Design Lesson

Style watch: Jane Seymour

Style watch: Jane Seymour Author: Style At Home

Design Lesson

Style watch: Jane Seymour

Television's Dr. Quinn has turned house doctor. In her new book, Making Yourself At Home (2007, DK Publishing [Pearson Group Canada], $50), award-winning actress Jane Seymour proves she's nothing if not multi-talented. Photographed at Coral Canyon, her beachfront home in Mailbu, Jane's approach to interior design proves both practical and affordable - breezy tips on building vignettes with an emphasis on personal style. We sat down with Jane to discuss simplicity, sources of inspiration and achieving style for less.

Style at Home: It's clear from your book that you draw inspiration for your interiors from simple, everyday sources, finding beauty in the garden, the ocean, your art and your children. Do we tend to overcomplicate our approach to interior design?
Jane Seymour:
The point I'm making in the book is that wherever you live in the world, you should look at what it is that inspires you. You may live in a bedsit in the big city, but if you dream of the ocean, there's no reason why you can't bring elements of the ocean into your environment. I embrace what's out, and bring it in – the palms, the koi fish, the flowers, the mountains and the ocean – I bring elements of the natural world into the decor, and they also inspire my home collection.

S@H: How does a room take shape from that source of inspiration?
JS:
People know how to dress, and it's a similar process when dressing a home. We dress according to our needs, what we find comfortable, what makes us looks good, what colour reflects well with our skin, and then we accessorize. I'm saying, do the same thing with your house. Start with neutrals, buy good quality if you can: things that are timeless and well made so that if you change your mind, you can always re-cover it.


Image from Making Yourself at Home, copyright 2007 DK Publishing / Jane Seymour

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S@H: Neutral rooms with hits of colour from accessories seem to be your hallmark. What's so great about white?
JS:
In terms of the living room walls, I did that because I wanted a feeling of light there. In my guest room, which is quite dark, I felt it needed light walls, but I wanted to do that blue-and-white look and so I came up with the idea of only painting one wall in cyan. I think a lot of people feel that when you do colour, you have to paint the whole room, but actually there's something wonderful about that single focal wall.

Image from Making Yourself at Home , copyright 2007 DK Publishing / Jane Seymour

 

janeseymour-flowers.jpg S@H: Let's say someone's got half an hour on a Saturday afternoon, and wants to do something simple to spice up their surroundings - a quick and easy project or arrangement that will make a big impact. What would you suggest?
JS:
I would suggest a tablescape. The idea is just to look in your closet. You've probably got some scarves and shawls that you bought in interesting colours that might relate to a painting or a print that you have on the wall. Found objects, in and out of the house, unified by a scarf running underneath – you can put all kinds of unusual things together. Then, of course, I find beads and jewelry that I haven't worn forever that I add to the mix.

S@H: Another great thing about tablescapes is that you can change them out seasonally.
JS:
You can change them out weekly if you feel like it. You don't have to be a flower arranger, either. In one of my tablescapes, I just arranged single bud chrysanthemums in teacups. Basically, the concept of a tablescape follows the Old Masters. They painted landscapes and still life, and that's what you're doing – creating a three-dimensional still life that relates to you and to your home.

Image from Making Yourself at Home , copyright 2007 DK Publishing / Jane Seymour

 

janeseymour-table.jpgS@H: One of the ways you achieve style for less in the book is by displaying your own collections and homemade art. Do you think that people sometimes overlook the treasures that they already have under their roof?
JS:
Absolutely, and of course, that's why they have those shows on television where people come in and see if they can make money out of things that they have in their house. That's all well and good, but it's about money. I think it's much more fun to actually find a way of using these things. For example, when I did the tablescape with those porcelain shoes, my husband was absolutely thrilled. He so appreciated that something that was a family knick knack that he didn't even know he had, an element of his cultural background, was displayed prominently in the living room.

S@H: What's your single favourite decor item in your home? Is there anything you wouldn't be able to part with?
JS:
Yes - it's an emerald green art nouveau glass vase, which has a silver overlay of tulips. For some reason, I'm very emotionally attached to it, and when the wildfires came right by the house, that was the first thing I grabbed. Other than that, I'd say the paintings of my children. You can always buy new cushions, curtains and new carpets, but you can't get new original art.

For more tips from Jane, visit janeseymourhome.com

Image from Making Yourself at Home, copyright 2007 DK Publishing / Jane Seymour

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Design Lesson

Style watch: Jane Seymour