• Jen Lea

Introducing... the Jeneral

Hi there - I am Jen - or the Jeneral, as a number of contractors and tradesmen know me in the field. My nickname came from a play on an abbreviation of my full name into something short and sweet for social media purposes - JenRL. The nickname now helps to represent my approach to design with my work hard/play hard attitude.


My goal with introducing this blog is to provide readers information that is informative, inspirational, relevant, and worthy of reading - after all there are so many resources where you can see pretty photos and get DIY advice. But my goal is to tell it like it is - the good, the bad, even the ugly.


Designer Workspace

I LOVE to help others transform space.


Some Background

I first moved to Chicago in 2003 from Fishers, Indiana. At the time I was a CPA - yep, Certified Public Accountant - and I took a job at a law firm as a tax accounting specialist to assist the attorneys with cases. The best thing about taking the job is it brought me up to this wonderful city so full of history, culture, and architecture- I was mesmerized just taking the train to work every day. While that position didn't work out for me- it started my journey in Chicago to where I am today.


After living here for a few years - and working in a few different accounting roles - I landed at a home builder and handyman/remodeling company in Lincoln Park. As someone who has always loved art and architecture, watching the projects that they worked on and the homes they built, stirred something inside me to know that I was not meant for the "financial side" of that business. Next thing I knew I was enrolled at Harrington College of Design downtown Chicago and ready to leave my accounting side behind.


Fast forward to now with a Master's Degree in Interior Design plus 10 years of design experience, and despite the highs and lows, I LOVE DESIGN.


Real Design for Real People


Keeping it Real

Design isn't always glamorous - anyone who tells you it is then either lives a sheltered life or has been miraculously lucky. Most of the time it is managing the lesser of the evils - budget constraints, client indecision, contractors not up to par, and buildings that just won't cooperate with the design plan.


But along with that you find some diamonds in the rough - amazing clients who you are fortunate to have worked with, better than expected design outcomes, and even an occasional archeological find (renovating 100+ year old buildings can be surprising).


Hopefully by reading you will find some helpful tips and guidance, get some inspiration and insight, and learn more about the design process. Also stay tuned for my "Ask the Jeneral" column coming soon where you can submit questions for a weekly Q&A.


Cheers!

Jen


Jen aka the Jeneral
Jen