Jacqueline Palmer is the ultimate artistic multi-hyphenate: painter-photographer-dancer-
What is your background? How did you get into design? Have you always been aesthetically minded?
I began my artistic career in Santa Cruz, and moved to San Francisco to attend Academy of Art University and study design – I worked three part-time jobs while enrolled in full-time courses: styling brand visuals for Williams-Sonoma, designing at an interiors firm, and nannying! I spent a summer in Italy studying art history and architecture, where I discovered a passion for European aesthetic. After graduating with a BFA in Interior Architecture and Design, I joined April Powers Interior Design, and then Kendall Wilkinson Design, creating high-end custom homes and furniture for private clients. A few years ago I launched A Design Lifestyle to explore multiple design outlets – with an updated business model and design process – to reflect the new market of clients in tech. I established the brand as a design and lifestyle blog, but after a brief six months of blogging, I received an overwhelming number of inquiries from prospective clients and quit my 9-5 job to offer full-service design in interiors, styling, fashion, production, and events.
How did you get into design? Have you always been aesthetically minded?
I knew I wanted to be creative in my career, but as a “Type A” personality I wanted more. Most do not realize that the profession includes elements of business, finance, relationship management, marketing, public relations, and technical computer software skills. But it also includes color, art, textiles, natural and manmade materials, flowers, and endless collaborations with other creatives. To me, it is the career with the best of all worlds, and I do not think I decided upon it, I think it chose me.
How do you achieve a polished look with without it seeming too precious or austere?
It’s all about balancing out the vintage and new pieces and using them sparingly as statements rather than the focal points. When they are used minimally as a bold, unexpected element, the balance comes through, and the space feels more eclectic and sophisticated, rather than formal and collected.
If someone is working within a strict budget, where do you encourage them to spend and save?
Invest in the larger pieces like your sofa, rugs, coffee table and lighting, and then shop at lower-priced retailers for side tables, pillows, wall decor, art, and accessories. This way, your budget is balanced, and you can easily break up the design into phases to accommodate your budget.
Do you have a signature and does it find its way into every project?
I call my design style contemporary-eclectic. My projects range from industrial offices to eclectic bachelor pads, and contemporary new family homes. Although every project is unique, all designs emit a sense of vibrancy, edge, and sophistication, and of course, a touch of blue!
Is there a current trend that you love and think will endure?
Blue is a really hot color right now, in every shade, and did you hear they just discovered a new shade!? This time around it is being seen as a statement used in unique applications; like lacquered navy kitchen cabinets or a cobalt leather headboard, or a powder velvet sofa. Blue is a classic color, and can be timelessly applied to any design style, residential or commercial.
What are your favorite resources for a splurge? For a steal?
For a splurge, I love, of course, POBAGM, Coup d’ Etat, Twentieth, Armani Casa, Ralph Pucci, and the list goes on! For steal, I love HD Buttercup, Anthropologie, Jayson Home, CB2, Consort, and again the list goes on. I also love shopping at alternate sources like Etsy, eBay, Craigslist and local fairs and flea markets. You never know what treasures and deals you might find, and it’s a sure-fire way to have a few one-of-a-kind pieces in your home.
Do you tend to have tried-and-true favorites that find themselves into every job?
In every job you can find: lots of white, a touch of blue, a few vintage found pieces, a lacquered surface, and the finishing touch, flowers. The balance can be applied to anyone’s project style, and it’s become a recognizable look for me.
What is your favorite recent project and what made it special?
I’m in the process of finishing up a design for a bachelor in San Francisco. He has a modern flat in one of the new high-rises downtown, and we’ve created a modern-Scandinavian design, with a touch of vintage American western texture, art, and decor. It’s a curious juxtaposition of design style and eras, and it’s going to be a very cool space!
Is there a type of project you fantasize about doing some day?
I have always dreamed of designing The White House. I’m a big history buff and to be a part of the most significant residence in the United States would be an incredible honor. I can just image going back in history during a restorative process of an original piece and uncovering a remarkable story.
What are your favorite pieces on Previously Owned by a Gay Man, and how would you use them in a project?
I love the collections of chairs. A unique, vintage, character chair is an excellent way to elevate a any room. I also love the quirky accessories. There are some fun finds, and they always make for great conversation starters. Here are a few of my favs:
See more examples of Jacqueline’s exciting work at adesignlifestyle.net.