Jeffers is a designer who had her first business at 10, making piñatas for high-end toy stores in her native Chicago. To finance herself through the Art Institute of Chicago she started her second business. This hand-painted clothing venture was so successful that she featured on the cover of The Washington Post magazine when she was 17.
Born in 1967 in Chicago, IL. she now lives in New York City but the nature of her busy practice means that she travels extensively – lecturing on design in colleges such as Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, organizing next season launches for a client in Austin or researching design’s ancient history in Mexico or Europe.
She has a bachelor’s degree from the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois and a Masters degree in history of decorative arts from The Bard Graduate Center, New York 1996
After college she started her own design company, Grace Jeffers Designs. She designed for clients as varied as Burberry and Cotx. It was this portfolio that led to her tenure with Maya Romanoff.
In a new departure she became Marketing Director at Bendheim Architectural Glass where she developed the Rice Paper Glass line.
In 1995 she returned to running her own business and has worked with clients such as Wilsonart and MeadWestvaco. She was part of the creative team that rebranded, revitalized and repopularised the Airstream travel trailers.
Jeffers is a thought leader and an accomplished lecturer on the intelligent use of materials in today’s world. She is renowned for challenging designers to dig deeper in their understanding of materials, urging them to re-evaluate concepts such as “Natural” and “Artificial”, “Real” and Fake”, to holistically understand the true environmental impact of their choice of materials.
A pioneer in plastics conservation and historic preservation one of her outstanding achievements is her restoration of The Ralph Sr & Sonny Wilson House in Temple, Texas, and its listing on the National Register of Historic Places as a significant architectural structure. The house was awarded National Landmark status by the Texas Historical Commission in 1998 and earned the National Merit Award for Historic Preservation in 1999. This seminal project is considered a clarion call for the resurgence of mid-century modernism.
She subsequently restored the USS Growler nuclear submarine at The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. The ex-submarine is the only American guided missile submarine open to the public and the exhibit offers visitors a firsthand look at life aboard a submarine and a close-up inspection of the once “top-secret” missile command center.
Jeffers is the creative force behind the award winning Wilsonart Student Chair Competition for the past 13 years. It is the longest running sponsored class and student design competition in the US and is awarded to a different school each year.
She is a talented writer and commentator on design and materials. Her articles have appeared in journals such as O at Home and Interiors & Sources.