F5: Dean Jeffery Shares His Morning Routine, Favorite Coffee Shop + More
For the past nine years, Dean Jeffery, Grand Rapids Chair Company’s Creative Director, has worked to transform a reliable, second-generation family business into a design-forward furniture brand. By bringing innovative energy and a contemporary edge to the hospitality and contract industry, he not only overhauled the brand’s portfolio but turned it into what it is today. The launch of a residential sister brand, Only Good Things, provides a unique Midwestern perspective to the global design community, shining a light on emerging creatives through quality pieces that elevate kitchens, dining rooms, and outdoor spaces everywhere.
As the head of branding and product development, Dean establishes and oversees collaborations with designers to create playful, minimal, and expertly designed furnishings that are built to last and center sustainability. From Grand Rapids-based Filter Studio to Australian design duo Dowel Jones, Dean has fostered relationships with creatives across the globe. Products he has helped bring to market now live in spaces belonging to some of the biggest companies in the world, including Google, Chipotle, Marriott, and Nike.
Today Dean Jeffery joins us for the first Friday Five of 2022!
1. My Morning Routine
Sleeping has never been my strongest life skill, and over the years I’ve grown to love my early mornings alone. There is this overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility that makes my heart so happy. Having a built-in morning routine has done wonders for my nervous system. I wake up early, roll out of bed before the sun rises, grab the dog, and head outside for a 20 to 30 minute walk. After that, I make some fresh coffee, put on a guided meditation, and just relax for a bit until my partner wakes up and heads to work. That routine helps me keep life in perspective. I have so many things to be grateful for, so I start my work days grounded in gratitude.
2. My Dog, Lu
I didn’t think I’d ever be a lap dog type of guy, but this dog has made me a convert. We adopted Lewis AKA Lu, LuAnn, The Countess (that’s a Real Housewives reference for any other fans out there) from a rescue about three years ago. She’s the most laidback dog I’ve ever met, which compliments my personality. At the start of the pandemic, when I was just settling into WFH life, she would literally sit on my lap all day while I worked and it was the most therapeutic thing ever. Since then, we’ve created some healthy work/life boundaries and give each other some space, but she is a constant source of joy. Everyone loves her so much – we named a table after her!
3. Good Coffee
As cliché as it may seem, few things make me happier than a great cup of coffee. Thankfully, I live in a city with a pretty robust coffee scene and a few of the best roasters in the country like Madcap Coffee. For me, good coffee is so much more than taste – it’s the whole experience, which is why my favorite coffee shop to visit in the city is Stovetop Coffee Roaster. Not only is their coffee delicious (and their café cute), but unlike a lot of craft coffee companies, they don’t come off as pretentious or too serious. They’re always up for answering questions. Even their decor features a neon sign that thanks you for being there. I also love their packaging. They took the road less traveled and opted for super fun doodles instead of minimalist color blocking. Similar to the work our team does with making great design accessible and enjoyable at Grand Rapids Chair, Stovetop takes a similar approach to the coffee experience.
Maybe it’s because I grew up going to health food stores in the early ‘90s or my background as a yoga/meditation instructor, but incense always makes me feel nostalgic and helps me feel grounded, present, and safe. My go-to is the classic stick of Nag Champa, but lately I’ve been obsessed with the National Parks Collection of incense cones from Good and Well Supply Co, specifically Rainier and Isle Royale. The scents are all so nice, like a mini mental vacation to help you reset and focus.
5. Michigan’s Lakeshore
The Midwest is often overlooked, especially when it comes to design and nature, but Michigan’s lakeshore is honestly one of the most beautiful places in North America. Regardless of the season, the trails around Lake Michigan boast an endless supply of inspiration. Around every corner there is something new to discover. Color inspiration is everywhere, from the hundreds of hues in the water to the rocky shorelines to the stunning sunsets. Blue-green waves, quartz and shale stones, pink horizons, and the fall colors! Please Google a Michigan shoreline in fall right now. If I could steal the color palettes of the lake and put them on everything, I would. Plus, for a few months of the year it warms up enough to enjoy swimming with friends.
Work by Dean Jeffery:
Whether you want to show some love to your partner, friends, pets, or just get a treat for yourself — you’ll find plenty of thoughtful, design-driven Valentine’s Day gift ideas in the Design Milk Shop.