Drawing from her penchant for fashion, Los Angeles-based designer Jaqui Seerman approaches her projects stylistically, often fusing bright colors, textures and one-of-a-kind art to make a bold statement in a room.
“Fashion and interior design are so alike.” Ms. Seerman told Mansion Global. The designer explained how every aspect of fashion, from fabrics to accessories, layering to movement, and attention to detail, affects the whole, telling a story and projecting a mood.
Raised in a design-centric family––her father managed his own residential construction company and her mother used her “natural talent for interiors” to decorate their homes–– Ms. Seerman spent much of her youth hopping around both coasts. She cut her teeth working for the “ever-talented” Waldo Fernandez, then moved on to Madeline Stewart & Associates and eventually Martyn Lawrence Bullard before launching her eponymous design firm in 2014.
But for Ms. Seerman, interior design has been a way of life for as long as she can remember.
“From childhood, I had a natural affinity for design, and luckily, when plotting my path in my early twenties, they gently persuaded me to consider this passion,” she said of her parents nudging her toward a future in design. “I’m happy they did and feel lucky to have a career in such a crazy, challenging, and creative industry.”
In addition to her thoughts on the similarities between fashion and interior design, Mansion Global chatted with Ms. Seerman about creating chic yet livable homes, defining one’s design style, and how living in West Hollywood influences her work.
Mansion Global: You compare fashion to interiors. Can you elaborate a bit more on how that translates?
Jaqui Seerman: There’s a lot of the same foundation. Any outfit or ensemble has to be geared to the shape of the body or the individual you’re dressing, so you could reference that back to architecture. Doing the high waistline on some people looks amazing, and for others, it doesn’t. You have to pay attention to the body. You have to look at the architecture of a house and model your aesthetic on what looks best in that environment.
The ever-evolving aesthetic of fashion is a constant influence, whether someone realizes it or not. You want to have those same fresh elements in interiors.
MG: When you use the term “fresh,” are you referring to designing with new furnishings and accouterments?
JS: It doesn’t have to be limited to what’s current right now. Great looks are timeless, and that’s the goal with interiors as well. You could do a great Halston today, and it would look as effortlessly chic as when it was originally designed––the way it drapes and the perfection of the execution. Ultimately, the goal is that it ages with grace.
MG: What’s the secret to maintaining that chic aesthetic while still living comfortably?
JS: Think about a classic outfit: a chic, beautiful pulled-back bun and simple jewelry with a white button-up. You can start the day being perfectly crisp and your hair perfectly pulled back, but as the day evolves and you start running around, it gets a little worn-in. But it still looks chic.
In interiors, you create a room that looks incredible when assembled, but as the day progresses and you kick off your shoes, pull down the pillows, open the book, have your tea and everything is lived in, the aesthetic is still there. It still looks well-collected and maintained even after it’s lived in.
MS: Any words of advice for someone who has yet to define their design style? How do they get there?
JS: Everybody is looking at the finished product. They rush through the fun part.
Rather than putting deadlines on yourself, let it evolve and collect pieces you love over time. The space will look well-curated and organic because everything wasn’t purchased from one location. It will also have personal value because you sourced these unique things. Take time and let it happen. Explore what feels right to you. Let the journey be enjoyable. If you do it right, you won’t have to do it over.
MS: Do you have any pet peeves related to design aesthetics?
JS: Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of cabinets that don’t run to the ceiling. There’s always a situation when there’s a reason why they don’t go to the ceiling. And in that scenario, I can support the cause. But in most scenarios, take the cabinets to the ceiling. Bring out the height of the room, so it looks custom and fleshed out and beautiful.
MG: How has living in West Hollywood, or “WeHo” influenced your design approach and style?
JS: It has influenced me in a way that isn’t unique to the city, the environment, or the coast I am on, but more to the individuals who choose to reside here. A lot are innately creative and risk-takers. They aren’t afraid to push the envelope. Because of that, I can embody an aesthetic and complete interiors that are not only turn-key ready down to the furniture, pillows, area rugs, and drapery, but the pantries are stocked and organized. It’s fully done. There’s a limited amount of places in the world where the community goes all in like that. Los Angeles, Southern California, specifically West Hollywood, isn’t risk averse. They’re willing to take a chance and see what happens. That’s been an enjoyable experience when doing interiors.
MG: Where do you shop for unique objects and collectibles in Los Angeles?
JS: All Angelenos in my industry find great inspiration at JF Chen. They’ve collected some of the most amazing furniture. It’s fun to see pieces that inspire and have different architectural shapes, like a chair that doesn’t look like a chair.
MG: How do you define luxury?
JS: It’s the simple things that are special. Fresh-cut flowers, big floral arrangements, incredible dinner parties with curated fine china that has sentimental value. Have pieces that carry emotional value in your home, such as an oil painting that your grandmother did or a gorgeous mohair blanket that you use and cherish. It’s more about the experience of being in the environment––about home and having guests, showcasing what’s important to you. We could all indulge in more glorious linens, but sometimes people love a crisp cotton sheet. It’s personal. It’s curated for you. That is the most luxurious experience when it’s exactly what you want.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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