We are thrilled to chat with the Queen of Linens, Jenny Johnson Allen of Jenny Johnson Allen Custom Linens. Born in Lexington, Kentucky, Jenny is as gracious and welcoming as her southern roots. And as any Southerner knows, hospitality is an artform that often begins with the linens.
With an eye for beauty, Jenny has curated a chic collection of over 40 lines of custom linens for the table, bath and bedroom. The bed, our most restful refuge, should be the most comfortable and luxurious space in our home. Yet dressing a bed is sometimes a bit confounding. Let's pull back the covers and pillow talk with Jenny!
Q: What essential elements make the perfectly dressed bed? Talk us through the layers.
A: Fitted sheet, flat sheet, four sleeping pillows, Legna blanket (feels like cashmere but made from birch trees), another flat sheet (boutique hotel), blanket cover, shams, and percale duvet.
Q: Let's start with the basics: sheets. What materials are the best options? Do you have a favorite?
A: My go-to is Walker Valentine's White Percale Hemstitch Sheet Set. Pure luxury at its best.
Q: I get the giggles when I hear people bragging about super high thread counts. Is higher truly better?
A: Yes and no. Honestly, it depends on where they are literally loomed. We all know great vs bad sheets. Especially the older we get.
Q: How do you keep sheets and linens white? Is there a trick to avoiding wrinkled sheets that need extensive ironing?
A: I dilute Clorox bleach and always add fresh lemon juice to the wash. Downy Wrinkle Releaser Spray is my well-kept secret for every linen install and traveling.
Q: Believe it or not, for the laymen (ha!), pillows can be confusing. What is your go-to assortment of pillows for a king-size bed? Can you have too many?
A: Yes, it's a personal preference. I like: two sleeping percale pillowcases and two sleeping percale pillow shams, layered. Top of bed: three euros and two lumbars (13 x 30), my new favorite.
Q: A great way to personalize a bedroom is monogrammed pillows. What is the proper way to monogram a name? For a married couple, do you monogram one name or both names? Do you ever opt for the single letter?
A: Emily Post would say "proper" would be to ONLY use "her" monogram but, I have a lot of young brides that love incorporating his first initial as her maiden name placement on the right side of their last name. I like a single initial in a guest room.
Q: Do you have a monogram preference? Feminine, graphic or something in between?
A: Honestly, it depends on the space. I love ALL monograms but, I've been playing with more contemporary ones and fun borders vs monograms.
Q: I like these playful monograms. Are you seeing more freedom with monograms?
A: Yes! I love that they are "pushing the envelope" in the BEST way.
Q: Some clients prefer patterns. These are fresh! Are they embroidered? Can you customize these?
A: You can ALWAYS customize, and we pride ourselves on that specialty. We love both embroidery and appliqué.
Q: What’s the best way refresh a bedroom without drastically changing everything?
A: I'm all about the "MIX"! My new favorite is to update your bedding with a custom lumbar sham either with a border or monogram that you can literally move from room to room.
Q: Do you swap out bedding with the seasons?
A: I do swap out bedding with the seasons but use the same bedding. I take off the blanket cover and shams and have my beautiful sheets, birch blanket, sleeping pillows and sleeping shams for a more "European look" for the summer. I do keep the lumbars for both looks.
Q: Other than pillows and sheeting, how do you personalize a bedroom?
A: Always fresh flowers, family pictures and treasured family articles.
Q: Do you have any tips for making a guest room more hospitable?
A: The extra flat sheet I mentioned earlier between the blanket and blanket cover is true elegance. Always fresh flowers. Carafe of water with matching glasses (Tiffany has the best). Current magazines. Molton Brown products everywhere.
Q: Finally, If you were to design your dream bedroom, what elements would it include? Is there a color that you find particularly restful? Where do you stand on natural light? Side tables? Seating at the foot of the bed? Flooring?
A: I love lavender and feel like it is the new "neutral". Sheeting with a border. Fitted sheet, flat sheet, two sleeping pillows and two sleeping shams. Extra flat sheet in between the blanket and blanket cover. Legna blanket with DEA Italian Channel Washable Velvet Blanket Cover. Shams to mirror blanket cover. Custom lumbar with contemporary monogram. I love natural light. Side tables are a must. I like a bench at the end of the bed and wall to wall carpeting.
Thank you, Jenny! Sweet Dreams to All!
For more information, please visit jennyjohnsonallen.com
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INTERVIEW BY LESLIE NEWSOM RASCOE
Images courtesy of Jenny Johnson Allen Custom Linens