Jen Berniker Makes Designport “Home”

Thanks to the internet, anyone can ask any question — and get a quick answer.

Westport Front Porch is Facebook’s source for finding plumbers and airport drivers. Here at “06880,” I field queries like “What’s up with those library steps leading down to the river?”

But let’s say you need to know how to light your dining room. Remove dog poop stains from a rug. Or style the top of an antique icebox.

Those design questions — and many, many more — are asked and answered on the Designport Facebook page.

Launched by Westporter Jen Berniker, it became a judgment-free zone where anyone can discuss any big (or little) issue that homeowners face.

Jen Berniker (Photo/Maya Porrino)

Now she’s expanded. Designport has evolved to include a website, newsletter, video content and Instagram (@my_designport).

Designport (a combination of “design” and “Westport”) began during the pandemic. Berniker — a Brown University graduate, and former producer and writer for lifestyle television shows on HGTV, TLC, PBS and CBS (with a few personal renovations under her belt) — often fielded questions from friends: Where should I shop? What should I choose? Who should I hire?

Staring at paint chips, tables without chairs and dysfunctional work spaces, she had the same questions.

So she launched a Facebook page. It quickly became a place where everyone from do-it-yourselfers to professionals shared advice.

Screenshot from the Designport Facebook page.

Berniker — an expert writer and photographer — began posting stories and tips. Seeking something more permanent than social media, she launched the website.

It’s focused on Fairfield County (and a bit beyond). But it’s attracted interest from far beyond.

Recent stories included tips on gardening in a drought (from Westport Farmers’ Market director Lori Cochran) and a tour of artist Yvonne Claveloux’s home. Landscaping tips come from local pros like Allison Feuer and Maura Cotter.

Berniker has also done “Saturday Snoop” video home tours with Westporters like best-selling author Jane Green (her “secret garden”), CTBites blogger Stephanie Webster (“Eating In”), and photographer Stacy Bass, plus other female entrepreneurs and creative types.

There are before-and-after stories, from homeowners and interior designers.

She partnered with Aitoro and Ring’s End, for “ask the expert” Q-and-As.

Berniker also organized an art drive for paintings to brighten offices at Bridgeport’s Center for Family Justice.

Her goal is to “uplift, discover and promote up-and-coming art and design talent, and lessen the stress of homeownership, while connecting like-mined community members.”

In the works: local resource lists.

You’ll still have to go to Westport Front Porch to find those airport drivers. But interior decorators, landscape professionals — maybe even plumbers — will make Designport an even more valuable destination.

Yvonne Claveloux’s house and artwork, on the Designport website.

 

2 responses to “Jen Berniker Makes Designport “Home”

  1. What a joy to see Yvonne’s wonderful home. More special as she grew up here in Westport! Perfect.
    Pat P

  2. What a joy to see Yvonne’s beautiful home. And so happy she is a local who grew up in Westport and is still adding to our special Town.
    Mrs. P