Filled with art and other prized pieces, interiors maven Jamie Jackson’s home lends a peek into her personality.
For me, it’s all about Art,” says Jamie Jackson, Design director And owner of Jamie Jackson design. “I’ve always made a living as an artist.”
Jackson’s success in design stems from a fascinating evolution through other passions. Starting as a theater major in Chicago, Jamie began her professional life as an actress. She acted in various roles in New York City theater, with a leading part in Go Ask Alice, for which she was Emmy nominated. Film buffs may recognize her as Robert Redford’s secretary in the movie All the President’s Men.
“I spent many days on the set, which was an exact replica of the Washington Post newsroom, down to the wall sockets. Except instead of reporters my days were with Redford and [Dustin] Hoffman.”
Her career also encompassed a role as a clothing designer in New York City, where she founded a company called Jackson Arnold and counted Neiman Marcus and Barneys as clients. Jackson Arnold designs were featured often in Women’s Wear Daily.
After an exciting stint living in Malibu, Jackson’s family came to Honolulu to allow her youngest daughter to finish high school at Mid-Pacific. She is now one of the state’s foremost interior designers. Her work includes the award-winning design of a New York City restaurant, a resort hotel in the Caribbean, homes from New York to Hawai’i, including actor Ben Stiller’s home on the north shore of Kaua’i.
“For me, the transition wasn’t black and white,” notes Jackson. “I’ve done acting in the middle of design, and design in the middle of acting. They all have to do with a sense of space, whether you inhabit it as an actor or as a human.”
While founding local design mecca Pacific Home, Jackson called Diamond Head’s Gold Coast home. “It was fun, like living on a boat,” Jackson explains. But with an art collection in need of showcasing, Jackson found and fell for a mid-century waterfront home built in East Honolulu in 1963.
“I love the unpretentious quality of mid-century, one level architecture. It really suits the art I’ve collected for 30 years,” Jackson explains. “It’s a vintage, Leave It to Beaver house. A lot of what the house is about is showcasing art and eclectic furniture that I might not use for clients but that work for this house. Some of it is vintage, but some are wonderful Italian pieces from the 1980s.”
Jackson relishes the mix of styles from various periods of her life. A 1980s Italian sofa rests next to a punee bed made by local artists. Her father hand-tufted a rug, which she describes as resembling a Paul Klee painting. Her art ranges from California artist Raul Guerrero and nationally renowned photographer Dana Gluckstein to local artists Drew Broderick, Chris Reiner and Zen Design.
“People come and say, ‘Oh my God, how could you put this together?’ The house has that open in-and-out, perfect mid-century Hawai’i house feeling. I can take my surfboard through the naupaka into the ocean, and it’s really easy for people to sleep over after a party.”
“The best thing about the house: On Sundays, I read the New York Times cover-to-cover. I start on the covered lanai in the shade, looking at the ocean. Then I move as the sun progresses through the sky to a living room chair I love. I end up on the chaise lounge napping. It’s my ideal day at home.”
Jackson, who also has a home on Kaua’i, would like to see more of the outdoors incorporated in current Hawai’i home design. “Less of a sense of having to cover the entire lot with house. Make use of the outdoor space and keep it. I design for people whose homes have dogs and kids and red wine and suntan lotion. Have fun, and also have it be beautiful.”
Citing Le Corbusier, Memphis School of Design and the colors of nature as her design influences, Jackson has no interest in doing the same house twice.
“I really want each project to go on with the people who own the home. I am interested in people. I want it to be their home. That is probably the connection with being an actress—I’m interested in characters. The people I’m designing for are characters, in a very good way.”