Posted on September 13 2023
Meet the visionary, Jason Berke. With nearly a quarter-century of expertise spanning product design, visual merchandising, and the art of visual storytelling, Jason embarks on a remarkable journey as an Atmospherist, guided by an extraordinary vision that defines his creative narrative.
But what, you may wonder, is an Atmospherist?
In Jason's own words, the role of an Atmospherist is nothing short of magical:
"At the heart of it all, there exists a profoundly imaginative intersection where the senses converge to craft beauty with purpose. That enchanting blend is what we call atmosphere. I hold the belief that, with careful deliberation, you can welcome people into your life, your home, and your personal interactions, enveloping them in the cocoon of thoughtful beauty, allowing them to truly thrive in the present moment."
"For those you hold dear, creating such moments offers the opportunity to etch indelible memories, where the minutiae are acknowledged, and people feel truly seen. I am here to lend my expertise, drawn from a kaleidoscope of creative disciplines, to empower YOU in forging a captivating physical or personal atmosphere."
"Be it a grand celebration or an intimate soirée, a gathering for two or a space for profound connections and conversations, I will ignite your imagination with ideas and equip you with the tools to stride forth with confidence, manifesting these warm and memorable moments."
Join us as we unravel the mind of this creative luminary and explore the art of living beautifully, hosted warmly, and designed with purpose.
How did you get started in interior design?
I call myself an Atmospherist as I show up in many ways, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Most of my career was spent leading product design for home brands at Target. Now I have my own business, Warmhouse Story, where I bring all of the senses to interiors, entertaining, small events, and many collaborations. I try to pop up where people don't expect me to.
What inspired you to pursue a career in this field? I have been a multi-hyphenate creative my entire life. My current work is a culmination of all of my skills (including storytelling) and stands out through a multi-disciplinary approach to mood and environment.
How would you describe your design style? I describe my style as Classic Maximalist. It is a moody look that incorporates historic and bygone elements in a layered and thoughtful way. There is a whimsy to my work which borderlines on the imposible. People can love it, observe it or hate it. It is informed by decades of working in home decor and as long as it gets people to stop and think, I have done my job as a designer.
What elements or principles are most important in your design approach? I believe that we should start with what we own and try to approach design sustainably by using antique and thrift finds. Mixing old and new can be fun and it feels good when you find a new context for an old thing. I also believe in using bridge patterns found in art, wallpaper, rugs and textiles as a starting point for palette selections.
What attracts you to maximalist design? Objects have stories. I believe that your home should reflect your journey. Classic Maximalist design allows you to fill your home with rich layers that remind you of where you have been and inspire you to imagine where you might go next.
How do you strike a balance between bold elements and creating a harmonious space? There is a fine line between Maximalism and clutter. The art of arranging takes practice and editing is as important as adding. I try to determine what elements are the headliners of the room and let other items enhance them or support them subtly. Overall, I lean to a more is more approach and try to show people how to pull it off in a way that feels cohesive and warm.
Can you share a project that showcases your maximalist style? I recently completed a guest bedroom makeover inspired by wallpaper from Walls Republic. I've never done anything that played with history and tropical influences. This was a fun and tricky project.
What challenges did you face while working on this project, and how did you overcome them?
One challenge to this design was the variety and number of green colorways in the room. Color changes at different times and in different lighting. As the room started coming together, I would observe all the greens together and make sure I could see harmonious connections. I love how it looks at night the most of all. The room just wraps you up.
What steps do you take when starting a new design project?
All of my work creating atmosphere begins with a group of images, objects or nature that serve as a starting point. I build out multiple branches of where it may go and capture them in a working document or physically. I let my imagination go far and then begin to pull back in and edit. The final touches take time and I like to sit with them for a bit before calling a job complete.
How do you incorporate a client's personality into your designs?
I spend as much time as I can with a client or collaborator. I listen well and try to get them to talk about their life unrelated to interiors or hosting. I try to pull out the memorable (but unexpected) details to bring into the work. The end result is that they feel really seen and very special. I find great joy in that.
How do you choose color palettes for maximalist spaces?
I start with a bridge pattern from art, rugs or wallpaper. I pull out the hues and begin to prioritize them as foundations, builders, or surprise pops. I encourage people to choose wall colors based on the boldest color that they like in the bridge pattern. I am a fan of moody hues, but this can be done with any color.
Neutral walls are very nice but selecting a few rooms to stand for color in a big way can add dimension to your home and demonstrate different sides of the residents. In smaller rooms, painting is not too risky and can be changed with relatively little effort. A wallpaper accent wall is the most incredible element of all and is begging to be the inspiration for the whole room.
What advice would you give to someone looking to incorporate patterns effectively?
Pay attention to the hues in the patterns and if there are slight differences, place them around the room. If everything matches too perfectly a room feels like a showroom and not a home. There are patterns in my redesigned guest bedroom that are a bit off from each other, but the whole effect is harmonious, and the quirks make it feel lived in and real... which it is.
What are some simple ways homeowners can add a touch of maximalism to their interiors?
I suggest that people start with a gallery wall or a bookshelf display of their favorite things. Bring in unexpected objects or art and have fun playing with the mix. That one little moment can serve as the inspiration for an entire room.
Any advice for those who might be hesitant to embrace bold designs?
Bold choices do not need to be permanent choices. Walls are the perfect place to play with being bold. I would not install navy countertops or kelly green flooring as a way to start... or maybe ever. Use Pinterest or Instagram to look at deep and moody rooms. You might be surprised by what tickles your fancy.
What materials or textures do you find yourself gravitating towards in your designs?
Tarnished or weathered metals are a favorite of mine- especially brass. I love velvet in all of its forms because of the effects you get from how the light hits the fabric. Objects that show patina or age are appealing to me.
Are there any upcoming design trends you're excited about?
Deep and moody colors are not a trend of the month. They have always been there. There is a moment of rediscovery and experimentation happening in dark hues and I am loving it. White walls are lovely, easy, and the right thing for many folks. It is what you see on many TV shows and in magazines. I dare people to step beyond that look and create a space that it an expression of their spirit and life journey.
How do you think maximalism will evolve in the coming years?
Every design aesthetic evolves. I think that maximalism will be explored in bohemian, classic, and even modern ways. In the end, it will always appeal to those of us that are collectors and arrangers of things. It can pay homage to history and many movements in design and that kind of celebration, in my book, is always in fashion.
Jason's remarkable insights and creative wisdom have illuminated the path towards crafting warm, inviting atmospheres and unforgettable moments.
To stay connected with Jason and witness the magic he weaves, follow him on Instagram at @warmhousestory. For a deeper dive into his world of atmosphere and design, be sure to visit his website at www.warmhousestory.com. There, you'll find a treasure trove of ideas, resources, and perhaps the key to unlocking your own creative potential.
We'd like to extend our gratitude to Canary Grey for their stunning photography, which has enriched our visual journey through Jason's world. Their exceptional work has truly brought his story to life.
So, let's continue this adventure together, as we aspire to live beautifully, host warmly, and design with intention. Thank you for joining us on this atmospheric exploration, and we look forward to sharing more inspiring stories with you in the days to come.