facebook friends and their invaluable support. The book covers a couple of areas that I am passionate about. I believe every woman needs a space of her own. A Le Chic Cocoon she can retreat to. Women lead lives that are full of giving and doing, not so much for themselves. Surroundings play such an important role in how we live. I want to educate women about design and function and how spaces do shape us.
Tell us about some of the memorable moments you’ve had surrounding your book experience?
Some of the best moments have been when I got positive feedback for the first time and everytime since. When somebody tells me I have inspired them to create their own space or to rethink their life from reading Le Chic Cocoon, it is like a blossom opens in my heart. Having the opportunity to go to Highpoint and meet Twitter friends and have them want to buy my book was an incredible high. Winning the Excellence in Marketing Award and having the bestseller launch with friends coming from all over along with the support and love from the online community has been so powerful. Truly my book has transformed me for the better.
Where are some of the best designed spaces you’ve seen in your travels?
Whenever I go home to South Africa, I fall in love with the homes, restaurants and the shops I spy as I drift through the days soaking it all in. There is a relaxed sophistication that is both timeless and comfortable. Charm in the unexpected and always clever use of materials and colors. A bold insouciance that is very sexy and individual. Great flow of indoor and outdoor space and a relationship to the people and culture. It is a very individualistic harmony that astonishes and delights.
Mosaic Wall in the Beverly Hills Hotel (South Africa)
What are some of your favorite color and/or product combinations you’ve seen?
I adore green in all its disguises. Right now I am drawn to black greens. Emerald, jade and poisonous shades. Bronzes, coppers and creamy chocolate browns. I love shiny and matte, textured and smooth. A play with shape and textiles is very exciting to me.
I like natural items: wood or stone mixed with metal and perspex. Shells and bone and lace. Handmade, machine-made forged into new life. Beauty is in using the material to speak to our heart.
Do you prefer quiet or vivid artworks?
Actually I have an eclectic taste in art. I love both quiet and vivid artworks. I am drawn to art that is painted from the soul. Those magic canvases that hold luminosity. That portray the dawn or an exquisite landscape.
I am also drawn to the bright and happy works that vibrate with energy. That swirl around us and gather us into the joy. That make our bodies vibrate to a silent music. Art is so personal and so powerful. Each piece to me is treated as a whole. A room should start with the art.
What television show would you most like to be on?
Tray of Beaded Artworks
I would love to be on the Nate Berkus show. I admire and relate to what Nate brings to the public about design. How much our lives are controlled by our environments. How important living in spaces that feed our souls is. That we can create our cocoons to live in and from, right now. Nate Berkus has appeared to me in dreams, on billboards and moving bus stop signs so many times I am just waiting for the phone to ring and a voice saying “Nate Berkus is expecting you!”. I would also enjoy being on a women’s talk show like The View. I love the diversity of opinion and conversation the women bring to the set. The thought of sharing my passion for women to be selfish and create their own space is very appealing.
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Thank you, Jennifer! I do find that most women find it hard to make time for themselves, much less carve a space out for themselves. Imagine if we were selfish more often — truly gave ourselves the time we so freely give to others — how much we would discover about ourselves, our strengths, our potential? I’m so glad Jennifer explored that theme and used the term “selfish” in a positive way. You can read a few reviews of Le Chic Cocoon on Amazon or on blogs such as Brocante Home. She recently spoke about book publishing on the Twitter #GetPublished chat — you can read the transcript here — along with a radio interview with Susan Davis of Good and Green radio show. You can also keep up with the lovely Jennifer via her YouTube channel and the Le Chic Cocoon Facebook fan page. I hope you do check out her wonderful book. Now, are you ready for your chance to win your own copy?
G I V E A W A Y
One lucky Reader will receive their own copy of Le Chic Cocoon! For your chance to win, please leave a comment on this post letting us know your answer to: “Where would you create your own Le Chic Cocoon right now?” If you also become a Facebook fan of Le Chic Cocoon and/or Fauxology, let us know in the comments separately for two more extra chances to win. The Giveaway is open to everyone and one Winner will be chosen at random from the comments. Deadline: Midnight on Tuesday, December 27, 2011. Good Luck!
All Images Courtesy of Jennifer Duchene
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